I love you my dear sister’.
Those were the last words Maureen Forte heard from her brother David Craigwell on Saturday night. Hours later, on Sunday afternoon, he died suddenly in the parking lot of Pricesmart on Green Hill, St Michael.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Forte, Craigwell’s older sister said their final exchange perfectly summed up their relationship over the last 63 years.
But according to her, his loveable personality extended to his son and his adopted daughter Shelley Griffith, his ten siblings, his colleagues at the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) where he served as a petty officer for many years and his close friends.
She added that while he was never married, her brother had many close female friends.
“If you met David and you were a friend, even if you two were no longer intimately involved, he would still be a good friend. Some of them called me this morning crying,” she revealed.
“His life was caring for people and being out there… he was community-minded.”
The older sister said Craigwell was a committed member of the Lions Club of Barbados, the Barbados Legion, and was active in the training of BDF cadets.
“People would say ‘Craigwell doesn’t make sport, he was a serious man.’ He would make you fill a tub with a spoon in training or make you run around the Garrison with an egg and a spoon. He was thorough in whatever he did. When they had the poppy day, he would go and help count the money. He was a very committed person,” she said, while adding in his later years, he focused on photography and enjoyed nature.
Forte, who lived just a stone’s throw from her brother in Newbury, St. George said despite their close bond, her brother had been very secretive about his sickness but would complain of pain to his feet if he stood for long periods.
“He had tests and everything. He went to doctors and I think he hid his actual sickness from me but I could look and see he wasn’t well. I guess he probably wanted to protect me from knowing because of how close we were,” she said reflectively.
The two last spoke on Saturday night and as usual, he was complaining about his pain and said he was experiencing a “funny” feeling.
“He didn’t say if he was leaving home or anything like that. When I finished speaking to him on Saturday night, he said ‘I love you my dear sister’ and I said ‘I love you my dear brother’ and that is why when I heard what happened on Sunday I really cried but I am trying to be strong for everyone. I am going to miss him,” she said tearfully.
Hours later, she received a call from a relative indicating her brother had fallen ill in his vehicle while at Pricesmart. According to reports, he received assistance at the scene but failed to recover and was pronounced dead at the scene.
“It was a sad moment, not only for us as a family but for lots of people in this country,” his sister concluded.