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DEBBIE DUNLOP, 28, was devastated when her sister Julie died in 2011 after accidentally taking an overdose of prescribed medication and helped care for her daughter Jade when her dad Paul Scott, 27, died suddenly in August.
Debbie Dunlop, 28, was heartbroken when her sister Julie was found dead in her home in December 2011 after accidentally taking an overdose of her prescribed medication.
Julie’s daughter Jade was dealt another devastating blow when her dad Paul Scott, 27, died in his sleep in August.
Debbie says that instead of finding it difficult seeing her mum’s double every day, Jade is comforted by their resemblance and similar mannerisms – but that Debbie would never try to replace Julie.
“I’ve asked Jade if she finds it hard when she looks at me, if it makes it difficult for her to be with me when I am so like her mum. But she told me that she only feels comforted by being around me. She said that she likes the fact I look like her mum and act like her.
“I lost my mum eight years ago and I still cry for her. So I know how Jade feels.
“I’m happy I remind her of her mum and that, in a weird way, she can see what her own mum would have been like as I grow older.
“I need to be there for Jade as I know my sister would do the same for me. But I’m not her mum and I’d never try to replace her. I guess I’m the next best thing.”
Debbie, says her son, six-year-old Dariq, and Jade, 10, act like brother and sister together, rather than cousins.
She said: “I have a very close relationship with my son, but sometimes when I make a special effort to give Jade some attention, he doesn’t like it.Although they are cousins, they fight like cat and dog and are more like brother and sister.
Jade was at Debbie’s house two years ago when the call came that would change their lives.
Debbie said: “Jade had come to stay overnight. When I got that call to say Julie had been found dead on her couch, my world just collapsed.
“I was cradling Jade in my arms as I just broke down. Without my sister, I didn’t know how I was going to cope. But I knew I had to get it together to support Jade. Then, when her dad passed away unexpectedly she was distraught.
“Jade has many people who love and support her but I have to keep Julie’s memory alive for her. I will do everything in my power to make sure Jade knows how wonderful her mum was.”
More than 1000 family and friends attended the funeral for Julie, who lived in Glasgow’s Drumchapel.
Debbie said: “That day was one of the hardest of my life. Holding Jade’s hand through it was just heart-wrenching.”
Julie’s cause of death was given as intoxication by mirtazapine, a commonly prescribed anti-depressant.
Debbie said: “My sister had missed her medication the day before. When she remembered, she took too much. People need to be more alert to the dangers because now we have a little girl who is without her mum.”
A spokesman from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde stressed the importance of following instructions for prescribed medication. But for Debbie and her surviving sisters, Michelle, 34 and Kelly, 33, Jade and Dariq, the pain will never fully heal.
Debbie said: “It hurts when my son says ‘I love and miss you, aunt Julie’ every night before bed.”
Jade said: “I loved my mum and dad so much. I’m glad I have my aunties, cousins and nana, who look after me, but I won’t ever stop missing them.”