BARBADOS: Family, neighbours grieve over young man’s sudden death

(BARBADOS TODAY) – A young man whose relatives said has been battling with serious personal problems may have taken his own life today.

The body of Matthew Rommel Alphonso Omar Reeves, 32, was found by his mother Myrtle Reeves-Boyce, hanging from a rope at their Odessa McClean Road, My Lords Hill, St Michael home, around 4:40 p.m.

His sudden death has shocked members of the close-knit community, many of whom described Reeves, a father of two, as a nice man who was loved by all who knew him.

Residents and friends gathered in groups comforting each other as they tried to come to grips with Reeves’s death and speculating as to what could have driven the young man to allegedly take his life.

“I ain’t feeling no way right now. But I don’t know about later,” a grieving Reeves-Boyce said.

She recalled that the last words that Matthew, the eight of her nine children told her, was that he was going out for a ride.

She said sometime after she was watching the same bicycle before she found Matthew hanging.

The mother said she was aware that her son was struggling to deal with relationship problems.

Matthew Rommel Alphonso Omar Reeves (inset) was found hanging at his Odessa McClean Road, My Lords Hill, St Michael home.

Brother John Reeves said that earlier in the day, his mother called him and requested that he come to her house to play dominoes with his sibling.

He said his mother also told him at that time that they needed to get somebody to pray for Matthew.

John Reeves told Barbados TODAY: “I told her ‘alright, I coming ‘cross the road’, and I just get up and come along cross the road with my dominoes and was playing with he this morning about after 9 o’clock and then he was laughing and smiling and enjoying himself with me, my wife and my nephew which is his nephew too.

“I told him I got to take my wife out and come back. When I come back he was not home and I went home and come back again and I saw a bicycle outside and he was inside the house and I was on my way to work. I had to get to work for three o’clock.”

Reeves said at first he found it difficult to believe his mother when she called him just after 5.00 p.m. and told him their loved one had died.

“I drop down at work and I get up. I don’t know how, but I get home here. When I got here I see my brother in the back shed, he hanging with a small tiny rope and he head on a side. You know he dark skin already but he looked even darker to me. I touch him and he was like rock stone. I was just   shouting for my Matthew…. I couldn’t take it, I had to come outside”.

John Reeves said though he and Matthew had their sibling rivalry at times, they shared a closed bond. He said Matthew was one who cherished family and was always quick to represent his loved ones.

“He like to fix bicycles for you and do things. Sometimes he would get a little vex but we still would be there for one another. We didn’t expect this to happen,” he said.

A woman who described herself as a close family friend said she believed the stress from struggling to cope in a COVID-19 environment along with other issues may have caused the self-employed landscaper to give up on life.

“He is a family-oriented kind of guy. He would help everybody. He is just a genuinely nice person. In the core of who Matthew really was, Matthew was a really good person,” she said.

She said the loss of her close friend made her feel as though someone ripped her heart out of her chest.

President of the Men’s Empowerment and Network Support (MENS), Fabian Sargeant, who was also at the scene, described the deceased whom he knew well as a community-minded person.

Sargeant told Barbados TODAY: “I know he loved his daughter. He used to always confide in me so probably I know a lot more than the average person. Like everybody else, he had his challenges but like everybody else, he used to always overcome. Anytime I call on Matthew for anything, Matthew would never tell me no.

“Anytime he saw me he would always call me big brother. And guarantee whatever I ask Matthew for I would get. This came as a shock. I know he and the girlfriend had some trouble but this may not have been the ideal way to deal with the situation.”

The head of the advocacy group aimed at encouraging men to discuss their problems and become more in tune with their feelings and emotions, appealed to families and friends to reach out to men who they know are hurting and may be experiencing challenges.

“This is a really difficult time. This COVID-19 thing is a real unprecedented situation, a very uncomfortable situation and everybody is not coping the best. I am asking everybody to look out for each other and be each other’s keeper,” Sargeant said.

Matthew Reeves attended St Giles Primary and Metropolitan High School. A pastor was also on the scene to console loved ones.