By Deidre Fanene
Three months old baby boy, Salvation Hicks, became victim number 82 in the measles death toll list after more than a week putting up a fight to live, while in critical condition at the TTM Hospital, Moto’otua.
His 27-year grieving mother Lisa Tupu-Hicks, watched, prayed, cried and cried some more, as she kept watch over her son and tried to will him back to life.
On the 2nd of January, baby Salvation died. He was the baby brother in a family of 5 brothers.
“For the whole week we were at the hospital I saw my son fighting to live,” his grieving mother reflected at his brave son’s passing.
“For a 3 month old baby I saw how he fought to live, I saw how he tried so hard to stay alive, I saw how much pain he was going through but he tried so hard,” she said.
“I was hopeless, I just sit there and cry wishing that it was me instead of him who is going through the pain.
“But all I could do was to sit there and cry and praying to God to spare my son’s life.”
Speaking to Newsline, Lisa Tupu – Hicks said the pain of losing a child is unbearable, but she has to be strong for her other four boys.
Children are vaccinated against the measles when they are one year old and Salvation was only a 3 months baby.
Until his last breath on the 2nd of January, he gave his mother so much courage to stay strong with the way he tried to fight the measles virus.
Tupu-Hicks told Newsline she never thought this would happen to her son right up to when he was called to Heaven.
“I believe God needed another angel and he saw my son was a fighter so He chose my son to be one of His guardian angels.”
She added, she does not blame the health workers because they have been working very hard during the epidemic.
“I don’t blame anyone,” she said.
“I actually want to thank all our local doctors and nurses as well as the helpers from overseas who were a big help during the time we were at the hospital.
“Thank you for everything.
“It is what it is, God was the one who gave me Salvation and so it is Him who saw that it was time for Salvation to come home.”
The heartbroken mother is fighting to stay strong despite the unbearable pain at the loss of her son.
“I had never thought I would lose one of my children to the measles.
“It’s hard for a parent to bury their own child especially this early within just 3 months.
“We held him in our arms and now he’s gone, he was such a bubbly child, he never cries, after feeding him he would lie down without making any noise.
“The only time I hear him cry is when he’s hungry or his nappy needs changing.”
She said no parents should ever have to bury their own children and she said she was scared.
“As a parent it’s very hard to bear the pain of losing a child and this was my biggest fear during the epidemic.
“I did not want to go through what other parents went through but now I have and it is the most painful feeling ever.
“I looked back at the nine months that I had to carry him and the pain of giving birth and then he leaves me after 3 months.
“Sometimes I ask why, but then I sit back and thought who am I to question God.
“He was the one who gave us this child and therefore He can take it away because He knows best.”
The ASA Foundation helped the family in their time of grief by donating a casket for his body this week.
His body will be taken to Fagae’e, Savaii where he will be buried on Wednesday.