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Eulogy by Li Xue Zhou (Amy Mann)

Remembering my dear mum-in-law Gillian

(Amy wrote a private eulogy, but we decided to share her special memory of Gillian to you)

I still remember the very first night I arrived in Canberra, mum came all the way from Binalong to welcome me and cooked me a big fish for dinner.

I still remember when mum took me to the ANU and tried to find me some Chinese students as friends who I could talk with in my language, so I would not feel isolated in a strange country.

She took me to a Chinese grocery shop in Dickson. Not to buy anything, but to ask the Chinese owner where the Chinese community is. But she received a cold face.

She was worried I was stuck at home everyday. She took me to Kingston to have coffee and cake and told me I can talk to her about anything, just like friends. She wanted to be my friend forever……

She wanted to find me a Chinese book shop. So I could get something to read in my language.

She searched around to find me some Chinese movie DVDs.

I remember my first birthday in Australia, she told me I should be spoiled because it was my day, and she took me to have foot massage……

I remember she walked all the way up to the top of Mt. Kosciusko with us for our wedding in her bright red skirt and socks. Just because I told her red is the color for wedding in China. She was so happy and excited that day.

When Julian and I bought our new house, mum brought her lawn mower from Binalong. She wanted to give us a surprise by mowing our lawn for us secretly when we were working. But unfortunately some little stones flew up and broke some of our windows and glass door. She was so upset and frightened. Poor mum.

I remember the day I came back home from hospital after I gave birth to Lila, one room was full of balloons and flowers. Mum did this surprise for us to welcome Lila home. And she became the very proud grandma. She couldn’t stop buying things for Lila. Every time she came to visit us, she brought some pressies.

I still can hear her singing “pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake” to Lila. I still hear her telling me “you are the best”. I still remember her popping in our house with her dogs barking and with lots of surprise. I still remember the way she kissed me and hugged me. Her bright eyes, her alive smile……her nice cozy house in Binalong.

I remember her last day in the Hospice. The nurse was trying to make her more comfortable and made her a cup of tea. She kept saying “yes please”, “thank you”, “that’s excellent”. She was such a nice and polite person until the last.

I remember she told me she was fed up with this terrible pain in her last days. She sat on her bed for hours and hours, couldn’t lie down to sleep because of the pain. But she still kept fighting, she wanted to get better again. I wanted to hold her hands and tell her how much I love her and how much I want her get better again. But I couldn’t. Before I could say anything, I would burst into tears.

When the ambulance took her away from us, I knew I would lose her. In the last hours before she left our house she said many times “I feel awful, awful”, “I feel awful, awful”.  

I am glad her suffering is finally finished.

Then, after she passed away, I went to her house. I saw two empty packages of Chinese dumplings on her kitchen table. She kept them there just because I told her that‘s my favorite brand of dumplings. She wanted to remember them and buy me the right ones. 

She looked after me. She spoiled me. She loved me so much. She had done so much for me while I haven’t had chance to do much for her. She was always so busy doing things for her art and all the people she knew and loved. 

I couldn’t ask for better mum-in-law like her. I loved her very very much. And I respected her and adored her. She will live in my heart for ever.

I am sure you all more or less have similar kind of memories of Gillian like mine. So now, she lives in our heart and memories for ever.

But still, this year’s birthday will be the birthday without mum……


Very sadly  
Daughter-in-law of Gillian

jules mann,
12 Jul 2009, 03:36