I have a memory that has since been frozen in time, which I cherish, of a remarkable little girl. Her name was Rebecca Young and she was the only girl out of what seemed like a football team of boisterous brothers. One of her brothers, Wesley, is one of several beloved childhood friends of mine – to date.
His sister, Rebecca, had piercing blue eyes, long golden hair and red lips. The very mention of “Cinderella” or “Goldilocks”, I am reminded of her with fondness. Both Wesley and his sister happened to be the only ones deaf in their family so they were exceptionally close to one another.
One day towards the end of half term whilst I was home from boarding school, she came round to play. I was quite flattered that she was willing to spend time with me, at my house – without her brother even! With an abundance of laughter, we played many mentally stimulating games like ‘Pairs’ and other puzzles. She was after all, about eight years old at the time.
Little did I know then, how grateful I would be to have shared that distinctive day with her.
Boarding school meant I was away from home and my childhood friends, against my will I hasten to add so I was in for a surprise albeit a devastating one. I had returned home for the weekend two weeks later after that unfading day with Rebecca. That Sunday evening, I was packed and ready to be taken back to school except my mum stood me in the hallway; she had something to tell me.
There had been a freak accident and we would not be able to see her any more. I was confused with swirling emotions and shock since it was only quite recently that we had a play date.
“What could have happened in that short space of time to such an innocent and sweet little girl?” I remember pondering.
I was only about eleven back then and unfortunately, I had not been so exposed to death in an adult capacity. Reluctantly, I returned to school in a state of numbness and confusion. I very much still wanted to understand and know exactly what had happened to her.
The next time I was allowed home again for the weekend, my mum had saved the local paper for me to read. They had all been aching far too much to physically tell me what had happened. As I read the paper with such care, a lump grew in my throat thus disabling me from reacting; I finally understood why she was no longer gracing us all with the pleasure of her company.
Both Rebecca and her brother, Wesley, had gone out into the fields nearby where they lived to explore. There was a developing building site adjacent to the fields and so, their “adventure” continued there. One of the large cement tubes somehow toppled onto her, crushing her underneath. Her brother went into an indescribable state of panic and ran home to get help. I can only imagine to an extent, his frustrations at not being able to communicate to his family what had happened to his one and only sister. She was ever so precious to them all, being the only girl.
She was rushed to hospital having been crushed by the weight of this gigantic (compared to her) cement contraption, this took the strength of a good handful of grown men (her big brothers) to move. A life-saving machine kept her under and going for a week or so but eventually, her overwhelmingly brave parents who were more than well-informed of their daughter’s extremely delicate condition, decided to let her rest in peace, on her birthday.
She may have only been little but she was larger than life itself, impressing each and every one of us, for whom she was a little angel.
Rebecca, thank you ever so for that exceedingly memorable day and for being you xx
~ SJ (Sara Jae)