Some call her a true Revolutionary.
Certain people describe her as playing leading roles leading up to and during the days of the Grenada Revolution.
Many refer to her as a champion of women’s rights, as she fought hard for things we have now come to accept as granted, such as maternity leave for women and equal pay for equal work for women.
Yet, others see her as a conniver in the hideous events that unfolded right here in Grenada during those murky and pitiless hours of October 19, 1983.
Your humble servant wishes not to bursts anyone’s bubble. However, unfortunately, none of the characterisations above are a true reflection of my relationship and recollection of the late Phyllis Coard, a person whom I later referred to, demonstratively, as Phyl.
You see, before 2015, I had only heard the name Phyllis Coard and would have seen and read things about her and things ascribed to her by various media houses in and out of Grenada. All of the references in my opening statements fall strictly within that category.
I first met Phyl’s husband, Bernard Coard, during a visit to him at the Richmond Hill Prison in September 1997. Since then, Bernard (I refer to him as Bro. B) and I have developed an unbreakable bond! Our collaboration on a project dealing with the Economics of the Grenada Revolution lead me, happily, into the warm and caring hands of Phyl in late 2015.
Your humble servant means no disrespect to you, Bro. B, but, as we have reminisced several times in the past five years, it was love at first sight between Phyl and me.
I cannot tell you in words what it is that created such strong chemistry between Phyl and me, but suffice it to say, there was chemistry, real, intense chemistry.
Note, I had only met Phyl once in person when we spent a week together in Jamaica in late 2015. I lived in the same apartment building with Phyl and Bro. B. We socialised daily.
Here was a lady, faced with various challenges of a medical nature, almost daily, but who found the time to smile, enjoy some humour, and provide all the care, nurturing, and support I could have needed or requested from her.
Phyl offered guidance and counselling, irrespective of the nature of my request, or the topic under consideration. She was indeed a giant of a woman.
What was just a casual encounter during that week in Jamaica eventually, in quick order, evolved into a rather complicated relationship.
Today, the Coards and I refer to ourselves as family. And we are faithful, family!
Phyl never met my wife. But, words cannot describe the sort of emotional relationship that existed between these two women. To put it mildly: they loved each other profoundly!
Based on the individual I have come to know over the past five years, I would have to be the first to endorse: “The real Phyllis and the propaganda generated personna of Phyllis stand in striking contrast.”
As I reflect, further, on Phyl and her merry-go-lucky personality, I am glad to have had the exposure I did to her.
The more I think about her life, and what she has done in her stay with us, three famous sayings come immediately to mind:
Athenian Philosopher Socrates: “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”
In the words of the great Nelson Mandela: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
“My favorite things in life don’t cause any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” Those were the words of the late American Entrepreneur, Steve Jobs.
Phyl had time. Some would say she had more time than she may have even bargained for, given the diversity of medical issues she encountered during the final days of her sojourn here on planet earth.
Phyl, you have left us physically, but your memories live!
May your soul rest in everlasting peace!
Dr. Brian Francis