On Wednesday, June 27, award-winning Australian journalist Liz Jackson died at the age of 67. After a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, the much-loved wife, mother and grandmother died peacefully in her sleep while on holiday in Greece with her husband by her side. Today, we are thinking of the incredible storyteller, her husband Martin Butler and their family.
The below article is from November 2016, and we are sharing it now, on June 29, 2018, to remember her.
The ABC’s Four Corners was brutal to watch last night.
There were no front lines, there were no politicians, there were no “ground breaking” investigations. There was five-time Walkley Award-winning ABC reporter Liz Jackson as the subject in A Sense of Self, an episode that let us into her new world where she is now a woman of 66, suffering from Parkinson’s and perhaps Lewy Body disease.
It was not easy viewing.
We watch Jackson with her new body: frail and failing.
We watch her have severe, debilitating panic attacks, we watch her in pain, we watch her use her journalistic skills to try to unravel this beast of a disease and we watch her husband Martin Butler, a filmmaker she met in 1974, stand by her, talk to her, look after her, hold her hand.
In the last moments of A Sense of Self, Jackson, her once fit body so thin, her shoulders so large and concave, looks straight down the camera and says with slightly slurred speech:
“It comes back to haunt you – your trust in their affection, because you’re feeling ‘why would you stick around?’ you know. People say it’s because he loves me.”
“I think he does like me. Quite a lot. He’s used to living with me and he likes the kids.”
Then Jackson’s voice breaks. Butler watches her fight back tears from the doorway.
"And we're a family. And we respect each other, which I think is really important. It's important that I keep my intelligence because I think one of the things Martin respects about me is that I'm reasonably smart - or I was.