The father of the three young children whose mother died in her sleep on Tuesday is confessing that he let her down while she was alive, but is promising to pick up the slack following her death.
Melissa Eastmond, a 27-year-old mother of three – including two-year-old twin boys Jaylen and Jayden and their nine-month-old sister Jelissa – died suddenly on Tuesday afternoon after telling her relatives that she felt tired and was going to take a rest.
The untimely death of the Work Hall, St Philip mother and the plight of the family she left behind highlighted by Barbados TODAY on Wednesday, did not only touch Barbadians, but was a rude awakening for the children’s father, 29-year-old Fabian Maynard, who admitted that he had been delinquent in the past.
He said he would now shape up and play an active role in his children’s lives.
“I got to be there. I ain’t leaving them. I gine always be there to support in whatever way I can. As I say I neglect from before, so I know I got to do a lot now,” Maynard told Barbados TODAY.
He said he expected strong criticism from the public, but he was prepared to take the flak because he deserved it.
“Whatever abuse I may get from the public for not being there I am willing to accept it because I should have done better when I had the chance. We all make mistakes in life. I regret what I did but I gotta step up now and be a man,” Maynard, who lives a short distance from the children, said.
The father, who works as a bartender at a Christ Church hotel, said while he intended to leave Melissa’s mother Cora Eastmond as the children’s primary caretaker, he would visit them as often as possibly and have them over to spend time at his home.
“I will try my best because I kind of let down the mum so to speak. I got to do a lot of making up; I got to put in some work with the children to make up for the past.
“I was not really there for them and it put a lot of pressure on the mum. So now the pressure on me to really make the children proud and make she proud,” he said.
Maynard said he and Melissa had separated before the birth of their last child.
However, he said he maintained contact with her and she wanted the best for the children.
“I know Barbados would probably pitch in and lend a hand, but I for one got to pull majority of the weight now because I disappoint and now I got to make up for it and do what I have to do to make sure those children grow up happy and healthy,” he said.
A grieving Eastmond had said on Wednesday she intended to keep a promise she made to her daughter earlier this year to raise the children should anything happen to Melissa.
Eastmond told Barbados TODAY this morning that when Maynard spent the day with the children at her home yesterday, he pledged to share the responsibility of raising them.
“He say he would help and it is my one now. I just can’t believe my daughter dead. I will take care of my grandchildren though,” the still shaken grandmother said.
She said the boys were constantly asking for their mother, while the baby appeared to be withdrawn at times.
While people have been calling Barbados TODAY’s Warrens office inquiring how they could assist the family who lost their sole breadwinner, the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) has stepped in and offered a much-needed lifeline.
In response to the report in this newspaper on the situation, BWA Corporate Communications Specialist Joy-ann Haigh visited the family’s home Friday morning to advise that, “based on the unusual circumstances and the fact that they had lost their sole breadwinner”, the water company had decided to write off their outstanding debt and to restore water to the grieving family.
“It is not a normal situation, so we decided to do what we can to help when we were called yesterday by the newspaper that broke the story.
“We encourage Barbadians and private citizens to help however they can. It is not the norm and these children would need some help, and of course our prayers go out to the family,” Haigh said. She also made a personal donation to the family.
A relieved Cora Eastmond said she was grateful to the BWA for its support.
An autopsy is scheduled to be conducted next week to determine the cause of death.