The recent illness and death of my brother Michael Duffy was a particularly sad occasion for family and the many friends he made and helped during his life.
One lasting memory of his ﬁnal few months for me will be the manner in which a few local people carried out their role in a particularly caring, dedicated and devoted way.
These are the members of the Scottish Borders Council homecarers who looked after Michael and made it possible for him to spend his time at home; this was his greatest wish, enjoying the few guilty pleasures in which he had always indulged.
In a life spent working very hard and helping others, Michael’s smile was his sign that he cared and appreciated the friendship he earned. He was always easily pleased and his needs were few. Those who knew and loved him were aware of his passion for sport on television, a glass of rum and the occasional cigarette.
The way in which these carers looked after Michael went way beyond their normal remit. I was constantly amazed and impressed by the personal touch they applied to their work. From the way they went about their business, a ﬂy on the wall, might well think that these carers were family, and not total strangers, albeit with a job to to do.
In an age where we are often quick to criticise and seek value for money in everything, it is pleasing to see people who still see the work they do as a vocation and not just a job. They are individuals who appreciate the responsibilities they have been given and, with no consideration of the cost to themselves, do their work in the very best way they can. They expect no praise, but are so deserving of it.
In addition to showing appreciation for the the great work they do, I want to add my personal thanks for the love and respect they showed to Michael. They helped make his later life a celebration of all he enjoyed, sharing his pain, his happiness, his troubles and helping him through them.
I will miss my brother, and in doing so will miss the friendship these carers also bestowed on me. I will never forget how they made Michael’s life comfortable, meaningful and digniﬁed, and I know they have his eternal love and thanks.