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Another parent faces uncertain tomorrow after loss of a child

Published:Monday | April 19, 2021 | 10:33 PMDamion Mitchell/Integration Editor
The late Janelle Maitland and her father, Wayne Maitland.

A parent outliving their children is a nightmare all with the lot in life to see the dreams of their ‘little ones’ unfold before their eyes has to bare. When that nightmare comes true for one, we are left to hug our little and not-so little ones tight. But, we also face the question, how would we go on?. For Wayne Maitland, amidst his grief is that very question. As yet, he has no answer.

Published April 14, 2021

‘I don’t know how to go on’

Dad rues crash death of darling daughter

WAYNE MAITLAND is a broken father.

From his St Andrew home, he spoke with The Gleaner on Tuesday ruing his daughter’s decision to travel on Monday from her Easter holiday trip to spend time with her relatives in Mandeville, Manchester.

Janelle Maitland, 20, did not make it back. The minibus in which she was travelling crashed on Highway 2000, killing four people on the spot.

Janelle died hours later at the Spanish Town Hospital in St Catherine.

As if the pain were not enough, Maitland said his emotions were wrenched when he received graphic videos of the crash, then a call from someone asking him to identify his daughter.

“It is just that people don’t understand the purpose of cell phones at times and the grief that people are going through,” said Maitland, masking his anger.

Maitland, 52, said Janelle’s death has also rocked her mother, Nadine Smikle, and her six siblings.

In fact, it was Smikle who broke the news to him that their daughter had been involved in a crash.

She had called Janelle to check on her after hearing a breaking-news item that there had been a terrible crash on the highway.

“A gentleman answered the phone and said, ‘Mommy, I have your daughter’s phone. I am a passer-by who was on the scene seeing persons lying on the ground. Some are dead and I realise that your daughter is not dead, and I sent her off to the Spanish Town Hospital’,” Maitland related.

The father said that he, Smikle, and other relatives rushed to the hospital where his daughter had been admitted in critical condition.

However, both he and Smikle opted not to see their badly injured daughter.

Hours later, family members received the devastating news that Janelle had passed, plunging them into pain and bereavement.

“I really don’t know how to go on. It’s hard,” Maitland muttered.

For him, Janelle’s passing also marked the end of the dream of his star who was in her third year of studies in logistics at Caribbean Maritime University.

Still, he wrestles with himself whether he should have been more persuasive last week when he asked Janelle to return home on Saturday instead of Monday.

Maitland said he only relented after she reminded him that the COVID-19 lockdown would start at midday Saturday.

While she was in Mandeville on her Easter holiday, Maitland said he kept in touch with Janelle, updating her on the progress of a pear tree and peas she had planted at their St Andrew home.

“She constantly called me and asked me, ‘Daddy, you watered the plants?’ And I would tell her yes.”

Maitland recalled the elation when he told Janelle that her peas were now blossoming and reminisced about her warning that he water them twice a day.

He said on the fateful morning, Janelle told him that she deeply appreciated him and all he had done for her.

“It got me emotional, and I said, ‘Jan, just stop worrying yourself nuh, man, you know you are my baby. Just hurry up and come back from the country’.”

Now, Maitland is struggling to come to terms with her passing.

However, he said he is being encouraged by family and friends who have been providing immense support.

In the meantime, 10 other victims remain hospitalised, some in critical condition.