Love un­til the very end

Brave story pro­vides so­lace for pal­lia­tive care aware­ness

Maroochy Weekly - - NEWS - Annie Caughey Annie.Caughey@sc­news.com.au

DAR­LENE Streek has truly been to hell and back, but the gru­elling four-year jour­ney that even­tu­ally led to her be­com­ing the full-time carer of hus­band Ron sent her on a new life path.

“Why is God tak­ing my beau­ti­ful man,” she thought.

After a heart-break­ing di­ag­no­sis that num­bered the days of her beloved part­ner’s life, Mrs Streek said she spi­ralled through all the stages of grief al­most im­me­di­ately.

“Some of us grieve after death; I was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mine while car­ing for him,” she said.

Strong and de­ter­mined to fight his Non-Spe­cific In­ter­sti­tial Pneu­moni­tis, Mr Streek worked as a plumber for over three years post-di­ag­no­sis, how­ever, he was forced into re­tire­ment just nine months be­fore he died

“That nine-month span was the most mean­ing­ful, hard­est, gut-wrench­ing time of my life,” she said.

Last week Aus­tralia hon­oured Na­tional Pal­lia­tive Care Week.

Events across the na­tion were held to raise un­der­stand­ing for the ser­vice and also at­tempted to an­swer one ques­tion, what mat­ters most?

For Mrs Streek it was about life’s lit­tle lux­u­ries, whether that was a morn­ing walk or the oc­ca­sional scene scape.

The 68-year-old shared her story at the Kawana Com­mu­nity cen­tre to fam­i­lies and car­ers cur­rently trav­el­ling down a sim­i­lar road. She ad­dressed many sub­jects in­clud­ing the im­por­tance of self-care, al­low­ing one­self to grieve and gave a per­spec­tive of what care fa­cil­i­ties on the Sun­shine Coast re­ally of­fer.

“I have now vol­un­teered at Dove Cot­tage Pal­lia­tive Care for nearly three years and have found it the most peace­ful and beau­ti­ful en­vi­ron­ment. All your needs are catered for,” she said.

“To spend your last days in this en­vi­ron­ment is truly spe­cial and it is a priv­i­lege to vol­un­teer along­side this ded­i­cated team.”

Mrs Streek hopes her story and last week’s aware­ness cam­paign will help shed a sparkle of light for those fac­ing ut­ter dark­ness.

ANNIE CAUGHEY PHOTO:

JUST BREATHE: Dar­lene Streek now vol­un­teers at Dove's Cot­tage Pal­lia­tive Care Fa­cil­ity and gives res­i­dents and car­ers re­lax­ing mas­sages.

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