Monday, April 15, 2024

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: A friend indeed …

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I STARTED MY JOURNALISM CAREER in 1979 fresh out of Coleridge & Parry School. I have been in town long and I have seen a lot. I am at the stage where few things faze me.

Not the average murder. Not your everyday road fatality. Not what the courts call death by misadventure.

This is not to say I don’t feel anything; it’s just that unlike some of my younger, less battle-hardened colleagues, I don’t lose my composure or sleep over them.

But then something happens and I find myself turning it over and over in my head. Such was the case on Sunday morning, when before sunrise I got a call from a trusted contact informing me that there had just been a murder-suicide in Bayville. As all Barbados now knows, the evidence suggests that Derek Lovell, 45, killed his young wife, Kimberly, 27, before hanging himself in the home they shared.

If that were all to it, it would still have been a horrific tragedy, but the fact that the incident left two little children from the marriage without parents can only add to the pain and uncertainty of their future.

Now compound that with the other four children from a previous marriage who have been left without a father as well.

I did not know and had never met Derek or Kimberly. I can tell you nothing about who they were beyond what other journalists have revealed – and I have been around long enough to know that when something dramatic happens, stories that are told require more than the average amount of filtering.

So I can’t say Derek Lovell was a good fellow or a bad person. I can’t speak to the character of Kimberly, but what I can say is that this tragedy speaks loudly to me about the importance of friendship. Many of us, especially men, tend to believe and act as though we can take the world on our shoulders by ourselves. We are reluctant to share our burdens and too often the results can be catastrophic.

Having lived my life entirely in the public domain, I have learnt to keep certain details of my life in a very small circle. Others may speculate, gossip, suppose or extrapolate, but they will never “know”. In fact, people who know me will tell you one of the things I always say is: “Any time you need more than the fingers on one hand to count your friends, you need to reassess your definition of friend.”

But we all need that one person who knows you, who understands you, who appreciates you for all your strengths as well as  your weaknesses, who will laugh with you in good times and share your pain and comfort you in bad times, but most importantly, someone who loves you enough to tell you when you are wrong – and then never leave your side until you have worked your way through it.

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