Some Samoans (usually, the same ones every year) gather at the Malaeola Hall in Mangere to watch the Samoan flag raising ceremony (which by the way, it’s the same flag that flies on the pole every other day) done by either a visiting dignitary or the current Miss Samoa NZ, and then attendees make a hasty retreat into the hall for warmth and performances from church choirs, youth groups and the long tatalo’s by the most senior of all visiting church pastors and priests at the beginning, middle (for the food) and the end (which usually is said with only 30 people remaining in the hall…cleaners mostly). Given good weather, usually somewhere in Auckland, a Samoan kilikiti tournament is being held….and that’s Samoa’s Independence day celebrated in New Zealand.
Visiting him at the hospital was so hard, seeing this man reduced to lying on a bed with half his body paralysed. Comforting my cousins while trying to not make anyone cry was like balancing on an emotional tight rope. My cousin told me of how she burst into tears as she cleaned out her fathers pick up truck with his tools all over the place.
You grow up thinking your parents will always be there, your father is superman. Making any sudden attack on their health harder to take. Talking to my cousins, there was certainly a realisation of human fragility in the air. Everyone knows there is life and death, but does anyone really plan for it? Is anyone really willing to face the inevitable?