As time tick-tick-ticks away, roles are re­versed when the aiga as­sem­ble in joy or in grief.

Metro Magazine NZ - - Contents - TEXT — LEILANI MOMOISEA

Roles re­verse when the aiga as­sem­ble in joy or in grief.

Wed­dings and fu­ner­als: mark­ers of love, of fam­ily re­union. Both are cel­e­bra­tions of life — one of shared lives yet to be lived, the other a shared re­mem­brance of a life well lived.

They are the things that gather us all to­gether, in joy and grief, for bet­ter and for worse. They are where we learn which of our rel­a­tives are master or­a­tors, the easy weavers of sto­ries; which are the standup co­me­di­ans, mak­ing us laugh through the tears, happy or sad; which of us en­joy lead­ing, and which of us pre­fer to fol­low; which are the life of the party and which pre­fer to qui­etly ob­serve; which are the stoic and which are the criers, and how much it can break and sur­prise you when the stoic be­come the criers.

They are a mea­sure of close­ness and a re­minder of time, tick-tick-tick­ing away. It was not so long ago you were the kid your aunty pro­claimed had grown so much ev­ery time she saw you, and now you are that aunty, fuss­ing at your neph­ews and nieces as they scrunch up their faces, some of whom now tower over you. There were those aun­ties and un­cles who would pester you about mar­riage, at times when the idea seemed like an im­pos­si­bil­ity, at times when you felt al­to­gether too young. They were the ones who had the best time, you re­mem­ber; they danced all night and drank the bar dry. As a kid, you re­mem­ber so vividly an un­cle’s act of kind­ness, and you re­call that story with your fam­ily many times over the years. As an adult, it be­comes one of the many sto­ries of his me­mo­riam, to il­lus­trate what kind of man he was, what he meant to ev­ery­one, how much he will be missed. You won­der if peo­ple ever re­ally know what they mean to you. The only time they’d get to hear some­thing like that would have been at their wed­ding. But not ev­ery­one gets mar­ried.

They can also be mark­ers of dis­con­nect, too, these gath­er­ings. Of fam­i­lies ex­pand­ing and faces be­com­ing un­fa­mil­iar, of lives lived apart for too long, of lives in­ter­sect­ing only when there is a wed­ding or a fu­neral. The cer­e­mony and the cul­ture, of knowl­edge passed down — or not. Of laugh­ter not un­der­stood be­cause of a lan­guage not yet learned, and an­other re­minder that the keep­ers of that lan­guage won’t be around for­ever. And wouldn’t you like to un­der­stand those great sto­ries be­ing told at the next fam­ily func­tion? Just an­other re­minder of time, tick-tick­tick­ing away.

You are older than the age your par­ents had you. Which makes you... old now? You re­alise that pretty much all your cousins are mar­ried now. Which means most of the wed­dings are done now. And you come to un­der­stand why your aun­ties and un­cles had a habit of pes­ter­ing you about when you were go­ing to get mar­ried. Not be­cause of re­li­gion, or virtue, or any great be­lief in mar­riage or in­ter­est in your re­la­tion­ship, but be­cause it would be a cause for cel­e­bra­tion.

Soon, you will be do­ing your own pes­ter­ing.

ABOVE— Kids trea­sure the mem­o­ries of acts of kind­ness when their ex­tended fam­ily get to­gether.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.