Living Stories: Home page


People talked about their expectations for the future. Many people described expecting their loved ones to die, or the future without them. They tell of their fears, their emotional anticipations and the effects of these on their relationships.

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Carol G: Wife of Pete who died as an adult.

I'm just starting to think about that now. To actually think of the word 'hope'. And starting to feel a little bit more optimistic that it might be possible to have a future. I mean Pete was what I considered to be my soulmate in life I mean, there's not a day goes by when I don't think of Pete and what I've lost. I don't know whether it's ever possible to have something similar a second time. It would be nice to think I could find some happiness again.

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Catherine and Caroline: Sisters of John and James, who both died as young adults.

CAROLINE: Whereas most people have this sort of, it'll-never-happen-to-me attitude, I have completely the opposite. It can happen, I know it can happen, a one in a million thing, and it could happen. And if it's happened twice, then why might it not happen again? Certainly, in some ways [it has made me] more relaxed about just taking each day as it comes, and the importance of not letting things wind me up. You know, if things are going on at work, I think, 'Well it's only work and does this really matter? No it doesn't.' And perhaps I wouldn't be like that if I hadn't had catastrophes happen. So more anxious in some ways, but more laid-back in others. Just more of a sense of what is important.

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Cynthia: Partner of Brian who died as an adult.

I was lucky enough to meet somebody as special as Brian; whether I could be lucky twice, just remains to be seen.

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Diane: Wife of Ian, who is living with haemophilia and HIV.

We still don't talk about having a long-term future together, we never talk about growing old together. I don't expect Ian to be around in my old age. And the way that we discuss that is, that maybe after the liver biopsy, the conversation we had was, 'So you're going to be around then?' 'Yeah I think I'm going to be around for a little bit longer.' 'Oh. Cool.' It's that simple. And then, 'Right, cup of tea then.' You develop a way of communicating with each other which is pretty special actually, where you can say stuff like that. Which is really nice. I can't trust that he'll be here. So we still don't make plans for the future. We don't make any plans for the future.

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Gloria: Mother of Andrew.

I'd been to my son's funeral in my mind time and time again, over the years, because of being told, and he's been told, and it's been coming, different times throughout his life. Even just after his graduation, the doctors at the Royal Free had told him to go and tour the world and 'make the most of your life because you haven't got very long to live'. And just recently the same thing's happened. It's not very nice to contend with that thought in your mind, as a mother.

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Mary: Wife of John who died as an adult.

At this present moment I've moved on with my life to a large extent because the whole situation completely traumatised my life. It's now 12 years since John died, there's still no public inquiry, and although I have campaigned for many years on a personal basis for a public inquiry, I have almost given up hope of it now. I feel that if I carry on being angry it's not going to get me anywhere. I feel now I've got to move on. [After this interview was recorded, an independent inquiry was announced in February 2007.]

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Mary S: Mother of Colin, who died as an adult.

I do have compassion for other people, not just myself, so I do try and help other people. But they have been very, very good. The only thing is that I had so much helping Colin over the years, that it's difficult to live without him really. I miss looking after him. But they've been very good have my friends, yes, yes. And it's up to me, I've got to get strong and do what I have to do, what's left for me.

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Norma: Mother of Catherine, Caroline, John and James. John and James died as young adults.

It's very hard to encourage someone to go on living when at the back of your mind you know they're going to die. It's hard to keep the balance between sympathising with them and making them keep going. I found that very, very difficult.