To her teenage daughter Takiya, 31-year-old Amanda Mandy Byer was the one person in the world she wanted to make proud, while her mother, Waynie Sandiford, said she was a sure “helping hand who would never hesitate to come to her aid when she was called”.
For her father, Lancelot Layne, Mandy was a singing partner and the daughter he looked forward to meeting up with after work. And for her friends she was a fashionista who “loved her two daughters, was always quick to share a joke, and [whose] smile could light up a room”.
However, as fate would have it, Mandy’s life would be cut short as she made her way home after a night of fun with friends at the Hennessey Artistry concert earlier this month.
Today it was standing room only at the Collymore Rock Church of the Nazarene in St Michael, as her family members, friends and co-workers came for a dreaded final farewell.
With members of her family still torn up over her death, it fell to one of Mandy’s closest friends, Whitney Linton, to give insight into the kind of deep, emotional attachments she had formed with those around her and also to explain the unusual nickname that she had given to herself.
She said Mandy used to call herself Child of God because she recognized the role of God as her provider.
She also revealed that the mother of two girls, including two-year-old Emery, was quite ambitious. Not only did she operate a nail saloon in Sky Mall, but had recently developed an interest in event planning and interior decorating.
However, her many hopes and dreams were instantly shattered in the wretched car accident on December 3.
It was around 4:45 a.m. when the car she was driving struck an embankment and crashed into a guard wall at the Israel Lovell Foundation on My Lord’s Hill, St Michael.
Mandy died on the spot, while her passenger, 50-year-old Jeffrey Callender, suffered an injury to the forehead but managed to survive the tragic accident.
Cognizant of the serious void that her death has left in her close-knit family, Pastor Hallam Byer, while describing himself as “the elder statesman” of the family, told fellow mourners that while she would be remembered in all facets of the family’s life, “it is time to cut the cord and let Amanda’s ship sail”.
Meanwhile, Pastor David Holder advised the congregation to “remember the Creator in the days of their youth”, noting that in an era where more young people were dying than before, it was important for them to build their foundation on God.
“His grace is the steel you need to keep your foundation in life strong,” he said.
He further advised that it was best to serve God from a young age, as “far too many people run around in their younger days and when they are getting old and burned out, they then decide to serve God”.
In underscoring his point, Holder mentioned the CLICO debacle, stating, “people invested large sums of money and had great confidence in that company, but lost all of their savings and are unlikely to recover anything, whereas an investment in God is a sure thing.
“I have never met anyone who expressed regret at choosing to serve God, and when you know God you can live peacefully and with a sense of joy no matter what is happening in the world around you”.
Mandy was laid to rest at the Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens.