Grief too rough to bear - Family tries to come to grips with drowning death of six-year-old

Tears flowed down Candice Chambers' cheeks yesterday and with a weak wave of the hand, she signalled to the Gleaner team to talk to her mother at their home in Oliver Gardens, May Pen, Clarendon.

She was inconsolable as she tried to process the death of her six-year-old son, Dajohne Pennant, who was washed away in a canal in the Mount Claire area of May Pen, Clarendon, on Monday.

He was being escorted home by his cousin when the tragedy occurred.

On Monday, heavy rains dumped huge amounts of water on the town leaving streets inundated.

The May Pen police say about 3 p.m., Dajohne was on his way home from school with a 13-year-old cousin, when they reportedly attempted to cross a flooded channel and were swept away by the water.

The teen managed to pull herself from the water, but Dajohne was swept further downstream by the strong current.

Annette Williams, Pennant's grandmother, could not hold back the tears, as she shared the last few hours she spent with him.

"He slept with me the Sunday night part-time and a first him ever hug me so tight. Him hug me tight, him hug me tight, and mi kiss him on him forehead and tell him to go sleep," were her emotional words.

Recounting her last interaction with her grandson, Williams said she had to go on the road Monday morning, but before she left, she asked his aunt if he was going school and was told no.

She said she told Dajohne that she would soon be back and he responded "Grandma, every day you gone.

"I told him, 'Mi soon come, Daddy, mi soon come'," she said, almost breaking down again.

'WATER TOOK AWAY DAJOHNE'

Williams said she returned from Spanish Town and, upon inquiring about Dajohne's whereabouts, was told he had gone to school after all. With the rainfall getting heavier, she asked his mother to call a taxi to pick him up.

"After she called the taxi, the driver said the taxi was stuck," she said.

Not long after that phone call, her granddaughter called just after 3 p.m. to say that "water took away Dajohne".

As the grandmother relived the moment, it proved too much for her, and she gave in to the tears.

Behind her, the faces of her daughters, her granddaughter and community members who came to the home to give support told their own stories.

The question 'why' hung in the air with no answers. And especially not for his cousin who was carrying him home. She sat staring off into space, and, according to Williams, has not been herself since Monday when she got home and ran into her arms crying out, "Grandma, sorry, sorry, Grandma!"

With just the memories to console them, Williams spoke about her grandson.

"He was a pleasant child, ever smiling, and he would come to me and say, 'Grandma, gi mi a money nuh. He was a bright, a promising student, jovial. It rough, it rough, it rough. I don't know if I can manage to go through this," she said, to keep her emotions under control.


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