The thought that loved ones and ultimately each of us will one-day leave this life is unsettling for many people. However, what comforts many is the idea of some hereafter. Some believe that we never stop existing but continue in the spiritual realm. There are also those who believe in the concept of reincarnation. The many stories of people who have testified that they were here before cannot be dismissed because whether we are believers or skeptics, life continues to harbour many mysteries. And many of us have had déjà vu experiences which have left us pondering.
Although I have known many people who have died, death still always evokes feelings of sorrow or shock. And, sometimes, there is even a feeling relief. The first time I felt relief at the passing of someone was because I had witnessed her suffering firsthand. I remember thinking a few days before it happened that it was best if she died, because the average human being should not have to endure such suffering – suffering that paralyses every feeling of happiness and hopefulness. So yes, I was relieved when she passed but that did not mean there was no sorrow; it was a stark reminder that sooner or later, we all must go. And death does not discriminate, from the youngest baby to the oldest human being, all are at its mercy.
I had to remind myself of this during this hot yet bleak month of August when we saw the deaths of three teenagers, Malika Hamilton, Daveanand Sanchar and, most recently, Akeem Grimmond, all of whom were murdered.
Maybe there are exceptions but most parents do not want to bury their children. Most parents would never allow themselves to think about losing their children permanently. There are people I know who have lost children and have never recovered. It is one of those things that should never happen.
Yet, here we are with a situation where three teenagers did not only die, but the manner in which they died leaves us questioning the nature of humanity. I found myself asking if there were anything that could have been done to prevent them dying in the manner that they did. Were there any instructions their parents could have given that would have diverted them from the path of those who took their lives? But pondering on such things can be torture. It is natural for us to question ourselves when bad things happen to our loved ones. What could we have done? Are we to blame? In the cases of Malika, Daveanand and Akeem, the only people to blame are those who took their lives.
I looked at Malika’s picture and saw a beautiful young lady. She was at the stage of her life where the possibilities were many and she could have created any kind of life she wanted. She deserved the chance to have her dreams realised. If only the person who took her life could have paused a moment to see that that young woman deserved the chance to live; if only he would have asked himself what a 14-year-old could have done in her short life to be deserving of such a gruesome death? Would he argue that he was not in his right mind? Sadly, it is too late for Malika as all her hopes and dreams perished in the canal where her killer dumped her.
And then there was Daveanand. This story leaves you questioning the boundaries between adults and children. It leaves you questioning what experiences a 13-year-old could have had to even think that getting a cutlass was a way to resolve a conflict. Who were his role models? And couldn’t the adults who took his life choose to set an example for him, like big brothers, and provide him with some guidance? Why couldn’t they see the absurdity of adults engaging in such a conflict with a child? Like Malika, Daveanand would have also had dreams and deserved the chance to thrive and become a man.
But as he lay in the street with his blood flowing, his dreams also escaped this lifetime.
When I read the story about Akeem and about his mother being nine months pregnant, it was too disconcerting to imagine her pain. Bringing one child into the world and losing another, how would this mother cope? Would she ever recover? Would the baby in her womb be well? She not only had to find strength for herself but also for that child she was carrying. In one of the reports, it was said that she described the killer as a psychopath. And she was right. It is a psychopath that would take the life of child or anyone as a matter of fact in such a manner. With his body dumped in a burial ground, Akeem was surrounded by the remnants of the dead that he had joined, with his hopes and dreams buried like the many there.
Each of these stories reminds parents and other loved ones that we can never be too careful where the safety of our children is concerned. It is our duty to raise them with the awareness that there is a possibility that they will encounter individuals who do not have the best intentions for them. We must teach them how to walk away from dangerous situations and set examples where we present solutions to conflict other than violence. They can never be too cautious.
Sadly, there will be always be unforeseen occurrences that will leave us grief-stricken and questioning what we could have done. There will always be situations where the evil in the hearts of men would manifest in ways that would sometimes lead to the death of children.
I hope that there is some truth to the continuation of life after death for the sake of Malika, Daveanand, Akeem and the many others who were taken away far too soon. The young deserve the opportunity to live a full life. They deserve the opportunity to have their dreams realised.
They deserve to live in a society where they do not have to fear walking down the street and where they are not in danger of encountering some psychopath who will kill or do them harm otherwise.
The deaths of Malika, Daveanand and Akeem leave lessons for all of us. Every day, we must tell our children we love them. Every day, we must encourage them to be the best they can be. And every day, we must be cautious of the dangers and dangerous individuals that lie in wait with evil intentions. I hope that justice will prevail.