Where’s my daddy? Esther, 3, still asks
Fellow officers, families honour fallen comrades.
The youngest child of the late Corporal Tebuteri Mauteti, Esther Mauteti, continues to ask where her daddy is during family devotions in the evening. Her grieving mother, Seini Mauteti, could only reply: “He has gone to a better place, which we should also prepare for.”
At the Labasa Police barracks yesterday, emotions flowed as, Esther, 3, joined her mother yesterday to honour a father and husband during the annual Police Remembrance Day ceremony.
Esther’s father died while training with the Police Rugby Team in Labasa two months ago. Now a widow, Ms Mauteti fought hard to hold back tears as she witnessed the programme without her husband for the first time. “This is an annual event marked by the Fiji Police community which I have also been a part of, but I never dreamt that I would be standing today in the frontline as one of those who have lost a loved one,” Mrs Mauteti said. Her emotions were still raw two months on as the mother of four talked of her husband. “I had just woken up when I received news that he had passed away here in Labasa. I just sat on the bed and broke down,” Mrs Mauteti said. “He was a lovely man and my three younger children are still asking about him especially during our devotion time every evening. I always tell them that he has gone to a better place which we should also prepare for. “The saddest part of today’s programme was when I saw Police officers marching in and the ones who sat around the tent, knowing in my heart that if he had not died, Tebuteri would still be among them today (yesterday).” They were among 200 people at the Labasa Police barracks green to commemorate the lives of officers who had died while on duty.
The late Corporal Mauteti is survived by his wife Seini, four children Meri Fane, 9, Eremasi Mauteti, 7, Kindergarten student Filimoni Kaitu, and Esther Mauteti. He was an officer at the Savusavu Police Station. Edited by Naisa Koroi