Family grieves from a distance

Wreaths and condolence messages in front of Naibuka Vuli’s house at Nacokaika settlement in Naitasiri. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

NAIBUKA Vuli, 45, could not take his wife and newborn son to his Baulevu, Nausori home for burial – but his family there made sure he knew he was not grieving alone.

Yesterday they placed wreaths outside his home and stuck condolence messages on the door of his empty home.

A The Fiji Times had featured Mr Vuli on the front page of yesterday’s edition after a team found him in a queue outside the Ministry of Health headquarters in Suva.

He said he was hoping to get a pass to leave the Suva containment area and take the bodies of his wife and child to Baulevu.

His wife’s nephew, Meli Waqabaca, told a The Fiji Times team in Nausori that the funeral took place at Narere, Nasinu yesterday.

“When you lose someone you give them comforting hugs and share fond memories, but COVID-19 has robbed us of this support structure,” he said.

“Although its heartbreaking, I’m glad there’s close family too on the other side who were there.

“The only thing we on this side could do was to watch the funeral rites on Facebook.”

Mr Vuli said he had to comply with all the COVID-19 restrictions.

“It was sad as our community could not pay their last respects to my wife, but it was the safest thing to do,” he said. “But I also had some close family in Narere.”

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