The grieving brother of Corelius Barrow, who died in a fire with his babies two weeks ago, says he misses his “selfless” sibling.
An emotional Dayne Barrow told those who attended a memorial service for his younger brother along with niece Reya-Anna, and nephew Riordan, at the St Patricks Catholic Church this afternoon, that they shared a close bond.
“I was trying to put pen to paper on this since it happened. But all I can say is I miss him. I am going to miss our conversations. We talked frequently, and we leaned on each other for advice and I am going to miss having that.
“He was someone who was my younger brother, but an older brother a lot of the times. Anyone here who know me knows that I haven’t always been the most mature person. But him and myself and Ondre`, we have leaned on each other a lot,” Barrow said.
Barrow, who described Corelius as selfless, said the death of the three was a terrible loss.
The brother who lives in the United States noted that he was especially deeply saddened that he also lost a niece and nephew.
He said he had communicated with the toddlers through social media, but never got the chance to meet them in person.
“That’s the hardest part for me,” Barrow said.
“My niece and nephew, we joked and played. They played with my son on video calls all the time. We always talked about getting them all together and all the cool things that we were going to do . . .” he added.
Barrow said his family would get through this difficult time, and “get to the conclusion of this all”.
The atmosphere at the church was sombre and people could be seen occasionally wiping tears away.
Corelius’ relatives comforted each other.
Father Clement Paul who officiated the service, told Corelius’ mother Dolores Atkins to allow the tears to flow, since crying was an important part of the healing process.
There were no bodies at the service. Corelius’ wife and the mother of the babies, Jovona Johnson-Barrow was not present.
Twenty-four hours ago, Johnson-Barrow, through a post on her Facebook page, said she loved her husband.
Amid a brewing disagreement with her husband’s family regarding funeral arrangements, and rumours about the circumstances surrounding a battle of custody for the children, the young woman declared that she had forgiven him.
Father Paul, who knew Corelius, whom he said was searching for love maybe in the wrong way, said he felt hopeless and helpless when he heard the shattering news about the tragedy.
Paul urged those gathered to remember that God was bigger than the present situation they faced.
“Family of Cori; the mother of those children, tell her for me, that Father Paul said, ‘God is with you in this furnace. No matter what you feel.’
“No matter the anger Cori’s family and the other family [is feeling], God is with you. Jesus meant what he said when he said blessed are those who mourn. You are blessed. You are mourning, therefore you are blessed,” Paul said.
However, the man of God had a strong message for those involved in what he described as the “Facebook tort”.
He said venting on social media was not the solution to the situation.
“It’s not helping. Stop it. Don’t even read it. Stop it. It can’t help. Tell me what you can get from it. Why are you doing it? To do what? To comfort? Stop this social media. You cannot undo the past.
“No amount of anger. No amount of revenge can undo yesterday. But, you can make tomorrow by being sad about yesterday and living today confident that God is with you,” Paul said.
Father Paul also suggested that continuing the anger and vengeance was senseless and useless.
“When somebody can write on Facebook may he rest in hell . . . my God, what a thing to say. We can make a decision to promote life, promote peace and respect other people. If I do that, those three deaths would not be in vain. Let these three deaths contribute to us changing our lives and doing whatever we can that this will never happen again. Amen,” he said.
Attending the service, which lasted for just under an hour, were staff and students of the Coleridge and Parry School where Corelius taught, the Togetherness Social Group, and representatives of the Ministry of Education, among others.
A picture of Corelius and his children was placed on a table adorned with a colourful bouquet at the entrance to the church. [email protected]