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17/7/16: reflections on the last month - guest blog

Pete's funeral took place last Monday as we gathered together to mourn our loss, celebrate his life and commit him to the care of our Almighty God.  What possible better place could there be than that?  As time continues to pass and the immediate activity related to Pete's passing subsides, there is the need to adjust to a new normality, with a number of people, particularly Carolyn, Pete's wife, and also their offspring Ashley and Lissie, having to make big changes to their lives without him, so we continue to pray for God's hand in their lives.

I'm very pleased to be able to share some reflections from our Dad, Cyril Tennant, but before handing over to him would like to reproduce the words of the last verse and chorus of the hymn, "How great Thou art!" which we sang on Monday, and continued to go through my mind right as I travelled back to Dar es Salaam, which beautifully reflects the hope we have through our Lord Jesus Christ:

When Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation
And take me home - what joy shall fill my heart!
There shall I bow in humble adoration
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!

Thing sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art!  How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee,
How great Thou art!  How great Thou art!



Over some forty years as an ordained minister, I have had a great deal to do with death and dying, even taking two funerals on one day on occasion. Young, old, sudden, after a long period of illness, violent, peaceful, I have experienced them all in a professional capacity. Alongside all this, I have also known personal bereavement – family and friends – particularly during the past few years.
 
But none have been so devastating as this one, the death of our eldest son, Pete. I do hope that I have not been too selfish in my grief.  Chris, my wife, has been as overwhelmed as I have and how much worse it must be for Carolyn, his wife and son Ashley and daughter, Felicia and for brothers Mark and Geoff. However, during this sad time, we have experienced wonderful support and love.
 
After the service, somebody said to me, ‘You must be very proud of your family’.  Yes, indeed. All have been marvellous, with Carolyn and Mark courageously offering tributes at the service, together with contributions from other family members to the Order of Service booklets (weren’t they great? -Thanks, Mark (Kebell)) and Geoff on the Organ and Keyboard.  One of my special memories is of being interlocked outside the crematorium chapel into a kind of rugby scrum of sons and grandsons in sharing our common grief.
 
The service itself was memorable, thanks to Rod the Vicar, and the supportive, loving fellowship of Holy Apostles Cheltenham. It meant so much, too, to see the church packed with family and friends from all over England and from America, Australia and the USA. We are just so grateful.
 
Thank you also to our friends in Tanzania who met in Geoff’s flat for a memorial gathering. Students and colleagues of Geoff and even a government minister, it was wonderful to talk with you via Skype Asante sana, rafiki zetu!
 
Chris and I have been greatly helped by the support and encouragement of many friends, and of our home group and our church, St Mary’s Cogges, Witney. Your help has come in many different ways, some verbal, some practical, some just by a silent presence. Thank you, so much everybody.
 
When I was a child, bereaved people often wore a marker of the fact, either a black diamond sewn onto  their jacket or a black armband.  I have often wondered why they did this. Could it be to announce that they had entered a state of altered consciousness. ‘Beware, we may erupt at any moment. Treat us carefully!’ We know that Pete is ‘with the Lord which is far better’, but that does not take away the pain.

 

2 Comments to 17/7/16: reflections on the last month - guest blog:

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Angucia Holdah on 17 July 2016 17:15
It often pains us when our dear ones die. Yes, we feel lots of pains. However, the good news is;those who love Jesus go to be with Him for eternity. What seems to feature prominently in your reflection is that Pete was a believer in Christ. Its therefore my prayer that we Christians live our lives worthy of our calling so that one day we shall meet with our brother in glory.
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Geoff on 17 July 2016 23:03
Thank you for these kind comments, Angucia, much appreciate your support at this time. I look forward to introducing you to Pete in Glory!

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