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Bittersweet Father's Day for Tiumalu

For 82-year-old father Tiumalu Ropati Fuifui, another Father’s Day annual celebration has come around, but this time without his lifelong sweetheart by his side.

His wife, Suluvale Ropati Fuifui, passed on last week and celebrating Father’s Day this year will not be the same again.

Despite his and his family’s loss, he is positive that his heart can heal from her abrupt departure, though so long as he puts his mind into it.

"Just like the love of God, our love amongst one another is the strongest weapon in this whole wide world and I thank God for providing us with such love which we can rely on at any time of trouble," he said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

"This Father's Day will definitely be different for me and my children as my sweetheart recently passed away a week before Father's Day, but I can still feel her warmth here in our home, our church and inside my heart."

And memories are meant to last a lifetime and this is what Tiumalu will hold and cherish as he continues another chapter of his life, but this time without his wife.

"Sometimes there are memories waiting to be made right in your own backyard," he said and smiled.

Tiumalu is a high chief of his family at Matamatanonofo in Falelatai.

He attributes his longevity in life to his belief in God and urged up-and-coming fathers to become strong in their faith. 

In parting advice to young fathers, he urged them to build their families in the traditional Samoan culture and to always be accountable as fathers. 

"In any family especially in the Samoan system, fathers are the heads of the families. We see a lot of challenges and saddening news about other fathers and their families but take a step back and seek knowledge from God, ask him to guide you into the right path and be accountable fathers despite your age."

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