Eileen’s Story

Eileen’s Story

“Being in the house with a disabled child that has no understanding of, ‘Why can’t we do this, why can’t we go out?’ was very, very hard”

“It was frightening I think, being honest, I was in hospital working… we were all gowned up, nobody really knew what was going on. You were going to the shops and everyone was panic buying. It was a frightening, frightening experience. I think, being honest, the media had a lot to do with it. You watched, you turned the telly on and all you seen was mass graves, coffins, and how many deaths… I think it’s put everyone’s anxiety through the roof and for me I just kept thinking, ‘If my wee girl gets this, I know she will be the wee girl that doesn’t get a ventilator,’ because she’s got special needs and at that time, it was being advertised, that if you’ve got x y and z, you won’t get. So I just thought, ‘if she gets this I’m going to lose her.’”

Eileen and Rebecca at Patterton Station car park, photograph by Wes Kingston

“Being in the house with a disabled child that has no understanding of, ‘Why can’t we do this, why can’t we go out.’ was very, very hard… There was a day in the house, I had been working, Rebecca was quite upset and agitated and believe or not, I packed up a picnic and we sat in the train car park round the corner from the house, just as a change of scenery… The police came in and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, what am I going to do?’ So he rolled down the [window], “Is everything ok?” and I says, ‘Yeah, yeah,’ and I explained, ‘I’ve got a wee girl who is disabled, we just need out the house, the walls are falling down round about us pretty much.’ He went, “Absolutely no problem, you enjoy your lunch, have a nice day.” And away he went… At that time…there was like a disabled rule, that we were allowed a wee bit more flexibility than the ordinary person and that was actually a massive help to us at that time. So, we were sitting in Patterton train station car park having our lunch… D’you know, I mean, we were 3 month in the house, it was hard going.”

“My oldest daughter was due to sit her 5th year exams and I remember us sitting watching the daily update that came on every day and John Swinney comes on and says, “There’ll be no school exams this year.” And of course, my wee girl works very hard for exams and it was like, “What am I going to do, what am I going to do?” and I says, ‘Don’t worry about this, the school will have to work something out.’ But you know I remember her… all her study notes above her desk and she was taking everything down as if, “My life’s over, what was going to happen to me?”

“I feel I have lost time. It might sound silly and selfish to other people but for me, I’ve got a wee girl who’s nearly now 19. Will she still want to go on a family holiday with us? Will she now want to go with her friends, so have we missed two years of family that would be precious to us?”

Testimony of Eileen Murray,
Cancer Nurse Specialist & mum of two
Photography by Wes Kingston
Interview by Frances McKissock
Transcription by Erin Love

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