Just had a call from my sister in Australia. She has just got back from Tonga from a funeral for her 12-year-old niece. It's so sad. The niece died from appendicitis that wasn't picked up. My sister wants to have kids and go live there with her Tongan husband but this kind of thing really makes me worry. In Australia, I'm sure the appendicitis would be picked up. The chance of dying from it is so slim if it's picked up and the appendix is removed. So sad that this twelve-year-old lost her life. And she was an only child too. I'm sure it will be very hard on her parents.
My sister sent an email and photos from the funeral. This morning I sat here at work, with tears steaming down my face as I looked at the photos. My sister found it quite hard having the dead body lying in a bed in the lounge room. Everyone went up and kissed the dead child but my sister said she just couldn't do it. She had never seen a dead body before – I have never seen a dead body before. I've only been to two funerals and the coffins were closed. She said that her husband's family were very sensitive to the fact that it was all very new for her and different to how we deal with death in Australia.
That family have had a tough few months. Not long ago, another child died in the US (a niece of my sister's) and then not long after that, the child's father died (my sister's husband's brother) leaving four other children and a wife. So sad.
I hope they all cope with it. It's been a very sad time for my sister and her husband. And I feel so far away from them.