The final farewell for 13-year-old Hananiah Aran Jahdiel Reeves was nothing short of emotional as a distraught crowd packed into the Ellerton Wesleyan Holiness Church to say their last goodbyes.
Hananiah’s family, friends and schoolmates from Princess Margaret Secondary School huddled inside the church, consoling each other while commemorating the life of the lively and energetic teenager whose promising future was snatched on October 4 in a tragic vehicular accident just a stone’s throw from his Campaign Castle, St George home.
Police said the teenager was attempting to cross the road in front of a minibus from which he had disembarked when he was struck by a car driven by 59-year-old David Ash of Thorpes, St James, who was overtaking the minibus.
Hannaniah, who was returning home from running an errand, was rushed to the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.
Today, his mother Rosalind Greene and father Curtis Roberts were visibly upset as the small blue casket was carried into the church.
Greene’s cries pierced the eerie silence among the congregation at the Ellerton, St George church.
There was not a dry eye in sight as the large family openly mourned the loss of the “kind-hearted” and “delightful” child.
Even during her musical tribute, Living Without You, his sister Nikita Roberts-Kirton broke down in tears halfway through her delivery of the song.
She was able to regain her composure only after Hananiah’s other sister Roshana Reeves stepped onto the stage to support her.
Until the end of the sermon, only sobs could be heard as the family members circled Hananiah’s casket and loudly mourned his death, while other mourners remained in their seats, with tears in their eyes.
Delivering the eulogy, Roshana spoke of her brother’s kindred spirit and infectious laughter. As a typical teenage boy, he enjoyed sports, mainly cricket, football and darts. Roshana shared that Hananiah could also be found travelling around at home with a skateboard or a bicycle.
The fifth of six children, the former St Luke’s Brighton Primary School student was referred to as handy, helpful and someone with a “carefree spirit”, by his eldest sister.
“His smile was one which would light up the room and his favourite question to anyone was, ‘are you okay, you want help?’” she reminisced.
“We will always remember Hanzie with the smile he always used to have on his face and he wouldn’t want us crying. Right now he is smiling and laughing and asking, ‘all of this for me?’”
Recounting his love for Barbadian songstress Rihanna and for ‘oldie goldies’, Roshana quoted from the words of Hananiah’s favourite song Little Bitty by Alan Jackson.
“We might as well share, we might as well smile, because life goes on for a little bitty while.”
Struggling to maintain her composure, the 25-year-old urged family members “to be strong and stay together” throughout this traumatic ordeal.
A cohort from the Princess Margaret Secondary School also attended the service to pay their last respects. Hananiah’s classmates from Form 3F were in attendance, along with his form teacher Cheryll Linton.
While offering her condolences on behalf of the principal and staff of the Six Roads, St Philip secondary school, Linton described Hananiah as a model student, who was polite, considerate, assertive and a leader.
“Even though small in stature, Hananiah was one of the most courageous boys in class. He spoke the truth and I could rely on his account of a situation,” she revealed.
“Last term he was the only person who freely gave an account of a situation he had witnessed when others were either unwilling or too scared. That day Hananiah became a giant in my mind,” she added.
Reverend Livingstone Trotman reminded the family to trust in God during this painful time.
“Sometimes in our lowest, in our pain and worst, God will use these opportunities to speak to us,” said the cleric who added: “I am here to let you know that God has not forsaken you . . . .He speaks to you today to let you know that he is here.”
The funeral service was followed by burial at the St Luke’s Anglican Church.