Losing A Son

For Sianamane Fafai, a woman from the island of Savai’i in Samoa, losing her son Julius, was one of the hardest challenges she has had to encounter. On October 3rd, 2011, Julius Fafai returned with honor from serving a full time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Provo, Utah mission, to his home in Savai’i, where he spent some time with his mother, father and two younger sisters before returning to Utah. “I sent my son overseas to continue his education, find a job and raise a family,” Sianamane said. In 2011, Julius was preparing to start school at Utah Valley University. However, on the 6th of July, he passed away unexpectedly. “All I know from my in-laws was that my son and his cousins went over to Orem to finish up some of his school registration, then after that they went straight to his cousin’s family to do a song practice for an upcoming baptism. He stood up and went to get a drink but before he reached the sink he collapsed. We got the death certificate and autopsy results and it said that it was something regarding his heart.”

In sharing the incidents that led up to the time Sianamane found out that Julius had passed away, she described a tender mercy that she experienced, hours before she received the call. “Let me tell you something that happened.  Thursday was my last conversation with him, Friday, then Saturday early in the morning somewhere around 4:45 my husband and I went to do our laundry. We walked outside of our house and we saw a big star, it was shining very brightly and was different than all stars in the sky. I told my husband, ‘Look at that star! It is very different than the other stars.’ Then I shared with my husband a story about a book I read in the library about an old man who who wanted to have a son,” she said. She briefly summarized the events taking place in the book entitled, The Orphan Boy by Tololwa M. Mollel. “[The old man] was alone and lived by himself. When he walked on the hill he saw a star and then he saw a falling star. As he continued to walk on the hill he met a young boy but he didn’t know that the young boy is the star that fell from the sky. Then the man took the boy to his home. Then one day the old man was wondering why the young boy went out so early to the field. He followed him. Before the old man caught up to the boy he saw the boy raise his hands to the sky and a light came from the sky into the boy’s body. The boy looked back and saw the old man and then disappeared. This is a story that I read a long time ago in the library and shared it with my husband at the time we saw the star when doing our laundry.”

Hours later on that same Saturday, she made several efforts to reach her son, but to no avail. Around three in the afternoon, as Sianamane was preparing for a ward meeting, her husband received a call from a relative in Utah, asking that the whole family immediately find a way to Skype them. “My brother-in-law said to us, ‘I know you have a strong testimony of the gospel and I know you are going to accept what we are going to tell you.’ Then he told us what happened. Ugh, I felt like I was going to die too! It was very hard to accept it,” she explained.

Life for Sianamane became very difficult. She quietly removed herself from her social circles, church and other familiar surroundings, wanting nothing more than to hide herself in her room and mourn the loss of her son. “Let me tell you the truth that during that time I started to complain. You know, I complain about the Lord and his plan, why he called my son at that time of his age. I have only one son but He called him home. I didn’t like to pray, I didn’t like to talk to anyone, I didn’t like to go around, I just wanted to stay in my own house and sleep, I didn’t want to eat.”

Though it has been a painful journey; through the support of her husband and family, Sianamane has slowly been able to plant her feet once again on a path to finding peace. “Facing these types of trials in my life has been very hard. Even until now it is very hard to forget the feeling of losing a special child in my life. But, I try my best to overcome the things I feel and rely on the Lord. I am grateful for that trial that came into my life to strengthen my testimony about the gospel and to know that the Lord is still here no matter what trials we face,” she said. A thought that has brought her comfort is knowing that her last conversation with her son was a counseling moment. “Those were my last words to him. ‘Julius, always do the right thing,’ then he said, ‘Don’t worry mom.’ That’s all he said to me.”

Sianamane Fafai encourages all parents to spend more time with their loved ones and work hard to nurture and counsel them in the way they should live their lives. “We never know when God will take His children home, so it is important to love them and do as much as you can for them.” Her story teaches us that even the most challenging of moments in life can still bring about something good, and for her it has brought her family closer together, with constant family prayer, family scripture study, family home evening and family time. It has strengthened her testimony in God. She feels that the star she saw before she received the news of her son’s passing was Heavenly Father’s way of preparing her. It was His way of telling her that He is mindful of her. It testifies that God is involved in the intimate details of our lives, and that though we experience pain in this life, He will always be our comforter and constant companion, if we let Him.

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17 thoughts on “Losing A Son

  1. Thanks R.T.T. for this uplifting and motivational story…and to Sianamane for sharing it. You truly are a strong and faithful woman!

  2. Awww that was very inspirational Thank you for sharing this story. I was in tears watching the video. She is my cousin and I never knew or heard of this till now, and I can imagine what she had been going thru. As a mother its very hard losing a loved one, I’ve been through it too, I lost my son and I had the same thoughts she did. But I am so proud of the teachings of the gospel and how families can be forever, I know I will be with him again. But he’s memories are always with me and still to this day not a year goes by my family celebrates his birthday and include him wherever we go or do as a family by always having a part of him there with us. We always have a chair for him in our home. He will never be forgotten. Thank you again for sharing this story. To my cousin Sianamane, You are a strong mother and I love you so much and…..your son is always with you. Families are Forever.

    • Thank you Myra for reading and watching. That is so true that the gospel definitely brings a sense of peace, because we are blessed with that knowledge that though we lose our loved ones, we will see them again in the next life. One of my favorite quotes concerning the after life is one by Joseph Smith but it was explained by President Joseph F. Smith:
      “Joseph Smith taught the doctrine that the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he said to her: ‘You will have the joy, the pleasure, and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit.’ There is restitution, there is growth, there is development, after the resurrection from death.” I am indeed grateful for the gospel and the knowledge in which I have been blessed with that families are indeed forever. Thank you for sharing you thoughts and I can feel that you too are a strong woman of faith and endurance. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  3. I love this story 🙂 Cannot imagine the pain that she went through after losing her only son <3
    Families are together forever xxxx

    • Thank you Nia for reading and watching. She has inspired many with her strength and faith.

    • Thank you for reading and watching Barbara. More stories will be posted here weekly. Have a blessed day!

  4. I always love reading your stories Ruby and the way you help these women bring their stories to life. ALWAYS inspirational and uplifting to the soul. Sis. Fafai and her family are very strong in the gospel and believe they are truly blessed for their testimonies. It’s always hard to hear about a loved one passing but with the plan of salvation, we are comforted knowing we will see them again. Love you Fafai Family!

    • Thanks Lisa! You are too kind! Thanks for reading and watching! I know it is hard, and yes its great that we have the gospel to help us understand the plan of Salvation and to know that families are forever. Have a blessed day suga! 🙂

  5. This story truly is inspiring! It shows that through trials and challenges we can overcome them through
    the help of our Heavenly Father! This truly emulates a true example of faith! Thanks for this remarkable story!

    • Yes she definitely is a great example of faith. To be able to go through something like that and to still have a strong testimony is beyond remarkable and very inspiring.

  6. your truly a Hero ,great example of faith i would honestly said that your a women of faith.Continue to be strong and Family’s can together forever

  7. Sianamane is my good friend. Malo onosai ma faatuatua i le Atua. I see on your wall (behind you) the same picture I have on mine. “When the storms of life gather round you, keep things in the eternal perspective.” You have truly lived there. You are a strong beautiful spiritual giant!! Keep on living and keep the faith my friend.

    • Thanks for bringing this quote to light. It really adds to her story. Have a blessed day!

  8. Love you Unty, Malo lava le onosa’i, Julius is always with you in a heartbeat, alofa tele atu mo oe, Uncle, Lil sis Alngel and my Twinny Sis Fafai.

  9. There are no words that I could say that would testify of how wonderful of a mother Sianamane is – that would be better – than the living testament of her son. Sianamane’s son, Julius Fafai was faithful to God and family. He had a heart of love and service – truly a living beacon of goodness and joy. I believe Julius is a testament of who raised him – what a privilege to have had him in our lives and our hearts and souls thank Sianamane and her family for who they are as faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Sianamane, your love and kindness was reflected upon us as we came to know and love your son. I know you continue to bring joy to Julius as he continues to share light and joy with us… God bless you and your great family!

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