"I AM dead but you're not."

Those were the poignant words from much-loved Dalby Hospital Director of Nursing Colleen Rasmussen who addressed her own funeral in a video on Friday morning at St Joseph's Catholic Church.

A video projected in front of hundreds of mourners depicted Colleen addressing her loved ones and imparting life advice.

The church was overflowing as her family, friends, colleagues and the wider community gathered to remember a lady devoted to her family and her work in healthcare. .

The video was recorded in September 2017 in anticipation of her own death after Colleen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

The mother-of-two and avid basketballer tragically lost her battle with cancer last week. 

Her eulogy was provided to the Dalby Herald by her husband, Ian Rasmussen. 


Colleen on the key to living a fulfilling life:

"When we first received the news of my diagnosis we were gutted.

The one thing I remember very clearly though was saying to Ian, 'I didn't have a bucket list'.

And I didn't have a bucket list because we always did everything we wanted to do, whenever we wanted to do it.

We used to set goals and we used to achieve them.

We travelled extensively. We sipped champagne on deserted beaches, we played sports at the highest of levels, we watched the sun rise and set on deserted beaches. But most important of all, we cherished our family time together - and to me, that is living."


Colleen on her work as Director of Nursing:

"I've been so lucky in my life to do a job that I absolutely loved.

Nursing was a great fit for me.

I loved caring for patients, working alongside great colleagues and making a difference in someone's life every day.

I especially loved my role as Director of Nursing, I enjoyed going to work every day, being a role model and a mentor to many and working hard to improve the health services in this wonderful community.

I was always passionate and proud to be a nurse - and it made me very proud to see my staff achieve great things  and go far in their careers." 


Colleen's message to friends, family and the community: 

"To my family and friends, thank you so much for your love and support, and your ongoing support for Ian, Brooke and Alex.

This has been a really really tough journey for us, but it has been made a whole lot easier by the love and support of so many wonderful people out there."


Colleen's wisdom on moving forward:

"To my darlings - Ian, Brooke and Alex - thank you for the most wonderful life

I have just loved being a wife and a mother - it was the greatest achievement of my entire life.

Allow yourselves some time to grieve - and then get on with living - I'm dead but you're not.

And my final wish for you is you do not waste one moment of your life.

Remember me with a smile every time you see lots of pink and every time you're sipping ice cold champagne.

I'll always be in your memories and I'll always be in your hearts."

In a sign of how much she loved being a mentor and mother to her children, Colleen took the time to part some last words of advice for her children's lives ahead, "Now I wouldn't be your mum if I didn't give you some last words of wisdom".

"Remember - never be late, there's just no need - be on time, be organised and get things done."

"I want you to be always humble and be kind - be kind to yourselves, be kind to each other and be kind to the people around - it's a wonderful trait to have." 

"Never shy away from a challenge, challenges is what makes life special."

The funeral started at 11am, opening with Born to Try and a slideshow of photographs illustrating the vivid and full life Colleen had led and was followed by a welcome from Colleen's husband and Western Downs councillor Mr Rasmussen.

Ian described Colleen as a "rock solid foundation and inspirational leader", noting the optimism, kindness and sense of adventure his wife had been known for.

"She encouraged everyone to be the best they could be and motivated and challenged people to improve their life so they could enjoy everything the world had to offer," Mr Rasmussen said.

Colleen and Ian's daughter Brooke and son Alex serenaded the crowd with an acoustic-guitar-and-vocals rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah before both family members addressed the attendees directly.