Forty-eight hours after Irvin Samuels witnessed the death of his beloved brother-in-law and friend, Bentley Belgrave, the emotional pain is as crippling as ever.
In fact, Samuels, who said he would be traumatized by the fatal accident for the remainder of his life, told Barbados TODAY the pain of losing someone this close would last forever.
The longtime friends were involved in a car accident early last Saturday morning while Samuels was on his way to his doctor for his annual check-up.
Belgrave, a Barbadian who had been living in the United States since 1969, and had been on the island since September for his annual holiday, died on the spot when Samuel’s car collided head on with another vehicle. He was due to return to the US on November 22.
When Barbados TODAY visited Samuel at his home at Boscobel, St Peter today, the grieving man and his wife Sheila, Belgrave’s sister, were trying to make sense of the tragedy.
Samuel, who sobbed throughout the interview, recounted the horrific incident.
“I thank God I’m still here. It’s not easy. Wherever I’m going, he [Belgrave] liked to know that he could go to accompany me. Saturday morning I wanted to go back to my doctor in Black Rock to get my check-up. I decided to leave early because he usually has a lot of patients. I didn’t get to my doctor.
“All I remember as I turn the corner heading towards All Saint’s Church, I turn the bend I just glimpsed a very bright light followed quickly by a terrible impact. I was shut off for a couple seconds but then I quickly come back to myself and realized there was a white car to the left of my car which would be most to the gutter side,” he recalled, as he paused to catch his breath.
“I looked to my left to my brother-in-law and I called him for about four times. I said, ‘Brother B, Brother B’. My brother-in-law said nothing. He never said a word. My brother-in-law was killed instantly. I got this thing to live with for the rest of my life,” a crying Samuels said.
He told Barbados TODAY he would forever miss Belgrave, with whom he had been friends for over 45 years.
“We always get along good. He was always nice to me. If I wanted him to do anything for me he would do it without a frown. If he wanted anything done in Barbados I would do it for him [and] when he got here he was always pleased with the way it was done. I just can’t believe my brother-in-law is really gone. I can’t believe he gone that way,” he said while shaking his head in disbelief.
Sheila, who remained composed while her husband spoke, broke down as she started to speak about her brother.
She said she would miss his daily morning phone calls, a promise he had made to her after their mother had died.
“When my mum died, he made me a promise. He said, ‘Sheila, I’m going to make sure I call you every morning’. And every morning I would look forward for that call. And if I’m outside and I come in and I know the time past I would call him and say, ‘brother, why didn’t you call me this morning?’ and he would tell me he called early and the phone just rang off. We would talk and laugh and he would always encourage me,” she recalled.
“There’s so much I can say about my brother. A very loving, caring brother, one that you could call on for anything. If you needed someone to talk to he would talk to you. He was like my brother, father and friend. Every year we look forward to seeing him come up to share with us in our church’s revival. He would come up for all the years he was overseas. This is what he did. I will miss my brother. Not only me, but the entire family will miss him.
“When I try to bring things back to memory it just makes me cry and shed tears. But I know the life he lived, I know in my heart he has gone to meet the Lord. I will never forget my brother,” she stressed.
Belgrave also leaves to mourn his wife and two children and grandchildren.
Sheila said they were planning his funeral and confirmed that he would be buried in Barbados.
“In the states they’re all shocked and crying all the time. We are just trying to encourage ourselves and keeping God at the helm. This is hard but I pray to God for the strength to hold on and not give up,” the grieving sister said.