Pundit praises heroine who died in blaze trying to save son

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Pundit Dayanand Maharaj at the funeral of Surujdai Soogrim, 92, and son Boysie Sonnyboy, 63, on Saturday at Barrackpore. The mother and son died in house fire in New Grant on December 10. – Jeff K. Mayers

Surujdai Soogrim of New Grant has been hailed as a heroine for risking her life in an unsuccessful attempt to save her special-needs son from a burning building.

Soogrim, 92, was cremated at Mosquito Creek on Saturday alongside her beloved 63-year-old son Boysie “Boya” Sonnyboy.

She too died in the fire which engulfed their home at School Trace shortly before midnight on December 10.

Standing between Soogrim and Boya’s two white coffins, officiating Pundit Dayanand Maharaj reflected on the terrible tragedy and said only God knew why He chose to call them home in this manner.

“We all have to go sometime, but it is unfortunate, when we think about what she did.”

He said the normal human reaction upon seeing a fire would be to move away from it.

“You don’t go near it (fire), but she disregarded her own life and ran into the fire to save her son…She was a hero.”

Their funeralwas held at the Barrackpore home of one of her sons, where the two coffins were placed side by side with their photographs on the top. They were sealed and adorned with flowers and garlands.

Surujdai Soogrim –

Soogrim’s grandson Randy Beharry, who delivered the eulogy, agreed his granny was a “hero.”

He said she was a person who had a passion for life and a strength beyond comparison, despite the challenges she had faced earlier in life and during her marriage.

He said his grandmother had a “big heart” and equally demonstrated her capacity to love not only her children, siblings, grand- and great-grandchildren, but also her neighbours and their children.

Recalling her love for Christmas, he said this season would be difficult without her.

Speaking about his uncle, he said, “But today, we are also celebrating the life of a son and brother, fondly called Boya.

“Boya was born as what society would refer to as a ‘normal’ child, but through a medical mishap he developed a mental challenge. This did not stop him from being loving and kind-hearted.”

He recalled the close bond his grandmother shared with her first-born child.

“Grandma and Boya could not do without each other. There was a lifetime bond between both of them.

“This bond was evident even in the last moments of her life, when she bravely chose to try to save Boya over her own life.

“As we all know, through the unfortunate incident on December 10, this bond has been immortalised.

“As we bid them farewell today, one of the things that gives us comfort is the knowledge that my grandmother and Boya will always be together. They were in life, and now, in going beyond.”

His voice broke and tears ran down his face as he wished he could hear his grandmother call his name one more time.

“I wish you were still here to hold me one last time, to hear your voice call my name, to feel the love from your hugs.

“You left and I did not get to say all I wanted to. I love you, Ma. Goodbye, Ma, goodbye!”

Fire officials are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.