School gap trauma

Family and friends shaken by Sobers’ suicide

On January 3rd, Michael “Mike” Sobers attended the Barbados Music Awards (BMA), a place he was at his happiest.  Just six days later, Sobers was dead. He reportedly took his own life, leaving his family in a state of shock and everyone seeking answers that were difficult to come by.

Mike Sobers and family in happier times.
Mike Sobers and family in happier times.

Sobers, 32, also left behind six-month-old fraternal twins.

When a team from Barbados TODAY visited his family in School Gap, Hindsbury Road, St Michael, earlier today, some family members and friends were gathered at his aunt’s home, all still in a very sombre mood, a cloud of deep sadness hanging over them.

His grandmother Joyce Sobers was the one who discovered his lifeless body. She had just returned from viewing the corpse when the Barbados TODAY team visited, and said she was tired and no longer wanted to talk about the situation.

However, his uncle Curtis Alleyne recounted the last time he saw Sobers. It was a mere 15 minutes before he was advised of the young man’s demise. Today, he was trying to make sense of it.

Curtis Alleyne said he saw his nephew 15 minutes before his death.
Curtis Alleyne said he saw his nephew 15 minutes before his death.

“I saw Michael Saturday morning; the same day it happened he came by me. I wouldn’t say he was in good spirits on Saturday; he was very restless and passionate. I told him I was going in the garden. When I got back he was out in the patio. I called out to him and he shouted me back. When I came in the house I heard the commotion outside and I went out and I heard he killed himself. That wasn’t even 15 minutes when he left by me,” Allyene said, still clearly in a state of shock.

He remembered Sobers, who returned home from the United States about four years ago, as being a “very own-way” individual.

“He was a very own-way fellow. Very own-way. You just couldn’t control him. He went and get wrap up in some nonsense and then when he couldn’t take it out on anybody now, he probably decide to take his own life,” he said, the sadness seemingly overpowering him. “I’m very sorry as a family member. It shake up everybody.”

One of Sobers’ close friends, Hussain Hinds, with whom he shared a birthday on February 26, said he was hurt by his friend’s passing. He too recounted the last time he saw Sobers.

Close friend of Michael Sobers, Hussain Hinds.
Close friend of Michael Sobers, Hussain Hinds.

“I saw him on Friday night. I pass there and he was outside. I didn’t stop to talk because I was hungry and was going for something to eat. Other people were outside talking to him,” he said.

Hinds told Barbados TODAY Sobers never once mentioned anything about being depressed or going through problems.

Another close friend, former producer of the BMA Ronnie Morris also tried coming to grips with his passing. Morris, too, said he was shocked and shaken by the incident, given that just after the BMA they had a lengthy conversation about the future. He remembered Sobers as an encouraging and fun-loving person who loved music.

“He assisted us with the BMAs in 2015 and 2016 and also worked hard on the Queens of Gospel project. Mike always had an uplifting attitude. Nothing was impossible and everything could be achieved,” he said.

Morris added that while he knew Sobers was under some “pressure”, his decision to take his own life still came as a shock.

“I understand the pressure he was under, but can’t understand his decision, as he had a circle of friends who would have supported him through anything. But we can also relate to the fact that we are all just human and we can only take so much and no more. I think he was at that point in his life. I have never seen anyone under so much pressure try so hard to smile through it. He loved his kids, and sacrificed all he had for them,” he added.

He admitted that going forward was going to be difficult for their circle of friends.

“This is going to be a difficult time for us, the ones he knew, the ones he shared his concerns with; but I am also confident that his circle of friends also know now beyond the shadow of a doubt that suicide leaves those who care, the ones who are left behind, traumatized, and my hope is that they never even consider suicide as an option in times of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Time can heal anything. Just give God time to prepare His miracles. They may take a while but eventually they come to pass. May he rest in peace,” Morris said.

Just last Friday, prominent pastor and Government Senator David Durant told Barbados TODAY he had seen a rise in the number of people with suicidal tendencies, many of whom had had traumatic experiences.

“I am very concerned about it because there are quite a number of people who do come with thoughts like that as pressure increases, situations within the island turn in a negative direction [and] as people are pressured either due to abandonment, neglect, abuse, rejection, hurts, unemployment or whatever other situation that can trigger that in them mentally and emotionally,” Durant said at the time.

He also revealed that among those who went to his church seeking counselling for depression and thoughts of suicide were a growing number of young people.

14 Responses to School gap trauma

  1. Rickie Brown
    Rickie Brown January 12, 2016 at 12:46 am

    very sad to read this! Condolences to His Family, Friends and Fellow Musicians!

  2. Janette Reifer
    Janette Reifer January 12, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Two fatherless

    • Candie January 12, 2016 at 4:51 pm

      Too* if you want to criticize!!!!

  3. Valerie Small
    Valerie Small January 12, 2016 at 2:13 am

    Very sad story. Ppl dont know what others go thru

  4. Jude Willis
    Jude Willis January 12, 2016 at 2:15 am

    Tragic !!

  5. bajan boy.... January 12, 2016 at 5:56 am

    Rev.Durant you dont know why??? You shold tell Freundel to resign and also Chris they are national problems and it is getting worst..

  6. Jack Napier January 12, 2016 at 8:37 am

    Now, how the ASS politics get to become a part of this??!! A family and friends are hurting and someone in here giving politics the blame. How sensitive is that?

  7. anisha January 12, 2016 at 10:41 am

    May he rest in peace

  8. dap January 12, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    He mut change his nme to Bajan Jack Ass

  9. Ormond Mayers January 12, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Come on things are real rough and for some, the pressure is even greater. I am not at all surprise of the level of depressed people and suicidal.

  10. Patty Cake January 12, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Life can be do challenging. I am sorry his ended like this. However God is a forgiving God. May he rest in peace.

  11. maxine January 12, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    So sorry he end his life like that ,I spoke to him Friday night,he is my good friend

  12. Anne Jones January 13, 2016 at 12:56 am

    Folks this is not a political thing it is human. People need help; support; love and someone to talk to about their problems. That listening ear a laugh. Please be sympathetic to those two little babies that are now without a father. Hope the mother of those babies get some consoling. The community needs to rally around this family.

  13. HEROINE January 13, 2016 at 8:11 am

    My condolences to “Mike” family and friends may he rest in peace n people should be more sensitive to the fact dat he ain’t only left just he family n friends but he also leave behind uh son n daughter dat one day when them get older them going to ask questions bout him n how d peer pressure gine b fuh dem @ school wen d children reminding dem bout how he died


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