by Lagi Keresoma
APIA: WEDNESDAY 21 AUGUST 2013: They were close and always at the forefront of family matters that arose in Samoa.
They lived in different countries overseas but Tualasea Valelia Faofua, 64, Atonio Luki Alefosio, 62, Tautiauli Manuele Alefosio and Toleafoa Paulo Alesana, 57, always returned to Samoa to attend to family, said relatives who spoke at the family service last night for the siblings, killed last week in a traffic accident.
They asked questions in the struggle to make sense of the tragedy like, “Is this a curse or a blessing in disguise?” and “Why take the four in the middle of 11 children?”
“Maybe this was their way of ensuring unity in the family, for them to die in Samoa so we could all travel to their funeral,” Tualasea’s husband Faofua.
Some of the deceased’s children have never met before until now.
“Now we meet for the first time to bury them,” said one of Tautiauli’s daughters.
Being here amongst her cousins and relatives, she felt the “love and the strength of the family bond that always drew dad here.”
Taualasea’s son Reagan spoke of how his mother always tried to bring everyone together.
“Whenever she felt something was wrong, she with her brother Toleafoa, Atonio and Tautiauli dropped everything and traveled to Samoa,” he said through tears.
Toleafoa, resident of Sydney, Australia, would lure his siblings back to Samoa.
“Uncle Toleafoa was a hard man but he was the one that led everyone back to Samoa,” said Reagan.
Tautiauli, an ex-United States marine who lived in Seattle, was described by his father in law as a “humble, loving and respectful man.”
Whilst Toleafoa was described as a “loving and hard man,” Tautiauli was “quiet and reserved,” and Tualasea, the “anchor” of the family.
Atonio was the family comedian who set up an immigration service in California to help Samoans to travel and to live in America.
They were laid to rest today after a requiem mass St. Peter Chanel’s parish at Lotoso’a, where they grew up.