Hard to say goodbye to Petra
THIS WAS THE assignment no reporter wanted to do.
Like several of my colleagues, I would have done my fair share in more than two decades on the job, but writing about the final farewell for Petra Gooding was the hardest by far.
The send-off was held yesterday during a stirring tribute at the Revival Time Assembly at Maxwell Hill, Christ Church.
Petra passed away on April 19.
How do you adequately capture the life of a 31-year-old, who made such an indelible mark on the NATION in a mere eight months? Petra was as feminine as they come, but quickly became one of the boys in the far corner of the room, and gave as good as she got on sporting and other exciting issues.
The highlights of her tenure had to be the coverage of this year’s CARIFTA Games in Grenada, which earned her the Nation’s Reporter/Writer Of The Month award for March, and the series highlighting the rundown condition of several of the island’s sporting facilities.
She would have the fulfilment that spurs on any journalist to stay the course. Her work helped to create change in short order and corrective measures were taken.
It was not long after those two significant pieces of work that God called her home, and the newsroom, and Sports Desk in particular, was thrown into mourning.
My colleague Kenmore Bynoe perhaps said it best in his tribute yesterday when he concluded that the “why” in the standard tenets of journalism would be a struggle to answer anytime soon.
What do you say about someone whose in-depth coverage of various sports and commitment to the profession was recognised beyond Barbados’ shores?
Anyone in Petra’s presence for any length of time would get a good sense of who she was. Friends, family and colleagues who worked closely with her would always talk about her ready smile and agreed that she was selfless, a team player, and loved her nephew Negus and the rest of her family.
And if eulogist Cecilia Chase’s account that Petra repeatedly sang It Is Well With My Soul the day before she passed is correct and Petra had made peace with God, there is no doubt where our beloved colleague has gone. When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder our Petra is sure to be there.
Rest well, Petra. (YB)