“I’m barely surviving.”
These are the words of heartbroken Selina Ingram whose kids, Matthew (17) and Tammy (12), died of organ failure last year after allegedly inhaling toxic gas, believed to have come from fumigation chemicals used in their residential complex in Kabega Park, Port Elizabeth.
Now she and her husband, Stanton, are grappling to come to terms with yet more tragedy. In December, Stanton’s parents died of Covid-19 within days of each other. Then in January, an uncle of Selena’s also died of the deadly virus.
“These people were all our supporters and were helping us with our grief for our kids,” says a distraught Selina. “Now we’re grieving for Stanton’s mom and dad and for my uncle.
“Our wounds are opening over and over again. It feels like we’re cursed.”
In September, Selina told YOU how hard it was to come to terms with the fact she would never see her beloved children again. “They taught me how to be a good person,” she said. “It’s very, very hard for us.”
The Ingrams say they weren’t informed by the fumigators that they would be decontaminating the unit four doors away from corner duplex. The occupants of the two neighbouring units were told to vacate the premises for the duration of the fumigation but the service providers apparently didn’t think the gas would reach the Ingrams’ home.
READ MORE | PE parents’ devastation after teens die in alleged gas leak
The four months since the children’s death have been hell, Selina says.
“I’m struggling, I’m really struggling. I don’t know what to do. I’m under medication, I can’t sleep at night and I’m crying for my children constantly.
“If I do sleep, it’s just nightmare upon nightmare. Life is just hell for me. I’m always replaying the sounds my kids made when they died. I hear them dying and I feel them dying.”
Selina, a housewife, says
her husband, a self-employed draughtsman, has struggled to concentrate on his
work and financial pressure is building as there are still bills to pay for
when the kids were in hospital.
“Stanton has lost a lot of weight, he can barely work. Every time my husband tries to do something on the computer, he just breaks down.
“I’ve got to watch that and there’s just nothing I can do because I can’t even help myself.”
Losing her in-laws and uncle has only compounded the pain and Selina has sought professional help to try to cope. She was prescribed medication but it isn’t helping yet, she says.
“I’m searching everywhere for my loved ones,” she says. “I’m searching in my dreams, I’m searching when I’m awake. I’m reading the Bible, I’m praying. I just want something to numb my feelings.”
For months after the children died, Selina and Stanton lived with Selina’s parents, unable to face their own empty home. But they’ve since moved back to their duplex and it’s been a bittersweet experience with some good memories of happy family times and some bad memories of the children’s last hours in the house.
The couple has rearranged the furniture in the living area and their bedroom in the hope a fresh look would cheer them up a little, but nothing can take the pain away.
“I only started cooking again last week,” Selina adds. “I couldn’t cook for months – it was always such a big thing in our house. The kids would always come downstairs when they heard me in the kitchen.”
Police are still
investigating the cause of the children’s death and when their probe is
complete, the Ingrims intend to sue the company for gross negligence.
“We want justice,” Selina says. “We’re not interested in money because money will never bring back my children.”
But they do want answers, she says.
Police spokesperson Priscilla Naidu told YOU investigators are awaiting the toxicology report from laboratories in Silverton and Cape Town before the inquest docket can be closed.