79. Heart Wrenching Fever

I’m feeling the need to recap slightly.  

Seven and a half years have now passed since I left my island home of Fiji to settle in America.  I’m feeling desperate to see my family.  I needn’t reiterate the hefty price tag attached to this desire of mine.  

A seed planted in my brain way back in my youthful Fiji days came to mind.  There was a friend of mine who had told me, “If you want to see the world, work on a ship!”  He worked on the SS Mariposa and if you can recall I did actually take his advice.  More to the current situation I previously stated the possibility of my working on a Merchant Marines ship going in that direction.  

This would make the visit a reality and at the same time I’d earn money for the support of my children as my family is my first and foremost dedication.  I’m seeing it as a win, win!  C - theatre dtlaSusan and Lisa right next door made it extra comforting.  Then Diana wouldn’t feel lonely and she’d have help with the children; the family is there for one another.  So let’s pick up from there.  

During this time, I asked around to people who may have worked or are currently working on passenger/cargo ships.  

I was advised to take a trip up to San Francisco where the Seafarers’ Union was located.  They would help me land a job on a ship a lot easier than if I tried without the Union in the Los Angeles area.  That was the word at the docks.

Again Diana and I had a serious discussion to reiterate my determination and what all would be involved.  The plan was made to go up north and clearly I would be taking this trip on my own.  I would move around faster and get straight to the points, not to mention financially, it would be easier.

As fate chose to have its way, a couple of days prior to my leaving for San Francisco both of our sons somehow became very ill and with rising fevers.  

We took them to the family doctor who after looking them over and in all his current wisdom made his diagnosis,  “… so keep them cool and be sure they take in as much clear fluids as possible.  Constantly check their temperature and if it doesn’t break bring them immediately to the emergency room!”  It was pneumonia and he wrote a prescription.

We returned home with the boys and their prescribed medication.  I prepared a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water, putting in some face towels.  We placed the cold towels on their foreheads and patted down their little bodies in hopes of relieving their fevers.  

For whatever reasons, this wasn’t working; Diana and I didn’t hesitate for a moment in getting them to the emergency room at Saint John’s Hospital.

Straight away they took in both of the boys.  Amar our eldest, was placed into a bath of ice cold water in hopes of reducing the fever swiftly.  They had taken the younger Alok into a different room.

The emergency room staff’s efforts with Amar worked and soon after, his fever broke.  They would release him after a couple of observation hours.  Diana and I were to say the least, relieved in that good news.  In the same moments we were being informed of their efforts with Alok in that, they were not so successful.

Of course we knew it was absolutely necessary to keep Alok in the hospital overnight at the very least, he simply must win this battle with the unrelenting fever which reduced itself only ever so slightly.  

We quickly talked it over and Diana took Amar home while I stayed in the room with Alok.  His tented bed was oxygenated and at the same time would keep out any nasty germs.  I promised my wife I’d call before bedtime and update her of his progress.  

I was so completely distressed to see my little baby boy lying there, knowing that I was helpless to do anything more but pray.  In light of my traumatic heart ache a few years back, I admit, I was scared.



21. Tamavua Hurricane!

A few weeks later I found a 1 bedroom apartment in Tamavua which was near to my eldest sister’s home.  Still trying to make a ‘go’ of my marriage I shared this news with my wife.  Having the knowledge that it would be just the two of us and possibly other factors -I don’t really know, she actually agreed to move in with me.

Just a couple of weeks into our attempt, our struggle -cannot lie as it was such- another surprise was dished up.  I came in from work one afternoon and Hemma was not at home, as was the normal scene.  Our apartment was trashed and I mean like ransacked!  Clothing, groceries, bedding, papers you name it, strewn all about the place.

I found no note, no dear John letter, no obvious reason for this scene and no, the thought never crossed my mind that she may have been in danger.  We were clearly in a troubled relationship and well, in my gut it was plain that she did this damage herself.  What!?   I’m being honest here about what I felt at the moment; judge if you must.

I understood nothing and I knew even less than that.  Frozen in the corner of the room just looking around, aloud I cried, ‘Oh God!  Why did she do this?’  I thought if she wanted to leave me, just leave!

This takes so much poison and hatred in one’s system to do such a thing, think about it; the energy spent in destruction.  Intense hatred, lack of knowledge and God knows what else it takes to fuel such obliteration.  How much more torment and painful heartache must one endure, I just had to ask myself this question …only repeatedly it seemed.

And in all fairness, at some small point in this time, I realized she’s suffering something of her own heart and mind, right?  I mean massive pain can cause one to do … I still don’t think it’s right to be destructive.

I know, I know we all handle things differently, I get that.  Alas I can only speak for myself and I do know that I didn’t betray her trust.  I must go to the ocean, wash my face and awake myself from this nightmare!

After a while I called my sister, telling her what I came home to.  The family came right away and assisted me with a clean-up.  I packed my things and they took me back to my mother’s home.

At this point my family was ready to go to war with my in-laws.  My mama (elder uncle) came as soon as he could in order to try and calm everyone down; get our heads screwed back on.  We had to be logical in our thoughts and plans.


In retrospect, as I’ve experienced the remaining 64 years of my life, I really do not blame her for some of the behavior she demonstrated.  I saw for myself that there are certain types of parents who do interfere too much, causing confusion for their young children who are just trying to act grown-up within the situations which their parents put them in, in the first place.

Her reactions at that time must’ve been perhaps a defense mechanism for all that her young life had already dished up as she really was still, only a child herself.  I was not so much more grown-up than that.  The one difference I had going on was that I had left Fiji for a while and saw there was more to life than what the eyeball currently saw every morning.

19. There Are No Words …

I know there are countless souls out there who empathize with the loss of a loved one, a child, perhaps your child; and with all my heart, I am so very sorry.

So I know you get it when I say there really are no words to express how you and I are feeling and every set of circumstances surrounding our loss keeps it impossible to compare … but we can try at some point to share at the very least.  I’m at that point now.

I’m going to go forward presently because I have not spoke of this in any depth for more than a half century.  It is like it has just happened, now that I bring it to the surface.

Once back at the house, my son’s wrapped remains are gently and lovingly placed in the middle of our living room.  Here also we had laid my nana and my father.  The pundit commenced with the puja and the traditional rituals for the dead.  The process of saying good night my sweet angel was underway.  Deep breaths; this continued well into the night.

In the morning it was time to take our baby to the *burial ground.  As practiced at the time in our Hindu culture **only men were allowed to cremate or bury a body.  Women were not permitted by tradition to even be present; yes, regardless if the departed was female or male.

We took my son to the Vatuwaqa Cemetery.  It sat on a hill overlooking the sea.  The grief, the heartbreak, the suspended state in which there’s nothing but disbelief, and it’s all too real.  There we were.

My maternal uncle, the very same whose shop I used to sell my kites in, had said many comforting words including something about squaring up a debt, in attempt to make it easier to accept.  Of course none could dispel any of the pain, I just couldn’t seem to get that boulder off of my heart and I do not remember even trying to.

But his words which resounded through my tears and heartache, remaining with me through all these years were, “He is a very pure soul so never worry for him.  He has returned home to heaven.” 

I won’t even try to put into words which can be so awkward, what it felt like when I laid him down directly into the earth, swaddled in the wrapped blanket.  There is no casket.  I then placed a handful of marigolds and white carnations upon his little body.

The immediate family members followed suit and then I began to cover him with the soil of Fiji.  The soil of my mother’s birthplace, of my birthplace, the place of my son’s birth …and now his body’s permanent resting place.

Not loud enough for anyone but my son I said, ‘Go my son, you are free now.’  Today and everyday since he passed back in 1955, I have kept him in that quiet, blissful place of my heart knowing full well that in there, he cannot be taken from me ever again.


*burial ground   in the ways of Hindu religion, most all deceased are cremated.  I won’t get into the details of this subject but just to assist in the understanding as is relative to what LBM is saying: But not so in the case of young ones, they are buried.

Up to what age where this no longer applies is variable but usually not past three or four.  It is believed that a person so young has not made the attachment to the body which an older person would have, therefore Aatma Ram! (the soul) didn’t need purification, which is the duty of the 🔥.

**only men were allowed    over the recent years, this tradition seems to have lost the strictness of men only and now more often than not, women are present.  However it still comes down to men only at the actual point of cremation.