Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Death is like a knife going through your heart.

Lesa Foti Tuvale is seventy-five years old. He is not a man who lives a sedentary life or who overindulges on heavy fare. Two weeks after the tsunami, Lesa sits under a canvas awning with a bush knife beside him. His hands are worn with black earth. He is the father of six children – one boy and five girls. Lesa’a daughter Leueta was killed in the tsunami. Often when a child dies, we are plagued with questions. Were we good parents? What could I have done differently? Our grief is serrated with guilt and self-doubt. Lesa is no different. On the morning of the tsunami, Lesa had angrily punished his daughter Leueta before she went to work at Taufua Beach Resort.

“This is the only daughter of mine that is naughty. I’m always looking for a stick to smack her with because she was very difficult and wouldn’t listen to her mother. This is the duty of the parent to discipline the children…but it’s so hard. I don’t know. I just pray to God and hope that I was doing the right thing. Who knows if I’m wrong or if my children are wrong – only God can judge.
It was dark when I got word that she had died. And her body had been found. I felt my heart breaking and tears sprang to my eyes. I left everything at that time and just went and sat at the hospital where they were bringing people. I just wanted to see her body. They brought in a group of bodies and I saw my daughter amongst them and I just went and wept on her. Its hard to explain. Its right about the saying that death is like a knife going through your heart, you don’t know how to move on.”

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