The Merriam Webster’s dictionary states that a life span is the average length of life of a kind of organism or of a material object, especially in a particular environment or under specified circumstances. It is basically the length of time in which a person or animal lives or a thing functions. The process of this paper is to write about the life of such a strong and independent woman who has had so much impact in my life. From the good to the bad, she had motivated me to be the person that I am today. During the time of her being alive, i would have small mental breakdowns and life was just not as grieving as it is right now. The passing of my grandmother has changed my perception of life and how I view things.
What is a lifespan? The Merriam Webster’s dictionary states that a life span is the average length of life of a kind of organism or of a material object, especially in a particular environment or under specified circumstances (Merriam-Webster Dictionary 1928). There are specific things I would like to write about. I would be writing about the life of someone that will always hold a special place in my heart. This person has affected me in so many ways that no words can explain. From the way I think, talk, and walk.
I would just like to start off with inputting a little information about this person. The arrival of this specific person was on the 3rd of November in the year of 1953. She has been a role model in the lives of those who she crossed paths with. Although she was disliked by some people, it never stopped her from loving those certain people. She brought smiles everywhere she went even when she knew she wasn’t okay. A God-fearing lady was who she was. She was born and raised in Fitiuta Manu’a, and had to move to Tutuila for financial reasons. My great grand-mother (rest in peace) then moved with my grandmother to what is known now Atu’u. This is where it all began.
Fast forward to when I was born, my grandma did not want to be in any contact with my parents because she told them that she did not want a girl. All of this information was obtained from my parents. Anyways, as I turned 3 months, my grandma decided to accept the fact that I was a girl and she should try to make connections with her grand-daughter. As my parents are telling me this, tears are flowing non-stop all because of such a reaction I have received from my own grandmother. My parents also said that my grandmother would only ask for my brothers at times and would not ask for me because she felt as if I did not deserve her love and affectionate but my brothers. The things I did not understand for I was too young to even understand. My brother and I were born on the same year yet different months. My parents told me that when my brother turned 1, he had everything a little boy could ever ask for. When I turned 1, my grandma decided to take my brothers to Lions Park and acted as if it was not someone’s birthday.
I never really understood what had happened in my life when I was younger, but I would say it is better that I did not understand the way she acted. I remember when I was a third grader at Aua Elementary School, my grandma came to pick my brothers and I from school, except she picked up only my brothers and left me at school. As a youngster I would follow random kids hopping on a school bus even when I had no idea where it was heading. As I was on the bus, the kind hearted bus driver, I believe was from Alofau, asked me where I lived because I looked like a lost boy from Neverland. I remember telling him I was from the village of Atu’u, and we were already in the village of Alega. He asked me who my dad was and I told him that my dad was George and he immediately stopped his bus, called my dad and told my dad I was on his bus. My dad picked me up and scolded me while I was just a little confused about the situation. When we both arrived to our other house in Atu’u, my grandma dragged me out of my dad’s working car and had beaten me up for not coming with my bothers. After beating me up I remember being in the hospital because I have fainted. I was weak and had a fractured rib and broke my arm because my grandma pushed me down the stairs. I woke up to the sight of my dad talking to the doctors about my condition and just dozed out again.
My 6th grade was when I started to understand what was going on in my world. I have experienced the physical and biological changes within my body. This was a phase in life called puberty. As we have learned in class a few weeks back, puberty involves dramatic biological changes. These changes are a part of a long, complex process of maturation that begins even before birth, and their psychological ramifications may continue into adulthood. As I was experiencing puberty, my grandma never really paid attention to what was going on. I felt mad at the world and had suicidal thoughts. I didn’t know what to do but try to call my mom who was living in Lauli’i at the time. You may ask why I’m staying at my grandma’s place but it was because she needed someone to help her with chores at the house. My grandma never really wanted me to come to my mom’s family and again I never really understood why. Throughout my whole childhood phase, I was basically brought up as a boy. I acted like one and I had done what boys do. I never really knew what a ‘girl’ really was. As I was entering the teenager phase, I sat down with my grandma and she had opened up to me about why she was always so hard on me. She told me that she never really meant to treat me the way she did, but instead she did because that was how she was treated when she was young. I have felt so many mixed emotions because on some nights I would consider committing suicide because I thought my own family and my own blood do not even care about. Ever since then, I had anger issues, and would cause problems in school such as fighting. During our vacation in Hawaii on the year of 2013, something had triggered my anger disorder that caused me to beat up my boy cousin. It was so bad, my parents had to seek treatment for my anger problems. We have found a therapist who could treat such a disorder. The treatment was called cognitive behavioral therapy. This is one of the most common types of psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy. The purpose of the treatment is to help an angry person recognize the self-defeating negative thoughts that lie behind anger flare-ups. Patients work with a mental health professional to learn how to manage stressful life circumstances more successfully. This therapy helped me manage my anger problems in the most difficult situations. I had to stay in Hawaii for about 5 months just so I could be able to control my anger problems.
I returned back to Samoa in the summer, and my grandma had told me that I was making progress in handling and dealing with my anger issues. This was when I had all of my 4 sisters. I was an eighth grader and my grandma had a lot of high expectations, since she thought I do not have any more anger problems. I had problems with talking back to my parents and elders in my family. I would run away at times, because I did not know what to do but just to isolate myself from the bad vibes. She had pressured me into participating in different activities in school such as Math in Art, Science Fair, and History Day. I was not interested in any of these things because I was antisocial and did not have any friends to help me with it. As a result of all this pressure, my anger issues had gotten worse and my grandma was scared of who I was becoming. My dad at this time was a coach for the AYFS team 49er’s. My brothers would always bug me about playing but I was also not interested. One night my older brother Puka, came and talked me into playing football. He told me I could use all this anger in me to play such a sport. On October 21st, I woke up and I decided to play football. As we all may think, football is only for boys, but for this girl, football was a way of letting out my anger. I played on the team called ‘Falcons’. On the first week of practice my grandma was very concerned about my decision so she decided to come home early from work just so she could sit in her car and watch me. I was shy at first until a kid called me ‘Big Mama’. After drills, about 15 minutes before practice finishes, our team would run our plays. I was on defense and this kid was on offense. We had called our first play which was ‘Mississippi’ and I instantly knew that this was my opportunity to show this kid who ‘Big Mama’ really was. My grandma was surprised and she came to every single one of my games. I was always positive after every game and my grandma would always have this huge smile on her face. For a person who was put through so much, it made my heart happy that I have finally made my mama proud. Football has changed my life for the better. I would talk back to the coaches except my dad. I would threat some boys on the team because they would label as girly girl. They didn’t know when I crossed that wall at Onesosopo Park, I see myself equivalent to the boys. I got to see what I could and could not do.
At this stage of life was when I really understood what a girl really was. I also experienced my puberty phase. As we learned in class, girls are more likely to go through puberty than guys. My grandma had taught ways a girl should properly sit, walk, talk, and how a ‘girl’ should properly present themself. I had joined the Sunday school, choir, and the youth group. She has encouraged me to be a God-fearing woman. She has taught me how to speak with manners to people with high titles, even if it means that they have scolded me out of nowhere. She has taught me how to read the Bible in the Samoan language. She has taught me everything I know today. The way I cope with my anger issues have changed ever since this woman, lend me a helping hand. Who would have known my worst nightmare, will be my greatest blessing. I have taken first place in Aoga Samoa ever since 2nd grade up to 7th grade Aoga Samoa. My mama was the proudest, and was then my number 1 supporter.
It was my eighth grade graduation, and my grandma had to fly out to Texas for medical reasons. I really wished she was there to witness such a life changing event. I was in total shock when I was announced to be 2nd place overall for Aua Elementary School Class of 2014. I was in total shock I tell you, but the reaction from my grandma really made my heart happy. I never thought my grandma and I would ever mend a broken relationship, especially what she has put me through. The feeling of accomplishing something you ever expected but worked hard for is unexplainable. This woman has made the madness in me calm. At times I would sit and think all this anger began with her, and it had to heal with her.
Ever since my grandma and I started bonding, I was addicted to her love because I have never felt the love she showed me from anyone else. Although my sister’s kind of took over, but I was so obsessed with my grandma. The summer before starting high school, she had told me that she wanted me to join the National Honor Society, because my older brother had disappointed her. I told her that if I do not make it just understand that I tried. My grandma is the kind of person who will continue to have faith in you even if it meant you failed multiple times. During my freshmen year of high school, I had developed feelings for a guy I never thought I would be in love with. Can you guess who it is? Yes, the kid who called me ‘Big Mama’. A relationship of 2 years and 5 months. My grandma again, was disappointed in me because she had a fear of me getting pregnant at such a young age, so she told me to end the relationship and focus on what was supposed to be the goal. I, myself decided to keep the relationship on the down low, because I thought no one would find out. In the tiny school of Faga’itua, everyone knew each other and the teachers knew everyone’s parents. Tell me why I thought it was a good idea to not listen? Even until this day I really would love to know the name of the teacher who snitched on me. I remember the facial expression, and the tone of my grandma’s voice. It broke my heart into pieces and I would never want to wish my grandma to shed another tear just because of me. I never really achieved anything during my freshman year.
My sophomore year was probably the most frustrating yet the funniest year in high school. I was always reminded of what goals to put first, and I remembered I always wished that I could be my brothers. My dad would give me death threats because of my grades. My grandma would encourage me to keep my grades up by sending me clothes and candies and all the good stuff from America. I had to be bribed in order for me to give them what they wanted. I was stressed, depressed, and most of all drowned in so much expectations. On March 22nd, 2016, I got inducted into the National Honor Society, the chapter of Faga’itua High School. I cried the whole time during the ceremony because I always imagined my grandma being there to witness a milestone, I have achieved just for her. She had sent me money just so I could celebrate such an achievement. It was also on that day I had found out that my grandma had cancer. Luckily it was not a malignant tumor it was a benign tumor. I had thought of what would have happened if I lost my grandma at such a young age. The only thing I thought of was to pray on such a situation man-kind could not do. The fact that I could not do anything, broke me into pieces and only motivated me to do better and accomplish what she has set out for me. Throughout my whole high school life, it was dedicated to my grandma. Even when my brothers played football. Every morning before leaving the house we would video chat our grandma just so she could bless us with what we have going on throughout the day. My grandma graduated from Carson High School, but was a die-hard Vikings fan.
I was approaching my senior and last year of high school, and I had hit rock bottom. The only person that could help me climb back to the top was my grandma. She had requested for me to stay strong and always remain my faith into the Lord. I am guessing that this was what kept me alive throughout the bumpy ride of my senior year. I have been taking SAT’s and ACT’s because I wanted to get scholarships and acceptance letters from schools I wanted to attend after I graduate. On May 10th was when I first received my acceptance letter from the Grand Canyon University with a scholarship of $75,000. I was the happiest and my grandma was so proud of me. She told me she believed in me and always instilled her faith in me. At this point of life, I knew I could do the most impossible task. As I have mentioned before, my entire high school was dedicated to my grandma, and this accomplishment was also dedicated to her. May 31st was when I got my second acceptance letter from Southern Oregon University. I felt so many mixed emotions because I never thought I could it, but guess what I did. It was time to make up my mind, to see what school I was going to attend. I had my mind set on Grand Canyon University, because they had a good nursing program and I was already interested in joining. On June 19, 2018, I graduated from Faga’itua High School with high honors, and my grandma was not there to witness my special day because of medical reason. On our way to our DDW, I noticed someone so similar sitting inside I fell to my knees thinking she was in another country. She had told me that she was proud of me and that she would never miss such an accomplishment.
The day after graduation, she had told me that she did not want me attending a school so far away from home. I was heart-broken, because I had worked so hard for everything that she has wanted and it was all a waste. I never wanted to talk to my grandma. My first semester here at the American Samoa Community College was trash. It was only because it wasn’t what I set my heart out for. My grandma gave me advice and told me to found the positivity in what I was doing. During my spring semester I had enjoyed attending ASCC (American Samoa Community College) because of a few friends I had made along the way. She would always remind me to check my advising sheet to see when I could take my nursing classes. Fall semester 2019 registration had started and I came to register, I found out from my nursing advisors that I was able to take my Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) classes, I waited to tell her on the day I was starting. I was so excited and I was itching to tell her. Unfortunately, on August 21st 2019, was when I lost her. She spread her wings and flew to be with the Almighty. I never felt so much pain in life. I blamed myself for never telling her, but I just hope that she is proud of me.
In life, we go through the most difficult situations, but we always have to keep our heads up and keep moving forward. Things never come easy. People can have such an effect on our lives, yet we take advantage of it.