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Shelly’s Blog

In the past few weeks I have been considering the notion of inclusion, which brings me to consider the reasons why some people, for whatever reason are excluded from being equally valued within our society.

Inclusion means that all people, regardless of their abilities, disabilities or health care needs, have to the right to be:

• Respected;
• Appreciated as a valuable member of their own community;
• Free to foster consensual mutually sustaining relationships;
• Safe.

Inclusion is important in every life and we are reminded that it is also important in death; true inclusion views every life and every death of equal worth.

It is with this in mind that on behalf of everyone at Dundaloo I pay my respects to Bobbie McCaffrey who passed away last week.

Bobbie, a life member of Dundaloo was a woman of great kindness and generosity. My first recollection of Bobbie was warmth, as she had a unique ability to embrace all people and see beyond what others might view as different or inadequate.  Bobbie will be fondly remembered as the mother of Marie and Sue and as a stalwart of people with a disability; she was indeed a woman of integrity and unwavering commitment.

Another Dundaloo supporter, Frank Burns, who passed away earlier this year, was officially farewelled at a tree planting ceremony in the backyard of our office at 83 Wingham Rd, Taree; in the 80’s and 90’s Frank had been a resident of what was then the Men’s Hostel; he would in his later year live independently in the community and at our Bukalbi units.

Frank did not have any family left to take his ashes, so in conversation with his friend Kim, we decided that we would bury his ashes and plant a tree in his honour. His friends and many of the DSS staff group came together last Thursday to once again celebrate his life; several kind words were spoken and he was remembered as an honourable man, a friend of many and a man worthy of the status that was being bestowed upon him.
Bobbie and Frank’s life experience was quite contrasting, yet we will remember them both as good people, who saw beyond the assumed constraints of difference.

Bobbie and Frank were INCLUDERS, continuously valuing people and their stories.

Vale the Includers!      Vale Bobbie and Frank.