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Thursday, 24 May 2018
Page: 4580


Mr HILL (Bruce) (13:33): One of the most enormous privileges and authentic human experiences in my life was, 8½ years ago, helping my mum to die. I'll never forget the call: 'I've got an incurable cancer.' I was not prepared for that journey or the reality of death. I nursed her at home with me for 10 months. She died at home with me surrounded by people she loved. The ups and downs and roundabouts I could talk about at another time, but this week is National Palliative Care Week. The theme is 'What matters most?' and I encourage every Australian to take a moment and spend some time talking with their family and loved ones about their end-of-life wishes. There are some fantastic resources on their website, such as the dying to talk discussion starter. Many of us don't get to choose the manner of our death, but some do, and for those who do you only get one chance at it. I think it's particularly important in our culture where, over the years, the manner of death has changed. It's become private, hidden, medicalised and away from the home. It is a personal choice, it's a family choice, but I know that I learned helping someone who you love dearly—I was raised by a single mum—to die at home is an enormous privilege. It's authentic and it's love filled. I could not have done that without the incredible support of some of the most brilliant types of human beings on the planet, the palliative care nurses, who supported me through that journey with Mum. So I encourage everyone to take a moment and check it out, talk to your family about your end-of-life wishes and make death a celebration of life.