Eulogy by Nisha Mc Intyre, in tribute to her mother Veronica Nadica Mc Intyre, who died in Brooklyn, NY on May 25, 2017. Nadica represented Grenada in cricket, netball and table tennis and was the second woman from Grenada to be selected to play on the West Indies Women’s cricket team where she toured in the 70s and 80s.

Nadica also served on the West Indies Women’s Cricket Board and was the first recipient of the sports woman of the year award in 1981.

A Thanksgiving service was held at the St Vincent Ferrer in Brooklyn, New York on Friday June 2, 2017.

 

As a child, I lived in fear of this day – the day that I’d have to stand here with family and friends to bid farewell to the woman I was privileged to call my very best friend and mother for over 32 years.

I was paranoid (Some may say I still am); but if she left for work at 8 am, and could not be accounted for by 6pm, I’d freak out. I’d call everyone – even the police – desperately trying to find her. There was no eating, no cartoon watching, just sheer dread until she appeared.  

Once I knew she was safe, like clockwork the cursing would begin. I would get so worked up lambasting her about the importance of communication, and every time, she would casually smirk, roll her eyes and say, ” Awh child behave.”

See in this selfish, cruel world, when you have someone, who unconditionally bats in your corner; who selflessly commits her life to your fulfilment and does so tirelessly through consistent, devoted actions, it’s hard not to fear that person being taken away – and you having to face the harsh realities of the world ALONE.  Nevertheless, here I am, and though I thought I would be on the other side of crazy by now, I am contented – she lived a full life. 

Veronica Nadica Mc Intyre entered this world on March 27, 1955. Through her own meandering, and supported by an insurmountable faith in God, she grew up to become a well-respected, revered powerhouse with an influence that surpassed Grenada’s tiny borders. She was the first child of nine born to Prince and Rose-Anna Laldee – a child born before the marriage, who proudly carried the Mc Intyre last name of her mother. She would go on herself to have eight children: Therone, Terrance, Jennel, Nisha, Dwayne, Lee, Nathan, and Ashley – two of which she bore herself, but all of whom she loved dearly. 

In her earlier years, she dreamed of being an accountant, but her responsibilities as a young, single mom, made realizing the dream difficult. So instead she chose the life of a public servant and committed herself to being of complete and utter service to her country men – both young and old. She started as a teacher at Grand Anse Roman Catholic school and eventually rose to the highest position available in the service – that of Cabinet Secretary. Along the way she served as an administrative assistant, as Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Ministry, specifically the Department of Human Resources, and ICT; in the Ministry of Housing, Social Security and Women’s Affairs; in the Ministry of Education, Works, Agriculture, Youth, Sports, and Culture, Legal Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Health, and Social Development.  She was excited to have met the general himself, Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul Castro, during her tenure as the non-resident ambassador to Cuba – a designation she held while simultaneously fulfilling her role as a Permanent Secretary. 

A believer in education and the practice of learning, she continued to pursue her tertiary education while working, first through the University of the West Indies’ distance learning programme and then later received a certification in negotiations from Harvard Business School. This skill proved especially valuable during her tenure as Mediations Coordinator at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Mediation Project and then in her final line of service as the Ombudsman.

Following the 2008 political elections in Grenada, she received rave reviews from the Organization of American States for her tenacity and diligence in ensuring a fair and judicial electoral process, while serving as Supervisor of the Parliamentary Elections Office.  Her objectivity made her a staple on influential country boards, including the prison review board. 

Coming from humble beginnings, Nadica gravitated toward sports. Playing games of cricket, netball, and table tennis provided a form of relief and diversion from the hassles of being the first-born.

Excelling at all of these earned her spots on all three national teams and in 1981 rewarded her with the highest national award – the first sports woman of the year award. She also Became the second woman from Grenada to be selected to play on the West Indies Women’s cricket team and toured with the team during the 70’s and 80’s. She would later serve on the West Indies Women’s Cricket Board, helping steer well known Grenadian players like Afy Fletcher to becoming staples on the squad. 

The list is long; and I can go on and on extolling the many successful roles my mother personified during her short but rather impactful journey on earth. However, I would much rather focus on the core of her persona – her heart. To know Nadica, was to love her. She had a quiet, humble demeanour, and a hearty laugh that filled every room. She was observant, and very worldly. There was hardly a world event she couldn’t discuss – even the substantive details of the latest Kanye West rants – see the UK Daily Mail, CNN, Yahoo news, and good old Facebook were her guilty pleasures. She was an introvert, who grew to become a public figure, but one, who intentionally avoided the melee and idle mischief that sometimes accompanies the designation. She would always say, “Nisha, not every fight you are invited to, you must attend.” And she was right.

It was this wisdom and knowledge of right from wrong that differentiated her from the masses and made her a trusted confidant and counsellor of so many in the neighbourhood. She just always knew the right thing to do, and had an apt for not allowing personal biases to affect her perspective on situations or her relationships with others – even those, who played across different political party lines. Evidence of this has been clear in the resounding tributes paid to her by members of both of Grenada’s major political parties.

For her, life’s value was measured not by what you earned, or the niceties that you owned, but by the lives you helped transform. And wherever she could, even through the simplest of gestures, she would always open her kitchen, her closet, her network, and her purse to helping others get by – this she did at times without ever being asked to. When her neighbour started to succumb to complications from diabetes, mommy committed to feeding her every day; religiously preparing and sending her breakfast, and any yummy goodies she prepared during the day.

On days, when for whatever reason she was away from home she would make sure I filled her shoes. This she did for more than a year, stopping only when our neighbour passed away last year. She would always say “food is never too much to give to someone.” Her disposition in this regard was well-known, and there was never a day you didn’t hear the popular village cry, “Noddics! I passing, what you have to feed the needy?”

Mommy loved her kitchen. If she wasn’t in her den on the computer, or in her room watching TV, you were sure to find her cooking up a storm. Her Macaroni pies, fish broths, bakes and salt fish, and oil downs were to die for. I was often the envy of my friends and even my colleagues at work. Every day, religiously, whether I liked it or not, mom would get up and prepare breakfast and lunch for me before going to work – making sure to carefully pack my lunch bag, at times with snacks and juice for the day.

This she did up until I left for Dominica last year. I was always amazed at how much she could accomplish during those two hours she spent at home in the morning before leaving for work. She would get up, say her rosary, prepare breakfast and lunch, listen to news, feed the dog, get dressed for work, all in the time it took me to get up, shower, and half way finish dressing. I was convinced she was superhuman.

In many ways, people have always lashed out at her for “spoiling” my brother and I. There were those, who felt we were too sheltered and questioned her wanting, at her age, to continue to actively care and nurture us. But their opinions ill mattered. She would always say, “you did not ask to be born. I brought you in to this world, and therefore if you or your brother can’t do for yourself, it is my job to do for you.” This was her belief and she lived exemplifying that through her unwavering devotion to my brother and I, and also to her grandchildren.

It is said that the strength of a woman’s character, shines most through the choices she makes during her darkest of moments – when her back is pressed against the wall and all seems lost. It is then you see her heart.

For mom, her darkest of moments came during the final seven months of her life – during her conscious battle with Cancer. From the start, there were insurmountable obstacles, and a myriad of reasons to feel despondent. Yet despite the realities, at no time did she delve into self-pity, frustration, or anger. At no time, did she cry or wallow in self-pity. At no time, did she question God and his timing.

At no time did she become depressed. Instead she accepted the process and rode the waves clinging to her faith and making the most of her days. She was a God-fearing Christian at heart. There was nothing too much for her and her God. No matter the obstacle, she would always say “leave it to God. He will make a way.”

In the hospital in Cuba, she spent her time comforting other cancer patients. Praying with them and sharing with them booklets about fear and faith, hoping to bring them peace of mind during their moments of strife. To the patients, nurses, and aids she became a second mom, and a friend.

Her room was always a liming ground, and a habitude for laughter and fun. Wherever she could, she tried her best to share with them, as it concerned her how little money they received. Whether it was giving away her food, her shoes, books, intimate products, makeup, clothes, kitchen appliances, or the like, nothing was ever too much to offer. In her heart, they needed it more than she did, and then again “God had her covered.” On Mother’s Day, weak from days of vomiting, and in pain, she was more concerned about ensuring I gave her aunt a bag she had purchased in Cuba as a Mother’s Day from her, than she was about her own health. In her darkest of hours, her focus was not on herself, but on those around her. 

To say that I fell more deeply in love with my mother during this process, will be a gross understatement. To witness her strength of character, and the depths of her kindness in that her darkest of period, was the most remarkable thing I’ve ever experienced in my life. I am so proud to call her my mother and I am so gratified to have had the opportunity to experience so much of my life walking hand in hand with her. If I can be but just a fraction of, who she was, I would be pleased. I have said this before, and I’ll proudly say it again, to have known Veronica Nadica Mc Intyre, is to have loved her. She is the best person I have known. And though I hurt for the inability to touch her or be with her in body, I am comforted knowing that she is better, watching over us.

On the day she passed, she shouted out, “I want to get up and move!” And that is just what she did – she moved onto a better place where she is whole again. So to you her family and friends, I say this: cry, but be comforted inside for she is not dead, she is very much alive. She is not asleep, nor is she at rest. She is with God and all is well.

My dearest mother; my dumpling, I love and miss you dearly, and will for the rest of my life. Remember your promise to me, and until that day when we exist in the same realm again, stay close and keep us safe.

Love you mom

Tags

 
0 comments
 
 
%d bloggers like this: