A HUSBAND has told how he promised his late wife on her death bed that he would look after their 13 children.
James Sherlock (44), from Childer's Road, Ennis, Co Clare, told how it has been very hard for their family since the death of his wife Tina Sherlock (39) on December 10, 2008.
"Every day is a struggle for myself. I made a promise to my wife on her death bed, I talked to her just before and said I'd look after the kids as much as I can," he told the Irish Independent. "I'm not perfect but they are all I have, they keep me going."
Mrs Sherlock, who was in her 14th pregnancy, lost her baby on July 15, 2008, and died herself almost five months later.
The mother of 13 was 17 weeks pregnant when she visited the emergency department of the Mid-West Regional Hospital in Ennis, Co Clare, on June 22, 2008, complaining of pain in her right side. The inquiry heard she visited the hospital twice during June and medical staff considered a diagnosis of an inflamed gall bladder. She was also transferred on to the Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick.
She was diagnosed in November as suffering from appendicitis.
In the meantime, she lost the baby girl due to sepsis on July 15, 2008. Mrs Sherlock died from multi-organ failure due to sepsis on December 10, 2008, after undergoing three operations.
"She was an absolute lady. The only thing she cared about was her children and her home," said Mr Sherlock.
The couple's children range in age from eight to 25 and Mr Sherlock now looks after eight of their children at the family home. They named their baby girl, who only lived for around 20 seconds, Angel Serene.
The pair met when she was 17 and he 18 at a youth centre and by the time of her death had been married 22 years.
"She was my rock. I'm completely lost without her. Every day is hard and a struggle. I asked that it was me that was gone.
"What I do is never good enough for the children. They need their mother. If I could change places with her I would," he said.