Forgive Rasheeda’s killers
By Rachael Espinet Wednesday, August 21 2013
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The one thing the relatives of Rasheeda “Pinky” Gomez would remember about the 16-year-old was her capacity to love and her forgiving nature.
Because of Gomez’ readiness to forgive, her family, particularly her stepfather, Emilio Hosein, will try to forgive those who murdered Gomez.
Speaking to Newsday yesterday after her funeral at Allen and Sons Funeral Chapel, Arima, Hosein said, “We need to love and forgive. It is with forgiveness we have love, because without forgiveness there is hate and that hate is what brings the violence. Nobody could forgive how Christ could forgive, and I saw that forgiveness in Rasheeda.”
Gomez was one of six persons who were executed last Wednesday by gunmen in east Port-of-Spain. She and her boyfriend, Shondell Braithwaite, 18, were liming in an apartment on Duncan Street when men stormed the apartment and shot at the couple. Brathwaite received injuries to his left shoulder, while Gomez died shortly after she was admitted to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. Previous reports claimed Gomez may have been pregnant. However, relatives denied this, and said the pathology report did not show any signs that she was pregnant.
Gomez’ cousin Naim Antoine, 16, was also gunned down that day. His funeral took place on Monday.
When asked if Gomez would forgive the persons who took her life, Hosein said, “In my heart, and how she moved in life, I believe she would have forgiven them, and I have no choice but to forgive them too. God has that in his hand, and I have to show forgiveness and love,” Hosein said.In his eulogy Hosein told the mourners, “Rasheeda had a love that none of us could have given back to her. I have never seen a person go through so much in her life and forgive people in an instant.”
Hosein told Newsday that while Gomez only lived in his home for five months, he grew close to her because she taught him how to be patient and understanding towards his own children. He said he was always a strict father with his own children, but when Gomez came into his life, he was able to have the father/daughter relationship he always wanted.
“We would sit at the table and speak for hours. Rasheeda’s life was just a moment with me, but she taught me the things we should do with our family. Rasheeda was sent to teach me how to communicate with my children,” Hosein said.
Hosein hopes the people of Duncan Street and Nelson Street can take Gomez’ way of forgiveness and resist their impulse to retaliate.
“It is about time we, the people of Duncan Street and Nelson Street, look for hope. There is a power that can save you. The gangsters are gathering up, are you gathering up in prayers?” he said. Mourners applauded Hosein’s call for prayer and love.
“Don’t cry for Rasheeda’s death,” he told all those who were weeping, “she will rise again in the name of the Lord. If I cry, I cry for the joy of Rasheeda.”
Despite Hosein’s words of comfort, many mourners wept uncontrollably as they said good bye. Gomez was laid to rest at the D’Abadie Public Cemetery in a light pink casket which reflected her nickname. Her mother, Danille Alleyne, kissed her forehead before the ceremony started. Alleyne was well composed as she greeted guests at the door, but as the chapel began to fill with mourners, she began to cry. The grieving family included Gomez’ twin brother Rasheed, and sisters Akeera and Aleka.
From the beginning of the funeral, to the moment Gomez’ body was taken away, Alleyne shed tears for her daughter. Friends and relatives took turns comforting Alleyne, but nothing could console the grieving mother.
In the middle of the funeral Gomez’ father, Robert Gomez, walked into the chapel as Pastor Marlon Alvarez gave his sermon. He stood over the closed coffin and silently sobbed over his daughter. His mother, Petra Gomez left her seat and joined her son. The two held each other as they cried for the loss of the 16-year-old.
When the coffin was opened again, Robert and Petra kissed Gomez goodbye for the last time. They did not leave Gomez’ side until the coffin was taken away.
One of Gomez’ aunts was too weak to walk out of the chapel, so a male relative picked her up and carried her into a car so they could go off to the cemetery.
Gomez’ boyfriend, Brathwaite, did not attend the funeral, and no one appeared to know where he may have been.