Thursday, April 27, 2017

Infidelity: the aftermath

A lot has happened since my last post over a month ago. We soon got back together and were trying to work things out. We could not get divorced straight away anyway because law has it that we have to be separated for 12 months first.

It was a good few weeks until he would go out again and come home at 2am or at 4am one night.  I sit at home willing my mind to rest and go to sleep but thoughts of who he is with and what he is doing ravage the crevices of my thoughts that all I can do is pray. I pray for the anger to go away. I pray for the feelings of abandon to leave. I pray for patience. I pray for peace.

A few times I have been successful and would keep myself away until high noon the next day and I am given a tight hug and the words that , “I’m sorry darling. Let me try again.” But a couple of times, when I ask a question and I am answered with a sure lie, I have lost it. It was during one of these times that I thought that enough is enough. I have been made a fool one too many times and it’s just not worth it anymore. If he has decided to still keep this woman’s company having no regard for me, our marriage and our family, what in the world can I do about it? Absolutely nothing. Nothing but to let him go and have his way with whomever at where ever his heart desires. His actions have shown that he has not and will not let go of the behaviours that have been destructive to our marriage and family and we all know that when there isn’t a will, there will be no way.

So what now? Well, I am 6 months pregnant with 3 children under 12 years old. What is possibly there for a woman of my standing in this world? Thankfully, with the gospel of Jesus Christ in my heart, I know I am not alone. I know that my God is mindful of each and every tear that I cry. He knows that my struggle is real. My Saviour knows this pain I feel because he bled from every pore when he took upon him mankind’s sins so we could enjoy sweet tender mercy. I see this when I teach my little pre-schoolers. I see it in a new flower in my garden. I feel it when I go to the Lords holy house. I feel it when my children offer up their hearts in prayer for their father to overcome his drinking habit. I feel it when I wake up each morning and realise I am alive yet another glorious day from above.

Since John has left, our home has been quiet. My children seem okay except my oldest son who seems to be developing an anger problem. I am sure there is a contribution from of how things are in our marriage to this change and I pray and hope that he will find peace. I have tried to reassure his young heart that what is going on has nothing to do with him or his siblings. That our love and marriage has changed and it is not a fault of theirs. That his dad loves them the same and so do I. But sometimes there is a question that catches me off guard and I have no answer for. For instance, Afele asked the other night why his dad always likes beer. Then a few days later he asks why dad wants to go live somewhere else.


I too ask the same questions and wonder to myself what will become of us and my children a year from now.

Confessions of a broken heart and contrite spirit

Sat 18th March 2017

Last year in March, I lost my 17 month old son and almost at exactly a year to the day, we signed a paper asking the registrar of courts for a divorce.  It has been one tough year and I look back and wonder how it went terribly wrong. 

Last year seemed to go off at a great start.  After months of preparation followed by prayers and fasting, husband was blessed to be appointed the Chief Executive Officer for one of the largest and complex Ministries of Government.  It was a great achievement for him given he was one of the youngest Chief Executives and a lot of hope and excitement was felt as he prepared to take on the job.  After the joy of hearing the news, we each looked at each other and the responsibility of the job ahead sank in but I assured my husband that he will do well and with Heavenly Father on our side, he will be a brilliant CEO.

But, that same month he started on the job, my mother passed away.  It was a bittersweet moment as on one hand it was sad to loose her, but on the other, I was happy she was finally resting from the ailments of her mortal body. She had lost her memory a few years before and then lost the ability to control bowel and urine that she had to be in diapers. A few months before she left us, she became completely bed ridden and developed nasty bed sores that would not heal but oozed with nastiness and of course, inflicted so much pain.  As she took her last breath, I thanked my Heavenly Father for the great mother that she was and the examples she taught me and promised her that I will complete the ordinances required for her in the Lord’s holy temple.

At exactly a month later after mum died, David, my beautiful baby, walked over to the pool next door, climbed on a chair and either fell in or hopped in himself.  It was hard loosing my baby but I had a calm assurance that all is well, that this life is temporary, that hope is there for life in the eternities. It is that calm assurance that I am now trying to remember as I think about the last 12 years of my marriage and wondered if I had done everything I could to keep it together.  Although its over, I cannot help but feel regret and sorry for ever making the decision to leave last year in June for six months to pursue a Masters degree.  I did pray and ask the Lord his counsel and felt that it was okay. That what I was going to do was in pursuit of something good and that it would only be six months.  My husband had stopped drinking when he entered the waters of baptism three months earlier and that gave me more reason to trust him that he would be faithful in his love for me and our tender family.

I look back now and wondered whether I had read the revelation from the Lord wrong. Could I have wanted to accept the scholarship and get my qualification so bad that I failed to see the signs that said I needed to be here for my husband and for my family? Could the desires of my heart have blinded me to do what I was supposed to do?

Alas, that time has gone and there are now other decisions ahead that again require careful pondering and quiet contemplation.  I am grateful though for the past experience that has taught me to always remember my desires and ensure they are not blinding the revelation from the Lord.  Especially in considering things like visitation times and financial support and division of property and assets.  I have heard that divorce is not easy and now I can confirm that as willing and conforming the two parties can be, it is still painful and tough.  I am grateful though that despite the pain, soon-to-be-ex-husband is being supportive and kind and not trying to be nasty.  I don’t dispute that he is a good dad and provider and at times I saw that he really did try as well.  He is a good man with just some weaknesses that he has chosen to not let go of but have proven destructive.

I look at how we came to be here and felt that over the last five months since I discovered my husband being unfaithful, I have tried… over many arguments and countless tears, I have tried to change and be a delight and be trusting and just have faith in my marriage that it will work.  But there is also another change that is slowly creeping in where I am becoming the kind of woman that I never ever thought I would be. The kind that is constantly wondering and doubting and angry.  The kind that lashes out with fists and venom from the tongue. The kind that just turns real ugly. It has become so frustrating trying though when constantly I find a lie here and an omission there and I have asked myself over and over whether this is love??? If you know that being with a person you had had feelings for will hurt your spouse, would you still go ahead and talk with that person and go for walks with them and let them help you with your studies? I certainly wouldn’t. And that is because my love for my spouse should tell me that I should respect them even if the past feelings are completely gone and no longer there. I would show them my love with my actions and my actions should help to build the trust that was shattered. 


The person I am becoming is not me.  I am a daughter of Heavenly Father and I know he is mindful of my pain and hurt and its true, I cant change the man I had married and be in control of where he is and who he is with. But I can free myself from the destruction that is my marriage and move ahead trying to undo the last twelve years and look to the future with faith and hope for my children and for myself as we approach the one year since I lost my baby and my 36th year upon this earth.

Monday, July 18, 2016

the New Normal: some reflections

In March this year, the unimaginable happened. My youngest son at 17 months drowned in my cousin’s pool next door. It was any mother’s nightmare. When I first saw his lifeless body, eyes open but not seeing, body limp and rigid as my cousin tried in vain to bring the water out and breath back into him some air and life, I felt like I was on the outside of my body watching it all in slow motion. 

A small voice said gently at first then vigourously, “He is gone. Babies drown quickly. He is gone” 

David was the youngest of four after two boys and our only girl. The only one with a palagi name, literally the fairest of the four and brought joy to his family as he flourished to establish his self, his personality and his person. A normal baby boy to a normal family on a normal Tuesday in normal Apia Samoa. Normal. How little I had understood then of the normal.

After one small event, huge impact on “the normal”. On that normal day in the course of our normal lives, one event changed that normal from four to three, then and now, unlearned to learned, unknowing to knowing, before David and after David. A huge impact that has defined our whole lives to the “before David died” “oh, it was after the funeral because…” The new normal.

What is the new normal? Personally, after Davids death, its mostly between the unknown and the now known. For example. I never knew so many people cared for us until the day we buried our baby. Our home at Tuaefu was full and bursting with family, relatives, helpers, colleagues, acquaintances probably even some previously perceived as foes. Those overseas were on facebook, texting and calling. All expressing love and support as we lived through the aftermath of our son’s death.

A single event brought so many people with common and different interests alike, together.

It was amazing to say the least.

It was also an opportunity for some real self reflection, on my part at least. I have my faith at my core and it’s sustained me and kept me strong in every sense of the word. I am strong. But……. I am not always strong. I replay the events of that Tuesday and sometimes wonder, was it something I did wrong? Was there something I could have changed? Was I warned that this was coming? Was there anything that I could control that could allow me to know the unknown?

After many tears and emotions like guilt, anger and regret threatening to consume me, I suddenly realized something: As much as I think I have supernatural powers, I don’t. I am human, yes I can do wonders, but like you and all of us, there are limitations to our wonders. There is no way I could have avoided what happened because, someone else holds the control key.

A Book of Mormon story illustrates this very principal nicely. Korihor, the antichrist, preached using flattery. You know, telling humans they were wondrous and great, possibly supernatural. I don’t know. But Korihor became popular with many followers believing that they had many wondrous powers that they don’t need a God. Korihor preached that the idea of a higher being or a God overseeing all that is happening is absurd. He ridiculed Christ and the Atonement, and taught that there is no penalty in sin. Flattery. So easy to do, so damaging. Because eventually, Korihor got struck dumb, was trodden down and died. After he admitted that he was influenced to say all these things when he knew he was lying.

Yup, so as much as the Korihor in me wanted to let me know that it was somehow, somewhere it was my fault, I had to accept that I am not that powerful. I am human, wondrous as can be, but, with limitations.

I realised the adversary uses these types of opportunities to influence some into thinking they are more powerful than they think. Let me ask you, do you get flattered into thinking you dont have limitations as a human? 

So many have commented on how strong I am. But its funny that when someone pays a comment like such, I hesitate and wonder, am I strong? I don’t wake up every morning, look in the mirror and say, I am strong. Its so weird but sometimes, when someone mentions how strong I am, I instantly feel like I should be sad because my baby son drowned. Because its what happens when someone dies, right? We are supposed to be sad ALL the TIME. Wrong. We get sad sometimes but most times, I am happy. So much of what happens in our lives and our society prescribes defaults that can be dead wrong. I have to remind myself that I am not always sad and its not bad to not always be sad. 

I have faith, I have hope, I believe and I know in my bones, this cannot be IT. We cant just have this beautiful relationship with each other on earth, then we die and all else ends. As wonderous as we are humans, we are not in control. There is something higher, something more powerful. I call this God, I call Him my Heavenly Father who loves me. He sent His Son to die so that I can again  see my son who died also.


Bizzare you might think. Personally, its sense that has become perfect in this new normal. It makes perfect sense. Because he so loved the world (wonderous humans that are you and me) He sent His Only Begotten to fix it. For me, this fix is knowing, that I will see my David  but….(theres the BUT again) …..its conditional on my behavior – that I acknowledge Him and remember I have limitations, that I live by the laws and commandments He has set for me, that I strive to love one another, that I just be an all rounded normal parent, normal mother, normal wife, normal daughter, normal daughter of God, my Heavenly Father who is everlasting and wants what is best for me.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Taboos and stupid ancient beliefs

So the baby is now two weeks old and he has a cold. He's a bit stuffy and in turn is finding it harder to sleep. Like I wasn't sleep deprived already! Having another new born has reminded me of all the taboos that are to do with this and that and for me, its a tad bit annoying because I would rather follow the midwife and doctor's advice over the folk beliefs and remedies and frankly, I don't give a hoot's care if that was how all hundred of someone's kids were treated and raised. The fofo and what not is all trial and error compared to doctors who have studied and tested knowledge and methods and have been deemed safe and effective! So some examples that have had me banging my head against the door are:

1. Dont leave the baby's clothes on the line outside overnight. Bring them in and have them stink in the corner because if you leave them out overnight, bad spirits will be in the clothes

2. Put coconut oil on the belly button six times a day to help it heal because "this was what I did to all my kids and they survived fine"

3. No bathing of the baby until the belly button is completely healed. Nevermind there is gunk under the arms and neck of the baby and he probably is dying for a nice wash.

4. Mum should just stay indoors and not go outside especially at nights because the bad spirits come out at night

5. Dont let the baby cry at night because that will attract the bad spirits into the baby. If crying is unavoidable, turn on some church music very loud to drown out the baby's wailing.

6. Dont put the baby's clothes in full son because that is how they get mumu (or otherwise known as heat rash)

7. Always cover the mirrors at night - I didn't catch the reason for this one because frankly, I did not care at this point to hear another stupid bad spirit story.

I mean seriously, these people go to church and claim their beliefs and faith in God and Christ and yet, there is also this firm belief that the spirits will harm them and their new born babies. Where is their faith? Where is the belief that when there is faith, there needn't be fear? That there is protection guaranteed when you do the right thing?

Onto other things, three posts in three days! Im on a roll!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Challenges vs Hope

I reconnected yesterday on Facebook with the missionary that baptised me in 2011. He had gotten married six months ago and is planning a trip with his wife to Samoa next year. Connecting with Elder Smithing got me thinking about my life pre-joing the Church and just how thankful I am that I have changed for the better. Since coming back to this blog, I have been reading some of the things I wrote…and its obvious that before 2011, my life seemed pretty gloomy even from the blogs. Its nice to have light and something that offers comfort when life take a turn south.

Lets be straight though, its not like challenges do not exist for me now. I mean I struggle everyday to control my anger and not lash out with not only damaging words to my children but with the intention to inflict pain upon them. I have a real issue with hitting my children. I just cant seem to stop. Its bad enough that one of Vaetoefaga's first words is "sasa." I hear the things my oldest son says to his brother and I see a reflection of myself and what I say to him. Maaveave is terrible to his younger brother. And in turn, how he gets treated is how Afele then treats his sister and no doubt, Vaetoefaga is going to continue the cycle to David. And where did it all start? From me, my parents and their parents and who knows how far back the problem goes. So, I am trying to put a stop to the vicious cycle and its dang hard.

Then there are my dramas with my old man. No wonder they say you receive blessings from caring for your elderly because you learn to be patient, hold your tongue, appreciate things like driving away in your car, far away from your house and did I mention to learn to be patient? Is it in every parents' manual that they need have to interfere in their children's lives even when they are adults and have brains to figure things out themselves?

So I guess my point is, although I still have many a challenge, its somehow manageable knowing that there is hope at the end of the tunnel and that if I just did the basics, we will be blessed and there will always be a tomorrow where we can try again because all that is required of us is our best.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

long long time

Oka, the cobwebs are so thick in here…so many years no update and no, there isn't an excuse. Just kids, work, lack of internet connection and life in general got in the way. And now am finding myself with unlimited and FAST internet connection and the need to rant - the two ingredients to a long awaited post.

So where are we? Well the biggest news as of now is this:

Baby number four and number last just made an appearance almost two weeks ago at 6.48am Friday 3rd October. We named him David Charlie after two of John's most helpful and reliable relatives. He came at 38 weeks 4 days - the day before his Dad and older brothers were due to arrive from Samoa. And like all new borns, he is perfection at its best that has given me long hours of no sleep, dirty diapers and sore nipples but ironically, it all seems worth it when he coos and seems to enjoy it when I cuddle him.



So when we went to have my scan and found we were having a boy (we have boy, boy, girl now) hubby looked at me and reminded me that we had a "deal" that if this baby were a boy, we had to try again for a girl so Vaetoefaga could have a sister….after months of spewing and being uselessly useless, I looked at hubby and said, "Good laaaack with that because this is the last baby coming out of this vajayjay!" He tried for weeks thereafter to convince me but nah, sorry mate but this factory is CALLOSED!

So we are currently in Auckland living with the inlaws until baby's passport etc are sorted. Truth be told, I am in no rush to go home however, the two older boys are being attacked by fleas and this alone has fuelled my desire to go home earlier than expected. Also, I miss my plants. And the help. And my car. Okay, maybe I miss home more than I think but right now, am trying to enjoy what NZ has to offer particularly the internet. Did I mention that it is unlimited? And FAST?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Change is in the air!

So its Christmastime and as usual, for me, it brings a lot of stress. Everything just all seems to be happening at this time of year. Its the time when people rush around to finish things off before the year ends. Then there's shopping to be done. And family to have over from overseas. And gifts to be exchanged. And functions to go to. Parties to plan, birthdays to remember. And bank accounts depleting. Its just always such a hectic and stressful time of year for me. This year however has been somewhat different for me. Nothing has changed about the traffic and silly taxi drivers. Work too is hectic with planning our Christmas function not to mention the many work-related reports we have to read and comment on. So life around me has stayed the same but it still felt like there is a difference. And then it dawned on me and I realised what has changed. I have changed.

This time last year (and other years previous to that), Christmas usually meant a lot of parties to go to which meant a lot of alcohol to consume which meant a lot merry-ing to be done! As I was going through this thought chain, I realised that if this is what Christmas meant for me in the past, then really, I had lost the real meaning of Christmas because I am feeling the spirit of it now and it truly feels new to me. At this very moment I am planning out in my head how I want this year, for our Christmas to be different. I want it to be focused entirely on my family and the children in particular to learn more about our Saviour's birth. Not just to get presents and place them under the tree with their name on it and tell them it was from Santa. I would also very much want them to play an active part in learning about the birth of Christ. A freind convinced me to do a nativity play with the kids playing the different parts. At first, it all sounded very complicated to me. I mean hey, me? Write a play and bring the whole thing together? Yeah right. But like I said, this friend convinced me and told me all I needed to do was read Luke chapter 2. Its apparently all in there. So, out came my scriptures and the first thing I read is this: And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from C├Žsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. I didnt understand what it meant to be taxed so I asked. Lo and behold, I learnt right there and then that the reason why Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem was to go and pay their taxes! After telling this story to couple other friends, I realised that my goodness...I still have lots to learn! Everyone else seemed to know this. How come I didnt? Because believe or not, I never read Luke 2 before. Heck, I never read the bible as a book before. I read things here and there but never read it as a book.

So back to my story about Christmas. I guess what I am getting at is that I am feeling the Christmas spirit so much more. I am not denying that its still hectic, busy and stressful. But, I feel a calmness, peace. I have changed and my perspective has changed. I am able to feel more joy - like real joy, not tipsy happy from Brown Brothers, Cienna red wine! It feels like I am finally getting quality in my life because I am doing right (or at least trying/stiving to do right). I was once told that some people see Gods commandments as restrictive. I am finding though that because I am trying to do right, I am being set free. Alcohol and the lifestyle that it had lead me to no longer has me captive. I no longer feel guilty at not seeing my kids for 24hrs. I was getting into the habbit of going for drinks after work. Good intentions of having one drink never lasts because one drink lead to another and another and next thing you know, the police are there to close the bar. I get home and the kids are asleep and will only be able to see them the next morning. And then that not even much because I would almost always have a major hangover to nurse so if a child so much as raises their voice, they would get a smack instantly! I guess I just have been doing a lot of reflection and it has made me realise that there is wisdom in the Prophet's counsel not to drink and do certain things. So instead of seeing the commandments as restrictive, they are actually protective and allows us more freedom. Its weird but I am experiencing this and its really nice to be learning of the ideal, practicing it and then realising that life is so much better. Its exactly as it was promised it would be if we obeyed.
So to that, Merry Christmas bloggers! I am off to Aotearoa for Christmas and NYs and for the first time in years, I am really looking forward to Christmas this year!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Friends

It never ceases to amaze me how blessed I am to have good friends. I can claim that I have lots of friends if I counted all the people I went to School or uni with. But in actual fact, there are only a handful of people I would complain to about John or call to look after my kids. Even within these circle of a handful of friends, only a couple of them I would ask to look after my kids. And its weird that this handful of friends although you are very close to, some of them don’t know each other and yet, to me, it feels like they should. And each one of them serves for you a purpose at different areas in my life. Sometimes, you would be spending more time with one than the other. But each time you get together to catch up, you talk and talk and talk and carry on as though there was no time in between.
If I were to count, I would say at this point in time, there are maybe five people I would count in this handful.

There is my (technically, aunt) cousin who is the gardener, home maker and creative butterfly who I have to plan time to call her because we would talk for hours on end about anything really. What’s been happening, plans for the weekend, cooking with veges, starting a walking schedule and so on. I love visiting her house because even though its one of those typical houses built by the village kamuka with very rough edges – the kitchen sink tap water streams straight out of a pvc pipe, no actual faucet, just a knob to turn it off and on – I love it because she’s made it a home. There are herbs growing out of odd containers in her kitchen. The kids have their own space and toys are arranged in different containers. Odd bits and pieces make up her furniture but each item is comfortable. There is an orderly feel about her place that I just love. Her garden has everything from pineapples to cucumbers to mint to pink teuilas to avoka to sasalapa. Her oldest is 11 days older than Maaveave so is one of the candidates when it comes to looking for a babysitter.

Another cousin who I never thought is a kid person but now has two of her own and has no problems managing small (sometimes very difficult) people. I wouldn’t say she’s a natural in the kitchen (and neither would she) but the things she does make I would keep eating and eating. I’ve tasted some of the best food at her place and she almost always has a stash of goodies for those sleepovers that involves little or no sleeping at all. The first person I would call with a problem, the first person I would call if I were bored. Even the times she’s said “I don’t know” when I’ve asked some difficult, crazy-induced question, I still feel like the fact that there is someone I can bounce and even voice my insane thoughts to seems enough. I totally trust her that if John and I were to die tomorrow, she is the only person I could really seriously entrust my children with.

We are related somewhere down the line (isn’t everyone on this island?) but we are comfortable with just “bestest” friends. Very thought provoking and modern woman that I had known from my uni days and have been stuck with ever since. We share so many similarities and have travelled parallel journeys so many times in our lives as young women in a close-knit society such as that on this island. Another victim for my crazy outbreaks who has been there for me with a shoulder to cry on and tissues for my pathetic tears. My deepest darkest secrets she knows and I find I can be completely honest with her too. I can confide in her knowing she will never judge me or be disappointed in me (well she never makes me feel like she is) but will at the same time help me see further down the road where its brighter and greener.

Then there's my childhood friend I have known for like ever but nowadays its hard to find time to meet and chat. When we do though, we go on and on and there is never a shortage of news. I am so blessed to have close friends and just so many people around me that are so ready to lend an ear to hear your troubles and a hand to help you up when the world seems to be on my shoulders. Little do they know that they have had a hand in answering a small, humble prayer.