Like a parent sending their child to war, this is how Andrew Cave sums up his feelings of powerlessness and fear each passing day his son remains trapped in Wuhan, ground zero for the deadly Coronavirus, which has already claimed the lives of close to 1,000 persons.
“For the first time I have a glimpse of how a parent feels when they send their child off to war. However, when you send your child to war, at least your child as a soldier, has an idea where the enemy is. This particular situation in which Elijah, my son, has found himself, the enemy is microscopic. So, it is a unique tense and challenging situation,” said Cave, who described his son as the epitome of bravery and courage.
However in his emotional exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY, the concerned father noted that while he would like nothing more than for the Government to pull his son Elijah and the other Barbadian students out of the danger zone, he understands that the safety of the wider public must be considered first.
“I speak to Elijah everyday and I tell everybody that Elijah is my hero. He has never asked me, ‘daddy when am I coming home?’ He has never once asked me if the authorities are sending for him. He has never complained about not having enough water, food or money. Elijah Cave is a fighter and I love him so much. All I can do from my position is to pray and I thank my family, friends and comrades who pray for me and Elijah and the other children in China,” said Cave, with the resignation of a man clinging to faith.
The hopeful dad, who is a member of the Opposition People’s Party for Democracy and Development (PdP) further explained, “I don’t want to emotionalize the situation and say that the Government can just go in and extract them. We still have a responsibility to our families and our residents here in Barbados and we still want to work within the confines of the Government and take their lead on what they see as best for the country. So despite the fact that I would love for him and the other children to come home, we still need to be cognizant of the fact that Government still has a very important role to play to ensure that Barbados and Barbadians are safe and I understand that.”
Visibly emotional at several points in the interview, Cave revealed that his son was following all of the safety guidelines such as wearing his mask and leaving his room only if absolutely necessary. He also expressed gratitude for the support that is being given to Elijah by both the Barbados Government and the Chinese. However, he is concerned that more could be done to cater to the emotional and mental well-being of the families and the trapped students.
“The only reason he leaves the room is to get food and when he does, he will wash his hands and wear his mask. When he is at home, he told me that from day to night he exercises and tries not to go on social media too much. When I met with the Chief Medical Officer along with the other parents and other Government officials, I specifically asked about the provision of psychological support. This is very important because as you can appreciate, the mental will always affect the physical and if the physical is compromised then it is possible that his health would be compromised also,” he said.
In the meantime, Cave told Barbados TODAY that both he and Elijah’s mother have been trying hard to remain positive for the sake of their child, although he admitted that whenever he is alone with his thoughts, it is a tough battle to ward off negativity and despair.
“His mother is a very strong woman and from listening to her I decided that if she is strong then I have to be strong too. I have to admit that there are many nights alone in the quiet of the night that tears do caress my chest and all kinds of negative thoughts knock at my heart’s door, but I just don’t answer,” he revealed. [email protected]