A Mother’s Happy Ending

In a tiny home, on the island of Samoa, the tender picture of a happy ending for one mother is delicately framed around the vision of her children living a life that is better than the difficult one she had—one of neglect. “I was born of parents who dumped me in the bushes,” Aigauputasi Memea uttered quaveringly as she began to reflect on her past.

“A couple found me, and they took me and cared for me. I was cared for by kind and loving [foster] parents and I was their only child,” she continued through tears. Her family was converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the year 1957; a conversion that would later become a strong source of strength for her.

In 1964, Aigauputasi was married. “My marriage was a challenging union because my husband’s unanticipated behaviors chronically afflicted me,” she shared. After years of mistreatment and abuse, he left her to single handedly mother sixteen children, with her youngest being only a year old and her eldest being twenty six years old. “I gave birth to thirteen children and I then adopted three more boys from my relatives who had passed on,” she said. Her daunting role as a single mother was heavily aided by the Relief Society program (an auxiliary program in the LDS church). “I learned a lot of skills from the other mothers in Relief Society, skills that I worked hard to learn and do. The other mothers taught me how to cook a variety of affordable meals and how to plant a garden of vegetables which helped provide food for us. They also taught me how to sew and this skill saved me a lot of money because I would only spend money to buy the materials; and, then I would sew my own children’s uniforms instead of spending more money to find another seamstress,” Aigauputasi expressed.

Despite her age and poverty, she was determined to give her children an education—an opportunity that she had lacked.  “I only made it to form two (ninth grade) and I did not want my children to go through the same life I lived—being under bondage and abuse. I wanted them to live freely and be educated so they could have prosperity and have good families and not depend on me for the rest of their lives. I wanted them to be independent,” Aigauputasi explained. She ascribed her sedulous efforts in putting her children through school to “the ocean.” “I went to the ocean. I sold clams. I dug them up and I sold them to get money to pay for [my children’s] tuition. I really tried. I worked hard so they could go to school.”

At the present moment, three of her eldest children have graduated from college. Her eldest son graduated from the University of the South Pacific with his Bachelors of Science in Agriculture and now works at the Red Cross in Samoa and is also the owner of “Le Tama Toa” Auto parts store. Her other son has graduated from Brigham Young University of Hawaii with his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and is now employed at Delta Airlines as a corporate officer. Her eldest daughter graduated from Brigham Young University of Hawaii with her Bachelors of Science in Information Systems and is now currently working at the Church Education System in Samoa as a payroll Accountant. Aigauputasi’s youngest child is currently serving his full time mission in the Marshall Islands for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Her other children are happily married and are currently living in different parts of the world.

After years of working hard to put her children through school, Aigauputasi shared an immense amount of gratification and humility to God for the success of her children and their survival. “I know my life was very challenging. I was left alone when my parents died and then my husband left me and my children. It was very difficult. It wasn’t easy for me to raise many children by myself but I prayed and depended on my Father in Heaven to help me.” When asked if she had received the happy ending she had envisioned she said, “Yes, although we are not rich, I am not worrying about it. I am happy and content. I only worry about my Father in Heaven and the duties He has given us to work in and I am happy that my children have gotten the education that I wanted for them. That is my happy ending. I am grateful to God for life and the strength He gives me which enables me to fulfill my duties as a mother and a father in my family.”

Hearing her story instilled in me a greater appreciation for all mothers, fathers, and guardians—especially towards my own parents—for their tireless efforts in enabling their children to obtain an education and in allowing them the opportunity for a better life. Perhaps as children, we tend to overlook those efforts by our parents, but I encourage you to take a moment to show them gratitude for their sweat, blood and tears that went into giving us THAT opportunity to rise and meet our full potential, a potential to be successful and to find our own happy endings.

Here is a compilation of highlights from Aigauputasi’s interview. (All videos will be short clips–5 mins or less–from our volunteer’s interviews. As one who has been honored with the opportunity to write these stories, I am only sharing portions of the interviews that have been reviewed and approved by the interviewees.)

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~ R.T.T. ~

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44 thoughts on “A Mother’s Happy Ending

  1. Her story is remarkable… she’s an example of unconditional love and great faith. thank you Ruby for the story

  2. I love these little video clips. This one made me get tears in my eyes! What a humble woman. Even though she isn’t rich by worldly standards she has been richly blessed with lots if children and even more grandchildren. What beautiful kids!

  3. Such a inspiring story…..a source of inspiration and a reason to be grateful for wonderful women who exemplify true characteristics of heroism

  4. “my duties as a mother and a father in my family”. What a POWERFUL STATEMENT IT IS. She sure did take that failure, recognize the importance of mistake and learn from it. And with that……it makes her stronger and even more powerful. May God continuously bless her and the whole household.

  5. Pasami is a great woman! A dear friend of my mothers 🙂 I’ve known her and her children since I was little, a wonderful family! So humble right now! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. What an amazing mother, she sure has a lot of faith in her raising 16 kids all by herself.. Can’t wait to read and watch more updates…

  7. To the Author of this Blog … Faafetai tele lava from the bottom of my heart … many respected my mother but no one has gone this far to honor her … MALO FAAFETAI !!! my mother was and still is the anchor of our family …she is a loving person and is always wiling to go the extra mile for us .. I remember growing up watching her suffer from the abuse our father catered her … I grew up hating him for it, she never deserved such treatment … I told her, one day I will KILL him. She said to me “he is your father and you have no right to take his life, no matter what, your only right is to love and forgive him” … Life was never easy for her … but there was always food and clothing for us … I remember her carrying sacks of clam from the ocean or climbing breadfruit trees for food …. she filled the void of a father in our lives … she pushed us to work hard in school … she made sure we are warm and held us all night when we are sick …. she is a God fearing woman …she did not have the luxuries of life but she always said we are her greatest blessings … she taught us to be honest with ourselves and our fellowmen …. love everyone regardless of who they are … she was the LIGHT when my world is overpowered with darkness …I have many of those times through out my life but that light never dimmed … I was locked up but she walked all night to a family friend to seek help for me …I don’t know how many times shes pleaded with school administration to keep me in school due to behavior issues … regardless of my faults at the end of the day she will always said ” I LOVE YOU” … she taught the importance of living the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ …. she is a woman of tremendous faith … If I can be half the person she is I think I’ll be alright …but knowing her she wants us to be better…she is and will always be my guiding STAR!! …. ….I LOVE YOU MOM !!!

    • Sole. Awesome story about your mom. A lot of respect for her. This is truly a testament of a mother’s love for her children.

    • Thank you for sharing. Hope you don’t mind me asking but is your awesome Mom in Samoa? Do you mind e-mailing me at itzarnie@aol.com. Thank you kindly.

  8. What a beautiful story on such a strong, faithful, and humble woman. A true blessing to her children and all who would have known her. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. Such a wonderful inspiring story for all mothers. I hope her children will never forget the many sacrifices their mother had done for them. May Jehovah God continue to bless this mother.

  10. truly a remarkable woman all can learn from. brings me tears learning all the struggles she grew up with yet never lost hope or faith for the love of her children. from one mother to, another i admire you for your strength and dedication. you are amazing, an inspiration yet so humble, the epitome of heroism and survivor. thank you for sharing, god bless you & growing family.

  11. blessed her heart , her story bring tears to my eyes , this reminds me of my own childhood life and how my dad treat my mother and all of his children . im so humble by her story .God bless our mothers !!

  12. Thank you so much for this story of inspiration and unwavering faith! I absolutely admire her great love and faith in Heavenly Father. Beautiful family….. God Bless!

  13. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story with us. It really brings tears to my eyes. Your children are so lucky to have you.
    May God bless you and your whole family I wish you well.

  14. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I was touched and I am honored to have the opportunity to feel the blessing of one of this great woman’s son. In June 2005, we used to live in our station wagon car with our son who was only 6 months old at that time. Sister Memea’s son and his small family took us in and we became roommates until they moved to the school campus at BYU Hawaii.
    I salute Sister Memea for doing a great job by raising well mannered and kind hearted kids.

  15. Awesome job Ruby. Love it. Truly inspirational stories that need to be shared to inspire others and strengthen their faith in God.

  16. Great example of perseverance. This is also one of the reasons why I feel church organizations are needed and important to God. The more people come together, the more people can be helped in probably a shorter amount of time.

  17. Awesome, she is a great example of perseverance. This is also one of the reasons why I feel church organizations are needed and important to God. The more people come together, the more people can be helped in probably a shorter amount of time.

  18. I went to school with her kids, I know his son name Ofisa Memea, her story brought tears to my eyes, 🙁 God Bless her heart! ..

  19. We were next door neighbors to this family and her story is so true regarding the sacrafices she made so that her children are fed and are educated. Ua makua lava si loomakua.

  20. My testimony of love and forgiveness has been strengthened by your amazing story. I couldn’t stop crying! You have blessed many lives and I’m one of them from just watching few minutes of your life. Thank you so much.

    Thank you Doc! Ofa atu!

  21. I couldn’t believe how much and how many people care about this peasant family of ours. This is the first time I have read and watch my mom’s story on this thing. This is totally true.. she had been treated badly, got beaten by our dad, struggle thru life, to give us better life. yes I agree with all of yous.. she is our hero. we have ups and downs as most of families…. but we always treasured her. I have seen and witnessed all her sufferings from the past. She is the one that made me who I am today. she got a big heart and a great love for her children. ia thanks to Ruby for the great work, we feel so special… ole kaimi muamua lea ua oo ai se ata o si matou Tina I luga nei mea..

  22. I love this story. Thanks for sharing it. Feeling humbled and grateful for her examples.

  23. Love you guys and your beautiful, loving mother. May God Bless you all xoxo

  24. Thank you for sharing this wonderful from a wonderful mother. She’s one strong woman that strives for the best of her children. We love you aunty Pasami…

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