Aunty Karl

Karlene Boslem, a true and loving person who touched so many lives.

So, what does it mean to be a genuine human being? Is it giving thanks, sharing, caring, and loving? Is it giving to others when times are tough? If there was a person who was sent to ensure all the genuine human being boxes were ticked, then that person was Karlene Boslem of Murray Upper. 

In a world of uncertainty, where we are told you have to walk over people to get where you want to go, Karlene paved the way with friends, family, and students at Murray Upper State School and the wider community and demonstrated that you can win people over with compassion. 

As the news came through of her sudden passing, the light she brightly shined in our lives dimmed just a little as we came to a realisation that our lives will never be the same without her. In her 30 years of working at Murray Upper State School as a Teacher’s Aide, she changed more lives for the better than any Prime Minister this country has ever had. 

I was considered one of the lucky kids in her circle because she became my Aunty who was my back-up mum when I needed a laugh or support when we played footy for the Tigers or just a chat about everyday things. Every visit I have ever had to her house for the past thirty plus years, to spend time with my dodgy cousins to get up to no good, was always greeted with a front door call of “Hey, my boy” from her, which would set the night up for laughs, laughs, and even more laughs. 

The day after her passing when I got out of my car and walked onto the front lawn at her house whilst fighting back tears, I waited for my favourite greeting, but it never came. To say she will be missed is probably the understatement of the century. When I finally walked into work to try and get myself back on track, little Darcy Bray came and gave me a heartfelt hug of reassurance that brought all the memories of my Aunty Karlene flooding back, particularly how she helped me to understand that if you are given a chance to make a difference in a student’s life in our line of work, then do it. She taught me to love all kids and make them know you will always be available to help them in their school lives. She made her school, community, and her family life a better place, and we became better people for her time spent with us. 

To my cousins Bully, Beans, Melly, Charles, Dor Dor, Tankers, Simo, Cono, and Ellena, although she may be gone, I truly believe her legacy will allow you all to carry on her duty of spreading the notion of always looking for the good in people, even if they cannot see it themselves. 

To Uncle Sam, well, I love you and we will be there to get you through the next chapter of your life. The response from the community has been enormous, with many school staff from the Cassowary Coast Cluster, former high school friends, work mates, former students, and friends coming forward and retelling stories of how she had this infectious laugh, smile, and a way of spreading it to anyone with whom she came into contact. She was, without a doubt, one of the most genuine human beings I have ever met. There is a part in me that wishes for one more hug, laugh, or even just a ‘Hey, my boy,’ but those memories will keep me going. I will never forget you, thank you Aunty Karl for being the best person ever, love you forever and ever and a day!

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