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Published: 00:01, 25 July 2014 |
Updated: 10:20, 25 July 2014
A grieving husband has told of the heartbreaking moment he had to tell his six-year-old daughter: "Mummy's an angel now."
Andy Hollands, 26, has been left numb by the sudden death of his wife and college sweetheart Rachel, who he found unconscious in bed at their new Faversham home as he got ready for work.
Doctors battled for more than three hours to save the 26-year-old - who moved to Herne Bay as a teenager - but their efforts proved in vain.
Heartbroken Andy said he had to wait four days before telling their daughter Erin the tragic news of his wife's death last Wednesday, saying it was the toughest moment of his life.
He said: "I didn't tell her until Sunday. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
"I needed to build my strength because I still don't know what happened. I sat her down and told her mummy is an angel now and she is with God."
Warehouse worker Andy said the cause of Rachel's death remains a mystery, revealing her health had improved in recent weeks following an operation to unblock the one
kidney she was born with.
He said: "When I woke up she was breathing, everything was normal. I got up, got showered and dressed for work, and when I came back 20 minutes later she wasn't breathing.
"I tried to shake her and put my ear to my mouth. I couldn't hear anything so I called the ambulance."
Rachel was rushed to Kent and Canterbury Hospital but doctors were unable to save her.
Andy said: "When I was told she had died I was devastated. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
"Everyone was saying it was like having the old Rachel back because she had responded so well to the operation.
"I'm just taking every day as it comes. My main focus is Erin. She is up and down, happy one minute and wanting a cuddle the next."
Andy and Rachel met when they were both 16 and studying the same course at Canterbury College, where Rachel had moved from the city's St Anselm’s Catholic School.
"One of our friends pushed her down the stairs and I caught her," he added.
"She asked for my number and we started from there. A couple of years after college we had Erin and started a family.
"She always put other people's interests before herself. She cared so much for people and would always put herself forward to help whatever it was.
"She was loved by everybody. Nobody could say a bad word about her."
The couple married at All Saints Church in Whitstable in August 2011 and lived in the town's Clare Road.
Just a month ago they moved to a new home in Minster Road, Faversham, where boxes still remain unpacked.
Andy said he will cherish every moment with Rachel, especially a magical family holiday to Turkey.
He said: "Erin keeps asking if we can go back. It was two weeks of peace and having fun together as a family. If I could I would want to go back.
"Rachel was fun, always wanting to help others. She was such a happy person to be around. Everyone will miss her."
A post-mortem examination was carried out to establish the cause of Rachel's death, but proved inconclusive. It revealed the stent she had fitted to unblock her kidney was working, so the coroner has ordered further tests.
Rachel's funeral will take place at Barham Crematorium next Thursday at 12.40pm.
Everyone is invited to pay their last respects. The family would like any donations made to Kidney Research.
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