Caring just happened by Anne

I did not wake up one morning and decide that I would like to become a carer, no it just happened, I was suddenly a carer.

Caring just Happened

I was a mother with a beautiful healthy baby boy and all of a sudden he needed constant care and support and above all, lots and lots of love. There began my journey as a carer.

I remember, at 20 years old, receiving the terrifying news that our baby may not make it past his third birthday. I remember the pain and anguish of thinking my beautiful boy’s life may be limited.

Following this came the daily therapies, doctors’ appointments, blood tests, x-rays and 650km trips to Sydney every six weeks for appointments. As he got older we searched and travelled to many places searching for any doctors or alternative therapies that could help him.

To make a very long story short, our boy Patrick surprised everyone. Not only did he survive past his third birthday, he also learned to walk and ride a push bike, joined the local Athletics Club and competed with well children, in running, high jumping, discus and other activities. He is also a recognised Artist and has held many Art exhibitions and won awards both locally and state-wide. As his mother and carer I am most proud of his achievements. 

Patrick is now 41 and still needs many hours of support each day, as a carer you really are on duty 24/7. Being a carer is often not a choice, life circumstances put you there and what keeps you going is knowing that the care you give your loved one is making a big difference to their wellbeing. We care for our loved ones every single day with little or no respite, no Work Cover or Superannuation and our role is not recognised to the extent it should be.

People often ask if we take a break or take time for ourselves to go away on holiday together. This comes with extra complications – who cares for Patrick if we are not there and who will cover the cost of that full-time care? Instead, we try and take care of ourselves as best we can and if the opportunity arises we take time off when we can.

My life has been greatly influenced by my son Patrick, he has taught me humility, compassion, patience and through the need to gain better services and recognition for people with a disability, I learned to be assertive and confident to Lobby at all levels of Government for better outcomes for those that need help. 

As a result of this, I was encouraged by my community to stand as a Candidate for Local Government. A role which I have held for the past 13 years and still hold. I owe this to my son Patrick, to my husband who supports me in everything I do and also to my community for having the confidence in me. I cherish my role as a Councillor and it gives me the opportunity to represent my Community on issues that are important to them. I have learned to juggle my role as Councillor and still be a carer, mother, grandmother and a wife.

This is my life as a carer, and I believe everything happens for a reason. I do my very best every day and although it can sometimes be overwhelming, I quickly overcome my emotions and realise that there are always others worse off than me. Especially when I look at Patrick and see that big wide smile, his eyes shine with love and happiness. He does not complain. He is happy and we love him.

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Carers NSW acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land, Elders past and present and all Aboriginal people.