Oil man calls home from Indonesia, and hears wife die on phone

AN OIL worker heard his wife die from almost 8,000 miles away.
Darron Smith, 35, was on a rig off Indonesia when wife Anna, 37, lost her battle with a previously undiagnosed cardiac condition. She suffered two cardiac arrests.
He was on the line to Anna's mum on Shetland, off the north east coast of Scotland, where the couple lived with four-year-old daughter Ava.
"I take comfort in being with Anna in her last moments - even if it was on the phone and I was thousands of miles away," he said.
"I heard my mum, Carolyn, say, Is she gone?' and the medical team confirm it.
"It was distressing, but comforting to be there, albeit thousands of miles away at the end of the phone."
It took Darron five flights and more than two days to eventually get back home to Shetland after Anna’s death on 23 January 2015.
"I had a message from my mother to call home, I was working offshore Indonesia, the call was to be the worst news one could ever receive," he said.
"Anna took ill and within 24 hours passed away after two cardiac arrests.  She was a young mother with everything to live for, she was fit and looked after herself."
He spent the entire time downloading psychology books on how to help small children cope with the death of a parent - to better prepare him for helping their only daughter Ava, four, deal with her grief.
"Ava is coping much better than me at times, but children that age have a remarkable way of speaking up and stating what's happened," he said.
"We will cope with losing Anna in the way Ava finds best."
Dental nurse and carer Anna had a ruptured valve in her heart, the family believe.
Her death has struck a chord with hundreds of friends, family and others who have raised £14,000 to help other cardiac patients.
A team of heart specialists had been flown to Shetland's Gilbert Bain Hospital ready to transport Anna to a unit on the mainland.  
"But she passed away before they managed to stabilise her for transfer," Darron said.
"Anna became ill so quickly they had to put her into a induced coma to prepare her for surgery.
"Every hospital doctor on Shetland had been put on alert to assist if needed. But she deteriorated so quickly she didn't make it to the operating table.
"One of the main doctors told me that it was the first time he had seen this happen in more than 30 years in the job."
The previously healthy young mum died within hours of being admitted to hospital.
Darron is now making memory boxes to help Ana remember her mum when she grows up.
"She will want to know what her mum was like," he said.
An incredible £14,000 has been donated to the British Heart Foundation in just a few days through a JustGiving fundraising page set up online in Anna's memory.
It is testament to how well-loved and respected she was.
Friends of the couple and workmates of Darron have piled in sizable contributions to show their respect.
Print-outs of the JustGiving page were one of the first things placed in the memory box.
"I never believed for a moment how much would be raised," he said.
"Everyone will have been touched in some way by a heart condition, either personally or by a relative's experience. Support has been overwhelming to an extent we never imagined."
Anna's death has left a huge hole in her family which her mother Catherine, is struggling to cope with.
Darron's parents, Carolyn and Rodney, are also stunned.
"Everyone wants to help," he said. "But I am struggling to find a path forward from losing a wonderful person.
"She was perfect in every way and the best mum Ava could ever have wished for.
"But the cruelty of life has stepped in to change all that and I'm looking for a way to cope.
"I know many dads will have been in my position before and will recognise what I am going through and know how important it is to survive this."
The couple met after Darron saw Anna in a car park in Shetland's capital, Lerwick, back in April 2003.
"She looked gorgeous and I came up with an excuse to approach her and chat. My life changed from then because she was such a lovely, vibrant person who became a devoted wife and mum."
Now with his future changed so painfully, Darron is wondering what he is going to do work-wise with the rest of life.
"I have a lovely wee daughter to raise," he added.
"Hopefully, I will find something which allows me to earn a living and be a dad at the same time. But it's early days and Anna has only been gone a month.
"I know something suitable will turn up."
* To donate to Anna's appeal, go to justgiving.com/Darron-Smith/