Sunday, April 23, 2006

Death passed me by

My nana passed away on Good Friday,
She was 86.


I went to Samoa for Easter to visit her because she was sick from bed sores which got badly treated by the stupid nurses in Tuasivi Hospital.


After the sores got worse, the nurses stopped coming to change her bandages and my mom, Lani, Lale, Nora and Malia did the job.

Lani and Lale being nurses/physiotherapist in town.

She was in real pain, with the wounds larger than the size of my fists, on her lower back, left shoulder blade, her skin withering away, pain eating at her strength, as she bit her lower lip in her strong will to fight.

She was a fighter that woman.


She was suffering, but she did not utter a word of complaint.
A day before she left us, I caressed her wounded arm and said,
“Siu, o Foku lea, o a mai oe? Ga ou sau mai I Giu Sila e asi oe, kalagoa mai se”
Omega talks also, so does Lani, Relle, Moelagi, the kids.
No response.

I try again,

“Si’u, o Fotu lea”

What she said tore at my heart it hurt,
‘O LEA LE MEA UA OU LEAGA AI?’


She spoke the words I wanted answers to.

‘Why her? She did everything that was asked of her, and more….but why?
For fucks sake, WHY?


She’s gone now.


And I miss her so much its hard to believe she’s no longer singing along or fanning her ili or reciting the 50 taulotos chapters of the Bible.


She shouldn’t have gone like that,

Not after all the things she’s done, all the lives she’s nurtured and prayed for,
all the selfless work and commitment and effort and love and kindness and faith.


I feel relieved however that she is no longer in pain.

If I was suffering the same illness, I would have been dead two weeks later.


Did I mention Granma was bed ridden for a good part of 31 years or so?


She suffered a massive stroke in 75’ which left the left side of her body useless, but she was still able to see, limp on crutches and still move around.


By the early eighties, she was losing her sight, and by 1991, she was completely blind, and falling every time she got up to get to the loo.
So the rest of her days were on her double bed, where she would sit up unassisted to say her prayers and have her meal.

That didn’t last, for by 1996 she could not get up no more.


Si'u's great grand children....some of them actually...
I don’t know life without Faleasiu, I grew up next to her, I hear her voice at dawn, singing “Mamao mamao lou nofoalii”, I run to hide by her bed when my Uncle Satuu gets out the salu lima to punish us for swimming at the pool without permission, I call her when I am studying for exams asking her blessings, I come home wasted and crash on her bed, while she whacks me with her pandanus fan and exasperates “O fea ga e kalikaliaga ai a?”, I sleep knowing she will get out her harmonica and force me to sing along in my drunken beer polluted vocals. I dread the 2 or 4.am call ‘Fotu, Fotu, Mega, Lani, Relle, Fotu, ua fia ka le kilaka”
Kikala being the code term for the bed pan she used. After I’d clean her and dispose of the bed pan, bathed her with faguu samoa, she would say to us ‘Ia, faamaguia lava oe e le Akua” and people tell us, those are your blessings, you are so lucky.
Did I believe them?
No.

What does cleaning a bed pan have to do with a lousy blessing?br/>
I was resentful at times, but I did it.

Only when I left home for school in Apia did I truly miss Siu, and realised that she meant the world to me.

She was my stability, my mentor, my rock, my confidante.

And with her gone, our home is hollow, empty, without a soul, without her presence, without meaning.

She was my home.


I’m crying now.
I left the room so Gui won’t see my tears.
I am crying now.

Because it is quiet and nobody is around.
Nobody is interrupting me,

To go get fine mats from Siu’s house (but Si’u’s not there).
To drop off the 10 pusa elegi at Lio’s in Sapapalii

To yell at the children who have been at the pool for 6 hours straight.
To attach glass pearls on Si’u’s dress

Nobody is here to disrupt me from crying

From feeling sorry for myself.

Crying is good

Crying is comforting

Crying is necessary

Crying is a runny nose and puffy eyes

Crying is blowing my nose on the nearest fabric, like Gui’s good work shirt.

Crying is relieving

Crying is just sad.

I’m cry now,

So let me be

I need to cry

I need to grieve

I need to cry

I need my granny

Cry

Yes

Cry

15 comments:

Shark Girl said...

That's a great photo of you guys and Siu.

I'm sorry again about your grandma. You're right, it wasn't the way she should have gone, but it was time. She's suffered for too long. Not to sound too cliche, she's in a better place now.

And she was right about that "o fea ga e kalikaliaga ai?" bit. LOL.

Cheer up. She lived a good life and that is more than many can ask for.

Kim (كم) said...

Dear friend,

Your Nana was lucky to be loved so much. When she left this world she was surrounded by people who love her, people that she cared for and people that cared for her. I am sure that she knew-- and knows-- how much you love her and a part of her will always be with you, just as a part of you will always be with her.

I never met her, but I can see the caring and the love that she had in you. I am sure that she was very proud of the strength in her aiga, to be able to love so deeply.

Tanginika-Simone said...

I am sorry about your grandma. She did not deserve to die like that, you are right, but for unexplicable reasons our loved ones suffer on their path to death. That is why we most love them and show it every minute of our existence. And you must be greatful for having known such a great woman. Keep her legacy in you by becoming a better and renewed you for yourself and others to enjoy.

supasta said...

aaawwww....sowi about your nana suga...
I know the feeling...its sad to loose someone so close...
and yes she shouldn't have gone like that...but im just glad that she doesnt have to be in all that pain..
Be strong mamas and keep the faith...
I'm sure she's lookin down on ya smiling
sooooooooooooo SMILE Fotu...hehe..
cheer up..:)

Peachy.. said...

Hello,
You spoke of so many memories I have of my own "Ma". She too suffered a stroke and was bed-ridden for 8 yrs. I totally relate to the bedsores ( my 2 aunties were registered nurses at the time and taught us-granddaughters how to change the bandages on a daily bases-I still remember the blue sheets.) The suction machine "Ma" hated so much that we used to clear her throat, the feeding tube etc. The feeling of loss is excrutiating and you tend to question why??? But Be comforted that your Grandmother left behind a great legacy (You and Family )and blessings that have been realized in your lives, memories you can recollect on with fondess. Go ahead Grieve, Cry,and Grieve some more. This too shall pass..

Shark Girl said...

Fotu hun, can't get even her blardy phone number. She's with Women now so try 20854. Her email is absolutely out of bounds. Lol. Makuai musu le sexytary e ka'u mai. Ilu doesn't have it either. Fiu e vili Relle. Ogay sowwy.

fotu of samoa said...

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Your memories of her are a great tribute to her life. No doubt you and your family will continue her proud legacy.

Love and Prayers,

The other Fotu

tel said...

Wow, that's pretty deep girl!

I don't know what else to say...what can you say that no one else has said already?!

Hope you and Gui are well and in good spirits :) It's always important to take time out to cry, to let it all out.

I am sure that all who read this post, will agree that you have made your Nana proud and more!

Take care hon!

Goddess of Savaii said...

thank you all for your words of comfort,
now that i've cried my head off, and wallowed in pity long enough(until i had to get back to work).
it's actually quite healing.
Thank you for all your encouragement.
well, my initial reaction was like, 'wow, 3 more people have read my blog, and that brings the tally to >5 (but then again, thats including my cousin, 3 sisters and 2 brothers).
nevermind,
the point is, faafetai lava mo upu tima'i, ia alofa le Atua foai le malosi ai te outou uma.

alofas,

fotu

dasifi said...

You are lucky to have had ur grandma for such a long time. It is a testimony of her fighting spirit as well as your love that kept her going. I can only remember my dad's mom but vaguely wish I had known her the way you did your nana but I guess as long as we keep their memory alive in some way or another they are never truly gone. Belated sympathy wishes to you and yours.

Shark Girl said...

Fotz, it's fiame@nus.edu.ws

Sorry it's probably too late but Ilu just got it...I told him my CEO needed it...heh. Hurry up and read it before I delete this vewy soon.

Ma aua ke pesto oe ailoga ga e kagi. Lol. Jus gidding.

Luv luv...

Goddess of Savaii said...

cheers nydia for the email, she responded. and by the way, the email shouldn't be confidential...she is an elected people's representative to the Parliament of Independent Samoa, please email her if you have qualms about women's affairs (not that kind of affair nydia), community development and world peace, the email: fiame@nus.edu.ws
I'm sure she's appreciate all your input.
Or NOt.

Dasifi, and co. Yes, i was very fortunate to have spent so much time with her growing up.
And Because i had an overworked involved solo parent, we (the beloved crazy children) when under my granma's care most of the toime..

again, thank you for your comments.

faafetai lava

dasifi said...

Hope you don't mind I have added ur blog and that of Nydia's to mine. There are a couple of Samoan fiaola's around here who have found a life line for their homesickness in u girls blogs. It's like having home a little closer. Please keep up the great entries..ur play on words, unique view point and fabulous humor keeps us all entertained and in anxious anticipation for more. Best of luck with the new job, family too.

tEiNe_DoMiNgUeZ said...

Love this blog sis... Cried reading it.

love u,
REMA

Malelega said...

reread this has just reopened old wounds:( now, I too, am crying, again.