Barbara

I enjoyed painting my soul bird immensely, it opened my eyes to quite a lot of possibilities. These compartments are the drawers to my soul. The first one is very peaceful and calm like a colourful garden. The hearts and rings, this was when I was very much in love. The next one is when you get days when you feel pretty grim, a blank door with no on in there. The next one is the nights, because sometimes they are not so easy to cope with. Sometimes I find it harder at night time. I don't really think I'm afraid of dying - well I hope I'm not. I think it is the fear of the unknown; that's what it is. You hope that you'll cope with whatever gets thrown at you but how do you know until you try. Then morning comes and life's back to normal, brightens up again and I can cope. I seem to cope much better when the sun shines. The next one represents a normal day, just getting on with life as best you can. Everything seems easier with the odd cup of coffee thrown into it. The next one, the bird, represents colour. I seem to want a lot of colour, to make up for what might be understandably missing from my life now.

The next one is the horizon, I can't see very far and I don't particularly want to. The next one, the cross, is my faith, which I hope will be strong enough. The last one is a butterfly, the fragility of things.. My illness has made me appreciate my life and my family much more. I think I live from day to day, because I have to. Having a heart condition, I've known for some years that it could be any moment now, so the two added together make death more certain. I think you have to get on and make the best of it. I've got two daughters, and I've got grandchildren whom I would like to have seen grow up, but the eldest one is only sixteen in December so there's not a lot of hope of that. They're great company, so you've got to make the best of life for their sake as well as your own. If you try to do as much as you possibly can, life has more meaning. Never give up hope. I'm sure that must be the answer. There is no answer to why - none at all. It's just life. Gets hold of some and it doesn't others.

I've had a good innings because I'm seventy-six. I think I've done very well. It's only the last six years I've been ill, and the last two that I've had cancer, so I really can't complain, can I. But when you see young people, you realise how lucky you are, having got to such an age. They are the ones I feel so sorry for because they haven't had much of a normal life. It must be very hard. When I was young - I couldn't imagine being old. Life was fun even though it was war time. There were lots of compensations for it. Then I got married, and had a family and everything went along famously. The children grew up and left home, then my husband died and I had to go back to work again. That threw me for quite a while, but you get over it, like you get over everything else. Life's never quite the same, it can't be. Then it got to the evening of my life and I just go along as best I can.