Woman given amazing gift from husband who passed away aged just 24
Lauren Pope feared she would forget what husband Darren Easton sounded like when he died aged 24.
So she was stunned when a friend brought her a teddy bear that says “I love you” in Darren’s voice when squeezed.
Darren, who had cystic fibrosis, fulfilled his dying wish by marrying Lauren in hospital in December.
Doctors had told him he had only weeks to live after a lung transplant failed.
Lauren, 24, who has the same condition, exchanged vows with him surrounded by loved ones and doctors and nurses who had treated the pair.
He died last week – and Lauren has revealed how she is being comforted by the cuddly toy he sent to her from beyond the grave.
Hairdresser Lauren said: “Just after Darren died, a friend of ours gave me a huge teddy bear.
“I was still very upset and didn’t really understand but she said, ‘Give it a squeeze,’ and when I did it was Darren’s voice saying, ‘Hi, baby, just saying I love you and I miss you. You’ll be my world for ever and always.’
“It was so thoughtful of him – I was worried about forgetting the sound of his voice and now I never will. The teddy sits in Darren’s place on the sofa at home and I squeeze him whenever I want to hear him again.”
For the final two months of his life, Lauren, from Watford, slept by her new husband’s side on a camp bed at Harefield Hospital in Hillingdon, North London.
They fell in love after meeting aged 16 as patients and became a couple on New Year’s Eve 2015, watching fireworks from their hospital window. He proposed in 2016 after coming round from a double lung transplant.
Mechanic Darren said before their wedding: “We knew we wouldn’t live long lives and we’ll always be unwell. But we thought, ‘What’s the point of being unwell and unhappy apart when we could be unwell together?’”
The couple had been saving for a wedding but when doctors told Darren in November that time was running out, they launched a crowdfunding page.
Strangers, moved by their story, helped to raise £3,000 and Darren got his dying wish, marrying his sweetheart in the hospital’s conservatory. Although his health was failing rapidly, he saw in 2019 with his wife. And despite being unable to walk, he ticked off other dreams, such as taking her to see The Lion King in the West End.
On Christmas Day, the hospital let him go home so the couple could enjoy the day together with their dog, Princess.
Lauren said: “I spent the whole time with a big smile on my face.
“I bought him a Chelsea football shirt and we had roast beef – he enjoyed it so much he got me to do it again on Boxing Day.
“Even in the worst times he was always joking, never giving in to sadness. Before we went to sleep the night before he died we said we loved each other.”
Darren died in hospital on January 23 at 7.20am, as Lauren watched over him.
Now, holding on to the teddy, Lauren is planning his funeral.
She said: “Everything is a blur, but I am keeping myself busy with the plans.
“He loved motorbikes, so we’re going to have a bike hearse and I’m insisting everyone wears blue or a Chelsea shirt. He wouldn’t want anyone being sad. That wasn’t him at all, that wasn’t the Darren I knew and loved.”
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