Latisha Grant’s New Year’s wish is to have her five children reunited with her.
But for this to happen, she needs the help of generous Samaritans so she can extend the ten by eight room she currently calls home.
Grant, a certified hairdresser by profession, fell on hard times following the sudden passing of her common-law husband in September, after he unknowingly contracted COVID-19 while operating his taxi. Grant’s husband, John Ferris-Murray, plied his car for hire on the Belmont/Port-of-Spain Taxi Stand and the majority of his passengers were usually people working at or visiting the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. Although he adopted personal safety measures to avoid contracting the virus, Grant cried as she related how tragedy befell the once happy family.
Grant, who celebrated her 33rd birthday on Wednesday, said Ferris-Murray had protected her till the end. "I was not around him when he got ill as I was visiting my youngest son. When he got sick and tested positive, he called me and said do not come back. I wanted to be there with him, but he wanted me to be there for the children." Ferris-Murray's health deteriorated rapidly, and he died exactly 14 days after contracting the virus. He was just 56.
Grant is now mother and father to her three daughters aged 16, 12, and eight, and her two boys aged ten and five. She said she had been forced to close her small business as she hastily relocated the family from the home at Balthazar Street, Tunapuna, to her mother’s home at First Trace, Maingot Road, Tunapuna.
"I am home right now because I had to close down and I haven’t been able to catch myself financially to go back to work. Right now, I am living in a ten-by-eight room, it is very small, and I could not even think about Christmas."
Claiming she and the children had been left virtually penniless after her husband died, Grant said she has had no choice but to let the three youngest children stay with relatives. She said the two elder girls remained with her, but she is uncertain how much longer she can sustain the unit.
Besides food and clothing, Grant’s next most urgent need is getting two rooms constructed where she lives. "That is the main thing I need right now. I do not mind having a place of my own even if it does not have anything in it, but I will be able to bring my children together to be with me."
Grant described her current living arrangements as a jail cell, she said it could barely accommodate her and her two daughters.
Admitting her mother had not been able to help more than she already has by allowing her to build on the family’s land, Grant is appealing for donations in the form of concrete blocks, cement, sand, gravel, and iron so she can put up a structure.
Proud her five kids are all in school, Grant said their futures were not assured when school reopens on January 4, 2021. She lamented being unable to provide devices for the children to engage in online schooling.
Indicating the entire family "just need things," she added, "I need help. Right now, I need dire help. Nobody knows how frustrating, depressing, sad this is.
"Sometimes I don’t even want to come home and see these children like this…uncomfortable. I am fighting so hard to make it something, but it feels like the more you struggle, you just can’t get through. I just want a place to call my own and keep my children safe and comfortable."
Anyone wishing to assist can contact Grant at 345-1654.