Springer student still trying to come to terms with injury
That’s the question which keeps going through the mind of Zakiyah Defreitas, the Springer Memorial student who lost her left arm after suffering serious injuries when a ZR van overturned near the River bus stand just over a month ago.
“She keeps asking why,” Sharon Walcott, mother of the 14-year-old third former, told Barbados TODAY in an exclusive interview today. “She wants to know, ‘Mummy, why this happen to me?’ ‘Mummy, why I had to lose my hand?’ She is asking questions that I don’t have answers for.”
Walcott, who herself had to be hospitalized for a brief period after coping with her daughter’s tragedy was proving a bit too much, said every day was a fight for the teenager who was still a patient at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and seems to be struggling to heal emotionally.
“She’s smiling when people come to see her, but she is not happy because she talks about it when visitors gone [and] it’s a different story,” Walcott said. “She’s smiling, but that doesn’t mean that she is not hurting. She cries and cries.”
“When people are not there and it’s just me and her, she cries on my shoulders and asks so many questions. I don’t have the answer to why. If I had the answer to why, I would give her.”
Walcott said negative rumours, which were circulating about Zakiyah in relation to the accident, had not made the healing process any easier.
Zakiyah’s left forearm was severed when the ZR, with 21 passengers on board, including several other Springer students, overturned at Nursery Drive in the City. Zakiyah, who was travelling in the front seat, was reportedly pinned under the vehicle.
Walcott, who spends a lot of time at the hospital comforting her child, said she tries to go about her daily activities as usual, attending work when she is scheduled to, and also taking care of Zakiyah’s two younger siblings.
Described by her mother as a good student and well-behaved daughter, Zakiyah, who was previously left-handed, now has to learn how to use her right hand to write and to do everything else.
Walcott said she expects Zakiyah to return to Springer Memorial when the time is right. She lauded staff and students of the Government Hill, St Michael institution, saying they had been very supportive and took time out to visit Zakiyah in hospital.
“Through this all, all I can do is to be strong for her because I can’t be breaking down in front of her and weaken her. I am not coping with it, yes, and I am hurting, yes, but I can’t let her see because she is looking up to me to be her backbone. I have to be strong for my child,” said the mother, who also thanked her workmates for their support and understanding.
Walcott said while counseling will be necessary for her daughter at some point in time, the family was waiting for the right time to start the process.
“She is just not ready for it yet,” she said. “I am just giving her sometime. Sometimes I don’t even know what to tell her. I would tell her at least you still have life. I ask her to just look at the bright side.
“I don’t know what else to tell her. She keeps saying it is okay for people to tell her things but nobody knows what she is going through.”
As it relates to Zakiyah’s medical status, Walcott said doctors would have to speak on it.
But “it is now more than a month that she is in there which means that it can’t be healing as fast as they want it to . . . ,” she said. “ . . . To actually look [at her amputated hand] . . . is too much for me. It is hard,” she added.
Walcott said she had not yet heard from the owners of the ZR in which Zakiyah was traveling.
The driver of the van is facing charges of dangerous driving, driving without due care and attention and driving without reasonable consideration for other road users. The preliminary hearing is scheduled for September 26-28.