Gaye Barkla: Committed To Life
After experiencing Waipuna Hospice’s care and compassion first-hand when her husband Ray Hooker was a patient, Gaye Barkla understands how crucial hospice care can be, and she is committed to ensuring it’s there for people who need it in the future.
Gaye Barkla understands how crucial hospice care is in the final journey of life after her husband died ten years ago. What started as a sore hip over Christmas, quickly led to doctors’ visits, a hospital stay, and eventually, the diagnosis that Ray was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer, with widespread tumours throughout his body.
Now, ten years later, Gaye still feels the loss of her husband. With tears in her eyes, she recalls the moment she realised Ray was dying, and how their journey with Waipuna Hospice began.
“We had just got back from the hospital when I looked at Ray and I just knew he was dying. I rang the Oncology Nurse Specialist, and I said to her, “my husband is dying; I have been a nurse for over 45 years so I know what dying looks like, and he is dying”. There was silence at the end of the line, and then she said to me, “I hear you”. She contacted Waipuna Hospice for me, and the next day they were there, and we knew we weren’t going to face this alone.”
The idea of hospice didn’t scare Gaye. As a retired nurse, she had helped care for the dying before and knew how meaningful and important hospice care can be.
“I think the work Waipuna Hospice does and their ability to make death less painful for both the patient and the family is amazing. There is nothing easy about dying and the loss of a loved one, but I do believe that hospice can make it easier, so it was such a relief when the hospice nurse showed up. I just knew that we were going to have someone there who would understand what we were going through. Someone who knew what I was going to face. Ray even said to me one day that the hospice nurses are like angels walking through the door. They were just brilliant.”
One month after his diagnosis, Ray died at home with Gaye by his side. Since then, Gaye has committed herself to acknowledging life for what it is, a blessing.
“We all face loss in life, no one can escape that, but it’s important to acknowledge that we are all human and things like the death of a loved one will continue to touch us, even ten years on. I still miss Ray, and to be honest, I thought we would have had longer together, but I made a decision to make the most of the life I have left and to use it to make a difference” says Gaye.
True to her word, and to honour the care Ray received from Waipuna Hospice Gaye is leaving a bequest gift to Waipuna Hospice in her Will. A gift she hopes will help others like her and Ray in the future.
“I am making a gift to Waipuna Hospice in my Will because I know from personal experience how vital hospice services are. I have been on the receiving end of the compassionate care that they extend to their patients and families, and I know that they will need help in the future to keep up their amazing work. I hope that with my gift Waipuna Hospice is able to be there for someone else who needs support, just like my husband and I did.”
Bequest gifts, like the one Gaye is leaving, play a crucial role in the future of Waipuna Hospice. The Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty District is faced with continued population growth and an increasingly aging demographic, creating further demand for hospice services. While Waipuna Hospice continues to raise funds through its charity shops, fundraising events, sponsorship, and trusts and grants, its services are only possible thanks to the support of the local community. Leaving a gift in your will, will not only help secure Waipuna Hospice’s future, but you can rest assured knowing your affairs are in order for the future.
“Dying without a Will can really tie things up and make it difficult for the loved ones you leave behind, making what is already a painful experience harder,” explains Gaye. “Plus, it’s a great way to recognise organisations you care about. It feels great knowing that although I won’t be here, my gift will be part of what makes a difference.”