It has taken me a while to sit down and write this blog. Somehow I just know no matter how I right it I won’t do it justice. It’s tempting no to write it at all and just pretend that it didn’t happen but my host mother’s death and the celebration of her have been huge turning point in my time here. About a month ago my host mother started complaining of stomach pains. I say complaining lightly I really only started noticing her appetite was slowly diminishing and it seemed like her diet was getting more and more restricted. She had been diagnosed with a severe case of diabetes and hypertension about seven years but had gotten it under control by losing weight and a careful diet. This in itself is a testament to the kind of women she is, in a country were a huge percent of the population suffer from these diseases but never make any lifestyle changes to combat it. She started getting tests done and going into the hospital every couple days. After about two weeks she stopped going to the hospital and was spending more of the day in bed. When I asked what was wrong the family told me she had a stomach ace but finally my sister told me she had a cancerous tumor on her liver. She slowly go worse and the day after her 65th birthday she was complain of severe pain so the family took to the hospital where she passed away in her sleep. She passed quickly and was suffering for only a short time.
Miriama and her husband had eight biological children and five adopted children. Six if you count me as they did in obituary. All but three of her children have moved out and started their own families. These are the three sisters that I live with, Ao her eldest daughter and her two youngest adopted girls, Silia 22 and Seletas 25. Not only did she love and care for all of her children but and adopted but she had a very loving and strong relationship with her husband. They were known as an upright and godly family in the community and he held a very prestigious Matai tittle. Fomai, her husband had a debilitating stroke and Milli took care of him for five years until he passed away. This is all quite telling of her personality but the thing that Milli did that embroidered her name on my her was open her home to a stranger and not only feed, clothe and shelter that person but give them a home and a family. She made my comfort and happiness her first priority. She was constantly fussing over my food making sure I had food I liked. She would make cupcakes especially for me and she even personal sowed all my clothes when I lost some weight. The real gift she gave me though was a home to feel safe and comfortable in when I was so far from everything I knew. She was incredible women.