Sunday, March 25, 2012

Somebody Stole DREAMLAND from a Supposed Bandit

Last night I went to a Utah Jazz game. This one was pretty special because my brother, my Uncle Molo and my dad came. It's always fun to watch my uncles interact. We stayed up way late and after I got home, I continued to stay awake until about 2:30 am. It was completely detrimental because this morning I had a training to be to that necessitated that I be up by 6:40 am.

The training was a long grueling 8 hours but I made it through that. My friends from the hospital asked if I wanted to eat and I had planned on stopping at McDonald's anyway to get my free Big Mac and so we hung out for another hour. I arrived home wanting to take a shower but too tired to do even that. I lay on the couch, the same couch that I had slept on for 4 months during my recovery from electrical injury, and fell quickly and soundly into a deep sleep.

Remember that dreamland, from when I first went into the hospital until now, is a place that I so longingly remember but could never get to. On special occasion I am able to reach it but for a long time the only thing I seemed to achieve was what I call 'the blackness'. 'The Blackness' is a deep darkness. I liken it unto being in the darkest cave you can imagine and then multiplying that by 100. 'The Blackness' was so dark the air was heavy.

The reason I longed for dreamland was it was an escape from reality. 'The Blackness' did not suffice for anything but to pause the phantom pain. Phantom pain is the phenomena of the brain still sensing the severed part of the body and at times the trauma that may have caused the need for amputation. In my case it feels as if I have slept on my hands and they are numb due to the loss of circulation. I can barely move my phantom hands and along with numbness they fill cramped up. There sometimes can be a burn and always they feel as if they are sweaty palms to the point of being wrinkly dish washing hands.

In the hospital I would wake up to the driest mouth on earth. 'The darkness', for having heavy air seems to be very arid. My tongue would be so dry that I would drink one glass of water that would be absorbed just by my tongue alone and one for actual thirst. This dry tongue continued as well for a long time.

After about 6 months, I have my first encounter with dreamland. I don't want to wake up because I have hands, as I am oft prone to do while in dreamland. Often I get kicked out of dreamland by phantom pain. As the dreamland fades away the pain fades in. The pain goes from non-existent to it's peak presence and then calms down once I get medicines in my body.

It seems that one of the aids in my ability to achieve dreamland is my level of non-medicated exhaustion. Today, with only four hours of sleep in a 32 hour period, I have hit that requirement. I sink deep into my couch and it seems to envelope me in a lighter form of 'the darkness.'

Slowly the darkness concedes to dreamland! I find myself in room with three men. The one says absolutely nothing and seems to be consoling the other. The other is Brin (names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty). He found out his wife has been cheating on him. I am in a counselor role. Why am I in a counselor role I ask myself?

The investigative reporter in me finds out that I was sought out because Brin knows I was formerly married to this woman, who we will call Kosy, and the same thing happened to me. Surprisingly to me, because I thought if offered the chance I would have tried to do the most vengeful things to Kosy, I tell Brin to forgive her and they can work things out.

Enter Kosy stage right. I pretend to be sleeping on a chair, reclined on two legs but not supported by anything but the two legs, that is suddenly surrounded by a curtain. I can see out of the curtain(which I now think it was odd to have been pretending to be asleep) but they can't see in. Kosy begins to grovel, at Brin's feet, for forgiveness. He accepts the apology.

She now enters the curtain with my leaning chair. I continue faking to be asleep. It seems she wishes she could say something but doesn't have the courage to do so. She kisses me on the mouth. I remain motionless and emotionless. Flashbacks of a watermelon gloss come to my mind.

Suddenly, dreamland takes me away to Brasil. I'm a missionary that's deeply entrenched in the mission. We meet up with old friends and discuss what is going on in the area. Then we go out to preach.

While with Elder Silva (name remains the same as while there it seems everybody's last name is Silva) I see this glimmer on the road. I run after it, up a steep hill. The hill seems to be the steepest road I have ever run up. I reach the glimmer and it seems to be a reflection of some sort. This leads me to the source of the reflection which in turn leads to another and another. I reach the top of the hill only to find out its all coming from a series of reflectors in the road designed to mark lanes at night.

Elder Silva catches up to me and says, "I was wondering when you would follow that." He points and we look across a valley and through a sandstone arch to see a very beautiful scenery of mansions and cliffs. I'm in absolute jaw dropping awe of the whole picture.

My mouth is open and dry. It's dark and the pain returns. It's 11 p.m. It seems like it had been years but I had only been sleeping for five hours. I write about the whole thing and now it's 1 a.m.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Mother's Love.....

Funeral Feb 25, 2012
In 1996 I was in my third year at Utah State University. I have no idea what I was studying. Neither did I have any idea what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Because of that I don't call it a junior year. It took meunix years to graduate so I call it the beginning of my sophomore year. The only thing I did know at the time was that I was a part of the Polynesian Student Union. PSU, as we called it, gave me a chance to serve. Perhaps it is no coincidence that it was through service that I met one of the most unselfish women I have ever met,Tuali'i.

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
Back then, she was married to a man by the name of John Halloran. She worked at a dental office as a dental assistant, while her husband worked as an engineer. They lived in the most affluent neighborhood in the small city of Logan. Although they were very well-off, all were treated like a brother or sister to her. Tua, short for Tuali'i, had this enormous heart that allowed everyone in as a great big family. In fact, I had slept in their guest room many times and for some reason I don't doubt that many whom she called 'bro' or 'sis' have also recieved of her hospitality.

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
In 1997, somehow, the Polynesian Student Union and community in Logan saw fit to elect me as president of the PSU. I knew it was an undaunting task but I also knew that my two friends, Sau and Tua, who call me little brother, had my back 100 % and with their help I would not fail. Now they weren't the only ones. There were the Keiaho's, the Pauni's, Walter Mila, the Ka'ilis, Mele Lauti, Wayne Ngaluafe etc.

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
The club, with the most rookie of rookies as their leader, somehow managed to put on the clubs main event, a luau, by the skin of my teeth. At the same time Sau, Tua, the Keiaho family and I created a bond that was inseparable. Whenever one of these brothers or sisters in this bond needed help we were all there for them. They have come and danced for my family reunion, my sisters wedding, old folks homes, a troubled teens school, etc. With Tua being so well-off, she needed us least and in turn gave the most.

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
Of my Logan family, the one I recieved a letter from the most was Tua. In fact when I needed something from the states, I wrote to either my mom or Tua. One time the missionaries decided to put on a luau for a missionary activity. I was going to teach my fellow missionaries some dances and show a movie of other dances. It would necessitate a cd and a VHS cassette. I wrote to Tua. Not only did she send me all of the above but she went beyond and sent me an Aloha shirt.

My sister Selesitila and Tua at my little
sister's wedding
I returned from Brazil and she and Sau were there at the airport. Tua and Sau were always trying to hook me up with a girl. The first thing Tua did was have a party with some of the new PSU members, all with the aim of introducing me to a girl. I remember distinctly that there was food and drinks and even boos for those that drank alcohol. She was the greatest of hosts because she always thought of what the others wanted.

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.