The experience of one woman as she struggles to rebuild a life for herself and her children after her husband deserted them.
Patricia lives in a corporation house on the north side of Dublin with a weekly income of twelve pounds made up of deserted wives allowance and insurance benefit. When Patricia's husband left the family home, she was left with five children to look after and a lot of debt. Patricia describes how two of her eldest sons who were overseas had to come home to help following the breakup of the marriage. She also had to take her thirteen-year-old daughter out of school so she could work to help with the family finances.
Patricia received no financial assistance from her estranged husband who couldn't be found. It took nine months before she received any benefits so her children had to go out to work to contribute to the upkeep of the family. Patricia herself was unable to work for medical reasons resulting from problems with her nerves.
Despite the initial struggles, Patricia is more optimistic about the future now.
I wish to make another life for myself. I mean, my life shouldn't end now. I married very young and I gave the best years of my life away and I think I should have another life.
Patricia believes that she is discriminated against because she wants to get on with her life. This discrimination led Patricia to tell people that she was a widow to avoid any prejudice.
Why should I say I'm a widow when I'm a deserted wife. There's nothing to be ashamed of.
Patricia is open to marrying again if she meets the right person. However, for this to happen she needs an annulment.
This episode of 'Seven Days' was broadcast on 15 June 1973.