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Kwailan, a star for sailors

The Catholic News intern Liam Kissoon attended the funeral for Kwailan La Borde and wrote this short reflection.

“Harold had the vision, but Kwailan made it happen,” said Pierre La Borde at the Assumption Church, in Long Circular Road Marval, on Thursday June 6, at his mother Kwailan La Borde’s funeral.

The legendary Trinbagonian sailor, christened Mary but called Kwailan among family and friends after a flower in the Zhongshan provenance in China, made her final voyage as she once again set sail on another adventure.

The funeral reception for this 91-year-old sailor, teacher, mother, and grandmother was quite the turn out as family, friends, and the general public came to pay their respects.

Pierre was applauded by the congregation after reading the eulogy. At the end, he called his mother a star for sailors to help guide them across the sea.

He reminded everyone if they saw a new star they didn’t recognise up in the night sky, it was his mother.

This funeral was live–streamed and uploaded to YouTube for people who couldn’t make it since Kwailan had friends and family from around the world.

Her sons Pierre and Aundry, Pierre’s daughter Shannon, along with relatives Timmy and Sheky had the honour of carrying her casket. In a way, they were like the wind helping her reach worlds unknown to us.

There were no clouds in the sky on the day of the funeral and a welcoming breeze cooled everyone down from the sun. The weather for this day was almost eerie as if Kwailan’s spirit was telling us to go sailing instead.

After the funeral, family went to Pierre’s Flagstaff residence, and it was even mentioned how the weather was perfect for the beach. This weather would’ve undoubtedly been something Harold and Kwailan appreciated. After all, they needed clear skies to sail safely on their three voyages for them to return safely home.

The La Borde family, during their prime, may have been considered eccentric. The modern world can now appreciate them for who they are. They were pioneers who upheld the Trinbagonian name with pride and dignity by using sailing as an outlet, role models for young Trinbagonians sailors who desire to start sailing.

Most importantly, they were parents to their children.

The atmosphere at its different stages was never morbid but genuinely a celebration of life as people got to learn about Kwailan and the La Borde family and appreciate their different lifestyle.

At the heart the family, aside from being sailors, they were explorers and adventurers who were fearless and skilled at whatever they chose to pursue. They found ways to make their dreams reality.