Dawn Gates – August 19, 1929 to May 6, 2021

You know I’d be there to say goodbye
If circumstance hadn’t conspired to lock me down and out,
But thanks to technology, there is another way
To share, reflect and remember,
And to be there from so far away.

You and I didn’t agree on everything, Mum,
With our different ideas, dreams and expectations for and of each other.
But at many points along the way,
Love, laughter and understanding
Created moments and memories to forever make me smile.

Like your dream job of testing mattresses in shop windows,
And how even though you were blind in one eye,
You saw more with that one eye than we did
With our two, or four, or six – depending on how many of us
Were looking for the keys, the wallet, the other sock.

Like those few years when you and Dad
Welcomed 39 American servicemen into our home
For a home-cooked meal, time with a family, refuge from the war.
Hugh spoke for them all when he said, “I will always remember
She was my standby mum for a week 52 years ago.”

Like how our doors were always open to friends
From school, university, work, music, diving, life.
They still remember endless cups of tea, your peppermint slice,
Perfect pavlovas, and apple pie with home-made custard,
Served during movie sleepovers, barbeques, and birthday celebrations.

Like how you’d phone me in Winnipeg, and when I’d answer, you’d ask,
“What the matter? Are you alright? What’s wrong?”
To which I’d reply, “It’s three o’clock in the morning!!!”
It was always three o’clock in the morning until I bought you two clocks –
Winnipeg time, Sydney time. Perfect … until the batteries ran out.

The last time I saw you, sitting in your chair,
Your hair coiffed, your nails pretty in pink,
Your feet tapping to music, a smile on your face,
There was a glimmer of something that’s hard to describe,
A moment that lingers still in my mind.

Since I can’t be there to say goodbye,
I will instead remember you in your garden, watering and weeding,
And caring for gerberas, camellias, azaleas and tibouchina,
You and Dad, there together, caring for all of us.
And for that, we say, thank you both for everything.