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Heartbreak and Happy Memories as We Celebrate Laddie’s Birthday

Happy Birthday King Lad march 2022
Last Updated: March 26, 2022

Birthdays, especially for teens, should be happy events. Family and friends gather around with plenty to eat and drink, music playing and people dancing.

So there’s a bittersweet feeling in the air as we celebrate Laddie’s 15th birthday.

Laddie Gillett Birthday Celebration

On one hand, knowing how much Laddie loved a good party – especially a party in his honor – and wanting to extend that joy to his little brother and the rest of his family and friends, we’re joining together to celebrate “King Lad’s” life.

A celebration befitting someone who talked like he was singing, walked like he was dancing, and laughed like someone enjoying life to the fullest.

Laddie Gillett and dad on beach in belize

Which is exactly what Laddie was doing, right up until that moment when his life was taken from him.

Yes, Laddie was one of those people who embraced life with his arms and heart wide open. When he came into a room, it was like it was flooded with sunshine. Noisy, exuberant light that maybe interrupted what you were doing, but with a warmth and brightness that more than made up for any disruption it caused.

laddie gillett resting place in belize

For, if nothing else, Lads’ joy was infectious. People felt better being around him, as if his happiness was rubbing off on us. Like he was enjoying some great joke that we all wanted to be in on.

So, less than one year after Laddie was taken from us, so suddenly and brutally, we are struggling with celebrating the first birthday that he’s no longer with us, yet in a way that reflects and honors his short, high-spirited life.

They say there comes a time when grief turns into fond memories, that smiles replace tears when you remember the person you lost. We’re not there yet, but feel that maybe this birthday celebration is the first step. That, by bringing together those of us who knew and loved Laddie, healing begins.

Laddie Gillett family at his resting place

Celebrating the life of someone so full of life, always ready with a laugh, who teased and took being teased with humour and wit, who entertained toddlers and older heads alike, helps us deal with the pain that his life has been taken from us. That there’s an empty space at the head of the table reserved for the birthday boy.

We still have work to do on Laddie’s behalf in the coming months. Many Belizeans will not rest until there is justice for Laddie, until his murderer is held accountable for taking the life of an innocent boy. We will also be furthering Laddie’s legacy through the Justice for Laddie Foundation – of which you’ll be hearing more.

Dr Rosita at Laddie Gillett resting place

But for now, on Laddie’s 15th birthday this March 26, let us come together to honour and celebrate the life of a young Belizean who embodied everything that’s wonderful about growing up in Belize –  breathtaking nature, a love of sports, and most importantly, the love of family and friends.

We will have a birthday cake for Laddie, and it is somehow fitting that one of his last, happiest moments on earth was enjoying a cake on a moonlit Placencia beach with friends.

Happy Birthday Lads – we miss you more than words can say.

And no matter where you are on March 26, you can join us in remembering Laddie. Whether it’s a celebration, a quiet remembrance, prayers in your church or home, a football match in his honour, or by posting something on Facebook or at, let’s keep Laddie’s spirit alive in our thoughts and hearts.