A DAY before Christmas and a remarkable story of unfailing and enduring love has emerged from one of the worst cyclone-hit regions in the country.
Through teary eyes, a 66-year-old woman's love for her handicapped husband is told — her commitment to their "till death do us part" vows unbreakable — even as Tropical Cyclone Evan shattered everything that surrounded them.
Grandmother Seruwaia Sau refused to leave husband Jone's side when wind of up to 270 kilometres an hour smashed their home to pieces at Natawa Village on Waya Island in the Yasawa Group, leaving only a bed for them to shelter under.
The couple were trapped under the bed for six hours before some village men came to their rescue.
"My husband cannot walk and has been bedridden for years," said Mrs Sau.
"He told me several times to leave but we are both old and have been together for so long. I didn't want a cyclone to separate us.
"I made a lifelong commitment to him and was ready for the consequences of this decision," Mrs Sau said during an interview with The Fiji Times. The couple have been married for more than 40 years.
Mr Sau said they were alone at home when the wind intensified.
"It was one of the most terrifying hours but right now I thank the Almighty Lord for giving me another day to be with my wife," he said. "There are two beds in our house and both of us were lying on each bed when Evan struck."
"After a while I heard a loud sound and the next thing I could feel was the rain dropping on me," said Mr Sau.
"I called on my wife and she told me that part of the roof had been blown away so I told her to hide under the bed.
"For me, since I cannot stand, I just rolled over and fell from the bed and then I struggled to get under it.
"While under the bed I continued calling my wife to find out whether she was alright and I was happy that every time I called she answered me, so I knew she was still alive. I then told her to leave me behind and look for a place to take cover but she insisted she'd stay with me.
"We were there for about six hours. The next thing I remember is a group of boys in the village calling me saying, 'Tai John we are coming to take you'.
"I got a shock when the boys dragged me out and I saw my house was no more. I am still trying to make sense of what happened, how we survived such a frightening ordeal," said Mr Sau.
The couple are now residing at a nephew's home in the village.