The love of a mother
By Denise Perkins
from New Zealand
From a very young age I have always wanted to be a nurse, always practicing on my siblings and friends. As I grew up the thought waned and I turned my focus toward being a teacher. But I was mean and strict... So back I went to wanting to be a nurse. This thought remained with me throughout my teens and finally it became a reality when I turned to 18 months of training as a community nurse.
Over the years I lost family members, including my Dad in 1977, and each one who died I often dreamed of caring for them so that they wouldn't die. I lost my Mum in 1994 whom I loved dearly and still ache to be close to. At the time I was working in a rest home as a nurse aid caring for the elderly. My family and I moved to be closer to my siblings, and it was during this time that I applied for work in a rest home and was told that I had to have a certificate to care for the elderly although I had years of experience up my sleeve. However, on application for a certificate I was told by the tutor to do the 3 years of training to be a Registered Nurse. Here I was, a 41 year old Maori women with only 3 weeks of secondary schooling behind me and I did not hesitate for one moment. I knew in my heart no matter what it would take that I would gain this momentum and make the move. Not once did I think that I could never do it. I took the first steps in making it possible. I persevered and made every effort to make my dream a reality. My Mum died at a time when there was no home help for her or no nursing bureau in the small town she lived in. I made a conscious decision when I applied for the nursing degree that I would do this for her and others who need to be cared for and kept warm, safe, and comfortable.
Prior to my making this move, I had 5 growing sons, I had a mortgage, and debts as huge as a rugby field. My husband and I were not making ends meet even on my meager wage as a nurse aid. My husband was a musician with no money coming in and often helped his parents with their market garden business which provided us veges, and he would be away from home for long periods of time. I struggled, and made ends meet often by relying on the church the kids and I attended to help us with food and other necessities. I also had help from the then Social Welfare for school clothes and books for the boys when they started school.
I look back now with total humility, and am thankful for having been given that opportunity to make the move to where I am today. The day I made the application to commence my nursing I was given applications to apply for scholarships. I applied for 4 of these and they were all granted. From that day forth myself and my sons have never had to go without. I believe that my own faith pulled me through and the Lord had given me strength to cope with the studying, the travel, and also having to work during my studies. I graduated from nursing in 2001 and today I work in nursing management caring for the elderly.
About Denise Perkins from New Zealand:
I am 51 years old I am married, I have 5 sons and 11 mokopuna (grandchildren).