Mother who lost three chil­dren in Philadelphia ac­ci­dent sol­diers on

Stabroek News Sunday - - ADVERTISEMENT - By Shabna Rah­man

When Nadira Lall’s four chil­dren drove out of her yard at Barn­well, East Bank Esse­quibo (EBE) on Sun­day Oc­to­ber 8, 2006 she never re­al­ized that three of them would never make it back alive.

Lall, 46, and her hus­band, Richard ‘Ricky’ Lall were re­lax­ing at home when they re­ceived the shocking news that their chil­dren, Sheena, 19; Romel, 18; Mark, 12, and Michael, 11 were in­volved in an ac­ci­dent.

Mark, now 24, sur­vived the hor­rific crash that oc­curred around 7:30 pm at Philadelphia, EBE, close to their home.

The news was any mother’s worse night­mare and it has changed her life for­ever. Though she is try­ing hard to cope, the mem­o­ries are still fresh on her mind and she would still cry for them daily.

“A day don’t pass with­out me miss­ing them,” she said. But she would be espe­cially sad on spe­cial oc­ca­sions like Mother’s Day, birth­days and at Christ­mas time.

A staunch Chris­tian, she told this news­pa­per: “I passed through a lot… But it’s only my strong faith in God and prayers are keep­ing me go­ing.” She also spoke about hav­ing a tough mar­riage life in the be­gin­ning.

Two years ago, Lall also lost her hus­band, Richard, 49, when he suf­fered a heart at­tack. She felt he may have de­vel­oped a se­vere heart con­di­tion af­ter the chil­dren’s death. He too was never the same af­ter that.

Tragedy struck when Romel, her el­dest son who was driv­ing the car ap­par­ently lost con­trol. The car top­pled sev­eral times be­fore turn­ing tur­tle on the dam on the other side of the road.

He was at the time re­turn­ing home with his three sib­lings af­ter drop­ping their cousins off at Verge­noe­gen, EBE two vil­lages away.

They were rushed to the West De­mer­ara Re­gional Hospi­tal where Sheena later died. The boys were re­ferred to the Ge­orge­town Pub­lic Hospi­tal (GPHC). They were all un­con­scious.

No one knows for sure what ex­actly hap­pened on that fate­ful day that caused the fa­tal crash. Mark, who suf­fered in­juries to his head, neck and foot, can­not re­mem­ber any­thing lead­ing up to the ac­ci­dent.

He re­gained con­scious­ness around 4:30 the next morn­ing (Oc­to­ber 9th) in the High De­pen­dency Unit and kept look­ing around baf­fled and asked his mother how he ended up there.

She told him that he and his sib­lings were in­volved in an ac­ci­dent but she did not tell him that his sis­ter was dead.

His brothers who were in the In­ten­sive Care Unit never re­gained con­scious­ness. Michael, who sus­tained in­ter­nal in­juries and had a “hole at the back of his head,” died around 1 pm on Tues­day Oc­to­ber 10th.

Lall re­called that she was in the ward with Mark when she saw her hus­band com­ing to­wards her cry­ing.

Af­ter he gave her the sad news, she got down on her knees and “I asked God, ‘why me’? And I begged Him not to take my two other sons or at least leave one alive for me.”

She and her hus­band were at home when the hospi­tal

called around 4:30 am on Wed­nes­day Oc­to­ber 11th to say that Romel had died.

De­spite Romel’s con­di­tion, the news was dev­as­tat­ing for the par­ents who were al­ready griev­ing the loss of the other two chil­dren.

Romel suf­fered head and spinal in­juries and his head was swollen to “more than twice the size. If he de live I don’t think he woulda been able to walk,” Lall told this news­pa­per.

She kept pray­ing to God to spare Mark’s life. He has re­cov­ered suc­cess­fully ex­cept that he would suf­fer se­vere headaches at times. He at­tended a pri­vate school af­ter his re­cov­ery but was forced to quit early due to the headaches.

He be­lieves it is as a re­sult of the ac­ci­dent and plans to have an­other CT-scan done to dis­pel his fears of a re­lapse.

Mark learnt the me­chan­i­cal and weld­ing trade from his fa­ther and has been us­ing his skills at a work­shop in their yard to earn an in­come.

He too is still find­ing it hard to cope with the deaths of his sib­lings and his wife would con­sole him.

Mark and Al­liah and their four-year-old daugh­ter are shar­ing Lall’s home. Ac­cord­ing to her, they have brought a lot of com­fort to her while her grand­daugh­ter is “cheer­ing me up” and keep­ing her some­what dis­tracted from her dis­tress.


Re­count­ing the or­deal, Lall said the man who went to her house to in­form her about the ac­ci­dent tried to play it down.

But when she ar­rived at the scene and saw the badly man­gled car, she feared the worse. Her chil­dren were al­ready taken to the hospi­tal.

In a deep state of shock she did not know how to re­act, even when a woman

held her hand and told her “you have no more chil­dren left!”

She re­mem­bered ask­ing some­one for wa­ter to drink but left for the hospi­tal be­fore the per­son re­turned with the wa­ter.

At the emer­gency room, the nurses told her she could not go in to see her chil­dren. They gave her the jew­ellery, cell phones and other items be­long­ing to her chil­dren and told her to sign in a book.

Upon her per­sis­tence, Lall was al­lowed to en­ter the room that her daugh­ter was in. She saw her ly­ing mo­tion­less and knew in­stantly that the girl was dead.

The dis­traught woman went back qui­etly into the wait­ing area and sat next to her hus­band, not know­ing how to break the sad news to him be­cause he was “di­a­betic.”

He only learnt that his daugh­ter was dead when he asked to go see her. They were not able to see the boys be­cause the hospi­tal was pre­par­ing them for trans­fer to the GPHC.

Lall re­called that rel­a­tives from over­seas were mak­ing ar­range­ments to travel for her daugh­ter’s funeral the fol­low­ing Satur­day when they got the news of the other two deaths.

“I never ex­pected that I would be bury­ing three of my chil­dren on the same day. That was the worse day for me, see­ing three hearse and three cas­kets in my yard,” Lall said as she choked back her tears.

She re­mem­bered that the funeral was “very big” and that the po­lice had to be there, con­trol­ling the traf­fic.

It took Lall a while to start over­com­ing her chil­dren’s deaths. For the first few months af­ter they were laid to rest she would lock her­self in their rooms and “play with their clothes and cry.”

She also used to “walk in the hot sun ev­ery day when I fin­ish my work and go to Verge­noe­gen and sit on their tombs and cry.” She did this for a few months as well and felt that it gave her in­ner peace. “The first day when I was leav­ing the house my hus­band asked me where I was go­ing. I told him ‘ah go­ing to visit my chil­dren’”.

She spent about two and a half hours each time and when she was sat­is­fied she would re­turn in time for when Mark got home from school.

Lall also rem­i­nisced on the qual­ity time she and her fam­ily spent to­gether. “We used to sit and eat din­ner to­gether and af­ter that [their deaths] I just felt like run­ning from the house.”

Din­ner times af­ter that would be bor­ing. She and her hus­band and Mark would just sit there and stare at each other and say noth­ing.

The woman also said that dur­ing the Au­gust holidays they used to go on “fam­ily trips” to the creeks and to Esse­quibo and other places.

It took them a while be­fore they start go­ing on trips again. Even though Lall is try­ing to in­dulge a lit­tle bit more now, one thing is for sure; life will never be the same again.

Sheena Lall

Michael Lall

Romel Lall

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