My name is Kathy H. I'm 28 years old. I've been a carer for nine years. And I'm good at my job. My patients always do better than expected, and are hardly ever classified as agitated, even if they're about to make a donation. I'm not trying to boast, but I feel a great sense of pride in what we do. Carers and donors have achieved so much. That said, we aren't machines. In the end it wears you down. I suppose that's why I now spend most of my time not looking forwards, but looking back, to The Cottages and Hailsham, and what happened to us there. Me. Tommy. And Ruth.
It had never occurred to me that our lives, which had been so closely interwoven, could unravel with such speed. If I'd known, maybe I'd have kept tighter hold of them and not let unseen tides pull us apart.
[after Tommy dies] It's been two weeks since I lost him. I've been given my notice now. My first donation is in a month's time. I come here and imagine that this is the spot where everything I've lost since my childhood has washed out. I tell myself, if that were true, and I waited long enough, then a tiny figure would appear on the horizon across the field, and gradually get larger until I'd see it was Tommy. He'd wave and maybe call. I don't let the fantasy go beyond that. I can't let it. I remind myself I was lucky to have had any time with him at all. What I'm not sure about is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save. We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we've lived through, or feel we've had enough time.
The problem is you've been told and not told. That's what I've seen while I've been here. You've been told but none of you really understand. So I've decided I'll talk to you in a way that you will understand. Do you know what happens to children when they grow up? No, you don't, because nobody knows. They might grow up to become actors, move to America. Or they might work in supermarkets. Or teach in schools. They might become sportsmen or bus conductors or racing car drivers. They might do almost anything. But with you we do know. None of you will go to America. None of you will work in supermarkets. None of you will do anything except live the life that has already been set out for you. You will become adults, but only briefly. Before you are old, before you are even middle-aged, you will start to donate your vital organs. That's what you were created to do. And sometime around your third or fourth donation, your short life will be complete. [turns away] You have to know who you are, and what you are. It's the only way to lead decent lives.