We are Susan and Ian Johnstone, and this is the story of our Aymie.
Aymie was born with complications, which later left her with cerebral palsy. She needed care 24 hours a day. It was hard. It was affecting our family.
When Aymie was three, our specialist told us of a place which was about to open. It was called Brian House. We went to have a look around, and immediately knew it was a place where Aymie would be safe. It was a place she could stay, where she would be looked after but more importantly where she would have fun.
It was a place that would give our family a break. The chance to spend quality time with our other children.
Aymie was the first girl ever to go to Brian House, and we all loved it. The staff were there for Aymie, but they were there for us too. Our whole family was taken in.
For four years Aymie spent time at Brian House, learning to love music, enjoying the company of other children and entering the hearts of all the people who helped to care for her.
Her last visit was in April 2000, after which she became too poorly to go to Brian House.
We returned to use the Butterfly Suite, and we’ll never be able to put into words what that room meant to us. All the family came to be with her, came to sit with her at all hours. We never saw Aymie in a coffin – to us she was just asleep in her bed. We are eternally grateful for that.
Even afterwards, Brian House continued to care. Staff would call us up just to ask if we were OK. That care is ever-lasting.
It’s been 18 years, and we’re still not over losing Aymie. We never will be. But Brian House did everything it could to make it easier.