A heartbroken son who lost his father to Covid-19 has described his fears for his mother, who is also battling the killer virus after contracting it in the same nursing home.
John and Nell McGroddy tested positive for coronavirus within days of each other.
John (82) passed away on Sunday and Nell (79), his wife of 50 years, is still being treated for the illness.
The couple's adult children watched from behind a glass window while their mother wore a mask and gloves to say goodbye to her husband.
"My mother was taken in by nurses to see my father one last time after he died," Dominic McGroddy, the couple's eldest son, told the Irish Independent.
"My sisters could only watch from behind a glass window while she held his hand.
"She is so sick with the virus herself that we aren't sure she knew he was gone. Maybe that's a good thing."
Mr McGroddy, a former garda, passed away peacefully at the nursing home in Swords, Co Dublin, on Sunday night.
Due to restrictions on visitors at the nursing home he has been living in for three years, his family were unable to be by his bedside.
His wife Nell was told he had died on Monday.
"On Sunday they told my mother that Dad was very sick," said Dominic.
"He had already died but they were trying to set her up for seeing him. When they brought her in to see him on Monday her temperature was still up and down and she was on meds.
"She was struggling to show any acknowledgment that she knew what was going on. 'Utterly bewildered' were the words that were used.
"She was brought in to see him, masked and gowned and all of that, and it was just all very confusing for her. That was very heartbreaking for my sisters, that no-one could support her.
"The nurses were there and they were fantastic, but my sisters were on the outside looking in at that. In the end it was just a very isolated affair."
The McGroddy family, from Swords in Co Dublin, were notified of a potential case of coronavirus in the home where their parents live a number of weeks ago.
On March 16, they were told their mother had a high temperature and would be tested for Covid-19 the following day. She tested positive, as did her husband a few days later.
"Once we heard Mum had it, we weren't surprised that Dad then got it," said Dominic.
"You are talking about a very touchy-feely environment, in an enclosed setting."
According to Dominic, his parents and others who had the virus were isolated from the other residents in the home.
"None of the family got in anywhere past the front door to see either of them," he said.
"I have an underlying health condition and couldn't go, so it was mostly my sisters. It was a case of standing outside and shouting in through a window. Everyone inside walking round was masked and gloved and gowned.
"It must be an awful experience ... All these staff are going around like it's a warzone with everything they have on."
Unable to visit, Dominic made recordings of his parents' favourite songs, which were played to the couple by nursing home staff. He was also able to FaceTime his father before he passed away.
"We have no criticism of the staff at the nursing home at all," he said.
"They were informative every step of the way with this. As soon as they suspected the virus was in the nursing home, they let my sisters, who are the first point of contact, know.
"They did a very good job at isolating the risk patients from the rest of them and they put all the protocols in place straight away.
"I video-chatted to my dad, and the staff were great at trying to get him alert to my voice and to tune in. They were just unbelievable and it's hard to believe that they are putting themselves at such a risk on a daily basis.
"They were playing the songs I recorded, the music Dad listened to all his life and they were sitting with him at the end. We as a family take comfort from that."
Dominic said the family had been told there were over a dozen positive cases of Covid-19 in the nursing home but only their father has died.
My sisters could only watch from behind a glass window while she held his hand
"We were very concerned when we got the news that both my parents had this," he said.
"But we also knew that they were in the best possible health they could be in going into it because the nursing home looks after them all so well.
"We were looking at the stats saying 80-90pc survive it, but we were concerned because Dad was becoming frailer.
"We knew our mother was in a healthier position. On March 24, we were told Dad's temperature was down and they were both eating so that gave us some hope to think they were coming out the other end of it.
"The staff were very worried about both of them for a while, and then on March 26 things started to take a turn for the worse for Dad and he just never came back from it."
Mr McGroddy, who suffered from dementia, went to live in the care home three years ago. His wife decided to join him 18 months later and the couple spent most of their days together in the day room.
"It's a very sad end for the two of them," said Dominic.
"They had been in the home together and that was more time than they could reasonably have expected to get.
"For it all to collapse asunder so suddenly and in the way it did is hard to take.
"My sisters in particular would have loved to have been with Mum when she went to see Dad. The five of us actually would have all been there with her.
"It would have been chaos and mayhem, but it would have been they way we wanted it."
Like so many who have succumbed to Covid-19, Mr McGroddy's funeral will be a small, private affair. His beloved wife will not be there.
"My dad was a hugely popular man," said Dominic.
"He told us many times how much he was looking forward to the celebration of his life after he passed away.
"He had a wide circle of friends, ex-guards, people he played golf with, business-people around Dublin and Swords that he would have wanted to celebrate his life. Singing songs and telling tales, that's what he wanted.
"Over the next few days, we go with masks and gloves and have a very informal, very unpleasant ceremony. It will just be the five of us and a few other family members."
As the McGroddy family bury their father, their focus is on willing their mother back to health.
"We remain convinced our mother will be fine, but we can't be sure," said Dominic.
"Then there will come a time to have a proper conversation about Dad. She will be very sad that she wasn't able to be there with him at the end and grieve.
"It will be a case of postponing the inevitable sorrow she will have because she will be absolutely lost without him.
"Every day she went and sat beside him and they would sit forever. We just hope she pulls through this now without him."
The nursing home did not comment on the number of cases with which it is currently dealing.
However, in a statement, the staff extended their deepest sympathies to the McGroddy family.
The statement added: "We appreciate the family's supportive comments about our nurses, carers and all the staff, who are working tirelessly to look after all the residents during this very difficult time."
It also said it "appreciates the advice and assistance provided by the HSE and the National Public Health Emergency Team and other relevant authorities".