July 25, 2023

Natasha Hemmerling Speaks At Government House

On the 25th of July 2023, Natasha delivered this incredible speech to 70 South Australian Adult and Young Carers at Government House.

"My name is Natasha Hemmerling.

I’m a mother, a wife, sister, daughter, business owner and lawyer.

Around this time last year my world completely changed in less than a minute.

My dad had just turned 69 on the weekend, he was the partner of our law firm with me that we started 9 years ago together, and four days after his birthday I was delivered the devastating news that he had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack. I was left devastated whilst having to run his 50% of the business to keep it going for his legacy and for the staff and their families that relied on us.

I did not have the honour or privilege of being my dad’s Carer. That was apparently never going to be an option for him or me. I wish I had though.

Then 4 short months later after my dad’s passing, whilst I was still grieving and working 7 days a week, my world was again unexpectedly changed. It was on this day that one of my dad’s best mates had a stroke. He is without any family, and I was called to help him as he had nominated me as his next of kin to make decisions for him… because as I now know my dad said to him “if anything happens to you mate and I’m not here call Tash cos she will sort you out”.

This was the day that I became a Carer.

I am not sure the path that I have had to pave since November 2022 was what dad expected when he said those words to his best mate as it has been a very involved process of a significant clean up of a house, selling it, finding independent living, navigating the aged care system and assisting with health care decisions along the way through reflection it has become apparent to me that being a Carer is a silent and unrewarded privilege and honour.

Being a Carer has been

  • At times really hard and stressful;
  • Rewarding;
  • Fun; and
  • Challenging.

I stand here before you tonight, as a professional woman, with a very strong and loving family who care and support me, and with my colleagues and friends from Carer and Community Support, and say that I am stronger for being a Carer, I have such a better understanding of the systems and services that are available to assist me as Carer making the important and sometimes hard decisions, and that my Dad’s Friend, is now safe and well cared for during some of his most vulnerable years. And I know that he is grateful for the services and support that I’ve had the ability to tap into, in order to ensure his safety and security.

But I do not know how I would have managed:

  • if I was a young Carer, going to school;
  • if I had to give up work and be a full time Carer; or
  • if I did not have a supportive network around me.

I know many people that are Carers aren’t as fortunate as I am.

I am on the Board of Carer and Community Support to help spread the word, as it has for the past 32 years, that there are opportunities to meet and connect others in similar situations to yours in a safe and supportive environment. It is important for Carers to have access to environments that free of their caring responsibilities to gain confidence and be supported, and this is exactly what Carer and Community Support is able to offer you. Tonight is a celebration of all of this and so much more.

As a Carer I know from personal experience that you are all patient, positive and determined. To every Carer I want you to know that we see you, we recognise your selfless efforts and the time that it takes to be a Carer and we want to support you.

Natasha Hemmerling

So thank you from Carer and Community Support to all the Carers within our Community……. the young Carers, the Adult Carers, the Hidden Carers, the Past Carers and many other who may not be officially recognised. We know that every day a Carer faces challenges but they also feel rewarded by selflessly caring for another. Tonight we celebrate each of you because you care and have helped someone be happy, comfortable and safe so that their lives are better because of you."