Two loves of his life

Chat - - Contents -

Glued to the TV, tears sprung to my eyes. What a brave lady, I thought. It was May 2002, and I watch­ing a Panorama doc­u­men­tary called Please Let Me Die.

Pro­duc­ers had fol­lowed the case of mo­tor neu­rone dis­ease suf­ferer Diane Pretty and her hus­band Brian, as Diane fought for the right to end her own life with dig­nity.

Trapped in her body by the cruel de­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease, Diane was phys­i­cally un­able to take her own life. Yet, by law, any­one who as­sisted her would face 14 years in jail.

Her bids to the High Court, House of Lords and Euro­pean Court had all failed. And, two weeks later, poor Diane passed away aged just 43, in the man­ner she’d al­ways feared – in a hospice, drugged up on mor­phine, strug­gling for breath. Heart­break­ing.

I felt deeply for Diane, Brian and their two chil­dren, then 25 and 23.

But it awoke some­thing in me, too…

I’d been a sin­gle mother of three for seven years.

I was sick of be­ing lonely, but had never done any­thing about it. It’s time to start liv­ingli i again,i I re­

Life is short. Diane’s story had made that all too clear.

So, when a friend asked me to go to a lo­cal sin­gles club, I said yes.

Af­ter a few vis­its, I made a lovely group of friends. Then, one Sun­day a cou­ple of months af­ter the doc­u­men­tary, Diane Pretty’s wid­ower Brian walked in.

I recog­nised him from the doc­u­men­tary, and I’d known he was from Lu­ton, but it was still a real co­in­ci­dence. His story had en­cour­aged me to get out more. Now, here he was!

I in­tro­duced my­self, and Brian soon be­came part of our group.

We’d all go out to­gether, and Brian was of­ten our taxi driver. We just clicked. Brian had ded­i­cated the last few years to car­ing for Diane and fight­ing for her right to die. Af­ter she’d gone, he’d found him­self lost, lonely.

Then, one Satur­day night, he phoned me.

‘I’m at a bit of a loose end,’ he ad­mit­ted.d itt d ‘What‘Wh t dod peo­ple do on a Satur­day night?’

I sug­gested the cin­ema, and was thrilled when he asked me to join him.

We went on a few dates and I knew we were de­vel­op­ing feel­ings for each other.,

We were cau­tious at first. But Brian was open about Diane. She’d been very clear she wanted Brian to go on and live his life, fall in love again.

‘Diane was ill for so long, I did most my griev­ing be­fore she died,’ he ad­mit­ted sadly.

I ad­mired how strong he was, how much he’d fought for her.

Even­tu­ally, we be­came a cou­ple, met each other’s kids – all grown-ups by then.

They were happy for us. Es­pe­cially when, a cou­ple of years later, Brian pro­posed.

Brian car­ried on work­ing for the na­tional campaign group Dig­nity in Dy­ing,

We were brought to­gether by my hubby’s late wife By Carol Har­ris, 61, from Lu­ton I ad­mired how strong he was, how he’d fought for Diane

and be­came a pa­tron in 2004.

But, just be­fore our wed­ding, he sat me down.

‘I’m think­ing of giv­ing up the cam­paign­ing,’ he said.

It’d been such a huge part of his life with Diane, he wor­ried it’d make me feel un­com­fort­able.

‘No,’ I said. ‘It’s part of who you are. Car­ry­ing on is what Diane would have wanted.’ ‘Thank you,’ Brian smiled. We mar­ried in July 2005. It was a lovely fam­ily oc­ca­sion. My son gave me away and Brian’s daugh­ter was his ‘best per­son’.

Diane is still very im­por­tant to Brian. His eyes still light up when he talks about her.

We have pho­tos of her around the house, and a box of letters to Brian from well-wish­ers be­fore and af­ter her death. I’ve read them many times.

Brian will never give up the campaign Diane started, lob­by­ing MPS and spread­ing aware­ness. It made him the man I fell in love with.

And, through Brian, Diane’s legacy lives on.

Diane and Brian in 2002 Af­ter los­ing the House of Lords ap­peal

Our lovely wed­ding Go­ing strong He and I will fight on to­gether in Diane’s memory

De­voted Brian stood by Diane to the end

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.