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OpinionColumnistsMark Chiusano

What Malaysia Goodson was carrying

A young mother fatally falls down subway stairs in Manhattan. 

A young mother fatally falls down subway stairs

A young mother fatally falls down subway stairs in Manhattan.  Photo Credit: Dontaysia Turner

Malaysia Goodson fell down and died on the 7th Avenue-53rd Street subway stairs Monday night, and we don’t know exactly what she was carrying.

One cousin said Goodson, 22, had been food shopping and was carrying bags.

Goodson had just moved from Connecticut to New York, and she seemed to have been headed from Manhattan to a Queens homeless shelter  maybe she was carrying concern about the future down the stairs with her.

And police said she had her 1-year-old daughter and a stroller. Officers found Goodson unresponsive on the southbound platform.

The medical examiner is looking into what happened. Did she trip, or did an unrelated medical episode caused her death? Was she carrying stroller or child, or both? But it’s not hard to imagine that Goodson was burdened, or that she might have been left to carry everything she was carrying down the subway stairs. It happens all the time, passersby too busy to lend a hand. And this Manhattan station, like hundreds of others, has no elevator. Just two escalators that go up.

So it's the stairs for New Yorkers like this young mother. 

“She wanted to get her life together,” said her aunt Christina Daniels, 44, who lives in the Bronx. Goodson had family and a support system in New York, where she’d lived early on. She was working on her relationship with her daughter’s father. They aren’t married, and it wasn’t easy.

She had worked for the Building Blocks early learning center in Stamford, but wasn’t any longer.

One cousin who didn’t want to be named said Goodson had needed help with money and was having a tough time.

She was “very outspoken” and “brutally honest,” says Dontaysia Turner, 27, another cousin.

Goodson’s aunt calls her “happy-go-lucky.” In New York, Goodson had looked for work and tried to take care of the 1-year-old, Rhylee.

“Everything she did, she did for Rhylee,” says Turner, of Brooklyn.

A Facebook page that her family says is Goodson’s shows her toggling between upbeat, downtrodden, and determined. There are memes about the difficulties of romantic and familial relationships, love for her friends and cousins, and admissions that she was carrying around a lot of difficulty.

“I need a home cooked meal,” she wrote on Jan. 21.

But what comes through on the social media site is her focus on and responsibility for Rhylee. Her hope that Rhylee would go to sleep on Christmas Eve so she could wrap presents. Her obvious concern for children as seen in her posts of alerts regarding missing kids in Harlem or the Bronx. Above a meme about whether you’ve ever looked at your kid and started smiling because you made that child? “Hell yea,” she wrote.

And the pictures of Rhylee, photo after photo of her daughter dancing, with a bow in her hair, a pacifier in her mouth, sitting on a toy car, looking up at the camera, wearing flowery pajamas, eating a muffin.

In one of those Facebook quizzes that determine what three things await you in 2019, Goodson got “a new house," “a new car,” and “a lot of money.”

With hopes like that and as far as her daughter was concerned, maybe 2019 would have been a good year for Goodson in New York City.

But it was too much to carry. 

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