A solemn atmosphere yesterday permeated the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Linstead, St Catherine, where bereaved relatives and friends gathered to pay tribute to four-year Karissa Frazer – better known as Ashley, who died of suspected dengue fever on November 1.
Her cousin, Kadia Wright, who delivered the eulogy, said the family did not expect the child to die this early.
“Though you were asthmatic, we were positive that you would live a long and happy life,” she said. “My darling Ashley, I could not believe that you were taken from us after only four years on this earth; it was much too short of a time…”
Ashley wanted to be a gymnast and a doctor. “You had so much hope and dreams,” Wright noted in the eulogy.
She recalled that, although Ashley was very ‘tiny’ at birth, she grew into a loving and energetic child, who showed keen interest in fashion and would even pull out her hairdo if she did not think it was done properly.
“One of Ashley’s greatest pleasure was dressing up. Every hour she would be in a different outfit. I don’t think Ashley has any clothes that she has never worn. Her outfits were always beautiful; they were always runway quality,” Wright added.
She stated that her late cousin, who was enrolled at Smart Start Basic School up the time of her demise, also had a passion for the simple things of life.
“She was always an outgoing, affectionate and smart student. All her teachers cried when they got the news [of her death]. She was loved by her teachers and would always have a story every evening,” Wright further said.
Meanwhile, Principal at Smart Start Basic School, Jennifer Walker, told the congregation that the late child was pleasant and promising.
“I want you to know that Karissa is a very bright girl… She is jovial; she is not a person who would be sad,” the principal said. Students of Smart Start paid a tribute in song, and Chairman of the school board Devon Smith offered a word of comfort to the bereaved family.
The clergyman who delivered the sermon, Dr. Kemar Douglas, used the opportunity to appeal for parents to tell their children about God, adding that the blunt truth is that their next birthday is not guaranteed.
“Young parents who are here, stop expecting your child to have another birthday – not now, maybe 20 years ago – maybe, but not now. Stop expecting that your child is going to have time,” he advised.
Recalling a personal experience, Dr. Douglas stated that, on one occasion, a mother prevented her nine-year-old child from being baptized. That mother however expressed regret when the child died a relatively short time later without being baptized, Dr. Douglas added.
Ashley, in the meantime, was interred at Commodore Cemetery in Linstead.
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