A bereaved Orville Phillips will never forget the dreadful sight of the body of the woman with whom he had shared his matrimonial bed for over 37 years lying on the road.
Phillips’ wife Doriel, who celebrated her 65th birthday on Sunday, collapsed and died on the spot at Waterman’s Village, St James around 7:45 yesterday evening.
She was just yards away from the Gospel Lighthouse Church where she was going for choir practice, and minutes away from home at Haynesville in the same parish.
“She is my heart,” Phillips said, speaking in the present tense as if she were still alive and next to him where she had been for several decades.
They had been a couple for a long time, beginning a relationship when Doriel was still a young girl living in Holders Hill and he the boy from Payne’s Bay.
“That’s my darling from school. I lay down in bed next to her for so many years and then just so I get a call to come and see her lying down on them hard rocks and a sheet over she. It just hurting me,” a devastated Phillips said.
The mother of three – two boys and one girl – and grandmother of four had an appointment for a doctor’s visit today.
Phillips cried openly throughout the interview with Barbados TODAY as he relived memories of his partner and how she felt in the days leading to her sudden death.
The two were planning a holiday to the United Kingdom and Phillips, a security officer at a guest house, was determining where to purchase the tickets when he got the dreadful news.
The trip was to have been a present for his wife’s birthday and he intended to buy the tickets today.
“I used to provide for her and try to make her happy. She ain’t had to ask nobody for nothing. I used to go to work and make sure she good. What she want, I buy,” he told Barbados TODAY early this afternoon, as he tried to make sense of her passing.
The cause of death is still unknown but police said they did not suspect foul play.
Phillips said Doriel was a diabetic and also was on medication for high blood pressure. And in recent times, she had also been suffering from what they thought were gas pains.
“She use to keep on rubbing here and touching there,” he explained, rubbing his chest in the area around the heart. “The air used to lodge under her heart all the time. Sometimes I used to sit down with her at one and two o’clock because she ain’t feeling well. This air thing used to make she belch and got me frighten.
“When I leave home yesterday and went work I say, ‘darling you alright?’ and she tell me ‘yes’. I does tell her whenever you don’t feel good don’t go to church. I ain’t know she leave here and gone up the road and it like it attack her. People say she just fall down in the road,” the puzzled husband added.
Phillips described his wife as a devoted Christian who maintained sound values and good morals throughout her life.
She was an admirable housewife, he said, who happily looked after the needs of her family. She did not drink alcohol and was contented with going to church, cooking and listening to gospel music.
“She was such a beautiful lady. No trouble at all, no heartaches. We had no fights and no arguments. If we have a little argument I would get on my bicycle and go up by the canteens with the boys, get a drink and come back home.
“We would talk; we never go to bed vex at one another. She was my heart,” said Phillips who added that he held onto Doriel’s pillow for comfort as he lay in bed last night.
As he tries to cope with his loss, Phillips’ friends sought to demonstrate to him that he was not alone.
One close friend Charlie Burke was there to comfort him when Barbados TODAY visited Phillips’ home.
Burke described Doriel as a gentle woman and a wonderful wife and mother.