‘I wish we had more time’: Partner’s pain as CQ nurse dies
RESPECTED, kind-hearted and driven, much-loved Central Queensland trauma nurse Audrey Burke was laid to rest today in Rockhampton.
The 51 year old sadly lost her untimely battle with cancer on March 10, coming as a shock to those closest to her, with thousands of condolences following her passing.
She was farewelled at a special ceremony at St Joseph’s Cathedral on William St where a guard of honour was formed by loved ones and colleagues from across the region.
Born on December 14, 1968 in Papua New Guinea, Audrey came to Australia when she was about five years of age with her brothers and sisters, Peter, Dianne, Colleen and Michael, while brother Patrick was born in Australia.
Her partner, Colin Everingham, reflected on her legacy, and how she would be best remembered.
“To say I loved you just doesn’t go far enough,” he said.
Mr Everingham met Ms Burke in Rockhampton some years ago before the pair courted for about six months.
“Audrey rang me one day and said her father had died and ‘could we catch up’,” he said.
“We did and as we said goodbye and hugged a few hours later, I realised I had fallen in love with this beautiful person.”
Ms Burke moved in with Mr Everingham at Emu Park; she took full advantage of the Capricorn Coast and it’s panoramic views.
“Audrey made the most of her new home, and soon it was the best home I had ever lived in,” Mr Everingham said.
“Audrey made the most of the beaches and swam at every opportunity, she absolutely adored the views of Great Keppel Island and would take her many visitors on tours of both.”
Mr Everingham said Ms Burke remembered everyone after years apart and stayed in touch with people all over the world.
“She travelled the world extensively and had friends in all corners,” he said.
Ms Burke worked at both Yeppoon and Rockhampton hospitals, mostly in the emergency department at the latter.
“A beautiful soul who cared for everyone,” Mr Everingham said.
Ms Burke had beaten cervical cancer a few years ago.
At that time, the couple believed she’d seen the last of the debilitating illness as “every test since said she was all clear”.
But that was not to be.
“Audrey began experiencing back pain which turned out to be kidney failure in October 2019, she was medevaced to Brisbane,” Mr Everingham said.
There she was given emergency surgery which was unsuccessful, which prompted yet another battle to begin.
She was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and told there was nothing that could be done and given only months to live.
Sadly, she only lasted three months - but fought bravely until the end.
“Audrey was the glue in her family,” Mr Everingham said.
“If I live a thousand lifetimes, I’ll never find a more perfect partner, I wish we had more time but I am so honoured that I was chosen to spend such precious time with an angel.”