Tuiloma Pule Lameko might have been a statesman to the eyes of all Samoans but at his home, he was simply a loving father to his children.
And when all was said and done with the state funeral formalities at Tuana’imato yesterday, Tuiloma’s children and family had one last chance to farewell him before he was lowered to his final resting place at Alafua.
Rev. Elder Tavita Anesone, of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Alafua, conducted a short prayer service before his burial.
He encouraged the family and children to remain strong in the Lord and to know that Tuiloma had been called home.
The Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II was among officials in attendance, including the former Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and Member of the Council of Deputies, Tapusatele Le Mamea Ropati Mualia.
Mourners sang a Samoan song: ‘Talofa uso e, tofaina, ua sau le itupo e malolo, tofā, tofā!” when they bid him farewell.
O’omifaaniualeale Tuafalasina Tuiloma Filoialii Simanu Urika Saifoloi couldn’t contain herself at the sight of his brother being buried.
“Tuiloma my brother, my heart has become weak because of loving you,” she said as she wept.
She spoke about how far her brother has come and the achievements in life that he has made. Something which nearly did not happen when Tuiloma became sick at a young age.
“There was a time when Lameko, who is now known as Tuiloma, was sick. We had searched for a cure in the hospital and everywhere but there was no solution. Our family became hopeless then we went and got our grandfather to pray for Lameko. Simanu looked at him and said, you have become really ill haven’t you son? And Lameko just stared at him without a word."
“I would never forget the words of his prayer, he said ‘our heavenly father, if Lameko would be of good use to building your kingdom on earth or the government, I beg that you will restore his strength to be a vessel for you.’
“Ever since that day we saw changes within him physically. He started to become strong once again.”
She recalled his journey as a Parliamentarian.
“There was a time when he was a candidate in the election and he was unsuccessful. But at the time he was known as the Chief Title Pule, which is from his mother’s family.
“When he lost his campaign, he came to us and I told him, God works in mysterious ways in a person’s life. It is time for you to go back to Falealili to rebuild our father’s house. Secondly work with the people in your community. Don’t forget God in everything that you do."
“After when you have done all those things then get ready to go again to be a candidate but this time carry the title Tuiloma."
“Tuiloma was passed on to my father by my grandfather then now passed on to Lameko. We told him, as long as you are alive and you stand before Parliament, you will always be known as Tuiloma.”
Despite struggling to walk, she has travelled all the way from Melbourne, Australia to see her brother one last time.
“During the last funeral that we all came to with our other brother, he said to us if I die, please hurry home to where I am and so we have come."
“The last time I saw him and as we said goodbye, he told me, if I die then you have to say something about me at my funeral and if you die I will come and I will testify to everyone about you."
“This is why I have come from miles away, to keep my word to my brother."
“It has been a year since I had surgery. My knees have become weak and I use crutches to help me walk. I am starting to become old despite my condition I still came because I wanted to see my brother one last time.”
Tuiloma will be sorely missed by his five sisters especially O’omifaaniualeale.
“This brother of mine, we rely on him for everything that we need. Even with introducing one of my sons who is serving the church to the new village that he has been called to serve in."
“Tuiloma is always the one who is the orator in our family. He is the one we call every time when certain things like this happens."
She had one last message for Tuiloma.
“The psalmist says that my heart has become weak because of love. We have no one to fall back on; it’s just us girls that are now left."
“We would not forget you, you were a family man, you loved others and you always valued us as your sisters. Rest easy my brother.”
At the end of the service, a gun salute by Police followed before traditional formalities at the Tuana’imato Gym.