Ripple effect

The one thing I hadn't prepared myself for was how far and how deep the pain was going to ripple out to family, friends and neighbours. I think a breeze block had been thrown into the pond rather than a stone. For the family, the impact was huge. On many occasions members of the family would text me obviously upset and when I tried to call them, all I could hear was wailing on the other end. Harry was always a man who was there to lend a hand, to support you if you needed it or just to listen if you needed a chat and the gap that was left when he was not around was huge.

The members of the family who had been witnesses for Harry in court and who had told the truth of what happened and how things were 40 years ago, were also battling with the sheer frustration of how this situation had happened. On a daily basis, through their tears their eyes would be angry, as they repeated "I have been a law abiding citizen all my life, I stood there and told the truth and no one believed me." The wave of emotions of loss, anger and bereavement all in one, consumed them daily.

Harry's kindness touched a lot of people and many friends of Harry's equally suffered a form of bereavement. I keep using the term bereavement but nothing else seems to sum up the emotions that everyone was feeling. Often people would say it was like he had died but then they knew he was wrongfully in prison and that made their pain worse. They were also witnessing what I was going through and often they felt helpless in how they could make it better. I know there is not a day that goes by that Harry's friends do not think of him. I get told stories of their little reminders ... getting a packet of biscuits out and how timely he would pop in; a nice afternoon coffee and bit of cake never now quite tasting the same; and how trying that new recipe is not so exciting since they have lost their chief taster. It's funny how everyones memories are of Harry's eating but he does have a sweet tooth!

It also isn't just mine and Harry's close friends who have been effected. Friends of friends have contacted us both and sent their love, all shocked at the travesty of the situation. Friends parents, family and friends have all been effected and I know all worry about us both.

On one particular occasion a car pulled on the front and as I went out a large grown man walked towards me with his head down. I asked if I could help him and he looked up at me with red eyes and said "you don't know me but I know what has happened to Harry and I just had to come round", the poor man was distraught. For 45 minutes he told me through tears how he knew Harry from work and how upset he was, as he left his wife and family sitting in the car on the drive. Nothing I said seem to remove the pain etched onto his face and it was at this point that I realise how far this ripple had gone. I gave him Harry's address so he could write and promised I would get him a visiting order. This lovely man and his family continue to check Harry and I am ok - it restores your faith in human nature.

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