Tristan knows the pain of losing a mother. Even more horrifying, is that he lives everyday with the haunting pain of a child who witnessed his mother’s brutal murder.
Fifteen years ago, just before his fourth birthday, Tristan watched helplessly as his 22-year-old mother Tracia Cave died as a result of a stab wound inflicted by his father. Now 19, the young man told Barbados TODAY more than a decade later, he is still affected by the gruesome incident.
The emotional teenager said he was willing to share his story, only because he wanted men to think twice about inflicting violence against women. Tristan vaguely remembers the events that led to his mother’s death.
“I don’t remember everything, but I remember it was night and I heard glass breaking, screaming, and getting snatched up and carried outside the house,” he said.
Though his time with his mother was cut short because of the tragedy, he noted whenever he begins to miss her, he sits and remembers the good times they had together. That often calms him and brings a smile to his face, he explained.
The teenager was raised by his maternal aunt who he said loved and cared for him as though she had given birth to him.
He said the circumstances of his mother’s death led to friction between his paternal and maternal relatives. He recalled that in the early days after his mother’s death he would spend time with his paternal grandmother as a result of a court order.
Tristan described growing up without a mother or father in his life as being in a “dark” place.
“You got other family but you don’t feel the same way. Plus that, them never really give me a chance to ask nothing. Them would just feed it to me. ‘You father kill you mother, you father kill you mother’ I never really had a chance to breathe,” he said.
His father served his time in prison and was subsequently released. The young man said he has spoken with him briefly on a few occasions.
“If I see he I shout he, but I never really talk to my father. My father never tell me he love me nor nothing. When he come out I was still going to school and he just tell me ‘go school and do your work’, that is the only good thing. . . I know my father love me though. But I does still tell myself he don’t love me because of the things that he do. . .,” he said.
“I don’t hate my father. I forgive him for what he did to my mother. I miss my mother. But I miss my father too. I love my mother and he kill she, but I still love my father. I don’t resent he. I don’t curse he neither. I don’t tell anybody anything bad about my father.”
Tristan’s is motivated to use his experience to encourage men and women to walk away from abusive relationships before things turn deadly.
“If you know you is a person that don’t like to get done with, don’t put yourself in the position. Try to make it work and if it can’t work, go along. If you know you is a person that can’t take people telling you certain things, don’t put yourself in a position to hear the things that you don’t want to hear,” he said.
The young man’s aunt, Margaret Abrahams, said though encountering many difficulties in the process of raising him, she never, at any stage, regretted taking up the task.
Abrahams said the young man grew up with an aggressive attitude, and she believed it had something to do with members of the public constantly reminding him that his father killed his mother. Some even taunted him that he would grow up to be like his father. Abrahams had to seek counselling for him.
“It was hard for him because many times he would come crying to me, asking: ‘why people blaming me for things that I ain’t do’. It is hard for him to control his emotions sometimes,” she added.
Abrahams explained that her nephew always tells her how much he regretted he was not old enough to save his mother’s life that fateful night.
Abrahams, who was 28 when her sister died, said she encourages him not to hate his father, but to forgive him.
“But it wasn’t easy because I get the backlash in everything. When he wanted to vent it is me that had to take it. I would be the one to get love up and I would be the one to get quarrel with. He would cry and say he ain’t got no mummy or no daddy.
“But I would always tell him that aunty loves you with all of her heart. He knows that I am not his biological mother but I would always call him my son. I never call him my nephew, this is my son, Tristan. I love him dearly.”