Yes, I remember
It is important as Barbadians – especially public figures – we learn to laugh at and about ourselves. There is too much tension and angst in the country. Politicians – in particular – are taking themselves too seriously. – The late Prime Minister David Thompson.OF ALL THE POLITICIANS OF BARBADOS, there was one in particular who did not deserve to be laid on the ground of defeat. And I do not speak of National Hero Errol Walton Barrow, Sir Bernard St John, Sir Lloyd Sandiford or Sir Richard Haynes, all honourable and worthy sons of the soil, but a young community-minded firebrand cum servant, who from school days would dare to be Prime Minister; succeed eventually at it – and not without challenges; and then have the hallowed position suddenly and soonest taken from him – other than by the ballot box.
David Thompson and his ultimate ascendancy to national political leadership in 2008 was met with a unique warmth and expectation, which said a great deal, considering that his opponent the almost equally ubiquitous Owen Arthur was a popular figure and celebrated political general and past master himself.
But death would trip the new leader in his steps – to a cruelly agonizing fall.
Still, David would fight hard against staying down. He was determined to lick the demon disease pancreatic cancer that would wrack his body. And never once in all our communication did he say he had surrendered or would.The mind can do great things. Dr Rudi Webster tells me this all the time. And many of the older doctors – frustrated by traditional stuff – are trying to document miracles of mind over matter!I appreciate your concern and interest. It’s a rough time for us, but we are coping – the girls are here with me and that’s great.I have faith and have asked The Almighty a favour and I believe he will grant it to me. David was always positive. At the very least, it gave him sustenance.
It was, ashamedly, I who gave up – though David never guessed. After a week of not hearing from him late September, and satisfying myself I wouldn’t be intruding into the sanctity of the family circle as he lay on his sickbed, I texted him up. As usual his response was as prompt as it could be, but not without its telltale form.As I said before, its serious. Prayer and supplication day by day, can achieve miracles. David
In all his texting to me in the past, David had never made an error in spelling or grammar or presentation. We had a thing about standard English and when Bajan dialect was appropriate.
David’s final text had indicated to me that a valour, unusual and strikingly admirable, was being gravely undermined. I vowed I would not contribute to it. I would press him no more for comparisons of thought, or certainly on issues of state; not even on matters of healing.
I guess my own faith wasn’t good enough, though my best wishes and hope for his recovery were ever strong.I would trouble him no more after my very last text of mid-October, but he would have understood that I so profoundly wished each day that he had never had to experience so serious an illness, so challenging a torment.
“I’ll understand if you are unable to afford me the usually cordial and kind reply. It is good enough for me knowing I am offering you a word of consideration and consolation as best I can. And I’ll keep praying for you,” I wrote finally, releasing him from responsibility of reply.
I remember David a lot; the shared times; thoughts; jokes – like this clean one.
There was this church luncheon at which a little four-year-old boy was asked if he could say who slew Goliath. He stood and proudly declared: “Yes, David Thompson!”
The unexpected answer earned him a special prize.
But not before tumultuous applause, following a few seconds of where-do-we-go-from-here? silence.David Thompson touched everyone!