Audrey Anderson still weeps for her 'baby'
"Whe Gail deh? You see her?"
"Yes, me see her."
"Wah happen to her? Anuh dead she dead?"
"Yes ... she dead! "
The confirmation. Those three words spoken to 76-year-old Audrey Anderson and her husband Walde, almost a year ago, shook their core and are still fresh in their memory as it brought a nightmare to reality.
Anderson had a special love for and a special connection with her daughter, the fifth of eight children, Gail, whose life was tragically snuffed out by the man all expected her to marry.
"A friend of Gail was calling her phone but wasn't getting her, and she asked me to call her, but I never got any answer. So I sent my son down there, but he said he didn't see anybody, just the car. Even when he jumped over the gate, he couldn't see anything ..." the mother recounted
"I told one of my daughters to go down there and ask my other daughter to follow her to go and look. When they went there, one of my daughters pulled the mesh from the window to look inside."
In shock, and with no knowledge of how they would break the news to their mother, the sisters refused to answer Anderson's calls.
"I called them again and again. I asked my husband to call and he was hesitant, and me get miserable now and tell him fi 'call dem!' My daughter answered the phone, but she didn't know I was hearing everything from an opened line. Me hear when she say, 'Yes, daddy, she dead."
"Me just a collar myself a try hold up, but I couldn't. Me bellow out to me friend across the road and me just drop dung right on the verandah. When I came around, everything was happening so fast, I was crying, [and] my husband was rushing to put on clothes to go down the house. People started rushing to the house and later I had to be taken to the hospital," she said.
... Deep connection was never broken
Audrey Anderson said her daughter Gail had only weighed two pounds at birth and needed to be in the hospital for three months. It was there that the connection between them both grew deep and, prior to her death, was never broken.
"As grown as she was, she was still my baby. She never left me out and most times she was the one I called on. Several times for the week, she would come up here and look for me and at the end of the month, she would come and say, 'How you smile bright so today' and laugh, and give me what she had to give me."
Gail was a trained early-childhood educator and principal of the Hope Village Basic School.
Having completed her master's degree weeks before her death, many were looking towards her promising tenure in the field of education.
"I can't even explain the feeling to you. I have eight (children), but when you lose one it nuh easy," Anderson told The Gleaner as she struggled to hold back tears.
"I was angry at her killer for quite some time because he was like family. It was only a few days before the incident (that) he had dinner here and we were talking about when he would visit again, only to get a call like that."
VOID IN FAMILY
Remembering Gail as a pleasant woman, the mother said her death has left a void in the family.
"One of her nephews, my grandson, has been seeing a psychiatrist ever since the incident because he use to just go to school and cry for her, and he would just zone out and nuh do no work. It hit him bad, man, and him just coming around slowly."
Anderson said her church family has been her tower of strength for the past few months and the word of God, her comfort.
"When they come here and give me encouraging words, it makes a difference because when you are going through something like this, when you are in pain, you have to speak it out and you have to cry. If it was not for God, I don't know what would happen to me," she said.
Though things will never ever be the same for her family, Anderson ended with a word of hope for those facing similar pain.
"My family still has to rally around each other because it is not easy, and I know it can't be easy for those who have lost a loved one. But hold on to God, and those around you, and he will see you through," she said.