Leela Basdeo can only be described as a woman of true grit, courage, and strength.
Basdeo, 46, has survived being set on fire by her male companion, then having to bury her husband, brother, and father in under one year.
Her challenges have been insurmountable but Basdeo who has fought the odds continues to be an inspiration to women who may have suffered a similar fate.
Basdeo remembered enjoying her childhood days with her identical twin sister, Lena. They were like to two peas in a pod.
That bond was broken when Leela got married to Rattan Kumar Basdeo.
Lena also started a family and moved to Canada where she still lives today.
Basdeo, a mother of two, admitted that after 16 years of marriage her relationship became strained and she moved out of her marital home. In 2006 she got a divorce.
She eventually found someone new in her life whom she began living with.
From that relationship, Basdeo produced a son who is now 12.
However, in November of 2015, Basdeo said in an unexpected move her partner who was preparing to mow the lawn walked into their home holding a container of gasoline and threw it on the upper left side of her and set her ablaze.
As the flames engulfed her body, Basdeo remembered her armless dress burning and sticking on her chest, belly, and back.
Her face and left hand were also scorched.
As her partner looked on, Basdeo tried to rip pieces of the burning dress off her while she rolled on the ground to put out the flames.
When she finally got the dress off, Basdeo rushed into her bedroom where she put on fresh clothes and ran to her neighbour's home where she was placed under an outside tap to soothe the burns.
Basdeo said up to this day she can’t remember screaming for help or crying out in pain.
"Probably my body went into deep shock. I never expected something like this to happen," she recalled.
She was rushed to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, and warded in the Intensive Care Unit suffering from second and third-degree burns.
The doctors told Basdeo's family she had a slim chance of survival due to the severity of her burns.
For Basdeo it was touch and go.
"I spent a month in ICU fighting for my life and another two months on the surgical ward recovering. It was an ordeal. My life was almost snatched from me. My family didn't like what happened. But I thanked God for saving my life. It could have been worse."
During her stay at the hospital, Basdeo admitted that Rattan, her first husband, started visiting and caring for her and their love was reignited.
Doctors also performed three skin grafts to cover up the horrible scars.
After being discharged from the hospital Basdeo moved back into Rattan’s home in Cunupia.
She opted not to press charges against her attacker which infuriated her family.
Basdeo admitted that due to Rattan’s caring nature her love for him grew.
Last October, in a shocking move, Basdeo said Rattan proposed to her and they agreed to get married the following month under Hindu rites.
But soon after, Rattan, 53, fell ill and a pundit had reset their wedding date for June 26 next month.
As Basdeo eagerly planned and prepared for her wedding, Rattan’s health got progressively worst.
On January 2, Basdeo’s life came tumbling down when Rattan who worked in a farm died from leptospirosis, an infectious bacterial disease caused by rats and other mammals which can be transmitted to humans.
This tore her to pieces and shattered her heart.
"It was a hard blow for me," she said.
Just as Basdeo began coming to terms with Rattan’s death, her 79-year-old father, Basdeo Ramjass, died on May 14, some 12 days ago.
Last June, Basdeo also buried her brother Kewal Basdeo, 52, after he was pushed from a moving van in Blanchisseuse.
In less than one year, Basdeo had to cope with three deaths.
Basdeo said she harbours no malice or hate against her attacker who she still talks to.
"He is the father of my son. You forgive but you will never forget. I am not looking for revenge. I am leaving everything in the hands of God," Basdeo said.
Though some of the burns are still visible on her left arm, Basdeo does not let it bother her.
"At first it was hard to look at the mirror...to see the scars...the constant reminder of what took place. Now I have learned to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference," said Basdeo, who maintained a broad smile and positive spirit throughout the interview.
Basdeo now lives by the serenity prayer, stating that God has been her pillar of strength, inspiration, and courage.
"Without God, my life would have been in shambles. I just want other women to know that life is sometimes unfair and cruel but don't let it bring you down...build courage and strength through God to live and fight another day. With God all things are possible."