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Planning The Funeral For 8-Year-Old Jada Page: 'I Cried And Worked'

Courstesy Lori Hadley-Davis
Jada Page, 8, was killed in a Miami-Dade drive-by shooting. A horse and carriage carried her small turquoise casket at her funeral.

WLRN is looking at the impact of children and teens killed by guns in South Florida through the voices of some of the people who are most affected.

You can find the entire series at wlrn.org/ownwords

Jada Page was shot in the head  in a drive-by shooting on August 28.  Two days later, she died from her injuries in the hospital. She was 8 years old.

The little girl who loved to dance and was the life of family gatherings was not the intended target.

Jada’s great aunt, Lori-Hadley Davis, is the funeral director at Hadley-Davis Funeral Homes. Many of Hadley-Davis’ clients come to her to bury loved ones lost to gun violence. This time, though, it was her own.

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An edited conversation with Hadley-Davis:

I have three funeral homes and I do a lot of the gun violence cases. I don’t mind burying the dead because that’s what my calling is in my life, to bury the dead. But I want people to live and then I bury them.

In these days, these young people are not living.

Gun violence should be be a top priority because it’s happening every day. Liberty City, Dade County, Broward; I’m burying them. It just don’t make no sense.

When they come in, these mothers, these children, brothers and sisters, they have the weight of the world on their shoulder.  I had a mother --  her son got gunned down right in her front yard. Another, she had two twin boys and one of them got killed.

  I mean the turmoil of their grief it falls on me because I’m a funeral director, but sometimes I’m a psychologist because when they lean on me, I’m leaning on God to help me help them.

Twenty-seventh of August I made a video pleading out to the community about gun violence because I had just did a funeral for this young man who got killed. The 28th of August is the day my niece Jada Page got shot.

I got a call from my sister Gwen telling me to rush to the hospital .Jada had just got shot in the head.

I really thought we were just in a scene of a movie. The doctor came in-- the one that was taking care of Jada’s case. Then he stated that she’s brain dead. That is there was nothing that can be done. It just ain’t gonna happen.

We left to go home around 11 o’clock that night just still praying and going. Early Tuesday morning we got a call that we need to get to the hospital and everybody was running, running because we were on our way there anyway.

When I got to the hospital, my sister Lisa Hadley Brown came out and said she’s dead and she was just screaming.

That was the 30th of August. The day Jada died. Tears rolled down my face silently and I just say, “Lord, why?

Jada Page, 8, died two days after being shot in the head in a drive-by shooting.

She was a fun-loving girl. Just so excited about going to the fourth grade because, you know, they’re getting big. They’re growing up.

I’m the funeral director here for three locations. I do all the embalming. I prepare people embalming, sewing them up dressing them up all of that.

That day I had to go pick up Jada. I called my brother and son-in-law, “Let’s go get Jada.”  

I went in the back and took her out of the pouch, the bag they had her in.  I was basically seeing this tiny body lying up there lifeless.

So I prepared Jada.  Shampooed her hair and after I did the embalming process, I had to sew up everything the medical examiner basically opened up.

Then after that, put on clothing and dress her for her homegoing. I just cried and worked, cried and worked.

We put emojis all over the hearse. Her casket was emojis. She just loved emojis with all the different faces: the laughing faces, the crying faces, the frown faces, she just loved all that.

I just cried and worked, cried and worked.

My niece is in a casket buried in the ground. We can never hear her laugh. We can never hear her play.

What is being done for the justice of Jada and all the other ones that got killed?

How many people gotta lose their lives before we make a change?