At one point Tuesday, Kenville Maynard planned to visit his daughter Shakira Shepherd’s grave, but he simply could not do it.
On the first anniversary of Shakira’s tragic death, Maynard did not believe he was ready to face her final resting place without breaking down.
“I wanted to go up by the grave today, but I know what will happen if I go up there and I can’t manage that right now. I really can’t. I couldn’t even watch her go down into the ground last year. It’s still so hard,” Maynard told Barbados TODAY, the signs of the pain he has endured over the past year clearly visible.
The 22-year-old Shakira, 23-year-old Shameka Shepherd, 18-year-old Carey Brathwaite and 25-year-old Wavenie Johnson perished when the silver grey Suzuki motorcar in which they were travelling crashed into a guard wall in Two Mile Hill, St Michael, in the early hours of October 25 last year. A fifth passenger, Nakisha Shepherd, survived the crash but suffered severe life-changing injuries.
The young women were returning from celebrating Shameka’s birthday.
Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave would later say “the impact of the collision will last long in the memory of those of us here as it pierced the night”.
For the families, the memories are still fresh, the pain is still raw and the impact is difficult to put into words.
However, those who spoke to Barbados TODAY said they were trying to cope.
Maynard tried his best to put on a brave face during the interview, but he could not hide the grief. He said he missed his daughter; nonetheless he was trying to be there for his other children.
“I miss her bad. I think of her often,” he said.
Shakira’s aunt Andrea Maynard added that the entire family missed her terribly, and, on the first anniversary of the deadly crash, it was especially hard for them today.
“Everyone is just missing her bad. Today, everyone was talking about her and posting her pictures, and all the memories started rushing back,” she said.
Some of Shakira’s cousins who sat outside the family house in Padmore Village, St Philip, chimed in and said they definitely missed her presence in the area.
Like Maynard, the father of Carey Brathwaite, the youngest of the crash victims, had not visited his daughter’s burial site when Barbados TODAY reached him today. However, Elkins Brathwaite visits her grave at the St Barnabas Anglican Church cemetery every month to keep it clean. His last visit was last Sunday, two days prior to the anniversary of Carey’s death.
He, too, said the family was trying to cope with the loss of the teenager with whom they all shared a special bond.
“I remember her often, but I am dealing with it. Her brother and sisters are coming to grips with it now,” Brathwaite said.
Carey’s brother Andre Brathwaite said he could still feel the impact of his sister’s death, and that today was particularly difficult.
“Today it was the hardest. I remember her a lot. I really do miss her,” Andre said of his late sister.
All five girls were said to be inseparable, and three of them –– Shakira, Shameka and Wavenie –– were buried side by side at the Bushy Park Cemetery, together eternally in very much the same way they lived.
Meanwhile, Nakisha’s condition could not be ascertained as her father continues to shield her from media interviews.
The family had experienced a harrowing time while Nakisha had been in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.