Donna was pure at heart
By Cecily Asson Sunday, September 9 2012
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SCHOOL SUPPLIES: Cumuto/Manzanilla MP Collin Partap, left, distributes school bags to children of his constituency at his constituency office in Sangr...
“Death never says when it is coming, so live life to the fullest, live with love, live God- conscious.”
That was the message delivered yesterday by Pundit Hansraj Harripersad-Maharaj at the funeral service for Donna Diana Persad.
Last Tuesday, Persad, 26, who lives in New York, died in a vehicular accident a short distance from her Ramsabhad Trace, Rochard Road, Barrackpore home. She was killed by a runaway car that crashed into the back of her father’s sport utility vehicle as she was removing a cooking gas tank from the trunk. The car was parked on the side of the road. The 50-year-old driver told police he suffered a blackout.
Two months ago, her mother, Celestine Persad, 48, died in similar circumstances while standing in the yard of the family’s home. A car veered off the main road and fatally knocked down the mother of four. Celestine’s death occurred on the same day she and her husband, Basdeo, celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary.
Donna, an assistant manager at a pharmaceutical company in New York, had returned home for her mother’s funeral and stayed on to give support to her grief-stricken father.
The deaths, just two months apart, left the community in shock and it was deja vu yesterday for hundreds gathered at the home. The crowd spilled out into the street, leaving many standing under the blistering sun to bid farewell to the young woman who had followed her mother in death so soon after.
Two months ago they had all gathered on the same spot for the funeral service officiated by the same pundit to say farewell to Celestine. None thought they would have to return so soon and there was hardly a dry eye yesterday. The elderly women in the service, including Persad’s paternal grandmother, Sylvia Soogrim, who took care of her in her early years, wept uncontrollably. Her father, Basdeo, kept his distance from where the ceremony was being performed. He sat in a corner at times cupping his face in his hands almost as if in disbelief.
“We are here for a purpose, not on guess work,” Maharaj told the mourners.
“We are here for a purpose to perform karma, to practice love, to practice goodness, unconditional love, to recognise God and when our time is up we also choose to leave this world. As we will observe as family, friends and dear ones, we will say an accident, we may describe death in various ways, but when our time is up, we choose to leave this world.”
He called on the mourners to have respect for religion and all walks of life.
“Where there is birth, there is death. Live life to the fullest, for any moment we could leave this body. Death has no appointment.”
Delivering the eulogy yesterday was Donna’s brother-in-law Neil Ramjattan. He said Donna, who was also called Diana, was named after the late Princess Diana and he went on to describe her as a loving daughter who, after her mother’s funeral, took over responsibility for the care and well being of her father.
She was expected to return to New York later this week to resume work and look after her younger siblings, Brian and Petelina, who are still in school.
Ramjattan said, “Diana will always be remembered as a fun loving, caring, independent, hardworking and pure at heart human being.”
She was later cremated at the Shore of Peace, Mosquito Creek, La Romaine.