froggie

A grieving family’s final goodbye

Weekender

Story and pictures
by HELEN TARAWA
AS the sun sank on the horizons beyond the coast of Port Moresby’s Fairfax Harbour the Albaniel family gathered at the Middle Beach as it is commonly known in Gabutu to light their lanterns and release them into the sky in memory of one of their own, journalist Rosalyn Albaniel Evara who passed away on Sunday Oct 15.
This was how the life journey of 41 year old business editor of Post-Courier ended last Saturday with her burial at 9 Mile and the sending off of Chinese lanterns in her memory.
While still alive, she lost two sons, Dylan Kyle Evara and Eden Caleb Evara in 2015 and 2016 and farewelled them with Chinese lanterns at their graves and on the beach at Gabutu where most of the Albaniel families reside.
Everytime she had the opportunity to go to Gabutu, she would always go down to the beach and send the lanterns up in memory of her two sons.
“At the grave of her two sons that was something she did so we honoured her by sending the lanterns off as well.”
“We are sending these lanterns up and making our wish in memory of Rosalyn Albaniel,” her aunt Mary said.
When late Evara first joined Word Publishing some years back as a young cadet reporter with the PNG Business monthly newspaper, Fay Duega, Ivan Bayagau, Leila Gilchrist and I were among the first colleagues she met were.
She became more than a colleague. She grew to become a friend and a sister to tightly-knit family of Word Publishing staff.
She was a humble but enthusiastic young reporter who wanted to learn as much as she could.
Duega said: “she was an A1 small sister. She has blossomed into a great journalist and had so much to offer the profession.”
Word Publishing was her first employer after she graduated from DWU where she was privileged to work under one of PNG’s best journalists in Abby Yadi on the monthly publication, PNG Business.
She later worked with me on PNG Business. She would always try to look for fresh angles to stories that were already covered by the daily papers, Duega continued.
Despite her unfounded worries, she was a good reporter and writer and became better with the years.
“I’ll never forget the time in 2015 when she ewas mourning the loss of one of her sons but took time to come and see me to contribute some money towards my dear late husband’s haus krai, Duega said.
Rosalyn was truly one of a kind.
Bayagau said: I sat down thinking of Roslyn, I remember when she first plucked her eye brows and Fay and Barbara Masike told her to hide away from me, to avoid me making fun of her.
“When I was around her she would lower her head so I couldn’t see her face. I remembered this story when I went to say goodbye and looked at her eye brows today (last Monday) when she lay in her peaceful sleep.”
“I also remember one time when we went to Loloata Island for an interview and she had prepared a list of questions and the owner – Dirk Knight answered everything on her list after she asked the first question. I could see panic creeping over her face and quickly took over the conversation while she took notes.”
Despite that, she ended up writing a good piece on Loloata and she was congratulated at the editorial post mortem (editorial meeting)….and she could not stop thanking me after that and would continue to do so whenever we bumped into each other.
Leila said: “… she was my roommate at the Lapwing Drive flats back in those days and I took her in like my very own small sister, I will miss her.”
When Evara was transferred from Madang to join her colleagues at the Post-Courier headquarters at Lawes Road, I met her on one of the state-owned entity jobs at Crowne Plaza. She wasn’t too familiar with the Moresby rounds as yet and asked me to ask some questions on her behalf.
She soon gained her confidence and just a few months later when we next met at a press conference, I realized that she was asking the questions and no longer needed my help.
She was someone who respected all her colleagues, and received the same from all her colleagues, young and seasoned.
Last Saturday, at her burial at 9 Mile cemetery, lanterns were released into the air and small cubes of laundry soap were sprinkled on the casket.
This tradition of cutting soap belonged to her sons Dylan Kyle and Eden Caleb, and whenever she would visit their graves, she would sprinkle soap cubes on them. The family also lit Chinese lanterns and released them into the air.
As the lanterns were floating up and lighting the sky last Saturday evening, I recalled our time together as young reporters. She has certainly made a mark as a journalist in PNG and her memories will linger for a long time yet.

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