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People of Cessnock is a blog by local resident, Rebecca Murray. The project seeks to value the people of her home town by sharing their stories value and raising the profile of people living outside metropolitan areas.



“I’ve lived here for 38 years or so.

I moved here when I got married. From Newcastle.

We just sit at home, the son and I. He’s been with me his whole life. He doesn’t intend to go anywhere, especially since I had the stroke.

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I had it at home. I didn’t realise at first what it was until my speech went. My son lives with me and I’ve just walked from the lounge room to my bedroom and I got this really strange sensation in my head. And I though, ‘Oh. That’s a weird headache. I’ve never had a headache like that before.’ And I walked probably four or five 5 feet and that was the end of me. I couldn’t walk any further. My legs went on me - totally. I had all these really bad pains in my legs and then my speech went and all I could get out to the son was, “There’s something wrong with me. I’m not right mate. Ring an ambulance.”

Now, they say that the quicker you can get to the hospital with a stroke is your best chance of recovering. I don’t have a car otherwise my son would have driven me.

The ambulance had to come from Maitland hospital. I had the stroke at about half-past-eleven. The ambulance got there at probably quarter-to-one. And we got to the hospital and I looked up at the clock and it was quarter-past-two.

I thought I was dying, I tell you. I do remember the ambulance man – the paramedics – coming and putting the ‘dooverlackys’ on my chest. And they gave me an injection of morphine for the pain. But the next thing I remember is waking up in Maitland. I don’t remember one thing after that. Nothing.

You just realise, you know, that what was a problem today isn’t a problem tomorrow, sort of thing. You never know what’s around the corner.

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The proudest moment of my life is definitely having my children. Oh, and getting married. But I’m not married anymore.

 Oh, I’m married but I’m separated. Been separated twenty years.

It was the drinking that separated us. Very violent he was in drink.

Saying, ‘enough’, was very hard. But he was very negative and I just said to him one day, “I don’t want to be married to you anymore. Sorry.” And he packed up his ute that he had at the time. He put all of his work tools in it and all of his clothes and he drove out the driveway and drove to Queensland. The same day.  

But now we’ve got a really good relationship. It took a lot of work. He gave up drinking which made him a much better person.

He lives in Kurri now.

We ring nearly every day. And now that I haven’t got a car and want to do anything or go anywhere I just ring him up and, you know … I’ve got this on or I’ve got that on or a doctor’s appointment in Maitland … and yeah, he’s always up for taking me somewhere. Which is good. We’ve got a good relationship now.

 People often say that to me, “Why aren’t you divorced?”

Well, he asked me one day. He said, “When are you gonna divorce me?”

I said, “I’m not.”

He said, “Why? Do you think we’re going to get back together again?”

I said, “No, I’m not paying for it.” I said, “You want a divorce? You divorce me!”

But I won’t divorce him because he keeps telling me he’s going to win the lotto. Because if we’re still legally married I’m going for half of the 80 million.”