It’s a series of memories. She tends to have zingers. Andrea was being assessed every three months or so. They do this memory test. The woman says, “Andrea, I will give you three words and five minutes later I will ask you what they were.” So she gave her the words: Kitchen, table, and flowers. Now as you noticed, my whole kitchen is surrounded by flowers because I love plants and flowers. So the time comes for Andrea to remember the words and she could remember kitchen and table, but she couldn’t remember the last word, flower. So I said to Andrea , “Look around. What does mum love?” And she said, ”ME! ME!” She was so proud of herself saying, “ME! My Mum loves me!”
Click play to hear a full interview with Andrea’s mom below:
My husband, he very much wanted to die at home. And he enjoyed it. My daughter and her two-and-half-year-old son live with us. She’s a single mother. And we’re all together. And what my husband, Harry, wanted was to be around his family and be around us as much as he could. And to watch his grandson, Joey, grow. It was wonderful. When Joey came back from daycare he would go running and jumping on his grandfather’s bed, playing with him. It was great. He was always hopeful. He handled himself like it was another day at the office. He kept working right until the week before. He never got dire. He lived until he died.
Click play to hear a full interview with Ruth below:
You have no idea how much I’ve changed my life from years ago til right now. I was in the shelter system for the last seven years. That’s where I met Kristen. You see, back then I go back on the drugs. Every cent I had went on drugs. Every, every thing! But I never stole. I ever did anything like that. It was just as soon as I got some money, it just went to drugs. Which is why I moved away. I just said, “I can’t live like this anymore.” It was three years before my diagnosis and I said to myself, “I’m going change.”
Click play to hear a full interview with Morris below:
I was told a day or a week til death so I had to stop work. And after I was told I was going to die, I took charge of my own life and not to do what doctors were telling me what to do. You see, along the way I was misdiagnosed. So you see, being a nurse was a part of that because of the knowledge I had medically. But above all of that was the faith I was given. I was told, I was actually told, “You’re going to die” if I didn’t do what the doctors said. Yet the faith said to me, “No, you’re not.” It was the faith. Just the faith that I had embraced had embraced me.
Click play to hear a full interview with Cheryl below:
Because it all happened within three months I lost my eldest son then I lost my wife of 50 years, I was in the depths. I had given up completely. Actually, I didn’t feel like carrying on. But there were other people who encouraged me. They were tough times. It was not easy to cope… and this woman…To this woman, I owe her my life!
Click play to hear a full interview with Buddy below:
The doctor said he couldn’t survive more than a year and a half. I always thought he had six months left, six months left, six months left. I was always stressed throughout this life. Whenever I needed help, she was there to help us. I always ask her what I could do for this problem or that problem and she’s always gentle and kind to us. It has really helped us come out of that stress. When you are all alone and there’s no one around you, my family was back home, and my husband was all the time on the bed, she treated us more than a blood relation that could console you. And she did that for us.
Click play to hear a full interview with Ashfaq’s wife below:
I met him when I first started in 1991. My Mom had just been diagnosed with cancer and so for the six months that she lived, he actually helped me prepare for her death. Like here is a man, who he himself was living with a terminal illness, and at the time when life expectancy for people with HIV was not great. It was before all the drug treatments. He saw something in me that was worth tending to. You know, he knew that I coming in young, fresh, and full of energy. You know, as an activist. My friend, Ted, was tested HIV positive and I was wanting to be involved. And I think he saw what a big heart I had and I think he saw if I wasn’t companioned well on the journey I was on—with my Mom and Ted—I was not going to be able to sustain doing this work. And I think he saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself.
Click play to hear a full interview with Betty Ann below:
I no longer fear death. And I think I know when it’s a good death so that helps me as far as my illness and helps me to be a better person. I’ve gone through two life-theatening diseases, the return of my cancer, but now I am still living. So I think when it comes it comes. I no longer worry about life or death.
We took them to a psychiatrist because at first, I thought maybe I am crazy. Like, what is this that I am searching for that I don’t have and that I believed to be different? The psychiatrist said, “Well, let me meet the children and then meet your husband.” So the kids came to the office with my husband at the time and she said to them. “Now, describe your mother to me. And now describe your father.” My second child said to the psychiatrist, “You see that book on the shelf? That’s my father. You see the paper scatter across your desk? That’s my mother.” And I thought, what a brilliant analogy! And so at the end of this conversation, the psychiatrist said, “So I hear you said you don’t really understand why your parents are together and that they are really so different that they would be happier on their own parenting you.” And that’s how it ended.
Click play to hear a full interview with Anita below:
You’ve got to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else. I didn’t take that and use it very well. I wasn’t good at taking care of myself. I didn’t care for myself. It was more about him. You have to take care of yourself before you take care of someone else, you have to nourish yourself. You know you just have to be there for them. They go through all those stages and I think you do a little bit too. The anger and then the hurt, and you know this is going to happen, and then you don’t realize until they are gone. I think you get prepared for it too, so when he passed, I was very prepared so I didn’t even cry at the time when he was cremated. But it creeps up on you as time goes by. The loneliness and then somehow you just get through it.
Click play to hear a full interview with Coral below: