Do your bit for Dads this Father’s Day
Losing your Dad is hard for anyone. For most people, they get to acclimatise themselves to the idea of a parent passing over their lifetime. For Olivia Tamoua, there was no such chance.
Her Dad Kini died in 2011, just days after celebrating the milestone of Olivia’s first birthday. He was only 32 when he died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Kini had been told hospital could do no more. He was determined to be at home for Olivia’s first birthday, and thanks to care provided in his own home by Hospice West Auckland, he was able to do so, eventually dying just before Christmas.
For a long time Olivia held on to her Dad’s jacket as a physical reminder of him. Her Mum, Lata Iulio, says Kini wore the jacket often, and perhaps Olivia remembers that and senses his presence and smell in its fabric.
Since his death Lata and Olivia have formed a happy and grounded life together. “For a while after Kini passed we were quite regressive – we stuck close to home and largely kept to ourselves. But, thanks to the support of Hospice West Auckland, we slowly came out of our shells and met new friends to add to our old, which helped us make a fresh start,” says Lata.
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Being able to reach out to their community and feel supported as been hugely important to Lata and Olivia. “On top of the great group of teachers at Green Bay kindy, we worked with the social care team at Hospice West Auckland, and were also able to access help for Olivia from Presbyterian Support Services through Plunket. Each step of the way we’ve had somewhere to turn for help which we’re so grateful for.”
Olivia is living life every moment, becoming an enthusiastic student of karate, enjoying swimming like her Dad and getting into both the social and school work aspects of school life at Green Bay Primary. She also spends Sunday each week with Kini’s family, attending church and building the same of strong relationship with her grandmother that Kini had with his mother.
“She’s even doing a reading for Father’s Day which her drama teacher has been helping with,” says Lata proudly.
In addition to her work in insurance emergency response, Lata is heavily involved in Olivia’s school, helping twice a week. “I want to be a primary school teacher, but I want to make an informed decision before I embark on study next year, so I’m getting right into being a parent helper at Olivia’s school.”
During September you’ll see Lata and Olivia’s story on Hospice West Auckland donation boxes at West Liquor stores. Please give generously to help us care for Dads just like Kini.