SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — It was a sombre affair among family, friends and well-wishers who gathered in the Footprints Seventh-day Adventist Church in Savanna-la-Mar yesterday for the thanksgiving service celebrating the lives of the three young brothers who perished in a house fire here on September 4.
While other family members wept uncontrollably inside, saying goodbye was just too much for the father of the boys, Adrian Laing, who remained outside the church.
“Mi cyaan bear it. Dis yah situation, yuh haffi know how fi deal wid it. How mi a deal wid it, a suh mi can cope wid it until dem guh underground; ah suh mi can deal wid it,” stated Laing when the Jamaica Observer caught up with him outside. “Mi love dem an mi know dat dem likkle and innocent.”
The boys’ sister Adrianna, the sole surviving child, who received burns to 75 per cent of her body in the fire, is currently recovering in the Joseph M Still Burn Center in the United States. While Adrianna was rescued from the fire, the bodies of her seven-year-old twin brothers Jorden and Jayden, and their eight-year-old brother Adrianno Laing were found by firefighters from the Negril Fire Station during cooling-down operations.
The colourful caskets were laid inside at the back of the church and Laing said he went inside just for a short period before it became too much for him to bear.
Other family members like Marcia Hines, maternal grandaunt of the boys, wept uncontrollably before the start of the 10:00 am service.
Meanwhile, speaker after speaker remembered the mark the boys left on their school and community, and commended Laing, a single father, for the role he played in the upbringing of his children.
“Mr Laing, the entire Ministry of Education stands with you as you hurdle these difficult times. The loss of three children is unimaginable pain,” Jacqueline Brown, senior education officer for Region 4, said.
“I cannot but reflect on the many sacrifices you have made for them as a single parent. We understood that you would do anything for your children… Remember that if you rely on God, He will carry you.”
For her part, Vinnette Malcolm, principal of Sheffield Primary School where the boys attended, said the young boys were talented and touched the lives of many people.
“The three boys’ short but impactful lives have been a blessing to many. Their personalities would light up any room they entered. They were caring, wise and mature. Jayden, Jorden and Adrianno made their marks… in their short years. We give thanks to God for allowing us the opportunity to journey with the three angels,” she said.
“The school family admired the unity that existed among the Laing brothers. As young as they were, they have left an indelible mark. To Mr Adrian, we stand with you as you go through this difficult period.”
During the service Stephen Josephs, project manager of Sanmerna Foundation, the organisation which was instrumental in getting Adrianna overseas for treatment, revealed that the 13-year-old’s status has been elevated from survival to recovery. The teenager, who underwent 15 emergency surgeries, is also breathing on her own and talking, he said.
Laing told the Observer that he spoke with her in recent days and she said, “Daddy, tell dem seh mi no want no more surgery.”