‘Give my love to mom’

An emotional Toga Kalougata kneels beside his wife's memorial site near Navetau Village in Cakaudrove. Picture SERAFINA SILAITOGA

AS she prepares to farewell her mom tomorrow, five-year-old Anaseini Kalougata contacted her dad, Toga Kalougata yesterday morning and gave her final request: Ta, qai loloma yani vei na (Dad, give my love to mom).

Her mom, Taraivosa Kacilala, who died after a helicopter crash in Natewa Bay two Fridays ago, will be laid to rest tomorrow on Taveuni.

After hearing the news that her mom and baby brother Epeli Jeremiah did not make it to the Labasa Hospital, her dad said Anaseini would take out EJ’s clothes (Epeli Jeremiah as he is known), hold it tightly and cry.

While hugging her baby brother’s clothes, she would tell her dad: Ta kedaru lai kauta dua na waqa daru lai qalo i wai me kau mai o Jeremiah kei na (dad, we go in a boat and swim in the water to bring back Jeremiah and mom).”

And as he stood by the shores of Navetau Village in Saqani yesterday afternoon, Mr Kalougata could not hold back his tears as he knelt beside his wife’s memorial site and with closed eyes, uttered a prayer of thanksgiving to the Almighty God.

“Turaga, me yaco na nomuni lewa. Vinaka vakalevu na nomuni loloma (Lord, your will be done and thank you so much for your love),” he said as he knelt by the memorial site.

He thanked the villagers for their support and for setting up the memorial site.

Villagers joined him at the site with flowers and a piece of masi which was laid across the memorial spot.

Describing his experience as a father in having to lose his wife and son in this helicopter crash, Mr Kalougata said it was the most difficult situation to face.

“Only God’s peace and love in my life has held me together these past days since hearing the tragic news of my wife and son,” he said.

“Please appreciate your family members while you are alive because we don’t know what the future holds for us.

“I thank all the villagers and government officials, the police, navy and military who have worked tirelessly in searching for my missing son EJ. God bless you all abundantly.”

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