Oneil Brown, who died feeling rejected as a result of a skin condition he suffered, has been buried with the caring grandmother who raised him.
Brown, 41, had a non-fatal condition known as vitiligo, which causes pale white patches to develop on the skin.
His cousin, Petagaye Montgomery, who delivered the eulogy during the funeral service yesterday, May 4, indicated that the skin disease was not understood by many in Lluidas Vale, St Catherine, where Brown lived.
In 2017, Brown returned to the village after being away for a year.
On his arrival, it was discovered that he had the skin condition – vitiligo, which no one understood and [knew] why he was affected.
His brother Rohan took him into his house where he cared or him and ensured he was fed.
Soon after, he decided he did not want to stay there, and he moved out.
He couldn’t explain his condition and started to withdraw from people.
Brown also was stigmatized. His maternal grandmother, Amanda Montgomery, also known as Dawkie and Miss Lucky, was the main receiver of his numerous complaints about discrimination.
She suffered a stroke two days after Brown died. She eventually passed away in hospital a week after Brown was found lifeless at home in Lluidas Vale on the evening of March 16, 2019.
The cause of his sudden death has not been made public.
Brown’s cousin, in the eulogy, stated that the grandmother would sometimes cry after being told about the treatment meted out to her grandson.
Oftentimes, Brown would speak to her about his feelings – that of being turned down for jobs, or when shopkeepers were hesitant to take his money. This was all because of his appearance.
His grandmother would cry sometimes, but always encouraged him to never give up.
‘Just hold the faith; God will make a way,’ she would say.
Up to the time of her hospitalization and subsequent death, she never stopped worrying about Brown.
The grandmother was the one who raised Brown, who was two years old when his mother, Juliet Montgomery, died. His father, Lindo Brown, is still alive.
Brown, prior to the onset of the skin condition, lived a normal life – working as a mason, cooking up a storm, and becoming the proud father of two sons – Sonjay and Odane.
His cousin, in the eulogy, said many loved Brown although he thought otherwise.
“Brown was loved by his family and many friends in the community although, towards the end of his life, he found it hard to accept that people still cared for him,” the cousin told the congregation, which gathered inside Barnes Pen Church of Christ, Lluidas Vale.
The grandmother, in the meantime, was described as a peaceful and godly matriarch who loved her full lineage – not just Brown.
She had nine children, 24 grandchildren – including Anica Montgomery, and 22 great-grandchildren.
Anica, in a remembrance, said:
Even though we were all in our separate homes, our grandmother never neglected us or showed preference for any.
She loved us all the same. She was a loving, quiet and humble person, who took her family at heart – especially us her grandchildren.
The 79-year-old grandmother, along with Brown, was interred in the Lluidas Vale Cemetery in splendid afternoon sunshine, which belied the grief expressed openly by many who gathered to say goodbye.
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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