Aliti’s tale of hope and healing

Bulou Monica Najoritani and sister Adi Makereta Najoritani. Picture: SUPPLIED

As I began writing this, I am flooded with all the memories that I have of the girls. I am filled with sadness and regret and remorse.

I write this piece in their memory and the hope that whoever has lost a loved one will hope for better things to come and hope to be reunited with their loved ones.

Her both children died of drowning.

Adi Makereta Najoritani, a one part of two, made her quiet entrance on a Sunday Morning, the 28th of April 2013.

In life, she would be the quiet leader of her siblings. She earned herself the nickname, Lizard girl at school because she could climb anything.

You see Ma, was very strong and had the privilege to have guava, soursop, and lemon trees as her jungle gym.

Once, I took Ma to the market and she was curious as to why they were selling guavas because at home she used it as “ammunition”.

Di Ma could run the full length of the ACS grounds without tire and successfully challenged the youth boys to a 20 press up challenge.

As she grew older, I noticed Di Ma beginning to shed her “tom boy-ness.”

Preferring sului ra to tights when she went to church, she refused to go without her tights if she wore a short dress.

I also noticed that Di Ma would now pay more attention to her hair. I couldn’t get away with a comb through anymore, it had to be styled. My little girl was growing up.

Di Ma and I did everything together and a week before she passed, we watched our last movie together. We went without lamb neck that weekend but looking back now, I was glad I did that.

When Di Ma was three, her sister, Bulou Monica Najoritani was born, on the 29th of January 2016. Mo, was the little jester, whom everyone mistook for a boy.

Her father would dress her up in boys’ clothes and take her to work. Workmates would call out, “Bula Junior.”

“Junior” would play along and gladly waved back.

She and her father would erupt in fits of giggles when this happened.

No matter how mad her father would be, Mo could defuse any situation with him.

All she had to ask was, “What that?? What that Tu?”

The innocence in her question could melt any ice.

She got away with a lot of things, because of her funny ways and big smile that was often accented by her diastema and the fact that she was her father’s mini me.

Yesterday, we remembered their 100 nights of passing. I can tell you this, I have grown more as human being in the last 100 nights than I ever have in my 30+ years of existence.

It was a small intimate affair.

Exactly how I wanted it with the very people that meant the most them.

There was so much warmth and so much love last night because so much healing had taken place.

On the day it happened, I was so stunned. Shocked. Dazed.

For the first week I was numb and the second week I turned to alcohol to calm my nerves, I wanted to drop everything and just get drunk until I dropped but the pain intensified when the booze weaned out.

That was when I decided that I would leave alcohol and turn to God.

Alcohol never ever takes away the pain, it just intensifies it, sometimes during consumption but most of the time, its afterwards. And the low is worse than the high.

When I left alcohol for the customary tabu I told myself, if I’m going to feel this pain, then I am going to feel it raw, brutal and with intensity so that I can heal, otherwise everything else will just be band aid that covers the wound but not heal it.

And if I do not heal, I will self-destruct, a method I had perfected over the years.

To help us heal, cousins and aunts came home to keep us company and they often invited us to their home but they knew and we knew that eventually they had to let us deal with the pain ourselves.

When we did, there was this constant feeling of emptiness.

Remember, it was the girls that kept us on our toes and would make the most noise.

The house was empty, silent without them.

No fights, no bickering no asking for milk or weetbix. Nothing.

Absolute silence that was deafening!!

In this silence, the crying at night by the home occupants was even more evident.

One day I told my husband that I wanted to die, because I really wanted to see them.

My husband turned around and said, “Na,I used to be scared of death but after what happened, I’m not anymore. But remember
we have to keep on because we have the two boys that need us and we have eternity to be a family again.”

That has kept us going ever since.

Two nights later I saw one of my daughters in a dream. She was smiling. This gave me hope. My sons give me hope. My husband encourages me. People ask, “how do you do it?

One is bad but two?? I smile and think, “I have no idea, some have lost more and are still surviving”

Last year I came across a group on Facebook that has helped me. Sadly, the group is not in Fiji.

It is a support group and every time I feel like I want to do something stupid I turn to the group, and they offer advice and help. In that group there is no judgement because all the people in that group have hit rock bottom, some losing everything.

I have found this to be therapeutic.

To know that I am not the only one and can heal from this, from the stories and experiences shared.

We are still not ready to face large crowds.

Crowds that do not know us or the children but would gladly pass comments or ask insensitive questions like, did it hurt you? How did it feel when it happened? Do you still miss them? Is there a ghost at the home? And the worst – Can you tell us how
it happened?

Sometimes I feel like bringing out the girl that worked for FM96 and be totally stupid right back.

But I don’t. I smile and walk away because there is so many better things to put my energy towards.

When something like this happens in your life, you realise that there is so much to life than some comment made by someone who
never knew you.

Turn to prayer. Praying has helped us so much because when you talk to Him it helps. When we have our bad days, we pray.

For comfort, for peace not just for us but those around us. We pray that the incident does not affect the remaining two children
or for history to repeat itself.

We pray that it never happens to another family and should it happen, that the holy spirit comforts at the time of sorrow.

Please remember that life is precious, do not waste it or take it away.

Reach out to someone, pray, tell a counsellor.

You are precious! The sisters had a loving sibling rivalry.

If Makereta was learning a dance from school, Mo had to do it too. ECE week outfit for Ma? Mo got one too. Ironic that during
the Character parade at the kindergarten, it was not the twins but Mo that made it to the FT in her costume.

To the very end they did everything together, I guess God Knew that he had to take them both because one would be lonely without the other.

At this point on behalf of families that have lost a loved one, we wish to thank you.

We thank the people who were first at the scene to help. To the boy that came back to apologise that they could not do much, we thank you.

To the doctors that helped to the very end and prayed with us when all else failed, we thank you.

To the aunt that came home to hold us while we cried, we thank you.

The cousins and best friends that came to distract us so that the lowest point does not become the breaking point, we thank you.

The relatives that came from abroad to help give them a heavenly farewell, we thank you.

The workmates that understand the puffy eyes in the morning is from the tears cried at night, we thank you.

To the close family that continue to grieve and heal with us – thank you.

To the talatala that pray with us and give us comfort – we thank you.

To the remaining children – thank you for giving us a reason to live.

To the spouse, who helps me remember to stay focused – I thank you.

This is a story of love, of healing, of moving forward but mostly this is a story of hope.

A hope in the second coming, that one day we will be reunited with the little angels that heaven took just a little too soon.

Rest well noqu rosi rua.

  •  The views expressed are the author’s and not of this newspaper.

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