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Rebounding from accident, Swaydean explores new-found passion making ornate vases and mosaic items

Published:Friday | December 25, 2020 | 12:05 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Swaydean Simpson shows off one of her craft creations at her home in Fletchers Land, Kingston, from which she operates a business after an accident triggered her interest in craft.
Swaydean Simpson shows off one of her craft creations at her home in Fletchers Land, Kingston, from which she operates a business after an accident triggered her interest in craft.

A car accident in June last year which left 36-year-old Swaydean Simpson hospitalised also helped the "vibe master" – as her friends referred to her – to find her passion and start a home-based business.

So far, the former nightclub supervisor is loving the progress she is witnessing as the maker of ornate vases and other items.

Simpson recalled that a travelling inside a vehicle being driven by her mother along East Street in downtown Kingston when another vehicle slammed into their car. Her mother only sustained whiplash, while Simpson slowly started to feel ill.

"The seatbelt pulled me back. We stopped and came out the car. When I came out, I started crying that I didn't feel good," she told The Gleaner. After that, I just started vomiting. She rushed me to St Joseph's [Hospital] and when I went there, I started crying for pain in my left hand and then it stopped moving. They then gave me an injection for the pain and rushed me to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) to do an X-ray."

Simpson said that by the time she reached KPH, she couldn't walk and her face soon began twitching.

"They didn't find anything, so they said they would keep me for observation. Observation lasted three and a half weeks. I came out of hospital the week before my birthday in July. From I was admitted that night, I just kept having back-to-back seizures," she said, adding that she also suffered severe memory loss.

"I didn't know that I couldn't walk or sit up. Mi inna di hospital and a wonder why dem always a carry up the bed fi mi come up. The day I was coming out of the hospital is when I realised I couldn't walk or sit on my own. When they put me in the wheelchair, I was just tilting over. My head was just bobbling and going around. I started crying," she recalled.

She could not even remember her three children when they visited her in the hospital.

"When they came to look for me, I asked, 'A who dem?' My sister seh a you children and mi start cry because mi a seh mi nuh have no children and dem seh, 'You have three'," said Simpson.

"Every seizure I get is like dem affi tell me back every story about how it go and how me reach back inna dis. .. They had to stop people from seeing me because I was not remembering them and then when dem start cry me start cry and it break me down and cause seizures again," she said.

When she came out of the hospital, just the noise from a passing motorcycle or a shutting of a door was enough to trigger more seizures and her memory would go again.

Now able to walk again, she uses a stick "from time to time because if I walk too far and my legs get tired and shut down".

Along her journey to recovery, her love for decor propelled her to explore making beautiful vases and other mosaic items.

"If I am having a dull day and I see something nice for the house, it brightens my day. During that time, I just kept my hands busy. I had to keep my brain busy because if I didn’t, my mind would wander off and is like it a pull mi fi stay back and mi couldn’t deal with that," she shared.

Soon she took her mother's advice to turn her passion into a business, which she now operated from her home at 19 North Street.

"I am a spirit uplifter from birth. If I come around you or you come around me, you bound fi smile. When I used to go out, nobody don’t want to go on the road without me. I was the vibe master," she said. "Even though I was down so long, my spirit wasn’t down. This [business] that I am doing, if I feel tired I can just go lay down. I don’t have somebody over me telling me I cannot do this or that. It is very challenging for me still, because my body sometimes decide fi just shut down back."

Check out some of Simpson's pieces at or contact her on Instagram at T_decor84. On Facebook, her name is Swaydean Simpson.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com