Tuesday 28th June 2022

Women Of Courage Series. #21. Deb Morton.102/2019.

Women Of Courage Series. #21. Deb Morton.102/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda.

I got to know Deb Morton via her son Rick’s social media. Rick Morton (see a post here) and I first chatted back in 2011 at the first ever Aussie Bloggers Conference. I knew he was someone who not only would go far but he also had a big story to tell. He has done that in his book (see below). However, that’s how I learned about the pivotal and most important person in his young life. His Mum. Deb. After seeing Rick at the same writer’s festival where I got the idea for these posts, I asked Deb to be my facebook friend too and we chatted from then on. I was chuffed when she agree to respond to “what is courage” and here is her story…in her words. Thanks so much Deb (and Rick for the friendship which saw me get to know your Mum).


Courage: The ability to meet difficulties and danger firmly or without fear.

Source: unknown – supplied by Deb.


Well I did have fear on September Fathers Day 1994, the date I will never forget! My 9 year old son had a serious farm accident, the Flying Doctors were called and airlifted my son, myself and my 3 week old baby girl to the Burns Unit at Royal Brisbane. As a mother I was distraught that I could not take the 7 year old son with me as well, he stayed behind to what ended up being a major catastrophe in our lives!

Our stay in the Burns Unit had many sleepless nights, skin grafts, infections and being away from home for just over 6 weeks. I knew before I arrived home all was not well on the home front, call it your gut instincts, trust them!

My marriage , my home  and lifestyle had dissolved in one full swoop.

During this time I had to find somewhere to live, still take the son to his appointments at the Burns Unit and find a school for the boys , as they were previously educated on Distance Education. I had anger, fear , loneliness and trying to pay bills as well. Make sure you have a network of support people in your life, luckily for me my Mum, sister , brothers were there for me.

A few years later I was to lose Mum and my sister within a year of each other.

I am a better person for what I have gone through , I am so lucky that my little daughter saved me , the fact that she needed me , helped, I thank God every day she came into my life and I know that I have passed on to her the ability to deal with whatever life throws at her, she is a hardworking and capable person that I can be proud of!

I think of the simple things in life, sitting in my garden, watching birds, enjoying the flowers blossoming . Always be grateful for what you have , there is always someone worse off than you and we do live in the best country!

Thank you Deb. When I read about this in Rick’s book that was hard enough to take in. You lived it, as did the children. Reminding us of gratitude and looking around us for the good makes me understand that we humans can go through more than we ever imagine.


My catch up with Rick Morton. A little plug for him is he is now senior reported for The Saturday Paper. In other news, he and his sister have given their Mum Deb a brand new bathroom. Amazing gift! Just what she needed…and asked for! His twitter handle is @squigglyrick and his work for social justice needs to be followed.

Recently Rick and his sister  Lauryn appeared on SBS Insight program: Estrangement in Families. A powerful show and equally powerful responses from two of Deb’ s children. Here is the link.

Next week a Women of Courage story will not appear. I will be sharing stories about Women of Courage. The next one to be published will be on Wednesday 23 October. Thank you all for your interest and comments. Denyse.


Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.





  1. What a nightmare to go through and well done on surviving it Deb! I have no understanding about people who pike out on their loved ones when they’re facing a disasterous time – why not man up rather than wimping out? Save the running away until things are more stable! Glad you came out the other side and with your children well supported and cared for.
    Denyse, thanks for linking this up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • An amazing story from Deb, which is why I hoped she would share. More of it from her son’s perspective is in his book I have listened to and read.

      Thank you for your kind words Leanne.

      Denyse x

    • Thanks Leanne, so many times I wanted to run , Mother instincts kicked in and the children always came first. I wasn’t a conventional mother but we got there in the endDeb

  2. Gosh Deb you are indeed a woman of courage, and what a lot you had to take on and get through. After going through so much and such a lot of upheaval I hope your life is taking a more even keel now and that as you say the little things and being in the present help sustain you.

  3. What a strong woman Deb is Denyse! How amazing to go through all of that and have a baby girl to cope with as well! I am in awe. Another wonderful woman of courage thank you for sharing. #mlstl

    • I agree that Deb is. Must be the name!!

      Her children are very proud of her I know that.

      Thanks Deb.

      Denyse x

    • Thanks Debbie, when Denyse asked me to do this I was very hesitant, the last few years have been extremely hard dealing with an addict son. Life is certainly much calmer and all the children are coping well wth life and that is all you can hope for! Deb

  4. You’re a woman of courage, Deb, to survive such painful life experiences. I hope your life is more peaceful now. How lovely that your children gifted you a new bathroom where you can create a spa-like space for yourself. Thanks, Denyse, for linking up this Wellness Wednesday and for sharing Deb’s story.

    • It is a wonderful new bathroom as I have seen it as it was shared on-line. Lovely gift from her family.

      Thanks so much Natalie for your kind words.

      Denyse x

    • Thanks Natalie, life is calmer and I am very grateful for all my family members, they are kicking goals and enjoying life like I am.

  5. Wow Denyse – you know so many people!! I remember reading of Rick and his book (I must get it!). How lovely that you’ve befriended his Mum too. Thanks so much Deb for sharing your story – particularly such a traumatic time in your life. Your children are so lucky to have a strong role model in you and I’m happy to read they have gifted you a new bathroom. You so deserve a treat like that! Wishing you happy and peaceful days ahead. xo #TeamLovinLife

    • Thanks Min, and so many are Queenslanders too.

      Having known Rick from that first ever Aussie Bloggers Conference I found myself following his career on line and of course, when i knew his book was coming, was very keen to read.

      I didn’t make the book launch in Sydney but was so good to see him after those years at Newcastle and it was good to catch up.

      I even had my Dad following Rick’s stories when he was writing for the Australian and Dad watched the program I linked here too.

      I hope Deb comes by and gets a chance to read these comments but she is working in a school today.

      Denyse x

    • Thanks Min, I didn’t know what part of my life to write about because there has been a few trouble times over the years . Life now with my cat Charlie and dog Jack is extremely peaceful and seeing that the adult kids are kicking goals and happy. Deb

  6. I’ve not read Rick’s book but heard him speak in Sydney recently and met him and he’s absolutely lovely. A credit to his mum and reading this I can understand where that resilience and positivity comes from.

    Deb’s been through so much and I love her positivity now and the fact she can still appreciate life after everything….

    • I was so drawn to Rick’s story having met him then following him in his work as a journo and his struggles with his identity and health, it was great to catch up with him at Newcastle.

      I am glad I recommended you get to his talk that night in Sydney.

      His Mum is the best!

      Denyse x

  7. Thanks Deborah, I am glad you got to hear Rick speak, but you must listen to SBS programme in Estrangement and Separation on Insights. My daughter Lauryn and Rick were both on program wit, so proud of them both! Deb

    • Thanks Deb, I thought that program was very good too. I have provided a link now in this post.

      Loved see Lauryn too and what a proud brother Rick was that night ( as always!)

      Denyse x

  8. It is nice to see when Mum’s get a Thank you (although, not necessary andalways felt) I am also learning a new word I am seeing lately “chuffed:)”

    Tears came to my eyes when I read Deb’s introduction. I cannot truly imagine how Deb must have felt with the serious tragedy of all.

    The network of support really resonated with me. Deb exemplifies courage and inspiration. thank you Denyse for helping me feel grateful for all and this inspirational series. #MLSTL and sharing on my SM

    • Why thank you for such kind and heartfelt words Erica.

      Beautiful to know that you were son affected by another woman’s story. I think Deb is a champion…and having read her son’s book even more so.

      Chuffed is great isn’t it?

      Let me know if you are interested in sharing your story as part of the series.

      Denyse x

  9. Denyse and Deb, your strength and friendship are enviable. You are both overcomers and rise-abovers and strong, courageous women. Thank you for sharing your stories with us for Wellness Wedneday. We will have another WW on 11.13.2019 and would love to have you both link up with us then.

    • Thanks so much Leslie, I am fortunate to find friends to care about on-line. Sometimes we never need to meet to know them as well.

      Your words are much appreciated.

      Denyse x