Name: Brian E
Age at interview: 69
Brian is 69 years old and is retired from the telecommunications industry. He is a widower and lives on his own in Melbourne. He has raised four children to adulthood and has a number of grandchildren. Brian has an English/Irish cultural background and is a practicing Catholic.
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More about Brian
Brian describes himself as a 'hands-on' person who enjoys motor mechanics and doing things around the house. This has helped to keep him fit and he has had very few health problems as a result. Brian's wife passed away over six years ago, but her illness and absence are still very real to him. He became very down and it took some time for him to get used to being the only person in the house. However, he feels lucky that his parents taught him many life skills that he put into use when he was caring for his wife and, prior to his wife falling ill, their daughter who has a disability. Because of this, household tasks such as cooking were not a challenge for him after his wife's death as he had always partaken in these. Brian joined a bereavement support group at the local church and became involved in volunteer work as ways to cope with his loss. He also rejoined the church through these activities which has become an important part of his life.
Brian and his wife travelled around Australia as soon as he retired. Brian is extremely grateful that his wife insisted they do this, since she fell ill soon after they returned home. She was more outgoing than Brian and would organise social events for the both of them. They had a wonderful time staying with her interstate family and friends, whom they visited regularly. Brian was surprised, and a bit hurt, to find that people treated him differently when he visited them without his wife. Otherwise, the social aspects of being single again have not been too difficult for Brian, as he is not an overly social person and he enjoys spending time on his own doing things in his garage.
Brian sees his children and grandchildren regularly. He feels that his relationship with his grandchildren has changed as they have grown and become interested in things he cannot be involved in, but this does not upset him unduly. His family members always include him in their activities and he enjoys spending time with them. Brian has a family history project underway using various documents the family possesses. He hopes to complete this project as his legacy to his family.