Peter's legacy lives on through Parkinson's support group
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It's simple, right?
So you can see why Peter Coppleman knew something was wrong when he froze in the middle of a busy shopping centre, rendered unable to do something that simple.
Soon after that, Peter was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.
"That would have been late 1995, early '96," his widow Liz said. "We lived with it for about 15 years; and in that time Peter was also diagnosed with melanoma and throat cancer.
"It didn't stop us. We were living in Tassie at the time and we still travelled. We bought a caravan and travelled around Australia and we still did a few overseas trips as well."
The toughest part to deal with, other than coming to terms with the original diagnosis, was seeing her beloved slipping away.
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Peter had been a soldier in the regular army from just before turning 17. He'd done a tour of Vietnam and after leaving the Regs he became a fire and rescue officer.
Liz believes that's why he was so calm when he first found out, but also why it was so hard for him to admit.
"I was a mess when the neurologist told us it was Parkinson's," she said.
"But he just turned to me and said: 'shit happens'. He was calm, but at the same time he wouldn't tell anyone. I'd have people coming and asking me if everything was okay ... even whether he was drunk! That's when we had a talk and I convinced him we needed to be open about it."
It didn't take long for Liz to realise she was going to need support. So they packed up their Tassie life and moved to Mackay, where the pair had often holidayed, to be closer to family.
For the entire 15 years, Liz never left her husband's side.
"I'd do it all again ... part of me knew no-one else would be able to help Peter the way I could help him. But I also didn't want to let people think I was weak.
"There were days when I'd put my feet over the side of the bed and think, another day, how am I going to get through it? It was lonely, and I found I had learnt not to take any rot from anyone ... but you just have to find your own strength. You have to keep your own identity, look after yourself as well, or you fall to pieces."
Liz said, as inevitable as the end was, it was always going to be painful.
"I said I would never leave him, and I didn't. In the end, he was just existing. But if he wanted to talk, we talked. If he wanted to sing, we'd sing.
"I wish I could have met his wishes of him dying at home but we knew we could not do it.
" My sister is a retired nurse and my daughter is a nurse with Blue Care, so we did what we could; but by the time he was unable to swallow his medication and we were not able to care for him, I asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital. He just gave me a thumbs up."
Four years have passed since Liz lost her Peter. But his legacy lives on through Liz's work with the Mackay Parkinson's Support Group.
"I always said I wanted to do voluntary work when I retired, and now I can.
"I just want people to know they don't have to go through any of this alone."