When the country was going into lockdown due to the Coronavirus, and the world had become a scary place, we lost contact with Robert.

 

Robert was my husband’s twin brother. Aged 52 and teaching English in turkey. He lived by himself, was independent, and traveled a lot with his work, but he sent messages to his elderly mum daily. 

So on the 17th of March, Robert messaged his mum to say Turkey was going into lockdown, things were moving fast, and the school he taught at was closing. We too were facing uncertain times here in the UK. That was the last message Rob sent. 

Fast forward 10 days, lots of unanswered messages, missed calls and letters of concern, my mother in law received the devastating news over the telephone by the British police, that Rob had been found dead at his flat in Turkey. 

The world was in lockdown, leaving the country was not an option and so our difficult task was set. We were great-full to the embassy for their support and guidance, but we knew that we had to get Robert home to put him to rest. 

Money was always on our minds. Robert didn’t have insurance. He didn’t lead a fancy lifestyle. He earned his money and spent it on living, traveling, and his passion for tennis. We were now faced with the grief, the stress, and the uncertainty of where he was or what would happen to him. Then a friend of mine sent me a link to the government website that gave advice and support on how to manage with death abroad.

This is where I discovered REST.

I sent a simple and brief email that evening, and within an hour they made contact.  Steve and his wife Linda listened to our grief, they weren’t judgmental, there were no awkward form filling, they just listened, sympathised and told us straight away that the charity would cover the whole cost of the repatriation!

Our world suddenly felt lighter. There were many more tears shed that evening, but tears of relief. The process was so simple in the messy world we were caught up in at that point. We simply gave the funeral directors the contact for REST, and they did the rest. 

Robert has since been returned to Wales. We had a small cremation here with just 5 of us present. We will have a bigger celebration of Roberts’s life with friends and family when restrictions are lifted. We still have no idea of how Robert died or answers to our hundreds of questions regarding his death.  There have been autopsies performed in both countries, so we hope to get answers soon.

So we would like to say thank you to this wonderful charity for helping us through this difficult and sad time, and helping us return our loved one to rest in peace home here in Wales.

We are eternally grateful to Steve and Linda, and all at REST, for their dedication to helping so many others like us.