"GONE too soon" - That was the overwhelming sentiment on Saturday, October 5 at the thanksgiving service for the life of 16-year-old Kedeidra Lawrence.
Tears flowed aplenty inside the Divine Church of God, located at 20 Hill Avenue, Kingston 20 as many who went up to the podium to offer their tributes lost control and burst out in tears instead.
Deidra, as she was affectionately called by friends and family, made a lasting impression on those she came in contact with during her short time on earth.
"Loving", "considerate", "someone who was always concerned about the rights of others" are just some of the terms used to describe the girl who succumbed to her battle with sickle cell on September 17.
Kedeidra, born November 8, 1996, left the island at age six to live in Arizona, United States. She returned this year to spend time with relatives, but her illness saw her being admitted into the University Hospital and ultimately, her final transition.
One of her cousins, Kasheema Singh, described her as a "champion for those who were being bullied".
Her voice broke as she shared that had she known her cousin's time would have been so short she would have made the effort to spend a little more time with her and say 'I love you' more.
Kedeidra had dreams of being a movie star and also working as a make-up artist ... that could have easily been seen by the way she used to fashionably carry herself.
Among the tributes in songs were I Never Lost My Praise, Ride Out Your Storm and the very emotional Missing You, which had many screaming out as the grief proved too much for them.
In his message, Reverend Timothy Smith sought to console the bereaved family. "I've lost loved ones, but never anyone so young. So through things like this, it's natural to ask questions and be upset. Sometimes people will be upset with themselves, but God has it all in control," he said during his powerful message.
Smith revisited the age-old question of why someone so young had to die.
"The best of us fail to come up with the right answer 'cause the truth is, we do not know. We live in a world of misfortune, but we do know that Jesus cares," he said.
The Reverend took the time to remind those who hadn't yet surrendered to the Lord to do so as "no one knows who will be next".
Kedeidra's body was laid to rest at the Meadowrest Memorial Gardens.
— Cecelia Campbell-Livingston