Sunday, February 25, 2018

‘Forever and Always’


FUNERAL SERVICE: Relatives carry the three coffins bearing the bodies of members of the Ramcharan family after the funeral service at their home in Barrackpore yesterday. The family of three died in a crash on the southbound lane of the Uriah Butler Highway, near Endeavour Overpass in Chaguanas on Tuesday. —Photos: DEXTER PHILIP

Mark Fraser

 TEENAGE kidney patient Nyron Ramcharan knew that his prognosis was grim and wanted his mother and father with him always, and it was God’s decision to keep them together. 

So said his aunt, Marilyn Sundar-Rampersad, at the funeral service yesterday, where friends and relatives bade farewell to Nyron, and his parents Mahadeo and Nanda Ramcharan, who were killed in a vehicular crash on Tuesday. Hundreds of mourners gathered in and outside the Ramcharan home at Ramsabad Trace, Rochard Road, Penal, where the couple’s two surviving sons, Rikash, 17, and Nigel, 12, and other relatives performed the last rites on the three. 

Nanda Ramcharan, 36, her husband Mahadeo, 48, and their 13-year-old son, Nyron, were returning home in their Honda Civic on the south-bound lane of the Uriah Butler Highway near the Endeavour Flyover, Chaguanas, when a dump truck, which was travelling on the northbound lane, lost control after being struck by a car, crossed the median and slammed into the Ramcharans’ vehicle. 

The couple and their son died on impact. The couple had taken their ailing son for dialysis at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, and were returning home. Nanda Ramcharan had previously donated one of her kidneys to her son. Throughout the outpouring of grief and sorrow by Nanda Ramcharan’s six sisters and Mahadeo Ramcharan’s four siblings, tributes poured in for the deceased family. 

Mahadeo Ramcharan’s eldest brother, Harricharan Kassie, said the sorrow and pain that the family felt today could never be erased. “I live next door and I have to face this house every day and remember what happened to them,” said Kassie. “Today when I saw them I wanted to bawl. We cannot even recognise their faces as what we knew. Death is so untimely.”

Sundar-Rampersad said her brother-in-law loved cooking, was a “great hunter” and loved planting gardens. She said her sister, Nanda, was “a great mother” to her children, loved parties and chutney music, but “when it came to praying she knew how to pray”. 

“Doctors told her that Nyron would live for ten years but she was determined to help him live,” said the sister. “Nyron was the youngest kidney transplant recipient and Nanda was the youngest donor in the country. She was one in a million.”

She said Nyron was “the strongest of the three boys” despite his medical condition, and he loved tassa and Indian music, and playing the part of Krishna during Ramleela celebrations. 

“Nanda decided that if anything happened to Nyron she could never live without him. Nyron always said he never wanted to live without his mommy and daddy. God has made it that he took them together. Rikash and Nigel, one day you will understand.”

She said she prayed for them that “God keep you during this storm and give you a rainbow for every tear”. 

There was not a dry eye among mourners as Sundar-Rampersad stood between the three white coffins laden with red roses and other flowers, and serenaded the couple and their son with Nanda Ramcharan’s favourite song, “Forever and Always” by Shania Twain. 

Mahadeo Ramcharan’s co-workers at the San Fernando General Hospital where he worked as an attendant supervisor paid tribute to him, describing him as a “a dear friend and brother” to his colleagues, “kind and understanding”, and “would go to every length and breadth to get his work done”. 

Member of Parliament for Princes Town Clifton De Coteau, Alderman Bhagwandeen Ramkarran, Minister in the Ministry of the People Vernella Alleyne-Toppin attended the cremation at the Shore of Peace Cremation Site at Mosquito Creek, South Oropouche. 

De Coteau said the deaths of the Ramcharan family were a very tragic end to parental love and care in their home. Reflecting on Nanda Ramcharan’s donation of a kidney to her son Nyron, he said: “Think of the planning and sacrifices this mother made, and the support by the father at a time when they say fathers do not support their families.” The MP appealed to relatives to continue to support the surviving members of the family, Rikash and Nigel. 

“We don’t want the ‘kuchoor’ (Hindu word for confusion) to affect these boys. Greed could step in and destroy all the love and everything the parents built. I am begging you all to please come around after today and show them love,” said De Coteau. 

Officiating pundit Krishna Suberan appealed to mourners “to live every day as if it were your last” since life and death were unpredictable. As the bodies left the home in two hearses, they were escorted by tassa music and a DJ to the cremation site.