IN THE end every story, every event in history comes down to one person’s experience. Through their eyes and testament we go beyond statistics, beyond mere reportage, and uncover the raw truth of what is happening or what has happened.

It is our ultimate way of connecting with each other: Our only moment of understanding, of maybe putting ourselves in someone else’s place.

But it’s more than empathy. In decent souls it’s the stepping outside of ourselves to experience a reality beyond the honeyed words of politicians and charlatans.

After my column last week I was contacted by a woman whose story I will leave for her to tell.

I’m aware that for some Brexit and its collateral damage may be becoming a tiresome subject.

Indeed for many there is an underlying resentment for those they’ve perceived as living a sun-kissed, wine sodden life and so there is a schadenfreude in their comeuppance.

Susan – not her real name – would be the first to admit that, and is at pains to say that her predicament is one that comes to most middle-aged women with elderly, sickening parents wherever one is.

Her parents owned a little holiday cottage in north west France, bought in the mid 1980s when they were mid 50s. Ten years later they sold their house in England and moved full-time – retired, living off their savings and pensions.

In a small village in the country a car was essential but they had a very large social life within a vibrant community.

“Ten years ago my father had his first minor stroke. He had amazing health care service but since then his health has deteriorated with vision and mobility getting worse and hovering diabetes.

“Four years ago we started to notice my mother was becoming a little vague but my father never talked about it.

“Just before the Brexit referendum my mother’s dementia started to advance quite rapidly culminating in a car accident leaving them completely housebound.

“Now at the age of 88 – same as my mother – my father, like many elderly male carers, is lonely, angry, depressed, scared and is fighting social services who try to help him because the whole thing terrifies him.

“He cannot even begin to think about what Brexit might mean to his current health care. He is almost immobile and partly blind."

Susan, her husband and two young children moved three years after her parents to a village three hours away. Both professionals, working via the internet, they travel frequently for work.

They came for many reasons but mainly to bring up bilingual European children, part of a united Europe. Her husband’s family were refugees in 1939 and her parents were of the generation that spent summers exploring and enjoying all that France had to offer.

Coming to this stage of her parents’ life was always going to be hard but now fear has crept in.

If health care is no longer reciprocated could they afford the necessary private care? What will happen to their pensions? The exchange rate?

Neither is fit or capable enough to go through even the bare procedure for carte de sejour – permission to stay. There is no family in the UK who could take them and, even if possible, neither is fit enough to travel. Although her mother would fit into a care home happily in their village, her father is entrenched and would refuse to move "probably dying of loneliness." Even if he could be persuaded to live with his daughter, it would create major problems in her marriage, as he’s a "difficult man".

"We are stranded too. We can’t afford to move back to the UK. We may not be able to work or continue our work so easily. My children have no idea what to do, or even where to live.

"I think, hope, that it is highly unlikely my parents will be turfed out of France but if the UK crashes out but we couldn’t afford to look after them.

"Even if they sold their house, it’s a small house and funds would only last a short time.

"Like everyone else they never envisaged years of ill health, that at the end of their lives that would need expensive care."

With all the reciprocal agreements of the EU, her parents could have been looked after as well, actually better, than they would have been in England.

Their health care at the moment, involving daily nurses, is superb and their place in France was assured.

No longer.

Susan’s story and many variations of it can be told over and over again.

There will be those who shrug and say ‘tough’ and those too busy with their own problems to give it further thought.

But, if it comes to the worst-case scenario, a whole tranche of people will be cut adrift, left to stumble their way out of a nightmare scenario they could not have foreseen.

They are human beings, not figures in a government office; certainly, never collateral damage, and they are living now in fear as the clock ticks.

Susan’s anger is such that there are no words she can use suitable to be seen in print.

She can only wake each day terrified of what may be to come.