I am Carol | A Tribute to Carol Waitohi, Dragons Abreast Gold Coast

Carol Waitohi Dragons Abreast Gold Coast

Dearest Carol,
I don’t know you
I haven’t met you
I just know you’re a paddler
Just like me and so–
I’ve felt your pain
I’ve felt your struggle
How you’ve grasped for air
How you’ve lost your power
Your energy
All of it

I don’t really know what and how
It all happened
I just know it was dark
So silent yet so loud down there
It must’ve been too frightening
It must’ve been very cold

Yet on the other hand
I can still feel you
I have to feel you
Through my writing
I’d jump and come to you
I need to share your pain
Because you are my teammate
Because I am just like you

I am you

Perhaps you even wondered
Were the others safe?
Was everyone okay?
You must have thought of them
Because that’s what dragon boaters do
They care for their team

You must have thought of your team
Until your very last breath–
The breath of love
The breath of teamwork
The breath of team spirit

I paddle on the same water with you
It may not be in your beautiful Australia
But it’s the same water
Where we float our dragon boat on
The same water we glide forth
Which energises and inspires us paddlers

I ride with you on the same boat
The same boat you paddle on
The same dragon boat you sweep
And as I hold and grip my paddle
I can hear you shout the commands
Your motivation to us paddlers
And your cheers for us after each race

I don’t know you Carol
But it seems like I knew you all along
I can visualise your smiles,
While you’re on the boat
I can hear your laughter,
When someone cracks a joke
Because I am Carol, too.
A dragon boater
A dedicated paddler just like you

And, yet, like Carol, we never expect
That we’ll leave this boat of life
In this way, this quick, and this soon.

Aren’t we all Carols?
We love dragon boating
We live to paddle
We’re happy being with our team
We always look forward to training
And so long as we continue to paddle
Carol shall live happily in all of us

Fly high, Carol!

This poem is a loving tribute to the colourful paddling life of Carol Waitohi. Carol has sadly entered the Pearly Gates while on training with her beloved team. She’s a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister and a strong, respectable Pink Ribbon Army supporter of the Dragons Abreast Gold Coast and Currumbin Dragon Boat Club.

Photo Credit: John Napper

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