Father shares grief over son’s passing

By Nefertiti Matatia and Adel Fruean ,

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LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME WITHOUT ORLANDO: John Gary Maulelia, Orlando's youngest brother, sitting next to where his brother will be laid to rest tomorrow.

LIFE WILL NEVER BE THE SAME WITHOUT ORLANDO: John Gary Maulelia, Orlando's youngest brother, sitting next to where his brother will be laid to rest tomorrow. (Photo: Misiona Simo/Samoa Observer)

The father of 16-year-old Orlando Maulelia, who died when the car he drove smashed into an electric pole on Vaea Street, has spoken of his grief over the loss of his beloved son.

Joseph Maulelia and his family are preparing to farewell Orlando today, more than two weeks after the crash that claimed his life.

It hasn’t been easy for the family, Mr. Maulelia told the Samoa Observer yesterday. But as they prepare to bid farewell to a young man who loved cars, the father said whatever led to the crash; they are willing to move on.

“My son was an obedient child,” he said. “I miss him deeply. I especially miss him every time I think about chores, all sorts of things he helps out with. I am saddened that we have parted ways.”

Up until now, no one seems to know what exactly happened, the father said.

“Some claimed that there was a race and someone’s car hit my son’s car and caused the accident, but then only God knows the truth of everything,” he said.

“At this very moment we only pray for God’s forgiveness upon them because nothing will bring back my son if we carry out any further investigations." 

“All we have to do now is forgive whoever did this, whether my son was wrong or right, there is nothing more that can be done.”

Orlando was a Year 11 student at St Joseph’s College. He was the fourth eldest child of Joseph and Elaine Maulelia from the villages of Tulaele and Lepea.

Orlando was always passionate about cars. It’s something he grew into given his father was a Mechanic.

“He loved cars, everything that revolved around him were all about cars,” his father said. “He was named after Orlando Keil from Lotopa because I used to work there at workshop. The person who owns the name loves cars so I guess his father and Orlando both have that passion.

“He always had a sharing heart. He was keen to give to his siblings that made him unique. 

 “If we do have a couple’s arguments, Orlando would stand in between me and his mother and say ‘mom and dad that’s enough please’ and so I would forget everything just by looking at him. There would always be that intimate touch between a child and their parents.”

At school, Mr. Maulelia said Orlando was known as Elvis.

“According to his school Principal, the whole school wept for the loss of one of their own. After their assembly, his classmates went inside their classroom and made a circle around Orlando’s desk and chair and continued in tears as they remember and miss his unforgettable ways.”

During the past two weeks, Orlando’s family have been arriving from all over the world to bid farewell.

“I am ready to part ways with my son tomorrow (today). We had to wait for our whole family to come together and be a part of my son’s day, but also it depended on the police investigation that had been conducted.

“They had asked if he tried to commit suicide but I objected and said it was caused by that car accident.

“He (Orlando) did not have such thoughts, he loved going to church. Every Sunday he would go to church at Mulivai Catholic Cathedral but also attends the church at Lepea with us, so he goes to church twice from the morning and evening mass.”

Mr. Maulelia is thankful for everyone who has shown support with the passing of his son.

“We do not have much time now and I am also thankful to my family for making time to come and be with us here and especially their support in so many ways.”

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