It's been a little over a year since Sally Ann Cuffie’s life changed drastically.
The Talparo grandmother says she thanks God everyday that her life was spared when an unidentified man threw a lighted scratch bomb inside of her son’s car on October 29, 2016. Cuffie, 49, and her family were out for a drive that Divali night to see the deya displays, a tradition she loved from her childhood. When the scratch bomb was flung into the vehicle that night, Cuffie tried to save her six-month-old granddaughter, Christa, by throwing the scratch bomb from the car but it blew up in her hands, severing pieces of her fingers. No one was ever arrested for the act.
Cuffie’s hands never healed completely and she often drops things when her fingers go numb unexpectedly. But with a resilient spirit and a strong mind, she has been trying to piece her life back together. When the Newsday visited her at home last Wednesday, Cuffie was busy trying to repaint her living room set as she prepares for her favourite time of year. The discomfort she experienced holding the paint brush to finish painting her coffee table was evident but the already-finished pieces drying inside the house told of her determination.
“I’m doing good, I won’t give up,” she said. “One thing about me is that I always like things to be nice and put away for Christmas and I don’t like to wait on nobody to do anything for me. Sometimes I feel depressed when I think about how different my life would be if this didn’t happen but I not letting it keep me down.”
She began her Christmas preparations in mid-November, long before most others.
“I can’t do much things in one day, so every day I will do how much I can and then rest. Easy, easy I getting it done,” she said with a smile.
Cuffie, who was employed as a firearm officer with a security firm when the incident happened last year, has not worked since.
“I can’t hold the firearm and a lot of times I drop things and it breaks, so I can’t really work anywhere. What I make might have to go back to pay my employer.”
She receives a public assistance grant of $1,150 and in early 2017 was given a monthly grant for one year by the state to help her along.
“I will always be thankful for the help I got but it is not enough to get the things I want. By the time I pay my bills and buy a little grocery, I have nothing left.”
She plants ochro, sorrel and other vegetables around her house to help offset the costs of going to the market but says there are days when her cupboards are bare.
But she isn’t looking for hand-outs.
“I left my mother’s house when I was 11-years-old to live with my father and since I finish school, I working to take care of myself. When I started having my children, I worked to get them the things they needed and all of them have made me proud. I can sit down today and say I didn’t raise no bandits.
“I never like to sit down and wait for people to give me things. Since I was a little girl, I always get up and help myself.”
What she is looking for is employment.
“I mightn’t be able to go in an office and work or work in a kitchen cause I ‘fraid I break something but I can bake, I can make ponche creme, sorrel juice, wines, I can cook. If someone has a function or a party and they wanted something cooked or baked, I could do it. I willing and anybody in Talparo could tell you bout my food. I could even sew decent enough.”
To prove her point, she brought out a small throw pillow which she had covered in a Christmas-themed print.
“I making one each for all the chairs in my gallery,” she said. “Nothing don’t hold me back. I would never wish what happened to me on anybody but everybody deserve a second chance.
“All I want is for somebody to give me that chance to prove what I can do.”
Anyone who wishes to contact Cuffie can call her at 297-7844 or 715-3566.