For 30 years Kezz Brett has kept the trauma of dealing with her husband's sudden death, while she had two small children, to herself.
But Orange's palliative care centre at Uniting Parkwood, due to open this week for a one-year trial, has sparked her into not only wanting to speak out about the value of palliative care, she has also donated a painting to hang on the walls.
The former owner of clothing business Kezz Brett Clothes for Gorgeous Women in Byng Street, turned full-time artist, says her husband Christopher's death had been extremely difficult.
"My husband died about 30 years ago and we were able to use the palliative care at the old hospital," she said.
Before Christopher was put into palliative care he was put in the men's ward. It was just horrific.Kezz Brett
"Even though we were only there for about four days because then I took Christopher home to where he wanted to die, palliative care allowed me to set up home, get things under control, including me. Just having palliative care was a godsend.
"Outside in the old palliative care, there was also a little private area area like the park here. My kids were only four [Tom] and six [Pip], it was good we could sit outside or if guests came we could have a picnic.
"I treated palliative care with great respect. I just couldn't believe it when they built the new hospital and didn't have anything there."
Mrs Brett said the alternatives to palliative care were tough.
"Before Christopher was put into palliative care he was put in the men's ward. It was just horrific, I had enough to deal with knowing Christopher was going to die, without having to put up with people vomiting and screaming, it was horrible. That made me so upset. It was good we could go into a private room, it was so much better," she said.
She said the painting, titled 'The Earth Smiles in Flowers' was a gift to the new centre.
"[Push for Palliative Care Orange president] Jenny Hazelton is a great friend, she is like a terrier with a bone. She's just amazing. So the least I could do was do a painting for her," she said.
Mrs Brett said her husband died of lung cancer just three weeks after he was diagnosed.
"He was 40, he was still mobile. They [palliative care patients] are not all old, and some of them do have young children, the park is going to be great," she said.
They [palliative care patients] are not all old, and some of them do have young children, the park is going to be great.Kezz Brett
"I think [palliative care] gives the people that want a choice, a choice, and the people that don't have any choice a wonderful opportunity to have a place to be."
Mrs Brett said with 24-hour medical care at the centre it would give families a chance for a break.
"I had to stay up and be awake and be vigilant all night for most of the time when Christopher was sick. Whereas here you could leave them and go home at night and have a sleep," she said.
"Being able to have a sleep makes you strong to cope for what's to come."
She said she took up painting as a hobby after retiring from the clothes business five years ago.
"[It] has now turned into a full time job, a pretty good job to have," she said.
"I sort of fell into it. My daughter [Pip], who owns Sonic, I painted a couple for her and now she just sells them. It's good both ways.
"I specialise in colour. Energy and colour.
She said it took her only a day to create her work.
"The faster I paint the more energy is in the work. If I labour over something it gets messy and dirty so the faster I paint is usually the more successful painting. There is no monotony about it if you go fast," she said.
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