By Lakhram BhagiratThe toughest thing many a father does is give away his daughter on her wedding day. It is something that Ron Pilgrim wishes he could have done for his first princess, but all he can do is wish.Little RonashaYou see, Ron’s only daughter, Ronasha, was, on September 1, brutally murdered by her uncle — all for a pair of gold earrings valued at less than $5,000.Ron explained that September 1 would forever be etched in his memory, as he vividly remembers digging through the mud for the body of his 18-month-old daughter, hoping and praying that God would grant him a miracle. However, after about 30 minutes of digging, he found Ronasha’s body, lifeless and covered in mud.“I don’t wish what I went through for any father. The hardest and darkest day of my life was digging in the mud for my daughter, and then taking (her) out of the mud. It was hard; very hard,” he laments.Ron is a 35-year-old single parent father who works two jobs to care for his children. He now puts all his efforts into making sure his two sons, Ryan and Ron Jr, are safe from all the elements.At around 03:00h on that fateful day, Ron’s youngest brother, Sherwin, entered his Lot 98 North Sophia home after breaking one of the windows. When Sherwin entered the house, Ron’s son Ryan, 12 years old, was up watching television, while Ron Jr, 10 years old, and Ronasha were asleep. Sherwin first attempted to toss Ron Jr through the window, but was unsuccessful; then he relieved his niece of her gold earrings, tossed her out of the window, then proceeded to dig a hole and bury her alive.This was done in the presence of her two brothers, and while their father was away at work.My first encounter with Ron was on December 22, when he came by the Guyana Times’ office to receive two new bikes, food hamper, school supplies and a gift certificate for the holidays, donated by the staff members of TVG/Radio Guyana and Guyana Times. After the presentation, I engaged Ron and we had a rather lengthy conversation, wherein he explained how he has been able to cope with his loss.What stuck with me was when he fought back tears to explain what life has been without his child. I have been around grave loss, and I have encountered grave loss as well, but Ron’s pain startled me. Generally, men are expected to be stoic and not show emotion, but he dispelled that stereotype when he spoke about raising his children on his own, playing the role of both mother and father, and attempted to describe his indescribable loss.“I can’t really describe how I feel, but it is like everything black now. No colour. I know I have the two boys, but I don’t know what happen; it is like I lose part of me, because she mother never really care for she,” Ron said while fighting back tears.Since Ronasha died, her father have been constantly working to take his sons out of their current place of dwelling. He explained that he was forced to take another job after Ryan and Ron Jr’s mother died in 2011.After the mother of his sons died, his mother helped to care of the boys, but that eventually stopped, leaving him as the sole caregiver. However, since Ronasha’s death, his mother has resumed caring for the boys during the weekends, and happily said they would be spending Christmas with her.During our conversation, he explained that his current home is not ideally situated for rearing the children, since the land would become swampy and flooded; but he noted that one day he would get his children out of there, since the memories of his daughter haunt him daily.“Since the girl died, life is harder, because for a time the boys were traumatized and them was frighten and so. It is like my daughter’s death gave my life new meaning, because I am a better man now and I care more for the two that I have with me,” Ron said.He noted that as the holidays gets closer he could only sit and think of how he would have spoilt his princess. He explained that the thought of buying her a doll and princess accessories brings a rare smile to his face, since he is still trying to cope with his loss.Ron told me that, growing up, he was always different from his brothers, since they are what he described as “thugs”. He added that two weeks prior to murdering his daughter, Sherwin had just came out of jail.“Is the drugs got them man so. Them does spend all their money on buying drugs, and always in some problem; but them don’t learn,” he declared.During my interaction with Ron, Ryan was there as well, and I was made to understand that he had witnessed everything his uncle did to his sister. He was very reticent about revealing what happened that night, but told me that his uncle was very vicious, and would have killed all of them if an alarm was not raised.For now, the Pilgrim family are picking up the pieces of their broken lives and trying to forge ahead. Ron still works extra hard to ensure that his children get the best he can afford. He is focused on making sure they get a quality education, so they could build themselves a career that would take them places.