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Stories of loved ones left behind
As the world remembers the lives of road traffic accident victims, the Sunday Guardian has reached out to families of people who died. These people share the burden of lives lost and the memories that provide both comfort and sorrow.
Vashti Sooklal's son Anderson was 23 years old when he was killed in a road traffic accident 13 years ago.
For years I couldn't move past my son's death.
I kept his bedroom exactly as it was and I couldn't talk about him without having a total breakdown.
He was a qualified mechanical engineer and it happened on the Priority Bus Route in Macoya. It was around 9 pm and he was going out with some friends on a Saturday night. I had gone to New York to visit my brother with my husband and daughter the week before and that was the last time we would have seen him.
I remember everything. Every detail. It was Borough Day in Arima. He had just started to work and was just going to lime. My brother-in-law called us in New York that Saturday night and told us he had died. He told us a maxi-taxi driver was speeding on the bus route and had hit our son. He was crossing the bus route and it wasn't very well lit at that time.
My son was so ambitious. I think about the life he could have. He was a really good child. He was loved by everybody in the family. He was a brilliant child.
He was always so careful. He never had a broken arm or even a cut from playing. I kept thinking of how careful he was as a person and how this happened to him.
It took me years to even call his name.
I must have went to court for the inquest about 70 times. I would go but it would keep being deferred because the driver wouldn't come. Nothing ever came of it.
The driver of the maxi would not show up, sometimes the sergeant wouldn't come. They would always say they couldn't find him. I remember the driver's name. I remember the sergeant's name. I remember seeing the driver for the first time and I broke down in tears. I couldn't look at him. It took me years to even go places where I would see children my son's age. It took me years.
We have his picture up all around the house and his certificates. It was hard to see them but I look at those pictures all the time now.
I left his room alone for years. Every year I keep a memorial for him. I would think, it just took a few seconds to cross that bus route. If he had gone a few seconds earlier. I always think about if he had two seconds again to get out of the driver's way.
It is very difficult to cope. The driving on the road has become worse, reckless. They really don't care about people lives, about who they could hurt, who hurts after. They don't care.
Jennifer Teague lost two sons as a result of road accidents, most recently her son Travis, a father of two.
When we got the call that Travis had died I didn't know what to do.
It was so hard. It was like that first call years ago when Tito had died. It was more than ten years ago.
Travis was in that accident too. Travis walked away without any injuries but Tito, my first son, died.
We were told that Travis was heading east along the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway and when he reached the O'Meara intersection his car, a Mitsubishi Lancer, collided with a pick-up heading south along O'Meara Road.
Teague and his friends died. They were all friends. The people in the other vehicle died too. All of them.
I think about it all of the time. Tito was my firstborn, Travis was the third of my six children.
I get anxious when my other children say they are going anyway. I feel afraid and I freeze because of what happened to my two boys.
Travis was outspoken. He never took stupidness from anybody. He had a fast brain and he had two children.
He lived next to me and those children never liked to leave by me. He was always by me too. We were very close. He never wanted to see me go anywhere.
Whenever I left to go away Travis would quarrel and ask 'where you going?' He used to say don't go now and would say all kinds of things to get me to stay.
The last time I said I was going away, he told me he was getting married and told me I couldn't be gone on his wedding day. I know he really wanted to get married but that was his way of tricking me to stay.
I wanted to see my sons live their lives, get married and settle down. We talk about it a lot in the family. We dream about them and sometimes I can talk about it and other times I break down, but I pray about it and ask for strength.
I believe that with God everything will be okay. I beg the Lord to give me strength.