Son blames self as dad with dementia is found dead
It was the outcome Charles Holder had feared, not the one he had been praying for.
After his father Gordon Bellefield Alleyne, also known as Giant, went missing sometime after 9:30 Tuesday night, the 41-year-old Holder of Church Gap Hill, Hillaby, St Andrew was holding on to hope that his dad would have been found alive.
His hopes were shattered when the body of the 79-year-old former BICO forklift driver was found over a ravine near his home around 8:20 Wednesday morning by a search party.
A recovery team later lifted the body from 35 feet above a gully where Holder believed the elderly man, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s, had slipped and fallen.
“Just where we found him it’s actually similar to the walkway to home, so I don’t know if he had an idea that he going back home but rather than going down a hill, he walked up a hill and then went to the back of the house and slipped and fell,” Holder told Barbados TODAY as he fought back tears.
As his father’s primary caretaker, Holder, also the youngest of Alleyne’s children, would have seen up-close, the effect the brain degenerative disease was having on his dad, including the changes to his behaviour.
Over the past five years in particular, Alleyne would not venture far from home, except for his visits to the doctor, the distraught Holder told Barbados TODAY.
“Everybody know him and know he is a man that don’t venture and don’t walk. If he outside it’s because I bring him outside or he would be here [outside the house] just relaxing or go in the house,” he said.
“It saddens me to see the way he gone right now; he didn’t deserve to die that way. I prefer to [be] dead that way than him. I live on the streets, he don’t.”
Despite having to cope with his dad’s dementia, Holder never revealed the elderly man’s ailment to the neighbours.
That was why, he said, he would bear some of the responsibility for his father’s death, since those who saw Alleyne walking away would not have thought he was in danger.
“They didn’t take recognition of the situation that he walking away,” Holder said.
“I always used to say that he was sick but I didn’t used to say what was the nature of his sickness . . . . If they were conscious at the time of what was happening, he would still probably be alive today.”
Holder last saw his father around 9:30 Tuesday night, and as he recounted their last interaction, he again had to fight back the tears.
“He was just sitting down, I asked him if he was good and he told me as he normally says, ‘I okay’. I say, ‘you sure?’ and he said, ‘I ok’; and I just left and came back inside and that was it,” Holder explained.
He described Alleyne as a quiet, jovial, family-oriented homebody, and a good father and grandfather to his four children and six grandchildren.
“He was always willing to help, but for him to help, you must be willing to help yourself first. If you don’t help yourself first, he isn’t helping you; but he never said no.
“He was a person liked by everyone, he was never a person to stray, lime, hang out, nothing. If he hang out it would got to be by a girlfriend house that he’s talking to,” Holder said.
The close family bond was emphasized when granddaughter Tianna Holder was asked to describe her relationship with her grandfather.
The second-year University of West Indies students broke down and cried before offering that Alleyne “would go without for his family”.