Footprints | Patrice Planter-Cooke, a bright spark
Patrice Kimberly Planter-Cooke, born in Kingston on March 27, 1981, lived a colourful and vibrant life. She could sing and dance, and ride a bike. The creator of flamboyant hairstyles was a stylish woman herself.
But the vibrancy suddenly turned to a pall of gloom for her family as the daughter of Gloria 'Mama G' Simms and Patrick Planter Sr slipped away into eternal sleep on June 11 at the Kingston Public Hospital, on the same compound as the Victoria Jubilee Hospital, where she was born.
She, who attended Bethel Infant, Clan Carthy Primary and Windward Road All-Age schools, and Garmex HEART Academy, leaves behind her three young daughters, Symoya Cooke, Jasmine Forbes and Rickaya Jackson, brothers Michael Murray and Patrick Planter Jr, and other relatives.
The service of thanksgiving for the life of Planter-Cooke was held at the Bethel United Church of Christ (Apostolic), 20 South Camp Road, Kingston 4, on Saturday, July 15.
There, Planter-Cooke's mounted photograph projected the image of a woman who exuded flair and confidence, but the floral arrangement on its left and the board box with her ashes on its right were poignant reminders of how fragile life can be - and her life was indeed a short one.
In a tribute to 'Kim', her only daughter, a grief-stricken Gloria Simms said, "Today is Patrice's day ... when tongues will speak of your goodness ... . We will dance for you today. We know that though it was not always a good life, you were here, and you learned many lessons - some easy, some hard."
Planter-Cooke was also eulogised by Simms, who now has the responsibility of raising her three granddaughters, two of whom paid tribute to their mother with the singing of The Greatest Love Of All.
Simms said her daughter, once the lead singer for the group Passion, was "endowed with multiple talents," and she recorded her first self-written song at age nine. Simms also remembered Planter-Cooke as a lover of children and the less fortunate, and a defender of the weak and defenceless.
Choking back tears, Simms said in closing, "Bon voyage, Patrice. Give thanks for spending 36 years with me."