Belmont resident Lauren Cain, mother of the late Aleah Khadija Cain, 15, said: “Aleah loved life.”
She made the comment at a celebration of Aleah’s life at Samuel David Simpson Memorial Chapel on Eastern Main Road, Laventille, yesterday.
Aleah may have possessed a joie-de-vivre, but it was both ironic and unfortunate that her young life was cut short when she was shot in the chest in a drive-by shooting in Belmont on January 21.
To compound it, her newborn baby girl, Sophie, lost her mother.
Cain died while undergoing surgery at Port of Spain General Hospital and the dreams of the former pupil of St Michael’s Girls’ High School of being an interior designer were dashed.
Before the service, Cain lit three incense sticks and stuck them in a glass decorated with a pink carnation. But she was too grief-stricken, so Cain asked one of her “daughters”, Arielle Moses, to read the eulogy on behalf of her beloved Aleah.
Among those in the congregation were a strong Belmont contingent, including community activist Ralph Maximin, ace drummer Joseph Samuel, traditional mas man Francis Stephens and designer Saleem Samuel.
Samuel read King David’s Psalm 23.
“Losing a child is like losing a piece of myself; from now on a part of my heart will be empty. I must endure the pain of grieving the death of my Aleah but must celebrate her life,” said Moses.
“She was always a happy little girl with a big smile that could brighten anyone’s day. She especially loved the outdoors and enjoyed many weekends taking in the scenery in South Trinidad.
“Growing up, Aleah was filled with a love for dance. She enjoyed expressing herself through music and bringing people together. She enjoyed shopping and had a special love for design. She was always the one to decorate our house during Christmas and make it into a memorable home. We had a very close bond and shared a love only a mother and daughter could understand.”
Moses said she grew from a girl into a woman quickly and took extremely good care of Sophie.
Cain vowed to cherish her granddaughter, Sophie, who was “a constant reminder of our love”.
During the homily, Rev Janet Towine, an elder at St Peter’s Spiritual Baptist Cathedral, Gonzales, Belmont, quoted Ecclesiastes Chapter 3.
She said: “Who will be next? Aleah’s death will teach us to put our house in order. How do we guide our relationship with God and with each other?”
And she offered a kernel of wisdom.
“Choose your friends wisely. Get down in the valley and talk to Jesus. Let us be strong in the Lord.”
When the floor was open, tributes came in from Aleah’s grandfather, Robert Samuel, who had flown in from Massachusetts, USA. He had received the heart-wrenching news while at work.
Helen Durham, a spiritual elder at Mt Arafat Spiritual Baptist Church, Barataria, sang “In Shady Greens”.
Durham, too, said she knew the pain of losing a son.
Roderick Toussaint, artistic director of City Kids Pan Ensemble at Farrell Street, Belmont, said: “She showed promise.”
Toussaint said people must make time and “go to church. We are the ones doing the shooting. It is not somebody from outside”.