|Funeral Feb 25, 2012|
|L to R top row Tua, Anne Keiaho, Tonga, Sau|
L to R Lisiate Keiaho, Kamilia (Sau's daughter) me
after performing for an old folks home in Brigham City
I have this uncanny ability to play practical jokes, tease, say the rudest and most sarcastic things to the point that people get offended or in the least get angry at me. Tua would just laugh and smile and say, "Shut up Sam!" I can only remember one time that she yanked my ear a little bit. Because she didn't ever do that it was way more effective than when others did it.
|L to R top row Tua, Anne, Sau|
bot row Samoana and Lisiate
at Sau's baby blessing of Mosiah
Somewhere during that school year, the Keiaho family joined in our little group and formed what I call the Logan family. The Keiaho's had two of their five kids super involved and the very youngest was super excited to join in when he got old enough. I still consider Sau, Tua and the Keiaho's family to this day.
|L to R forgot her name Sau, Tua, Anne|
performing at my family reunion
At the end of that school year, in 1998, I decided I wanted to serve a mission for my church. Tuali'i, who at the time was a member of a different church, supported my decision full-heartedly. I remember her giving me a check that amounted to more then everyone of my family members had given me. She was at the farewell and the gate for the airplane as I began my journey out of the country.
|Sau, baby Mosiah, Anne and Tua having a sleep over at my|
house with irons out to flatten hair
|My sister Selesitila and Tua at my little|
Her marriage to John ended and she moved away to Salt Lake City. In a couple of years she married Papu Enosa. She had a kid named Katelin Eventually she was baptized in the same denomination as I. I wasn't present for any of those events, which I regret.
I would see her occasionally at flag days, a celebration of the Samoan culture. We would chat for a bit and then be on our merry ways. The last time I saw her before seeing her in her deathbed was in the summer of 2011. She was taking care of her primary duties. We talked briefly, then she returned to her duties serving in the primary.
Later on I found out she was fighting cancer. Just like her to not even mention that she was fighting cancer. She was too unselfish to burden anyone with that knowledge. Tua would rather carry her burdens in addition to any other burdens her friends had. Rumor was that every night she was sick to the point of throwing up.
"Call ASAP", was the text message I recieved from Sau, on February 11, 2012. She broke some bad news to me, telling me that Tua was sent home from the hospital and that she was on her deathbed. We planned to visit her the next day.
It's a very humbling experience to visit someone who is going to die. What do you say? What do you bring? I wondered if she would even recognize me. Sau had told me she couldn't talk. When we went she talked to Sau a lot.
She looked at me, her eyes lit up. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Samoana!" We embraced. I asked her about the dumbest question you can ask, "How are you doing?" Obviously, she was not doing well. She gave me a long frown.
My guess was the long frown was her version of crying. At her funeral we had found out that due to dehydration the Doctor had said she wouldn't be able to cry. She, however, did later on cry one more last tear.
We found out she had allowed her significant other to go to the rugby sevens tournament. To me it showed that even on her deathbed she thought of others before herself. But it also made me mad and sad, as we left, to know this.
I visited again with some of the Keiaho family, my mother and my sister. To know that my sister and mom visited showed me how much she had done for my family. My sister is a homebody and my mom is pretty much homebound because she has dialysis three times a week. We all began breaking out with our fondest memories of Tua. I asked Tua if there was anything she needed me to do before she passes away. She kept saying no as if she had forgiven everyone on this earth.
The Divine Heritage Choir came to sing to her on Thursday. I regretfully wasn't able to go but had planned to go again on Sunday. Unfortunately for me, I didn't get to see her as she passed Sunday morning.
The funeral came the following Saturday. I attended with hundreds of other people. The gym was packed with people who's lives had been touched by the warmth of her love. There were touching testimonies of her love and selflessness.
One of her close friends shared, to me, the most touching testimony of all. She told of Tua's last moments on earth. Early in the morning, Tua started breathing fast. Her friend said she could tell that Tua wouldn't make it much longer so she grabbed Katelin, Tua's daughter, and brought her in front of her mom to see her last breaths on Earth. She said Tua's breaths slowed down to a very slow pace. Tua looked over at her daughter and with her last breath a tear came out of her eye.
Something tells me she had been saving that tear for her daughter. Although the Doctor, a learned man, and his years of schooling would say, "She will not be able to cry," the Doctor couldn't account for a mothers love for her child. Tua, a person who was selfless and always serving, ultimately spent her last breath serving.
I can't help to notice the similarity between Tua and my mother. My mother goes to dialysis three days a week. She has outlasted everyone of her colleagues at dialysis as they quit and pass on or just pass away in the chair. Dialysis is a grueling process that involves needles and bruises, the feeling of being light headed, sore bones, and throwing up. I feel like what drives her is her love and selflessness for her children.
Hopefully one day I can be found with that same love because I know it will be good with me in the next life to posess it. Moroni 7:47 47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.