After our mother passed away, life was never the same again. Our father took up two roles; he became our mother and also our father. I couldn’t imagine what he was going through himself, having lost his wife, his soul mate and his best friend and now he has to look after his two kids who were both too young to loose their mother.
I tried my best to help dad but I think I gave him more work instead of being helpful. Dad did a great job at raising us up, always making sure we were okay, that our studies were our first priority and to always excel at everything we did.
My grandmother returned to Fiji after working in the States. She moved in with us, I thought it was good that she moved in, at least she kept dad company, I would hear them laugh and talk about the time dad was a kid and all the mischief he got up too.
I was happy, as long as dad and my brother were happy I was happy. Life wasn’t easy, I struggled I was still getting over my mother’s death so it made things hard for me, it got harder when it was parent’s day at school, or when your friends ask about her even when I was around my mum’s family, it made me miss her so terribly.
Everyone would ask ‘How are you coping?’ or ‘How’s things?’ what was I suppose to say ‘oh yea, everything is fine, my mum just passed away doesn’t affect me at all in any way.’
People say time heals everything but it doesn’t, what it did do was make it worse. I couldn’t do anything without thinking about my mum, everywhere I turned something would remind me of her, a song, a movie, the smell of sweet corn soup or sweet and sour fish, her favourite commercial on TV or the smell of her favourite perfume.
I became depressed I thought to myself saying ‘you can’t be happy, your mum just passed away, it would be so wrong to be happy.’ I began to believe in it and that thought became me.
My dad, brother and I would talk about what would happen if dad remarried, we would discuss what sort of woman he would be interested in, how tall or short she should be, what shape he would like and we would have a laugh. We would pray and ask God to send a beautiful woman to dad if it was God’s plan for dad to marry again.
I for sure had some reservations, I would toss and turn in bed thinking of the worst, ‘Dad can’t get married again, it’s too soon, mum just passed away’ I would think ‘ what if she’s so mean, like in the movies or what if he falls in love and totally forgets about us’, just thinking about it made be feel uneasy.
My brother was excited about the thought, I would always tell him, ‘you can’t be stupid, you have to think things carefully,’ he would stare at me ‘you have to think of dad’, he would throw back at me ‘ I am thinking about dad I’m thinking about all of us, what if he meets someone and she’s so mean to us?’ ‘So?’ he asked ‘so your fat head! I’m not letting anyone mistreat us and especially dad, if the lady he brings home is mean to us, we are running away!’
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One afternoon my dad sat us both down in his room, he came in and shut the door behind him. ‘This must be serious’, I thought to myself, he only shuts the door if it’s something serious.
‘So’, he started ‘I just want to let you both know that I’ve met someone’, he smiled ‘what?’ I replied sounding shocked ‘really?’ my brother sounded excited ‘yes,’ he replied. He stood up from the bed and opened the cupboard drawer, he pulled something out from the drawer then walked back with it to the bed, he sat down. I was so nervous meanwhile my brother was so happy. My dad showed us this piece of paper and it was a photo, a photo of this woman.
My brother and I looked at each other and both smiled ‘Awww Ta she is beautiful’, I smiled ‘what’s that on her nose?’ my brother pointed ‘sechi, don’t ask that’, I pushed his head, we all laughed. ‘Is she nice?’ I asked dad ‘how long have you known her? Where did you meet? Will she treat us well?’ I looked a bit concerned. ‘Luvequ, I would never bring someone home or to meet the both of you if I didn’t think she wouldn’t be able to treat you both well. You have to trust me on this’ he replied.
One thing I absolutely love about my dad is that he was always able to seat us both down and be completely open with us. In our Fijian tradition and culture it’s a taboo but with dad everything was natural, yes we were a bit scared of him, aren’t we all scared of our father’s at one point in life.
A few months after we had that discussion, a date was planned for us to meet this beautiful woman that my father has been talking too. I was a ball of sweat; I was so nervous I felt like I was at the dentist about to be injected in the mouth. ‘Would she like me, would she like us, will she just be like mum?’ all these thoughts consumed me, I didn’t know how to act, to be nice or to be difficult. We pulled up to a driveway and parked, dad looked at us and smiled ‘easy for him to smile’, and I thought as I rolled my eyes ‘here she comes’, dad said as he started the car again. She got in and sat in passenger seat and turned around ‘Hi’, she said as she kissed us both and the rest became history.
Today, a few years later we are happier then we could have imagine, it’s amazing how this great God works, when mum passed, never in my imagination did I think that God would replace her with such a humble, loving and nurturing soul.
Little did she know that when mum passed we were praying for her, well, especially dad. She’s extremely humble, understanding in all her ways and most importantly she treated us just like her own children. She never ill treated us like we see in all those step mother movies, no, she loved us and worked tirelessly to support both of us, I know it must have been hard to rise two kids you didn’t know but she has done a marvellous job and she still is doing a fantastic job. Over the next few years she began to fill that empty hole in our hearts and also the unfinished duties of my late mother.
We take this Great God for granted, sometimes we only seek him when it fits us, we only seek him when we face circumstances or when we need a job etc but He never leaves us or forsake us, His always waiting for us and His knocking at our door so we can open it and invite him in, His come through for many of us and we don’t thank Him enough.
Looking back at my life I’m so grateful to God for what has happened, our little family went from the 3 of us to the 7 of us and I wouldn’t trade my beautiful family for anything, I’m enormously blessed.
Lots of love Phee xo