Eighteen-year-old Seth Cole who was rushed to Trinidad for treatment for stage four cancer died last Friday, May 15, at the Southern Medical facility with his mother Dawn Cole at his side.
Dawn, who brought her son’s body home on Wednesday, told Barbados TODAY that as she mourns the loss of the first of her seven children, her heart feels as though it has been shattered into a million pieces.
She said that Seth, who was well-known in the fishing community, was an amazing person who made her proud to have been ab le to watch him grow into the man he becam.
“He was kind, hard working, peaceful, and I don’t think I could have been more proud of him. Always willing to help with whatever it was that was needed. From the fishermen in the bay to the boys on the west, Seth never treated anyone differently, they were all his friends.
“His passion was spear fishing. Every moment of the day he could be in the ocean, he was. He was proud of every catch he got, always thrilled to show his dad when he got home. His sweet smile, his silly laugh, his tight hugs….
“He was so responsible; I never had to worry about his siblings once he was around. If he was going to be late getting home he would let me know. We all miss Seth so very much. It is hard to find sense in this,” Cole said as she shared memories of her son.
Cole said May 15 when her son passed she felt as though her world stopped.
Seth’s story touched many hearts when it was highlighted in the May 5 edition of Barbados TODAY.
She described Seth’s relatively short illness as an emotionally devastating journey which she would not wish on anyone.
Three months ago the energetic teenager was a perfectly healthy energetic son and brother enjoying his life before he was transported to Trinidad by air ambulance on May 2.
“I have asked myself so many times in the last few weeks how we got here so quickly. Seth started getting headaches and we put it down to sinus and when that medication didn’t work we took him to the doctor.
“He was given migraine medication which also did not work. I can remember the doctor saying to me in that first appointment ‘oh don’t worry I’m sure it’s not a brain tumor’. After the second set of migraine medication didn’t work we took him for a cat scan which showed the initial mass,” she said.
“That week is a blur because everything happened so fast. Monday was the cat scan, Tuesday was seeing the neurologist, Wednesday was the MRI, Thursday was back to the neurologist and straight to the neurosurgeon who sent Seth directly to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for surgery scheduled for the following Monday,” she added.
The mother said the Monday morning of the surgery, she felt as though her heart was in her throat. She said now looking back, she wished she had hugged him just a little bit longer before that first surgery.
But Seth got through the procedure. The surgeon was able to remove most of the tumour leaving just a small piece that could not be touched.
“Seth came home the following Tuesday. I was so happy to have my baby home. He was doing pretty okay. He was still in a lot of pain but he never once complained. The following Wednesday is when we got back the pathology report of the tumour.
“I felt like my world started to crumble as the words were coming out the doctor’s mouth. Up to that point cancer had never even been mentioned. I figured he had a tumour he would have it removed and we would work on getting him better,” she recalled.
Hearing that her child had stage four brain cancer was not what his mother expected to hear.
On Friday of that same week Seth once again had to be hospitalised. Due to the COVID-19 situation he was unable to receive visits from his family and close friends while in hospital. His mother remembers that not being able to be with her child was difficult.
“Seth then had to start chemotherapy and radiation and due to the area in the brain which the tumour was in, the equipment in Barbados was not ideal and as a mother we all have to do the best we can for our children. By God’s grace, prayer and a lot of help from certain networks, private people and ministers both here and in Trinidad, we were able to get Seth to a hospital in Trinidad that could treat him properly.
“My Seth was taken care of amazingly at Southern Medical, the nurses and doctors there treated us like family. I was able to spend every moment of the day with Seth. Seth fought hard and every day I would lean over and rub his beautiful face with my thumbs and tell him ‘Sethy B you are strong, you are amazing, you are brave, you are mommy’s hero. Fight this B we will get through this’, to which he would grunt at me. That Friday I did the same thing but my B was tired. He had been through so much in the past months,” she said.
“The cancer was too much and at 5 p.m. on the 15th of May 2020 I stood over my first born baby with my hand on his chest until he met the angels,” she added.
Dawn will be quarantined for two weeks, but her husband Clint has been allowed to stay with her to offer her comfort and support during this difficult period.
She said when the quarantine period is up they will put their son to rest joined by his siblings Kayla, Connor, Tristian, Wyatt, Oliver and Quinn.
“But I know he will always be right here with us in the breeze, a whisper, the smell of the ocean. His beautiful soul will live on in our memories forever, his mother promised.
She thanked everyone who helped Seth through his battle with cancer. She said there are too many people to mention but they include the scores of people who supported the Go Fund Me started by cousins in Canada and which raised much needed funds to finance her son’s treatment.
“The outpouring of love and prayers and kindness from everyone here and in Trinidad have been overwhelming. I will be eternally grateful to you all,” she said.
Seth, who attended Ursaline Convent, St Cyprian Boys, and Deighton Griffith, worked with his father in the family business Bush Boys, a tree trimming enterprise.