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