Published: 16:34, 17 April 2020
| Updated: 18:06, 17 April 2020
A Marie Curie nurse and grandmother who passed away after catching coronavirus 'was not afraid of death', after spending more than 40 years looking after the terminally ill.
Barbara Sage, who worked as a senior healthcare assistant for the charity in Bromley, South London, died on Easter Sunday aged 68, in intensive care.
She was the first member of the Marie Curie nursing team to die because of the disease.
Ms Sage's daughter, Donna, said her mum was "dedicated to caring for people."
Donna said: “She loved life, her family, her grandchildren and she loved her job. ”
“Mum started out as an ambulance driver in London when she was 18. That made her want to become a nurse.
“She was a very warm person, I suppose she had all the normal attributes of a Marie Curie nurse. I guess you have to be like that in their line of work, don't you? She was dedicated to caring for people.
'She wouldn't just get up and leave at the end of her shift. She'd stay on to support the families...'
“Mum always said her job wasn't about the getting paid, it was about being there for people when they need it,”
“She wouldn't just get up and leave at the end of her shift. She'd stay on to support the families or wait for the coroner if needs be,” Donna added.
She also said her mum’s line of work affected how she viewed dying.
“Because mum had been there when people had taken their last breaths and laid out so many bodies, she wasn't afraid of death.
“That’s something I take comfort from right now. She used to say to me that life was like a light bulb, one minute it's there, and then ping, it goes, it's still hot but the light starts to fade away.
"That's how she described being there with someone in their last moments.”
Matthew Reed, chief executive of Marie Curie said: “Barbara’s death is a devastating loss for the whole team, and I know everyone who worked with Barbara over the last 14 years can attest to her professionalism and commitment. I know she will be very greatly missed.
“I’ve spoken to Donna who told me how her mother had spent all her life as a palliative care nurse, holding the hands of dying people and hugging their loved ones.
"She told me how she and the rest of the family couldn’t hold Barbara’s hand as she was dying. They couldn’t hug her goodbye. "This pain is something that so many families are having to go through right now.
"My thoughts are with Barbara’s family and friends, as well as everyone who is grieving a loved one in these incredibly difficult times.”
Barbara’s partner Gerald, her children Donna and Aaron, and her five grandchildren plan to celebrate Barbara’s life at a memorial later in the year.