Gonzales grandsons carry her belongings to a waiting
truck. Following her death last week, the family decided to
keep her house closed.
Lilla Gonzales Photo: Karla Ramoo
daughter Verna Ifill tries to comfort her other daughter Judith
Gonzales during her funeral service yesterday.
Even though she was taken from this life, the legacy of 63-year-old
Lilla Gonzales, who died of poisoning last week, lives on.
A letter written to a favoured granddaughter a few weeks before
her untimely death was read to the congregation at her funeral
I got this letter I hesitated reading it, because I knew what
it contained, said an emotional 19-year-old Mary-ann.
of warning and guidance from my granny, so I read it the day
after she died.
She was one of two of Gonzales granddaughters who delivered
the eulogy at the service at Allens Funeral Home, Arima.
With tears running down her face, Mary-ann read, He
(Satan) is a liar, Mary-ann.
hurts me each time I see you putting on your best for Satan.
Give up the pleasures and things of the world.
The letter also chastised parents who allowed their children
to do as they wanted, thinking that this sense of freedom
represented true love.
you die now you will die lost. I cant think of my Mary-ann
as having her life shortened, the letter went on.
Mary-ann was also one of the 22 relatives who fell ill after
eating from a pot of split peas soup at her grandmothers
wake last Saturday.
Her cousin, 17-year-old Tadius Ifill, remains at the intensive
care unit at Port-of-Spain General Hospital, unconscious,
His sister, Sonia, 19, was the first to have fallen ill on
She spent two days at Mt Hope hospital following the incident.
Sonia said she felt a burning in her chest after eating the
first few mouthfuls, then her vision blurred.
fell, someone picked me up and I vomited. Then it was chaos,
as everyone started crying for pains, she said.
Their mother Verna appeared composed yesterday as she tried
to console Gonzales youngest daughter, Judith.
Her words of comfort went unheeded, as Judith wept continuously
and cried out for her mother.
get up! Open your eyes Mammy, please! she wailed as
the strains of Mariah Carey and Boyz II Mens One Sweet
Day, filled the air.
The family continues to express confusion over the circumstances
surrounding Gonzales death as well as the illness of
the other relatives.
all feel lost. Who would do this? questioned a teary-eyed
Nigel Gonzales, the dead womans first grandson.
Although they are still awaiting tests results from police,
identifying the toxin, family members said the poisoning incidents
Ingredients used to make the pot of soup last Saturday was
seized by police that same night, who also collected body
fluids from those stricken by the mysterious illness.
Cpl Parks of the Arima CID said yesterday that the ingredients
were still at the Forensic Science Centre, St James.
However, he said officials there had promised to speed up
testing, but the results wont be available for at least
Parks said they could not classify Gonzales death until
they received the results.
Another visit to the familys home was planned for today,