Love at work
I found love on Valentine's Day. At work...
Wednesday, 20 February 2013
Not in the form of flowers or chocolates or cards - but by getting to meet and interview two incredible families - both caring for their loved ones in very tough situations.
Susan found out she had MS just two weeks after Richard and her went on their first date. She phoned him to give him his exit option, but it wasn't one he was prepared to take.
Now 17 years into their marriage, Susan's illness has stolen much of her mobility and some of her speech but it hasn't been able to take her spirit or the clear love the couple have for each other.
Richard is Susan's full-time carer. He says it has cost him his job, lifestyle and much of the couple's friendship circle. It's also placed them under severe financial pressure - as they rely on what they say is a meagre carer's allowance of £58 a week.
But their shared humour & the unique rapport they have seem to transcend the difficult realities of their life.
And that is why their Valentine's story of utter devotion, for me, is a stand-out one.
Then I got to spend the afternoon with Margaret Field and her 20-year-old autistic son Paul.
She chatted through her struggles, and provided me with a glimpse of the fierce love she has for her son.
It compels her to keep on going - pushing through the financial pain - as she strives to make his life as full as possible.
As I left the house we hugged and Paul noticed.
"I saw you giving my mum a cuddle," he said conspiratorially.
Next thing he was spreading open his arms and inviting me to give him a hug.
It was just one of this little life moments you'd like to bottle.
Hugs very rarely come with the territory in this job of course! - but on Valentine's Day this year I enjoyed that the norms were a little re-written.
You can watch my UTV Live Tonight report here.