Saturday, May 05, 2012

A good friend of mine just died in Ghana – a young man, around 37 years, who I’ve known since 1997.  He had been sick and hospitalized a few months ago, but then was out and we were in touch, skyped, emailed, chatted, talked on phone, and he told me he was gradually getting stronger.  Then, early last week an Australian woman who I knew and who was also friends with Daniel sent me a text that he was hospitalized for kidney infection.  Then, a couple of days after she said it wasn’t looking good; it’s now kidney failure.  She didn’t live in the city anymore so was going down to Accra to be nearby and find out more, help however she could.  She kept me posted as things got worse and worse.  Another good friend of Daniel’s flew from The Netherlands to be with him, arriving late on Saturday night.  Daniel spent Sunday curled up in his friend’s arms, and my friend texted me that he was leaving us.  Around midnight Ghana time I received a text from my Australian friend that Daniel had moved on.  I cried.  Others who knew him in Ghana, The Netherlands and the US texted over the next few days, all of us sharing tears and heartache.  I wrote a sad, angry, frustrated blog update - - but haven’t yet posted it.  And I probably won’t.  Daniel, along with some other friends, had been at the airport to see me off at the end of August – I never imagined as I hugged him good-bye that it would be the last time I’d see his twinkling eyes, hear his laughter and laugh at his humor.  Those of us who knew him were blessed to have this sweet man in our lives.  I'm so thankful that at the end he was with two people who loved him and whom he loved and trusted.  He trusted his friend enough to let go and find eternal peace in his arms.

 L-R: Greetje (a friend of ours from The Netherlands - not the one I mention above), Benedict (a Liberian friend of ours who I've written about before), me, and Daniel (in the cap) - taken about a year ago

Tomorrow I leave for Liberia for a couple of weeks and then onto Ghana.  It’s an “official” visit to see our lay missionaries in the field, also the SMA “bosses” in the field.  I’m excited, of course.  I’ve never been to Liberia, yet I’ve worked with Liberians since 1993.  I get to have some responsibility again, resolve some problems, be creative, meet with people, etc.  And - a side bonus - is that many of my friends are now living in Liberia.  I won’t get to see all of them, but I’ll enjoy catching up with a few.  In Ghana, I’ll also see some of my friends, but again there won’t be enough time to see all.  

A friend of Daniel’s here in the US has sent a donation for me to use in Ghana – my intention is to take a few of his friends out for us to celebrate his life and pour a few libations in his honor.  It happened so fast that very few people were able to get to see him to say good-bye and tell him they loved him.  We all want to share our grief together for a bit, and then move on to celebrate this beautiful man's life.  Maybe when I get back I’ll update the blog a little about this – maybe with the angry, crying update that I saved on the desktop to give the full journey, followed by the celebration we’ll have of Daniel’s life.  After all, the blog updates are often my therapy – so, why not be therapized. 

There were about 15 of us who went out to eat fufu and grasscutter (yummy) at one of the best fufu places I've been to.  When only the soup was left in the bowl, Daniel made his way around the table, giving us all the bowl from which to drink up the soup.  Blessed times with good people.


At 1:38 PM, Blogger MJ said...

What a good idea to take out some of Daniel's friends to celebrate his life--a nice Memorial Service and I'm sure you all will have a lot to share about him. It will be great therapy for all of you to be able to get together and share the good memories you have of him. I know this always helped being able to share the good memories of my mom, dad, brother, and sister with other family members--and even though it might sound strange, even sharing some of the things that would make me angry with them---and being able to laugh at them, thinking how trivial they really were now that I could see things differently. Have a great trip, a safe trip, and come back, as you put it "therapized".

At 7:46 PM, Anonymous Loretta said...

So sorry about your friend, Steve. Can't wait to hear about Liberia! Even more for you than me, but Liberia touched our lives and yet we never got there. Glad you will be going at last!

At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blessings on your trip! May it renew your energy and also may you see some of the fruit of your ministry. You have been a gift and great support to many people.

So sorry to read about your friend, Daniel. I'm glad that you will be able to share with some of his friends. Take the time to grieve.

Will call in June. Blessings!
Auntie Dorie


Post a Comment

<< Home