11/02/2015 06:10 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 06:12 BST

Dying Mum Spends Her Final Months Looking For A New Love For Her Husband

PA Real Life

A mum-of-two who died aged 39 spent her final months trying to find her husband a new partner to love him and her sons.

Clare Mauremootoo was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, which causes muscle weakness, in 2006.

There is currently no cure for the progressive condition, which affects a person's ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. Clare was devastated at the thought of not being there to support her husband of 11 years, John and their sons Jack, then aged 10, and Ben, seven.

She devoted a lot of time and energy trying to find John a new love - and even tried to set him up on dates with nurses at Weston Hospice in Somerset, where she spent her last two months.

John, 52, from Bristol, said that he longed for Clare to be well enough to come home, but she insisted he plan for a future without her. She wanted him to find a new partner to share his life with - someone who would help him care for their two boys.

"She said she would help me find love,' he told The Mirror. "She even started chatting to hospice staff in the hope of lining me up a date.

"I wasn't ready though. I didn't know if I ever would be, but it was what Clare wanted."

John and Clare met in 1993 through mutual friends and two years later they got married. John had never considered sharing his life with anyone else, so Clare's wish for him to start dating again took him by surprise.

"She would say, 'I don't mind how you meet someone,'" he said. "She even suggested our friends! I felt like it was all happening too quickly."

Clare's condition worsened rapidly and on February 11 she was so weak that she and John decided that should be the last time their sons saw her.

Clare died on February 19, 2007, four days after spending her last Valentine's Day with John.

"Clare passed away in my arms," said John. "With me telling her how much I loved her and not to worry about the boys, I would take good care of them.

"I tried to carry on as normal by getting the boys ready for school and making them dinner, all the while feeling like Clare was watching over us.

"I never forgot her wish for me to meet someone else, but I didn't want the boys feeling like I was replacing their mum.

"However, at night, after the boys were in to bed, I felt lonely. I missed Clare and wanted companionship. So that May I signed up to a dating website."

Which is how he met Julie Macfarlane, a nurse who'd separated from her husband with whom she had two children: John, then 10, and Isobel, six (pictured with John and his sons below).

PA Real Life

"When the time was right, I told Jack and Ben I was dating Julie," said John. "They were upset at first, but over the next six months they warmed to her and her children."

The two families moved in together in March 2008 and in April 2012 John and Julie got married, with their three sons as ushers and Isobel as bridesmaid.

"During my speech I talked about Clare's diagnosis and the time we'd spent together, and her wish for me to find someone special," said John.

"I told everyone I thought Clare would be smiling down on us. She wanted us to be happy and I think she would be, seeing how things turned out."

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