Saturday, November 05, 2011
The first time I saw a dead person was the old lady Olovae from Sapapalii.
She was carefully dressed in black, her coffin was adorned with white lace and laugasese.
Her humble fal was now covered in fabric. Jesus. Plastic flowers. Wreath. Rolls of fine mats. Her finest china on display. Jam and butter biscuits. Tea. Coffee. Lazy chiefs looking for a free feed.
Lagipoiva was scared, Malelega was indifferent. I was. strangely fascinated.
This was the woman who yelled at anyone and everyone, angrily, barking orders from dusk till dawn demanding peace and then shattering it with a resounding “Aikakae kou alelo pogaua”.
Simply put, she was not a nice human.
Still, I was intrigued. For who were these outsiders wailing at her side?
Maybe, just maybe then, she was a nice person a long time gone?
Surely she was, because the wailing had turned into a sing song lament about the old kind, gentle woman, with a heart of gold, always giving and loving and caring.
Was I at the right funeral? Who was this woman?
Several eulogies later, where I rolled and rolled my eyes in disbelief at the inaccuracies between the tearful molimau and the angry personality that was Olovae, I had a moment of clarity.
We wail at funerals. On cue.
We lament our dearly beloved. Because we want the world to know, we loved them.
We pull out the fine woven ie samoa to gift and the expensive lace to cover the coffin.
Because we care.
But will some of us express ourselves in a positive manner while our loved ones are walking, talking, yelling?
We are a bunch of heartless shets like that, we wait until they are six feet under to say what we really feel.
Be kind to your loved ones, even if they are a pain in the neck, make an effort because your wailing and your crocodile tears will mean NOTHING to them when there are gone.
Amene ma amene.