A Loving Gesture from a Mother’s Last Months

Clare Mauremootoo faced a devastating diagnosis of motor neuronopathy in 2006. This degenerative illness weakens muscles, making it harder to walk, speak, swallow, and even breathe. Clare’s biggest concern was how her 11-year-old husband John and their two sons, Ben and Jack, would be cared for once she was gone.

With a remarkable act of love, Clare dedicated her last months to finding a new partner for John who would appreciate him and be there for their children. She set him up on dates with nurses at Somerset’s Weston Hospice, where she spent her final days. Clare hoped that another woman would not only fill her place in John’s life but also help take care of their sons.

One can only imagine the conversations and emotions between Clare and John during this time. John wasn’t ready to move on, hoping desperately for Clare’s recovery. But Clare, selflessly, pushed him to prepare for life without her. She even corresponded with hospice representatives, eager to arrange a date for John.

Reflecting on those bittersweet moments, John shared, “I wasn’t ready then, unsure if I’d ever be. But Clare wanted me to find love.”

John and Clare had met in 1993, through mutual friends, and tied the knot two years later. The idea of dating someone new caught John off guard. He had never considered the possibility of having another partner in his life. Clare would say, “I don’t care how you meet someone,” even suggesting a few friends. “Everything seemed to be moving far too quickly,” he recalls.

As Clare’s health declined, she and John decided to make February 11th their last day together with their sons. On February 19, 2007, Clare celebrated her final Valentine’s Day with John, passing away a few days later.

In the days that followed, John carried on with daily routines, taking care of the boys and keeping their lives as normal as possible. But he couldn’t shake the feeling that Clare was watching over them. Despite his grief, he wanted to honor Clare’s wish for him to find love again. In May, he took a step forward and joined a dating website.

It was through this online platform that he connected with Julie Macfarlane, a nurse who had recently gone through a divorce and had two children of her own. John’s sons, Jack and Ben, were initially taken aback by the news, but as time went on, they warmed up to Julie and her kids.

Eventually, both families decided to move in together. In March 2008, John and Julie tied the knot, with John’s sons serving as best men and Julie’s daughter as a bridesmaid. Looking back, John shared, “I talked about Clare’s diagnosis, our time together, and her wish for me to find someone special.” He believes Clare would be smiling down on them now, as they have found happiness together.