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A friendship she holds dear


Sherie Holder-Olutayo

A friendship she holds dear

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“To me he wasn’t just ordinary, he was extraordinary.” These words were uttered by Natasha King, Press Secretary to the late Prime Minister David Thompson, discussing his struggle with pancreatic cancer.
  “If there was anyone who I felt could overcome that cancer . . . I knew David would fall into that one per cent,” she said. “Somehow I just believed he would overcome this. His death was never an option for me. I was truly believing God for his healing.”
 At various times Natasha found herself refuting rumours of his death several weeks earlier.
 “I was at his home on Friday before he died, and on my way home that evening I looked up in the sky and I saw this huge beautiful full moon,” she said. “You know there’s a saying that people live and die by the moon, and I looked at it and that came to me.
“Then early Saturday morning I got the call,” she added with tears in her eyes.
  When Easy Magazine sat down with a visibly shaken and sombre Natasha, her thoughts and words drifted back to the relationship that were forged since childhood.
  Theirs was a relationship rooted far deeper than that of a employee and boss. To Natasha King,  Press Secretary to Prime Minister David Thompson, he was family; in many instances, even an uncle; but an integral person to her development through the years.
  “His parents and my grandparents were family friends,” she said, speaking of the history. “The relationship goes back almost three generations. He and my mother were like brother and sister it was just that type of bond.”
 Her memories are those of family outings, long talks and discussions, his vibrant laughter and witty sense of humour.
  It is those memories that she cherishes, those moments now that help to shroud the feelings that would seek to overwhelm her.
 “His children were flower girls at my weddings. I used to babysit those girls when during the summers when I was on vacation from university. Now his daughters babysit my children.
  “When I was living in New York and would come to Barbados for the summer, my mother would turn to David to look out for me,” she said laughing recalling her teenage years. “If I wanted to go out, I couldn’t go unless he said it was okay.
“Most of the time he would take me to the events and tell me, ‘Now you be out here by 11 o’ clock  when I come to pick you up’.”
  According to Natasha, Thompson was a buffer she often sought out during moments of teenage conflict she had with her mother. So for Natasha the grief runs far deeper than words could say.
  In some ways her appointment as Press Secretary cemented the role that he had played in her life, a relationship that had come full circle.
  “I learnt so much from him during these last years,” she said. “I travelled with him and I got to see how well he was received wherever he went. He taught me a lot about politics, but I also really got to see how much he loved Barbados and wanted to see the country continue to develop for future generations.”
 Natasha also revealed her admiration for his wife Mara and the relationship they had.
 “She didn’t leave his side at any time,” she said. “I always used to tell him that I loved the way he loved his wife and dealt with his family. It was an incredible thing to watch.”

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