Rest well, Melissa

Final farewell to mother who died while taking a nap

The three children who Melissa Eastmond left behind – two-year-old twin boys Jaylen and Jayden and their nine-month-old sister Jelissa – might not have had a clear understanding of what was happening today as their mother was being laid to rest, but like the rest of the family, they were tearful and restless.

Melissa Eastmond
Melissa Eastmond

From the time the casket opened for viewing of the body before the 3: 30 p.m. start of the funeral service, relatives began screaming.

But it was Eastmond’s mother Cora and her eldest sister Gaile whose wails pierced the graveyard, especially as the brown casket was lowered into the ground.

Melissa Eastmond’s mother Cora Eastmond (second from right), her eldest sister Gaile (right) and youngest sibling Faye (fourth from right) being comforted at the gravesite.
Melissa Eastmond’s mother Cora Eastmond (second from right), her eldest sister Gaile (right) and youngest sibling Faye (fourth from right) being comforted at the gravesite.
Melissa Eastmond’s  nine-month-old baby Jelissa  in her father Fabian Maynard’s arms at her mother’s funeral.
Melissa Eastmond’s
nine-month-old baby Jelissa
in her father Fabian Maynard’s arms at her mother’s funeral.

The 27-year-old Eastmond died on July 26, moments after telling her family she felt tired and was going to take a nap.

Yellow was her favourite colour and it was the theme of this afternoon’s send-off, as relatives dressed in various shades of the primary subtractive colour, and Eastmond was decked out in a yellow and white dress.

The mother of three was a former student of Ann Hill School and Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. She represented Barbados at the Special Olympic in swimming and won a gold medal in that discipline, according to Shonelle Henry, who read the eulogy.

Henry said the deceased was a dedicated and hard worker, giving her best to the cleaning firm at which she worked.

She added that Eastmond wanted the best for her children and her mother.

“She even thought of building a home for them and had made plans to celebrate her mum birthday by buying her a dress and a pair of shoes to attend Q in the Community. Her favourite colour was yellow and she loved to dance to oldies with her kids,” Henry said.

It was Eastmond’s desire to see her family improve that Reverend Michael Maxwell concentrated on in his sermon to the scores who gathered at the Church of Holy Trinity to bid her farewell. The church leader pleaded with the wider community to play its role in honouring her wishes.

Maxwell said while the three children were left without a mother to nurture and care for them, those who would play an active role in their lives must give them love and protection. He said it must not be forgotten that money was also needed to help meet their daily needs.

“This evening the voice of Jesus is saying to us, ‘remember my child Melissa and support the other members of her family not just by your presence here this evening’. This is the easy part. Putting on your clothes, sitting down and singing the songs and standing up by the graveside is the easy part,” he said.

The more difficult part, he told the mourners, would come later as life became more difficult without Eastmond – the tears would come in quiet moments and hearts would become heavy and would need encouragement.

“And so I say to you, remember Melissa and her family long after this evening when they need your presence, when they need your prayers, when they need your support and even sometimes when they need your money,” he said.

The twins, who have not stopped asking for their mother since her passing, will celebrate their birthday on August 20 with a party at King George V Memorial Park, organized by The Love Day Project and the Making It Against the Odds Foundation.

anestahenry@barbadostoday.bb

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