Nine-year-old Nikan Andre Legall had a big heart, a spirit that was second to none and was loved by many.
This was reflected in the large crowd of mourners, including Nikan’s former classmates from the Milton Lynch Primary School, who turned out at the Cane Vale Seventh-day Adventist Church Thursday afternoon to bid him a fond and final farewell.
The boy died late last month while visiting the beach with his grandfather and his twin brother Nirel.
Today, members of his family did all in their power to put his May 26 drowning behind them and to ensure that he received a hearty send off.
For the hour-long celebration of his short but vibrant life, family members wore bright orange shirts, matching the decorations on his small, white wooden casket.
However, nothing could conceal the obvious pain and hurt they felt, having lost Nikan, who was glowingly remembered as “a young and strong personality”, who was simply “full of life” and adored animals.
During the reflections read by Karen Alleyne and Tamesha Stoute on behalf of his parents Dezston and Nymsa Legall, his twin brother Nirel broke down in tears and had to be carried out the church by his dad.
In their temporary absence Stoute spoke of Nikan’s obsession with his father and his hopes of being just like his dad.
“Nikan idolized his dad. There was the one time he noticed his dad was working in the yard so he went straight to give him a hand. He took up his apprentice position, then his dad decided his shirt was keeping him hot so he removed the sleeves from his shirt. Nikan then disappeared into the house, then he popped outside with shirtsleeves missing. When asked why he did that, his answer was, ‘I wanted to be like daddy. We working,’” she said.
When it came to pastimes, the beach was high on Nikan’s list of favourite places to go.
Ironically, it was there he would meet his untimely death.
“He loved the beach. We often joked that the NCC [National Conservation Commission] would lock him up for carrying away the sand, as he used to bring home a lot with him,” Stoute said in jest.
Nikan also had a strong love for animals. In fact, “any animal he came in contact with, he wanted to keep, and he would try to bargain with you why you should let him keep it.
“If it was cold at night, the dog would be in his sweater, the cat would be wrapped up in his blanket. Whenever he was eating a close eye had to be kept on him because half of his food was given to the dog,” she added.
Pausing at times to compose herself, Stoute said Nikan’s absence was one that would be deeply felt and could never be filled.
“Nikan was Nikan. He wasn’t interested in fitting in. He was happy to play alone or with pets. He was the most helpful child. He was so loving and would be greatly missed. No words can explain . . . . He loved singing before bed. He nailed pieces of wood everywhere he went. He had a spirit that was equal to none and one no one would ever forget,” she said through tears.
Alleyne also spoke of his helpfulness and craftiness.
“He loved to pick [up] things, they had to hide all the screwdrivers. Nikan liked things perfect,” she explained.
In a fiery sermon, Pastor Bertrum McGregor reminded the family that in the midst of their grief, they could always depend on God.
“It’s often difficult when children precede parents or grandparents in death . . . . Hang in there. Yes, you have to cry; yes, you’re going to miss him, but I want you to know that God is faithful and is going to be with you. Even when we can’t understand or explain, he is still God and he is faithful,” the preacher said.