Monday, April 17, 2017

When chicken soup conjures sweet memories

I made hearty chicken soup this week.
My cousin and her precious newborn were here, and my/our island response to feeding someone unwell is naturally to make soup.
When she ate it, she laughed out loud and said "This totally reminded me of the Granma's soup a ea"
Ps, we grew up together in Savaii and reminisced about Granma and that this is the time she passed.
Anyhow, it was a joyful evening laughing about her funny jokes and remarks.

A few days later, while having lunch with the smalls, I explained to MM how Granma's meal needed to be prepared and fed to her. And right there and then, I just couldn't stop my tears - and just wept, ae makamaka le au laiki.

Note, I'm not really an emotional person, so this was awks.

It got me thinking about home. A lot.

And the concept of home.

And our mortality.

Oka ka'i deep.

We were blessed that our grandmother lived to old age, and it got me thinking of those who have lost their loves too soon.

To cancer and all other illnesses, to car accidents and violence and much more.

So heartbreaking and I'm depressing myself thinking about it.

But I feel that the greatest lesson I learnt about the loss of my Grandmother is this,

She had very little in terms of material things but she gave her all, to others.

Despite having suffered a stroke in the early 80s, she remained strong, in her mind and in her heart and soul right to the end.

And while she laid in that double bed, with her bible, pese, money box and harmonica alongside her, she spoke and sang hymns, told legends, recited chants, told us stories of who was connected to who and who had sex with who, haha. She reminded us who we were/ are. She protected us from the beatings dished to us. She stopped us from fighting among ourselves. She okegiaed everyone from her bed, including the faifeau.
She yelled out at spirits that wandered in the dead of the night. She prayed for us, with us and she made us recite an hour of scriptures every night before dinner.
 She may have been unwell physically but her mind was on form.

Each of us who grew up with grandparents have had the privilege of gaining insight into their worlds, and they poured knowledge into our minds.

And then I reflect on the people of our family and others who have passed away long before they had aged, and it got me even sadder for the knowledge they took to the grave. And the children they leave behind, who won't get to ask them questions, or make them chicken soup.

Today, if you have an elderly parent or person in your family, take the time to talk to them and have a chat, record their stories, or even write it down - so that their memories will be later on part of your family treasures.

Some things I wrote down about my Granma many years ago which is making me laugh now:

Faleasi'u once sneaked out
from Papauta school and went with her mates to meet the Aele boys across the street.
Upon return, Salamasina beat them up with a broom stick until it broke and made them walk all the way to Mulinuu to fetch seawater.

Not bad for a nite out with the boys. heh


Faleasi'u used to remind us that laughing too loud meant 'ua ova lo'u aka kauvalaau, ua ova lo'u fia faikoolua laikiki ma lou fia lokeloke le polo a le kamaloa'.
Translation: I am laughing with the intention of drawing attention, from the opposite sex, because I want to get a husband at a young age and I want to play his balls.
Faleasi'u lived in Pago Pago for a while and they used to go up the hill to collect coconuts and roll it down the hill. not sure why I remember this one hmmm.
She was a bit of a tomboy and was really good with building things, including tables and chairs. She did a lot of this in Manase, where her parents were faifeau and where her youngest child was born (Tanumafili who the newborn babe above is called :)

Faleasi'u used to listen to 2AP and she would say to us, you must go and enrol at aoga matataese i tuasivi, learn a trade in carpentry, "until I'm ready to go to Papauta Girls School where I will be taught how to be a lady, and be a good wife to a Congregational Church Minister and we will be have many children, who will wear only what I will sew from my sewing machine, I will learn embroidery for the pillows and bedspreads and make sure I pleasure my Church Minister husband well or else a member of the choir will be fondling with his balls."

You're welcome.

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