August 7, 2017, is a day that will forever be etched in Sandy Rock’s memory.
This was the day that she lost a piece of her heart when her youngest son Tareid Junior Rock was fatally killed in a Kadooment Day shooting on Spring Garden Highway when 20 people were also injured.
Almost two years later, a heartbroken Rock told Barbados TODAY the memory of her son lying on his back on Westbury Road is still too much to bear.
Sitting in the living room of her Chapman Lane, St Michael home this morning, Rock said she still sleeps with one of Tareid’s sheets and has hidden all photographs of him that were mounted on the wall in their family home.
“From the day he died, it was really hard for me. I went through every day struggling to get up, struggling to breathe, struggling to eat, struggling to walk, struggling to take care of myself. I can remember days where I had one shower. I was not sleeping. Every night I would lie in these chairs every single night and it still happens and this is almost two years and I would sit there waiting looking at the back door to see if he is coming home. The only thing I love to do which keeps me sound is cooking,” she said.
Rock became emotional as she recounted the last time, she saw her then 20-year-old son alive, which was on the morning of Grand Kadooment when he asked her to iron the outfit that he wanted to wear.
“I am ironing my clothes and I put them there and then he came from nowhere with this pants and this shirt and said ‘ Mummy press this for me,’ and I looked up at Tareid vex and asked ‘Where you going?’ He said ‘ I have to go to meet a friend and she tell me to meet her in Black Rock,’ . I wanted to tell him not to go down there, but he was an adult I cannot say do not go. I just had this funny feeling,” she said.
It was while standing on a section of the Spring Garden Highway with a friend enjoying the festivities of the annual Crop Over finale that Tareid’s life was snuffed out.
Six individuals were later charged with the shooting incident which also resulted in the injury of 20 others.
A weeping Rock recounted the day in question, pointing out that it was Tareid’s father Thomas Felicien who gave her the gruesome news of their son’s death while she was at karaoke in the north of the island.
“He came to me and said ‘Tareid get shoot,’ and immediately I dropped the glass on the ground and I started to cry because I knew he was dead. My gut was telling me that my child was dead,” said the mother, who revealed that she had a difficult pregnancy with her youngest child.
Using a brown washcloth to dry the tears which were streaming down her face she said identifying her son almost two years ago was a pain that no mother wants to go through in their lifetime.
“A call came through and my daughter said, ‘bring me to the highway’. I got in my goddaughter’s car and they brought me. When I was walking going down Westbury Road it gripped me there and I said, ‘This is it’. When I got there, and I saw the body on the ground lying down I just collapsed. I could not believe it,” said the grieving mother.
Rock said the final thing she did with her son who was affectionately known as Fry was to hold his lifeless body in a final embrace.
“When I saw Tareid lying down in his clothes and one shoe I do not know if I was dreaming. When I went to identify him with his dad I looked down and I saw his eyes and his mouth half opened. I saw a bruise on his lip and some blood there. That look would also stay with me. I lied down on the ground and I held him and touched his face. I could not believe it. To this day I still do not believe it,” she said.
As she regained some composure Rock shared how her son came to be known as Fry.
“If he came in and I did not cook anything he would go straight to the kitchen and start to fry. He loved to watch the cooking shows and create his little things in the kitchen, and everyone started to call him Fry. He got the name Fry from frying things late at night,” she recalled
Rock said Tareid was opinionated, but he was not rude in fact and he loved to laugh.
“I would just point at certain things and he would laugh and would shake his head and say, ‘mummy you are something else hear,” she said, recalling their fun times.
The grieving mother said she was not upset at the person or persons who killed her son, but she was hurt that she would not get to see her youngest son again.
“I am hurting because my child [is] dead and I cannot see him no more. That is what is hurting us. We have not gotten any answers because there is no one to give us answers. If we had closure, we would not feel so bad,” she said.