When I was 12 we moved to Norfolk Island and I was lucky enough to live next to Aunty Dot. I was tall and gawky with frizzy hair, so like most teenagers, I felt I didn't fit in. She took me under her wing. I spent a lot of time at Aunty Dot's, who gave freely of her time, even though she had three young children of her own. Whenever I turned up, she would share her it with me and I loved being around her. It didn't matter whether we were hanging out clothes on the washing line that seemed to have no end, cooking, or sitting eating, comforting and easy. Aunty Dot was an amazing cook, so I loved the eating part. I am forever grateful she wanted to 'fatten me up' because it meant I got seconds and sometimes thirds!
When my parent separated several years later, Aunty Dot was my rock. She helped me through the tough times, made me laugh, and gave me hugs when I was down. Don't get me wrong, she told me off when I did something stupid, but she did it in such a way that I understood and listened. She didn't suffer fools or foolishness gladly and would give me practical advice in a no-nonsense way. She became my 'other mother' and when I moved away from Norfolk Is, we kept in touch by letter for many years.
When I visited with my children in 1993, I couldn't wait to introduce them to Aunty Dot. We all sat around her table catching up, laughing and eating all my favourite yummy food (which was anything she had baked!). Both Gav and Trish fell in love with her as well and remember leaving her house loaded up with pineapples.
Over the years, as usually happens, we only wrote each other occasionally and talked on the phone when we could. Everytime we went to hang up, Aunty Dot would always be the first to say 'I love you'.
Aunty Dot played such a huge role in my life, especially during my teenage years, the support she gave me when my first marriage ended and then, after Butch was diagnosed and subsequently passed away. Special souls like her are hard to find, and her passing will leave a huge hole in all of our lives, especially her daughters, son and their families.
My story isn't rare or unusual, Aunty Dot treated everyone the same way, she loved us, she laughed with us, she let us know when we did something wrong, but more than anything, she loved us...openly and unconditionally.
Thank you Aunty Dot for many wonderful memories, for making me feel special and giving me the most wonderful sense of belonging. I love you xxx