SILENT tears were shed as he bade his wife a final farewell.
Pio Tuwai cut a solemn figure, watching the last mound of earth hurled over her casket.
His late wife's cousin shared the towering lock would have difficult days ahead, coping in a life without Irinieta Sadria.
Opeti Naio said Tuwai still can't believe that she was really gone.
"He loved her so much," he said.
"Everything he did, he did it for her and their two children."
He said the faithful husband was by the bedside of his sick wife during the seven months she was seriously ill.
"He never left her side. The only time that he left him was when he had to go and play in other countries.
"Even when he was away, he would call them every day to make sure that they were okay."
At the final homecoming service for the late nurse in Namosau, Ba, yesterday, his rugby sevens colleagues — Osea Kolinisau and Emosi Vucago — stood by his side.
The two rugby stars had arrived with Fiji Rugby Union officials and new Fiji 15s Coach John McKee.
Irinieta's sister Alesi Batisaresare said her sister was bidding her final goodbyes last Sunday.
"He later told us that she was saying goodbye to him and just asked him to take care of the two girls - Makirina and Joyce," she said.
Irinieta passed away on May 27 after succumbing to a long illness.
She is survived by Tuwai and their two daughters.