A giant among men, a lioness and true solider.
That was how Dr Linda Baboolal was described yesterday, as hundreds showed up at the All Saints Anglican Church, Marli Street, Port-of-Spain to bid her farewell.
Among those who attended Baboolal's funeral service were Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his wife Sharon, Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi and National Security Minister Stuart Young, including several People's National Movement (PNM) Senators and MPs.
Representing the United National Congress were MP Tim Gopeesingh and Senator Wade Mark.
Last Thursday, Baboolal, 78, died at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
Baboolal was the country's first female Senate President.
She also acted as T&T's president, served as San Juan/Barataria MP and held the portfolio of minister of social development and health under the PNM.
In paying tribute to Baboolal, Lady Vice-chairman of the PNM Camille Robinson-Regis said the party will forever remember her for her dedicated service and commitment which earned her the position of chairman.
"This is particularly acute when the personage being eulogised is one who walked as a giant among men."
Like all women in politics, Robinson-Regis said Baboolal had her highs and lows, but in the world of testosterone-based politics, she brought a measure of balance to discussions and debates.
"She told me once that politics was not for the fainthearted. Words that I never forgot to this day."
Robinson-Regis said Baboolal also taught her to take disappointments in stride.
One thing Baboolal did, Robinson-Regis said was to protect her family from the "slings and arrows of public life."
Robinson-Regis shared a joke, stating that once she had to undergo a medical procedure and confided in Baboolal about her fears.
"That woman amongst women went into the theatre with me and I am told she carefully monitored my surgeon's every move. I did not know who to feel sorrier for, myself or the poor surgeon who was scrutinised by a lioness."
On the political platform, she said Baboolal was known for powerful roar which made "grown men quivered when she called their names."
Robinson-Regis said Baboolal showed her how to cook biriyani rice.
"The compassion Linda displayed, asked us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain and anguish. The compassion she taught us, required us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable and powerless with the powerless. This is the indelible stamp she left on this party which she loved to her death."
Throughout Baboolal's life, Robinson-Regis said many saw her as trustworthy, caring and kind. She added she was neither envious, boastful, easily angered nor self-seeking.
"We celebrate the life of a woman who became a mother, a grandmother who was counsellor and confidant to all and a mentor who saw us not for who we are but for what we could become."
Communications Minister Donna Cox said Baboolal was always prepared to lay down her life politically, spiritually, socially and economically for us.
"Dr Baboolal is no longer with us. I salute her as a solider who has moved on. But the mark she has left will live forever in our hearts," Cox said, her voice cracking as she spoke.
Delivering the eulogy was five of Baboolal's children.
Eldest daughter Magaret Patience said her mother rose from humble beginnings to sit in one of the highest seats of the land.
Through sobs, Patience said her father, Dr Michael Baboolal was her mother's "teammate, partner and soulmate" for years.
Apart from attending to her patients and being actively involved in politics, Patience said Baboolal also sewed, loved singing and cooking and was an avid reader.
Carolyn Moshtagh said her mother was the pillar of strength in the family.
"Mom gave without being asked....even without anyone knowing....she gave sacrificially of herself at all times."
Moshtagh promised not to let her mom down.
"We lost an amazing person....the world has lost a sparkle because my mom is not here in it."
Sherylann Ramsaran, Baboolal's third child described her as a humble individual and role model.
What she remembered most about her mom was her laugh which lit up a room and her words of wisdom that money cannot buy integrity and sincerity.
Ramsaran said her three daughters always took their grandmother's advice to rise above the criticisms of others.
"Mom was and will always remain a beacon for society....an unshakeable foundation that will inspire many for years to come."
At no point in time, Ramsaran said Baboolal felt disappointed or discussed disappointment while serving the PNM.
Henry Baboolal said his mother was dedicated and loving.
"Our relationship at times was rocky. We definitely did not get off to a great start. That is for sure. But for some reason...and some point in time we just connected."
He admitted to disagreeing with his mom at the time.
"But we never fell apart. I have never known anything more beautiful than Linda. The name, fitting enough, means beautiful in Spanish."
Trying hard to contain his tears, Rajendra Baboolal said his mother was his "real-life superhero and queen" who had gas and oil flowing through her veins, as she was a fan of British racing driver Lewis Hamilton.
Reminiscing about her life, Baboolal said his mom was inducted as an honorary member of the T&T Automobile Sporting Association and cooked food for mechanics and racing drivers which they will miss.
Father Ashton Gomez who delivered the homily said Baboolal lived her life to the fullest serving people.
He said in the country a lot of people are deserving of a "bouff" because they have forgotten the watchwords discipline, production and tolerance.
Instead, we focus on selfishness, pride and hypocrisy, Gomez said.
"Sometimes people are too quick to respond and to reply to nonsense. We all need some shaking up. Hold your tongue when it needs holding or to let loose in the kindest way possible."
Gomez said while Baboolal has been bestowed with great accolades on both sides of Parliament, can we say that about ourselves.
"How are we going to be remembered? What are people going to say about us? It is going to be about our selfishness?"
He pleaded with mourners not to bad talk our country.
"For us who are left behind do not make purposeful mistakes."
She was cremated at the St James Cinerary.
Reporter: Shaliza Hassanali