On November 30, this year Marcus Hunter and his sister Rebecca Corbie got the news that brought both their worlds to a shocking and unexpected halt.
Their mother Bernadette Tait had died as a result of COVID-19.
What made the devastating news even more surprising was the fact that the siblings did everything in their power to protect their unvaccinated mother.
They told Guardian Media that her groceries, market and other supplies were sanitised and delivered to her doorstep to avoid her having to leave her El Dorado apartment.
Corbie said when she and her immediate family contracted COVID-19 in late October they informed her that they would not be visiting her until cleared by health officials.
So when she got infected with the disease on November 19, it was a total shocker.
But Taitt’s next-door neighbour, Cherisse Jerry said simply answering her door, which led to her eventual demise.
Jerry recalled seeing another tenant on the compound, reportedly a COVID-19 positive nurse, speaking closely to Taitt by her doorway, without a mask on.
“I clearly remember the neighbour came home and was like Miss Taitt I nearly dead, as she saying that she is less than six feet apart from her and she had on no mask, two days later Miss Taitt started to feel ill,” Jerry explained.
Her children said it did not take long for their mother’s condition to deteriorate.
“When Marcus arrived here mommy was done delirious already, mommy sat down here naked as she was born with a shower cap on her head,” Corbie said
As her situation worsened, Corbie said on November 27 they called an ambulance but it arrived two days later.
“Monday afternoon, by that time mommy oxygen level done drop,” Corbie added, “You know what is the sad part is hearing mommy going (gasp) trying to talk to me and she cannot talk.”
By the following day, she was gone from their lives.
Hunter was the one who received the news from the attending doctor, after hours of waiting at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.
“They said that she passed around half three in the morning and I mean that hit me like a sledgehammer.”
For Corbie the news was equally heart-breaking.
“Well I bawl, bawl, bawl because mommy was my anchor, she was my everything,” Corbie said.
The void created by Taitt’s death has also resonated to her grandchildren. Her 11-year-old granddaughter has found it hard to sleep.
“She say mommy while you were sleeping last night I was crying,” Corbie said.
Taitt was said to be extremely religious and spent hours in prayer.
But while the family has tried to find comfort in what was Taitt’s unwavering spirituality, Jerry remains angry with the person she holds responsible.
“She is a nurse and knows better and if you know better, do better. All now so Miss Taitt would be alive but it was careless and selfish of her,” She said.
Jerry said she has not only lost a neighbour but a friend and mother figure.
“I know my daughter would miss her a lot and I do miss her. She was a really good neighbour to everyone here.”
However, as the family attempts to muster the emotional resilience to spend their first Christmas without her, Corbie has urged people to think about others, especially for this holiday period.
“We have been cheated and we have been robbed of that special bond we were planning to have for Christmas with mommy,” she said.
She admitted that her mother was not vaccinated and this was by choice.
“I know eventually she would have but she wasn’t ready at that point in time,” she said.
Not wanting to have any regrets, Corbie has now found hope in the words of her 22-month-old daughter.
“I walked around with her and I asked her where is mom mom because all of them called my mother mom mom and then she said mom mom is happy.
Corbie said she broke down in tears as she thought it was a message from God and that has given her peace.