By JINA AMBA
A GRIEVING mother who walked up to the stage to receive his late son’s university degree says she still cannot accept his death after a short illness in March.
Janet Kotapu could not hold back the tears watching his son Danley’s colleagues celebrating their achievements with family members and friends during the University of PNG graduation in Port Moresby yesterday.
Danley, who should have been turning 30 in September, died on March 29 after being sick for two weeks.
He is survived by his wife Helen, from Western Highlands, a daughter aged 6 and a son, 4.
Mum Janet accompanied by wife Helen received his bachelor of arts – population studies degree.
Janet said Danley had been experiencing difficulty in breathing, fever and coughing. The family did not take it seriously thinking he would recover.
But he died at their home in Kilakila while sleeping with his two children in the early hours of March 29.
Janet said Danley was her eldest son who she had pinned all her dreams and hopes in.
She brought him to Port Moresby from their village in Southern Highlands when he was five because there were so many tribal fights which disrupted classes.
She invested a lot in his education but now she feels lost and does not know what to do.
Danley’s father, a retired teacher, had four wives. Janet, also a teacher, is the third.
Danley attended Kilakila Primary School up to Grade Eight before continuing his education at Kilakila Secondary then UPNG.
While studying at UPNG, he was also doing part-time work at Digicel, setting up Digicel play boxes at peoples’ homes.
Janet said the money he earned was spent on his fees at UPNG, and to look after his young family.
She would not be able to look after her son’s family with him gone, and unsure on what to do.
She however thanked God for his life.
She hopes that Danley’s son will keep his dad’s degree and follow his footsteps when he grows up.
Wife Helen said Danley was a hardworking husband and father who always made sure his small family had everything they needed.
She said even though he was a student, he made sure to provide for his family.
Helen said it was heart-breaking to witness others celebrate during the graduation because she missed her husband so much.
There were no words to describe what she felt.
They met while working for Digicel and got married.
By JINA AMBA