A small crowd of mourners yesterday gathered for a celebration of the life of Petrina Salandy who was eulogised by her eldest sister Ashaki Salandy as “a heroine and a good mother”.
While cradling her five-month-old baby sister Kayla, pregnant Renee Salandy wept as the coffin of her mother was being taken away from Simpson’s Memorial Chapel, at Eastern Main Road, Laventille.
On June 22, Salandy, 39, was felled by a volley of bullets on St Paul Street, in East Port of Spain. The mother of five was walking home with baby Kayla in her arms and her other three children Lorenzo, 13, Raheem, 11, and Jaydon, four, who she successfully pushed to safety. Five-month-old baby Kayla fell and was rescued by neighbours.
During the exchange of gunfire from warring gangs, 16-year-old Rohan Riez was also shot.
Crying relatives, among them Salandy’s mother Judy, yesterday huddled and consoled each other. To the left of Salandy’s coffin, her husband Kirk Fields sobbed inconsolably, wiping his face with a red handkerchief.
Before leaving, Rev Ijeoma Ibeleme, from Victorious Faith Ministries, Belmont, said a few comforting words to Fields. Ibeleme had also conducted the homily in which she encouraged the Salandys to put their faith in God during this crisis.
Renee Salandy attempted to read a poem in her mother’s honour but she was so overcome with emotion that she could not complete the reading. Her aunt Missy Salandy intervened and read the poem.
But Renee managed to say it was a tragedy her mother had “gone too soon” leaving behind her precious children and unborn grandchild. But they would be sustained by good memories of her, she said. Her niece Paula Salandy sang “My God Is Awesome”.
Then Petrina Salandy’s eldest sister Ashaki Salandy read the eulogy.
Recounting her last moments, she said: “She was never seen without her four children by her side. She demonstrated all the characteristics of a good mother. They were her entire life. She would do anything for them. And that’s exactly how she died. Up to the very last day, she was protecting her children.”
Ashaki added, “She followed the very law of being a good parent...protect your own to the last, no matter what. She died as she lived...a true hero.”
Ashaki said although they had lost their beloved sister at the hands of “men who had lost their reason and turned to brutish deeds”, she would live on forever in their hearts.
She said, “With sadness in our hearts and tears in our eyes, know we all love you very much. We will miss you very much.”
Ashaki said her sister enjoyed a blissful childhood growing up in Tobago.