Jerome O’Connor was hearing voices and his cheerful demeanor had changed dramatically in the weeks leading up to January 31 when he hanged himself in bushes near his Waterloo home in Ewarton, St Catherine.
“Everyday mi cry. Jerome was full of life; mi nuh know why him dweet,” his father, Everton, recently told The Beacon. “My son was [known to be] full of energy; he was a jovial person.”
Jerome, also known as Delliket, operated Delliket funeral agency.
He last job as funeral director was when he laid a woman, Carmen Rattigan, to rest at Ewarton on December 15 last year. He and Rattigan were in-laws living at the same premises.
“When the grave digging, him start complain about pain,” his father said. “After he did that funeral, it comes like him just sick out; it comes like something a bother him… Him seh him hear things; him hear people talking in him head – several voices in him head. Him seh the voices telling him to do all type of things.”
Jerome was very close to the late Rattigan, the father said. “That girl comes like him mother, him sister, him bredda, everything to him. he didn’t discuss him business with me; a she him talk to about everything including him funeral business.”
The father does not think his son was facing any financial problem regarding his business. “Even him bigger bredda seh, ‘Jerome if yuh inna any financial problem, let mi know’. Jerome nuh inna nuh financial problem with anybody,” he added.
He and others became concerned about Jerome’s sudden change in demeanor, and so they made several attempts to assist him.
Jerome was taken to different medical doctors.
“The first doctor said Jerome had sugar (diabetes), but the second one said he didn’t. Him nuh too believe seh him have sugar an mi nuh too believe either,” the father told The Beacon.
He added that the last doctor advised the family to bring him the medication that Jerome had been taking, adding that he would have recommended Jerome to a psychiatrist.
The father and his wife were taking the medication to the doctor when they got the shocking news. Some young men, while searching for goods to take to the market, found Jerome hanging by a length of cord from a tree in bushes.
The father stated that Jerome seemed strategic in committing suicide as he waited until no one was at home.
Hours earlier, he reportedly was seen looking in a tree at his home, but no one thought he would have ended his life. “Mi never know Jerome have those things on him kind,” his father emphasized.
He also recalled that Jerome was made to see two purported spiritual healers when it appeared his world was crumbling fast.
“Mi carry him goh check a spiritual man who seh it comes like spirit deh pon him. Mi get a lady come a yard because dem seh spirit deh pon Jerome. But him still nuh change,” the crying father said. “Mi did a try the best with Jerome and Jerome goh heng himself.”
According to the father, Jerome struggled with behavioural issues when he was a teen, but he changed for the better and eventually was regarded as one of the most outgoing, cheerful and helpful youngsters in his community.
“Jerome, yuh have a bright future before yuh; people love yuh, Jerome,” the father said as though he were talking to his son.
He told The Beacon that Jerome was revered in the funeral business. Jerome previously worked with the Ewarton-based Sunset Funeral Home, among others.
“Him duh embalming fi di whole a dem,” his father asserted. “Jerome was a man well be-known in every circle.”
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