Dad prepares to bury son
Come tomorrow, Junior Phillips will bury his 11-year-old son, Abijah Holder, at Coral Ridge. He would have preferred to be spending time at the beach, or sourcing supplies for his son, who was scheduled to enter secondary school in September.
Holder died on the spot when the car in which he was travelling struck a sign post and overturned at about 4:30 p.m. on June 26.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY earlier today, Phillips reflected on the moment he got the news that his “intelligent, creative, artistic and humble” son would attend Queens College, saying he was overjoyed, but not at all surprised.
However, as he prepared for tomorrow’s funeral, Phillips, who asked that he not be photographed, was a picture of calm on the outside, but suggested that he was an emotional wreck on the inside.
“I can’t say how I feeling. This is my first experience like this. I don’t even know how to express myself.
“All I can do is just live for he and make up for the times that I wasn’t there, and try to be a better father for my daughter,” he said.
Abijah, his mother, Felicia Holder, 32, and his 13-year-old sister, Ibrel, were on their way home from the former Welches Primary School student’s graduation when the accident occurred.
Phillips said he was unable to attend the graduation, but was planning to treat the children to a fun-filled day, including a visit to the beach, dinner and possibly a drive through the countryside.
He said he was on his way out
when he received a call from his mother, who informed him that something bad
had happened and urged him to return home.
“I forget about the dinner because I tell myself it is something tragic, and [I] went by my mother, and they didn’t want to tell me. I didn’t know what to say, but all I did was went straight down to the hospital.
“My daughter [Ibrel] was crying. I asked for my son [and] the doctors didn’t want to tell me what [was] going on until they eventually told me that my son had passed. I didn’t even get to see him. Don’t care what state he was in, that is my son. I wanted to see him,” Phillips recalled.
He said eventually he got to see the body three days later at the funeral home, where he shed tears and “chanted some praises” for the dead boy.
“I can’t be weak. I can’t break down myself because I got my daughter and two other kids to live for,” said the saddened father.
The daugher, Ibrel, who was also hurt in the accident, was recently released from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she was being treated with her mother consistently at her bedside offering support.
It was not clear how the accident occurred, or whether the mother sustained injuries. However, she was visibly shaken at the scene, and had to be comforted after
the three were removed from the motorcar with the assistance of the Barbados Fire Service.
While the mother was unavailable to speak when Barbados TODAY visited her Hopewell, Christ Church home, Phillips, sitting outside the house in his vehicle, credited her for playing a pivotal role in training the boy, who was described by teachers as a disciplined and well behaved student.
And he advised other fathers to be involved in of their children’s lives, no matter how little money they had.
“Just deal with your youths spiritually too, and just be there for them. Love them the same way how the mother would love them. Mother’s baby, and some people would say, father’s, maybe.
“But it is mother’s baby and father’s baby too. This is a concept that fathers have to carry too,” he said.
The funeral service is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at the Chapel of Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens, The Ridge, Christ Church.