Monday, 4 December 2017

The voice within. . .

When there's no one else, look inside yourself. . . 
A blog post tribute to Fa'imanu Villa Aurelio xx

Young girl, don't cry
I'll be right here when your world starts to fall
Ooh young girl it's alright
Your tears will dry, you'll soon be free to fly 

My first memories of you has been as a young girl.
I grew up with you in church and first knew you as my Sunday School teacher.
You were always soft spoken and never really raised your voice to any of the kids in our class.  I would've been transitioning from intermediate school into high school when you taught me.  Having you as a teacher was comforting.  Not that we ever really went through anything really traumatic at that time in our lives, just the usual adolescence and going through puberty.  It was always just easy to talk to you about anything or ask you questions if we felt curious about anything.

When you're safe inside your room, you tend to dream
Of a place where nothing's harder than it seems
No one ever wants or bothers to explain
Of the heartache life can bring and what it means

As the days wore on, it was clear that your expectations for us to be successful in whatever we set our minds to was the gentle motivation we needed.  If we ever found some of the topics that we were studying in Sunday School to be difficult or we couldn't relate it to our actual lived realities, you made an effort to break everything down.  I told Dad about you always bringing Cook Island donuts for us, thanks to your lovely wife Mary. They served as rewards for us if we did what you wanted us to do.  In my first year of high school,  we did a play about Daniel in the lion's den.  Despite having boys in our class, you still picked me to be Daniel.  White Sunday that year was my debut playing piano and I haven't looked back since.  I remember playing the entrance music for our class to assemble on stage, and having to quickly run up to the stage to take my place as Daniel.  It's funny the things you remember.

When there's no one else, look inside yourself
Like your oldest friend, trust the voice within
Then you'll find the strength that will guide your way
You'll learn to begin to trust the voice within, oh

You were always supportive of my piano journey.  I even taught your daughter Tekura for a while in my second to last year of high school.  You worked at Bluebird then and as well as paying the piano fee, you would also bring a huge box of whatever snacks you wanted to give me.  You always gave generously and never without complaint.  You had an infectious smile and there weren't many of the fathers at church who were openly quite approachable.  You were that and more.  When you asked how school was going and what I wanted to do after school, you kept saying to work hard and to make my parents proud.  You understood the value of hard work and what it meant to continue to serve in church through my music ministry.

Young girl. don't hide
You'll never change if you just run away
Ooh, whoa yeah
Young girl, just hold tight
Soon you're going to see a brighter day, ooh

Our conversations as we got older became more about life in general.
When I got married, you gave the biggest monetary gift and it blew me away.
I wasn't expecting that at all. I was honoured and it made me think about all of the times you had encouraged me to be all that I could be.  It was obvious to me that you were happy for me and that I had found someone that I could share my life with.  I never ran away from challenges that I faced with Loma, particularly with his health.  When he passed away you were sad for me and didn't comprehend why when I had found love, why it was taken away from me so quickly.

Now in a world where innocence is quickly claimed
It's so hard to stand your ground when you're afraid
No one reaches out a hand for you to hold
When you look outside, look inside to your soul

I will remember the life lessons you have taught me.  Your quick wit and sense of humour are the things I will miss the most.  Your sincerity and 'what you see is what you get' demeanour are other things that I will miss too.  If anybody ever complained about anything, you had a philosophical response about how things would turn out - and to not sweat the small stuff, but instead rely on God no matter what.  I attended your family service last night and it was because I couldn't get time off today to attend your burial.  We have lost so many good people in our church so young.  We can now count you among them.  If I've learned anything from losing Loma, God always takes the good ones young.  I asked you say hi to Loma and to tell him I love him.  Aunty Palagi was in line before me and asked you to say hi to Saga.  That made me smile.  It's funny that we ask the recently departed to pass on messages to the ones who have gone before.
Life is a journey 
It can take you anywhere you choose to go
As long as you're learning
You'll find all you ever need to know
(Be strong) 
Break it (hold on)
You'll make it (be strong)
Just don't forsake it because (hold on)
(No one can tell you what you can't do)
No one can stop you, you know that I'm talking to you

This has been a really easy blog post to write.
I guess it's because it is easy to say nice things about you - you were just such a good man.
My parents visited you often, in Dad's capacity as a lay preacher.  Dad told me how at times you moved in and out of your lucid moments.  When you saw Mum, you recognised her instantly.  You called out 'Afamasaga!  Vaiola!  Oi o se tinā lelei!'.  You saw Dad and said 'Pulumelo!  Aiono! Lucky tele oe ia Vaiola'.  They told me they laughed really hard when you said that.  Then they told me that you asked after me.  'O ā mai Manu?  Fai ia Manu e toe fo'i mai i le galuega.'  Don't worry Villa. I will come back.  I just need to finish this thesis and then I'll come back and play for church.  Thanks for everything you've done for me growing up in church.  I listened to your daughters talk about you last night and I felt such overwhelming love for them and could feel your pride in them fill the entire church.

Rest easy Villa.
Sending you love and light.
I wanted to say goodbye and bid you farewell.
Thanks for helping me to find the voice within. . .