She recalls the privilege of spending his last moments holding his hand: Beccy's carer story

Growing up 1 of 5 children, with 4 younger brothers, she describes herself as the opinionated and vocal member of the family. Her Mother was the opposite; lovely, gentle and quiet. They once shared the ‘get up and go’ gene required to manage the day to day but since her Mother died, Beccy has soldiered on in this energetic vein to not only take care of her own family but other members of her community too. Beccy has two grown up sons and is close to her family, maybe a symptom of seeing families that rely solely on carers to engage with deteriorating elders or kids.
Beccy missed the opportunity to care for her own Mum in her later life and following her death, found herself wanting to work locally and hands on with people that needed help, in any capacity. She describes a myriad of clients that have played a fulfilling role in her life. One man, living in a depreciated shack, would tackle Beccy’s lack of education when her curiosity was sparked. He would reference page numbers in books on shelves in a personal library, she worried endlessly whether she had returned the book to its rightful place, his OCD for literary order so out of concert with the ramshackle conditions. They discovered 17 beehives found in the walls of his house after his death. She recalls the privilege of spending his last moments holding his hand, witnessing firsthand the strength and dignity he displayed. She says, at death’s door, death is accepted wholly, no great expectations remain, it is calming and beautiful.
Her one client keeps her busy, she is a middle aged lady suffering from a rare skin disease, epidermolysis bullosa, patients with this condition were historically referred to as a ‘cotton wool babies’, there is no glue to hold skin together. The dressings need constant attention and it’s what keeps Beccy up at night, wondering, ‘is she ok?’ She speaks with such fondness and care for Lena, the word ‘mother’ comes to mind. Lena craves company without judgement above all, now she has retired from work. Beccy sees the determination and bravery of a soldier in Lena and has ultimate respect for her fighting spirit.
The role of a carer is ultimately a ‘jack of all trades,’ but one thing Beccy trusts always puts a smile on someone’s face is freshening their domestic space. A wash here, polish there, a sweep, mop and a sparkle can change the environment from oppressive to inspired, coupled with a chat on equal terms, that’s the recipe for carer medicine.

- Beccy's story as a carer, as told to Nat Power


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