real life

3-year-old Georgia died suddenly at Christmas. Her family then kept her body for 11 days.

On December 26, 2013, three-year-old Georgia Fieldsend collapsed in her mother’s arms on a beach during a family trip to Egypt.

Early the next morning, after being rushed to a local hospital and then airlifted to King’s College Hospital in London, little Georgia was pronounced dead.

Blonde, lively and loving, an aneurysm had ruptured in the three-year-old’s brain.

When three-year-old Georgia died, her parents didn't want to hand her body over to a morgue. Image via Facebook.

After donating their daughter's liver, kidney, heart valves and eyes, Georgia's parents, Ilse and James, made the unusual decision to bring their daughter's body home until her funeral, scheduled for 11 days after her death.

Speaking to UK's The Telegraph on what would have been Georgia's seventh birthday, 42-year-old Ilse revealed she instinctively felt their "daughter's body belonged with us, not in a morgue".

"I know some will think what we did was shocking, but to us it made sense," she explained.

While their decision may be uconvential, the family said it "just made sense". Image via Facebook.

"Having her at home helped us grieve.

"It still hadn't sunk in that she was gone. I simply wanted to bring Georgia home where she belonged."

On New Year's Day, the family signed a transfer of care form at the hospital, and a funeral car transported Georgia's body to her family home in Bramley in a portable hospital bed.

"I simply wanted to bring Georgia home where she belonged." Image via Facebook.

Funeral directors told Ilse and James their home needed to be freezing in order to protect their little girl's body from deteriorating.

"I was worried I was doing something dangerous or unhealthy but it was winter, and with her bedroom door shut and her window kept open, they said she would be fine," Ilse said.


"Her body was cold but she looked and felt like my little girl."

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For 11 days, James and Ilse spent time with their daughter, talking to her "as if she were still alive".

After initially deciding not to show her body to their youngest son, Joshua, then just two years old, the couple realised it would be more upsetting for him not to be able to say goodbye to his big sister.

"After a day we brought him in to read bedtime stories and have morning cuddles, just as we always had done. As far as he was concerned, she was asleep," Ilse said.

Little Joshua was told his older sister was "asleep" while her body was kept in their home. Image via Facebook.

Ilse said she only noticed minor changes to her daughter's appearance, like her fingertips and face becoming dry.

"James helped me wash her hair and I massaged hand lotion into her hands," she said.

The night before her funeral, the couple carried Georgia's body into their own bed, placing it between them.

"He held her left hand, I held her right and we both cried," Ilse said.

Four years later, Ilse doesn't regret her decision.

"Taking her home gave us more time. It felt as if we were protecting Georgia until the very end, she said.

"It was our way of saying goodbye and a beautiful thing to be able to do."