IN a striking act of forgiveness, the family of slain Tongan national Sisi Patolo and her baby Sarah yesterday declared they had forgiven the suspect in the gruesome killings.
The message was delivered via two eulogies that were filled with an outpouring of love and compassion for the suspect over the deaths of the 33-year-old and her seven-month-old daughter.
"We forgive you," said Tongan pastor and cousin of the deceased, Paea-i-Fulton Taufatofua.
"We love you and we will pray for you and your family.
"On behalf of my family who are here and around the world, we want to tell you that we have forgiven you for what had happened.
"There are times we do things we don't understand. I felt for you, I pray for you that out of this tragic incident, the almighty God will change and touch your life and bring you home again."
There was not a dry eye at the Jone Wesele Church at Viseisei Village in Lautoka as Mr Taufatofua spoke.
Also in attendance at the farewell church service were members of the Tongan community, villagers and residents from nearby communities.
Mr Taufatafou also addressed the family members of the person allegedly involved in the double homicide.
"To the family, I understand you might be feeling bad but I want to tell you that God so loved the world that he sent his only son and whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
"I love your family and I will continue to pray for you and that out of this incident, hope and change will come to you."
The message of peace and reconciliation was relayed in the presence of loved ones, including five-year-old girl Grace Patolo, who was hospitalised after last Wednesday's brutal attack.
She firmly held on to her father's hand throughout the ceremony.
Another speaker, Sesilia Pahulu, said her sister had made her peace with God a few months ago.
"I would like to mention that in the last month, Taufa and I had been communicating via e-mail. She asked for my forgiveness in regards to the wrongdoing and choices she had made over the years and that she had made peace with the Almighty God," Mrs Pahulu said.
"To my sister, you will be missed and always be remembered for your positive attitude, compassion, generosity and love.
"Your memory will live on in my heart forever."
The deceased were buried at the family burial grounds of the Sawaieke clan, close to the chiefly burial ground where the past chiefs of the village are buried.