Deadly date dad can't forget
Two daughters die Jan 4, 20 years apartTuesday, January 14, 2020
BY RACQUEL PORTER
If there was a date Hugo Lewis could skip, it would be January 4.
Twenty years ago, on that date, Lewis's first daughter, Tori-Ann, died at three months old. Two Saturdays ago, his third daughter, nine-year-old Nayalia, died.
“I hate speaking about this date,” the distraught father told the Jamaica Observer recently.
Scratching his head as he sat inside the Supreme Court photocopying room during his lunch break, Lewis moved his hands quickly to his face as he fought hard to hold back tears.
In addition to the two girls who have passed on, Lewis, who is 39, fathered three other children — two boys and a third girl named Naja.
“I love all of my children, but Nayalia and Naja are like my backbone, because they keep me going. “I have two boys, yes; they are there to carry on the name. The girls, I have to guide them and bond with them. If I turn left, I see one; if I turn right, I see one. Coming from work Nayalia would be the one to come running. She was always waiting on me to make sure I come home. After she see me, then she would go to her granny,” he said.
Disclosing that Naja, 12, has a physical disability, Lewis pointed out that even though Nayalia was only nine years old, she was protective of her older sister.
Lewis's pain became more pronounced as reggae artiste Nesbeth's hit song My Dream started playing on a radio in his office.
It was Nayalia's favourite song, he explained.
“If she and I were in the house, bwoy me a tell you; any reggae a play, Nayalia inna it. Sometimes the neighbours video her performing and show me, but I saw it live every day,” he said, adding that Nayalia, who attended Holy Family Primary School and would have been 10 years old on January 30 this year, had a passion for the arts.
“She was going to be great. She loved painting. She never had a set career [decided] but she was going to be great,” he insisted.
The office soon became busy as his colleagues, some of whom had not seen him since the death if his daughter, came in and expressed sympathy.
Lewis, who said he had never thought about getting a tattoo, told the Observer he is now moved to do so. It will be an image of Nayalia.
“This is something that I never promise anybody, but I have to do this just to look at her face every second,” he said, before squeezing his eyes shut.
Lewis's common-law wife and mother of his children, Kerry Ann Davis, told the Observer that on Monday, December 30, Nayalia had a slight fever.
According to the 37-year-old mother, she gave the child Panadol. The following day, she said, Nayalia was okay. But about 3:00 am Thursday, January 2, 2020, Nayalia started vomiting. At the break of dawn, Davis took her daughter to a private doctor. She asked the doctor if the symptoms were dengue-related.
The doctor, Davis said, told her no, but said Nayalia had an infection and was wheezing.
She was immediately placed on a nebuliser and given medication.
Recalling her daughter's last days, the mother said on Friday, January 3, 2020, while she was feeding Nayalia soup, the child asked her to remove the braids from her hair, which she did.
On Saturday, January 4, 2020, things took a turn for the worst.
Nayalia complained about being cold. Francis said she was about to go get a prescription for Nayalia filled when she heard Lewis screaming her name.
Alarmed by the condition of their daughter, they rushed with her, in a taxi, from their home at Fleet Street in downtown Kingston to Bustamante Hospital for Children. This was about 9:00 am.
Lewis said on their way to the hospital Nayalia was not responding.
“Mi a talk all kind of things to her: 'Nayalia, we are going to the hospital'; 'Nayalia baby', all type of things mi a say just to keep her alive,” he recalled.
“The doctors fought with her up to 6:00 pm,” Davis said, adding that they eventually learned that Nayalia died from dengue.
Today, both parents are trying to be strong for the remaining children — ages 15, 12, and four. However, Lewis said they are not coping well.
Noting that they are not the easiest set of children to deal with, Lewis said they have been weeping.
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