Radio review: A story of heartache and loss

Nuala McCann

iPM Radio 4

NHS Stories

It was a “body blow” for Ann when the village curate – 20 years younger than she was – arrived at the door.

He told her he was somewhat disappointed that she was “living in sin”, given what it says in the bible.

You don't hear those words too often, she mused. Her granny would have talked about “living over the brush”.

And so began a story of heartache and loss – a much loved husband who died suddenly on a terrible Friday after 30 years of marriage.

Widowed people who find someone new to love can be seen as disloyal – but her husband had left her a letter and his blessing and all her widowed friends cheered her on, she said.

But would she marry again to placate the young curate?

No, it was different back then when they had dreams of a family – “We were two blank pages”.

Now she likes her independence.

I'm hooked on iPM. The stories are deeply personal – a window into strangers' lives. It's addictive.

Your News at the end is a series of home truths told simply.

“I washed and pressed the outfit for my mother's funeral. After 17 years of dementia, she is finally at peace.”

Or: “My husband discovered he is the product of incestuous child abuse - it has tainted him.”

A BBC radio pick of the year included a look back at the celebration of the NHS' 70th birthday with a wealth of stories.

We have a lot for which to be thankful.

One memory of long ago was of an old cobbler who, of a Sunday morning, turned neighbourhood dentist.

He pulled teeth with the same pincers he used to wrench nails from shoes on a week day – and there was no sterilisation of the implements either.

There was a bucket of blood in the corner and he just got on with it. No better time to thank God for the NHS.

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