BELLE GLADE — Oscar Boatwright, affectionately known as “mailman” to the community — a motorcycle driving, new jack swing dancing, lover of all people — was first a #GirlDad, above all else.
“We are happy to have shared him with each other and the world,” said Kalyn Boatwright. “We love him and will miss him,” she added.
Kalyn Boatwright is the oldest, and her infectious personality, creative vlogging, drawing skills and radiant smile mirror her father’s. Kylah Boatwright is his doppelganger! A literal genetic recreation of her father and grandfather, she was blessed with the Boatwright dance moves and athleticism, too. Last, but certainly not least, is Ori, the trendy fashionista with her paternal grandmother and mother’s flare for the finer things in life. Each girl has a distinct personality that their father nurtured — and showcased his love for to the world.
“He won’t be able to come to any of my games,” said Kylah Boatwright. “But I know that my grandma and grandad will be there for us, so I will be strong,” she added.
The Boatwright girls are a special case because they do not know what it is to mourn. Their mother and father meticulously raised them and positioned them in spaces that would guard them from the intentional pains of the world. Their father’s funeral will be the second funeral they have attended aside from their grandmother’s, local Pastor Sandra Tucker Bethel, in 2014. The Boatwright girls were shielded from local funeral hoping traditions, so mourning their father is a completely new and different experience.
The Boatwright girls had a special bond with their father. Riding the motorcycle, playing with their family dog together, dance competitions at the family barbecue, turning up at the father/daughter dance, attending church together, and spending time with their brother are all memories that will last them a lifetime. The girls experienced the beauty of a loving marriage during its time frame and being the treasured gems of their father’s eyes. How are the victims of #GirlDad tragedies to move?
“I just want everyone to be happy and not cry anymore. He doesn’t want us sad,” said Ori Boatwright in an innocent and serene tone.
With the community mourning with them, Kalyn, Kylah, and Ori have been busy being embraced and comforted by family, friends and strangers. The girls’ mother, Karen, has chosen to maintain their normal school, extracurricular and church routine to keep her children emotionally balanced and guarded from some of the released footage or conversations about the accident.
Oscar was an amazing father and community member. After his burial, his children will be transitioning to their new normal. For these three girls — a chunk of expected shared memories with their father is no more. However, they have amazing men in their lives to fill this void. The #GirlDad movement does not end with the death of Kobe or Oscar because their moments in time are preserved in the hearts of their daughters.