A suicide in the family is something some might want to keep to themselves, but that has never been an option for Hughes. Shortly after her brother's death a journalist asked her: "Do you now want to kill yourself?" Despite the crashing inappropriateness of the question, she replied honestly. "It makes me want to live - with more force and energy and verve."
The theme of making the most of her life returns again and again. "One of the things that I feel very strongly, and that my mother's suicide and my brother's suicide make me feel deeply was to live well," she says. "To do the best I can with what I am. So that in a way I do them justice - somebody has to make it worthwhile, somebody has to try. Otherwise what's it for?"
She could have been forgiven for trying to get away from death rather than further into it, but she is grateful to have been able to work through her own grief. "I've been angry at injustice on occasion but that really doesn't serve any purpose - so I have to somehow talk myself out of that," she says. "Those are probably the magic words - talk myself out. I was fortunate enough to do that and I hope I can go on doing that."