Tuesday, April 11th 2006
PAULINE Lum Fai was numb for more than a week after the buggered and battered body of her six-year-old son Sean was discovered some 300 feet from her home two Sundays ago.
She controlled her emotions as she recalled the discovery which was too horrific for words. Her own mother, Golsin, said "Lum Fai hold she belly and rolled on the ground and bawl when she see Sean's body."
Another mother or any woman could only think dispassionately of Lum Fai's emotions, of the pain, but she alone felt the vacuum in her stomach, the ache in her heart and the aimlessness of her soul. Living with heartbreak is one thing, but when a mother,(a single mother at that), has to say good-bye to her child after his life was snuffed out in the most horrid manner by another human being, another journey begins.
Lum Fai, 43, found it hard to smile, to talk, to think or even to eat. She sat in a state of detachment, but listened to and absorbed all the prayers that visitors offered for her peace of mind. The prayers by people of all religions and her own strength, belief and faith in the Hindu Lord Shiva brought her closer to an inner quiet and peace.
She was not keen to give yet another interview but the ice was really broken only when she was asked by Express Woman to talk about Sean Luke and what he did for her life.
She relaxed, smiled and even laughed as she recalled the moment of conception, delivery, growing up days in school and home, dreams and aspirations for the future of her "one star."
She recollected that time in the United States where she had gone to find a new life, but which turned out to be the most lonely time for her. She prayed to Lord Shiva, for some joy in her life, because she was lonely. She had known Luke's father, but was still missing something. Then she discovered she was pregnant. She prayed for a baby boy and her prayers were answered. At birth on August 17, Luke was eleven pounds. She recalled talking to him" even in my womb. I always promised to love him, and take care of him. I promised never to desert him, and never allow anyone to hurt him, but ..., " her voice trails off.
When Sean Luke was about two and a half, Lum Fai decided to return to Trinidad, due to circumstances beyond her control. She ensured her son went to school everyday and that he did his homework as well. "He loved to read. I had to read him stories every night. He was everybody's child in the village.
"But he was my one star. He used to ask me 'Mummy, who is Sean?'And I used to tell him, Sean is Mummy's one star, so he made me put up a glowing star on the ceiling in the bedroom. He loved to look at it. He is now that star looking down at us."
Re-living the joy of her son's school days, she lovingly flipped through his school books to show how he excelled in his work and the stars he received for excellent work. "He loved to draw, and would draw on the walls of the house." One thing that stood out in her mind, was that Sean never referred to himself in the first person. "He always talk of himself in the third person. He would say 'Sean loves mummy. Mummy, you love Sean?' He used to sing Barney [television cartoon character] songs for me - 'I love you, you love me.'... Oh Lord, he was my baby," Lum Fai tries not to choke on her emotion.
On the day he went missing, Lum Fai said, every Sunday evening, after lunch, she and Sean would take a nap. He asked to go to play and she refused, so he settled down to look at a movie. When she awoke, he was not there. She searched next door at her uncle's but he was not there either.
The search went on through the night and next day." The inevitable happened, and Lum Fai said she lost trust in the community.
"Three generations grow up here and we trusted each other, I never thought villagers would hurt my son." .
Careful not to make any comments that may jeopardise justice in the case against her son's killers, she appealed: "What has happened to my son, must not happen to any other child in this land."
She said although she stayed at home to look after her son, "this terrible thing still happened to him." To parents she said: "Check up on yourself to see if you are living the kind of life that children would emulate." She said some parents do all types of things in front their children, who in turn want to practice on other children. They become perverts in society, she opined.
She begged parents of children who have been sexually or physically abused to "get help, talk to someone, let them be counselled. Show them the right way. Do not be ashamed or hide their faults in the hope of protecting them. In the end, they will become menaces to society and will have to pay for their crimes." She feels that there should be a system in the schools to investigate any report about problem children that might affect the lives of others.
Contrary, to anyone who thought that she was not careful with Sean. Lum Fai said: "I always told my son never to talk to strangers, do not let anyone touch him on his private parts, and all the other warnings, but there are some parents who do not correct their children when they do wrong."
She urged all parents to "think about what happened to Sean. Think how they break him, had sex with him, then beat him and killed him. Think of how many times he must have screamed for his Mummy to save him. I feel like I am hearing his screams in my head, in my mind. We must never let this happen to another child."she emphasied strongly."
Asked how she was going to move on from here, Lum Fai said she has not thought about that as yet. "I don't know how to start answering that question. I don't know how am I going to move on and what I am going to do."
Lum Fai said her God was her greatest strength. "I am feeling his strength. Something in me is refusing to make me sad. I want to be angry, but I cannot even be angry with those who killed my child. I want to hate them, but I cannot. What they did to my child was horrid. But God is seeing me through these times and helping me to deal with my grief in a special way."
"I want to send a message to every woman. What happened to my child had nothing to do with glory, fame, race, but a sickness that is in our society."