Sor­row and hope:

Shad­ica Dublin strug­gles to move for­ward af­ter her child’s death

Stabroek News Sunday - - WEKEEND MAGAZINE - By Olu­a­toyin Al­leyne

DSe­cem­ber 13, 2017 is a day that will re­main etched for­ever in the mind of 22-yearold Shad­ica Dublin. It is the day she pulled out the body of her 17month-old daugh­ter Amya East­man from a muddy trench in front of her Mocha Ar­ca­dia home fol­low­ing hours of a fran­tic search for the child who had gone miss­ing.

“The po­lice was there and they was like telling me how to look for her in the trench and then I tell them I find she and he tell me bring she up and I just bring she up and I look at she in she di­a­per and was like she was look­ing at me and then I couldn’t re­mem­ber any­thing else,” the griev­ing mother told the Sun­day Stabroek re­cently.

As a sin­gle par­ent, she was out work­ing as a do­mes­tic and had left her three chil­dren aged 17 months and three and five years old at home in the care of an adult. The fam­ily lived in a small one-bed­room home in a yard sur­rounded by rel­a­tives of the chil­dren’s fa­ther. He no longer lives with his fam­ily, but Dublin said they have “a good com­mu­ni­ca­tion” and he helps to sup­port them even though she refers to her­self as a sin­gle par­ent and added that “life can re­ally be hard.”

Dublin is no stranger to the pain of death as the aunt she grew up with died a few years ago and her fa­ther was mur­dered in Sophia, months be­fore her youngest child died. But those deaths did not pre­pare her for the sud­den death of lit­tle Amya. he re­called the child’s happy de­meanour hours be­fore she breathed her last. Her el­dest sis­ter had re­turned from school and she was ex­cited about the gifts and the lit­tle treats in a party bag she had taken home. Shortly af­ter, Dublin left for a do­mes­tic job and on her re­turn, Amya was nowhere to be found.

“I re­mem­ber one of her sis­ters say­ing ‘ya ya mommy we can’t find Amya’ and I dropped ev­ery­thing… we started look­ing for her, but we couldn’t find her and I tek a pic­ture of her and went to the sta­tion and re­port that we not find­ing her,” she re­called.

Po­lice of­fi­cers re­turned with her to the home and it was they who sug­gested that the trench in front of the home be searched.

“I went in the trench and it was the Cor­po­ral who tell me how to search, how to use my foot in­stead of my hand and I keep search­ing but noth­ing. He then tell me search un­der the bridge and is then I feel likea small hand touch my foot,”

WDublin said, clos­ing her eyes against the pain.

“I paused a lit­tle bit be­cause I did not know what to do and then I tell them I find her and they tell me pull she up… I left stupid af­ter I pull she up,” she re­counted.

Dublin said she cried a lot and they spent what felt like hours with the body on the road. “I was in shock and I was ask­ing ‘Why Amya, why it couldn’t be me?’ You know she was in­no­cent and maybe I should have gone in­stead of her,” she said sadly.

She was then taken to the po­lice sta­tion where she spent some 24 hours; she was ques­tioned ex­ten­sively. While some may view this as in­hu­man and even overkill, Dublin holds no grudges against the of­fi­cers, who she said were just do­ing their job.

“The of­fi­cers were 100 per­cent good. They did not put much pres­sure on me. They were by my side. I was there, and they got prayers for me from a pas­tor and af­ter then I left,” she said. hen she re­turned home, Dublin said, it was very dif­fi­cult be­cause not only was Amya not there, but her two other chil­dren had been taken into the care of Child Care and Pro­tec­tion Agency.

“I was alone re­ally be­cause my chil­dren was not there and then the fa­ther was not there. Be­ing alone was hard but then I did not want to see any­body else and I did not want to talk to any­body,” she said.

The girls were taken to their sis­ter’s fu­neral and were not im­me­di­ately taken back into care, in­stead they were placed with their fa­ther’s mother. They were even­tu­ally re­turned to their mother but in the in­terim, Dublin had to en­dure be­ing blamed for her baby’s death.

“There was a lot of push­ing around and blame and it made me feel guilty. The fa­ther blame me too. And I don’t think it was my fault re­ally, but I was tak­ing the blame for it be­cause she was in my care. But what peo­ple don’t un­der­stand is that I was out try­ing to pro­vide for them,” she said.

Dublin be­came a mother at the age of 15 and she re­called that it was a great dis­ap­point­ment for her aunt who had raised her since she was a baby. While her mother is still alive, Dublin said, she and an­other sis­ter were raised by the aunt who had no chil­dren but who sadly passed away af­ter bat­tling can­cer. She died months

af­ter Dublin’s oldest child, a boy who is now seven years old, was born.

“I don’t know what it was but he [the fa­ther of her son] was big­ger than me. Maybe I was look­ing for love, but my aunt was very strict so when I get preg­nant she was very dis­ap­pointed.

“Now I miss her more than when she just die be­cause all these things are hap­pen­ing to me and I have no one to talk to,” she said sadly ad­ding that she also re­grets dis­ap­point­ing her and bring­ing a child into the world at such an early age.

She shared that she met the fa­ther of her son while she was still at school; he was a minibus driver.

“He use to drop me home al­most every day and he would tell me not to tell any­body about he. You know he much big­ger than me, he must be in his late 40s, early 50s now,” she said.

It was only af­ter she gave birth at 15 that she un­der­stood

Shad­ica Dublin and her baby in hap­pier times.

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