Tuesday, April 25, 2017


An elderly woman shares with me how her deceased husband (she thinks) was showing her signs that he was still around, at least for a while.

It's important to understand a few details before proceeding.

Her husband died young, just in his early 30s. He was not sick. He died of a work-related injury.

Annai måtai i asaguå-ho, lamme' maolek na bidå-ña, (1)
(When my husband died, boy did he do good,)

åmbre sa' hoben ha' annai måtai.
(well you see he was young when he died.)

Ayo na ilek-ña i man åmko' na eyi i ti malångo' na finatai. Bråbo nai.
(The older people talked about someone dying who was not sick. He was healthy.)

I asaguå-ho annai måtai, si nanå-ho ha nå'e yo' uno gi mane'lu-ho palao'an para u ayuyuda yo'
(When my husband died, my mother gave me one of my sisters to be helping me) (2)

sa' i famagu'on; kuåttro famagu'on-måme yan i asaguå-ho.
(because of the children; my husband and I had four children.)

Pues todo i dumalalak yo', i man sobrinå-ho yan i man primå-ho,
(So everyone who accompanied me, my nieces and cousins,)

gi gima' annai på'go måtai,
(in the house when he just died,)

ma siesiente sa', annai mamokkat gi tatten guma' ni cha'guan.
(were feeling his presence, when he walked behind the house on the grass,)

sa' fihu eyi a las dos gi chatanmak annai tåya', pues på'go komo ha hungok  i ga'-måme ga'lågo
(because he often did that at two in the morning when all was quiet, if he heard our dog)

na duru humaohao. Pues mamokkat gi cha'guan gi san tatte. (3)
(keep barking. Then he would walk on the grass in the back.)

Pues guaha guå'ot hulo' gi galeria pues in hingok ha' på'go i patås-ña.
(Then there were steps going up to the porch and we would hear his feet.)

Pues eyi i che'lu-ho, sa' hilo' tåpbla na mamaigo' pues hame yan i famagu'on gi kåttre.
(Then my sister, because she was sleeping on the floor while me and the kids were on the bed.)

Pues sige ha' på'go eyi i sabanas, ilek-ña, "Maria, Maria, eyigue' ta'lo." (4)
(Then the sheets, she said, "Maria, Maria, there he is again.")

Ya pues in hingok annai mamokkat gue' hålom gi gima', i sapatos-ña.
(And then we hear him when he walks into the house, his shoes.)

Pues eyi i pettan i kuåtto, an un baba chechekchek i kuetdas i petta,
(Then the door to the bedroom, the door springs squeak when you open the door,)

pues in hingok annai ha baba i petta.
(so we heard when he opened the door.)

Ya guaha siya gi halom kuåtto ya un li'e' ha' annai matå'chong gue' gi siya, i minakat-ña. (5)
(And there was a chair inside the bedroom and you see when he sits on the chair, his weight.)

Pues guaha na an chatanmak in hingok i båño, eyi i hanom, na ma bira 
(Then at times in the early morning we hear the bathroom, that the water is turned on)

ya duru de palåspas i hanom.
(and the water keeps splashing.)

Pues, ilek-ñiha i man åmko' na sesso man bisita i difunto sa' pot måtai hoben
(So the old people said that my deceased husband kept visiting because he died young)

yan chachathinasso gue' pot hame yan i famagu'on sa' ha dingu ham,
(and he was worried about me and the kids because he left us)

lao hu sangåne gue' gi un puenge,
(but I told him one night,)

"Båsta ham man ma bisita, sa' esta un li'e' na man mamamaolek ha' ham.
("Stop visiting us, because you see that we are well.)

Hånao ya un deskånsa på'go sa' tåya' chinatsagan-måme."
(Go and rest now because we have no troubles.")

Pues pumåra man bisita.
(And he stopped visiting.)


(1) She is being sarcastic. Her husband's hauntings were noticeable! If his intention was to be noticed, he succeeded. He did well!

(2) You can see here the family support system at work in Chamorro culture. The widow was young, with four young children to care for. So her other sent one of her other daughters, a younger one who was still single, to help the widow care for the children while the widow found a job and worked during the day. These were the days when most couples had many children, which meant there was no shortage of helpers. Even nieces and cousins would come and stay at the widow's house to help care for the children.

(3) The deceased would get up when he'd hear the dog bark at night, and the sound of his feet brushing against the grass behind the house where the dog was could be heard even after he had died, at the same time of night.

(4) She meant that her sister could feel or see someone pulling the sheets while they were sleeping.

(5) They could see someone's weight push down the cushion on the chair.

No comments:

Post a Comment