What started out yesterday as an early morning walk for Mervin Bovell has deprived his wife Stacia of the love of her life for 14 years.
The 34-year-old man, affectionately known as Junior to family and friends, is Barbados’ first suspected drowning victim for the year.
His body was recovered from the sea off Glitter Bay, St James around eight o’ clock yesterday, after it was seen floating in the water by tourists.
Sitting at their Yearwood Road, Mount Standfast, St James home today, a tearful Stacia told Barbados TODAY that the sight of her husband’s lifeless body on the sand was heart wrenching, causing her to wish it was just a dream.
“We were so happy. This is not easy for me,” she said quietly.
She said their 11-year-old daughter Azalea, a student of the St Alban’s Primary School who is preparing to sit the Common Entrance Examination in May, could not stop talking about the bond she had with her dad who made spending quality time with her a priority.
Stacia explained that her better half left home before five yesterday morning after informing her that he was going walking and would return at six.
However, when that time passed and Mervin, who was known for his punctuality, had not returned, Stacia knew something was wrong.
Maybe he went for a longer walk this morning, a distraught Stacia said she thought to herself.
The wife said when their daughter left home for school, she decided to go and look on the beach to see if he was there, but he was nowhere to be found.
“When I came back home, I said it was unusual he didn’t get back as yet. I called my mom and tell her I don’t want to panic but he should be back by now. She told me she is coming now and she brought my two brothers.
“I called his sister at work and said, ‘don’t want to panic, but Junior leave home at minutes to five and he said he would be back by six and he ain’t get back.’ My mom came and we went down to the beach.
“My mother and one of my brothers went to the right and me and my other brother went to the left,” she recalled as she spoke about her journey to discovering the loss of her soul mate.
Stacia said a short distance into her walk along the beach, she saw police putting up caution tape and she turned to her brother and asked him why.
Struggling to get the words out, the 35-year-old said her question was answered when she saw a watersports operator who was familiar with the family and he confirmed that her worst nightmare was real.
“He said, ‘your husband there laying on the beach’. So then we ran across and I asked the police to see him and it was Junior. I don’t know what happened,” she recounted, as she wept silently.
The man she vowed to spend her life with until death, was gone. They had plans of celebrating his 35th birthday next Thursday.
Stacia said she was going to miss many things about Junior, especially his position in her life as confidante and partner with whom she attended car-racing events.
The couple also worked together maintaining gardens.
But what hurts most is the thought of not having Junior around to share in raising their daughter.
“I feel like it’s a dream. I normally can’t sleep if he is not at home, so last night I did not sleep because he did not come home. I know he isn’t coming, but I guess it is just to condition myself now to knowing that he is no longer here.”
Junior’s sister, Sonia, said that her brother was the last of five children and he was probably the most fun loving.
She said he was the one who held on to memories, especially funny stories and shared them whenever he considered it convenient to do so, even if it was ten years later.
“My brother was generally a good person. In his latter years, he became quite a chef,” she said.
Junior’s mother-in-law Beulah Beckles said she admired the close friendship her daughter shared with her late husband.
Beulah said she was still in disbelief following news of his passing.
“I don’t think anybody believes it all like now. It can’t be for real,” she said.