It was Christmas Day 2012, Terrylynn Doyle received a call from her oldest son, 24-year-old Malik Weeks. She had no idea that hours later, he would tragically lose his life in a motorcycle accident in Hamilton Parish and that would be the last time that she would ever speak to him.
Ms. Doyle was off of the island when she received the gut-wrenching phone call from her sister that Mr. Weeks was in extremely critical condition at KEMH. She automatically went into shock and according to her, released a guttural-type scream.
“ My sister called me again to inform me that he had indeed passed away,” Ms. Doyle said. “ When we headed for the airport [to head back to Bermuda], everything was a blur. The world was still moving but my son was dead.”
Mr. Weeks left behind a daughter Maeisha, who had turned four years old just two days before he died. According to Ms. Doyle, Maeisha, who is now 13 years old, is the spitting image of her father from head to toe.
Ms. Doyle has developed anxiety, insomnia, chronic migraines and severe depression as a result of losing her son.
“ Every time a child dies on the road or as a result of these senseless murders, it is the most painful thing ever,” she said. “ I am a good-functioning person and have a rich life, but I hope that none of my friends or family members ever have to deal with this type of sadness.”
December is even harder for Ms. Doyle and her family because her older aunt died the day after her son and her younger aunt died almost exactly one year later. Her uncle passed away on December 21 and her grandfather died many years ago, on December 18.
“ It has been [just over] nine years [since his death] and I honestly feel like I will feel this way for the rest of my life,” she said. “ Some days I cry, other days I get through it. I look at his daughter, and that gives me comfort. It is really weird that it has been nine years and it is still extremely difficult to visit his grave. I have done it before, but I do not like to. It is still hard for me to come to terms that that is where he is and will be forever.”
When she found out that young Bermudian footballer Osagi Bascome was killed on December 18, Ms. Doyle wept all night and into the early morning. She also cried when 26-year-old Dennis Saunders was killed exactly nine years after her son was killed and under very similar circumstances.
“ I had to take sleeping pills [on Christmas night] to go to sleep, because my own situation [with my son] played over and over in my head,” she said. “ I look at some parents whom I know have lost children and admire them, but I do not know how they cope at home.”
Because everyone deals with grief and trauma in different ways, Ms. Doyle cannot suggest how people should cope with the death of their child(ren). According to her, she is very emotive and thus must verbalize and think about how she feels.
“ If I had to give advice to parents who have lost children, it would be to live how you want to live and feel how you want to feel; it is your right when you lose a piece of your heart like that,” she said. “ When I lost Malik, I felt like I was carrying him and that someone had ripped him out of my insides. When a child dies, it inevitably becomes a death sentence for the parents.”
PLP MP for Constituency #16 Michael Weeks JP, MP, was Malik’s father. Ms. Doyle says that whenever she sees Mr. Weeks in pain over losing their son, it deeply affects her as a mom.
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