For someone with so many words...words that just tumble out even when they are not wanted...words that jump helter-skelter over each other at all occasions...I'm amazed at my lack of words at this moment. My husband urged me to write something on Facebook, but I could not. I decided I would come in here and post something on this blog.
On Saturday night (March 24th 2018) I received a phone call from my nephew informing me of my eldest brother, Rick Seaward's tragic death. He had been down in Brazil preaching at a Conference when he met with an accident. When the news came, I had to inform my parents their eldest son had preceded them in death. I called my eldest sister to also give her the news. My family is strewn all over the globe, so all notifications were done via Facetime or Whatsapp video or phone calls. This is the modern era- so far away and yet connected via technology. I'm thankful for the ease of communication at a time like this.
The moment the public announcement was made in Singapore many comments, memories, tributes flooded social media on all platforms. ( In Memory of Rick Seaward FB page ) In reading the comments and the well wishes, I know he was more than just my brother. He meant so much to so many people all over the world. From capitals in the world to small villages. There could be books written about him and his exploits. But for now, I will just attempt to remember him as he was to me, my big brother.
I have memories of wonderful adventures. He encouraged me to ride an adult bicycle when I was just 7 years old- by putting my legs through the middle of the open frame so that both my feet could pedal the bicycle at a slant. Just picture this wee 7 year old- legs straddled through this huge adult bicycle- peddling at full force as she races down the back streets of Singapore. Every time I would yell ahead to him, "I don't think I can keep going"-- He would yell back, "You can do it!!" It seems like that was always our conversation throughout my life-- Him encouraging me to move into realms I thought would be impossible-- me thinking and saying "I don't think I can" -- Him reassuring me that I could...and lo and behold...I not only COULD...I did!!
He was a great organizer even when he was younger. There was the time he organized the entire neighborhood to come for his variety show. Even the adults crowded in our next door neighbor's garage to watch the show. It was standing room only. Yes, even in those days he could fill a room!
When the Sunday school did a competition to see who could bring the most children. He won hands down with streams of children following him each Sunday. He strategized and targeted the local elementary schools. He couldn't have been more than 12 years old. I would have to check to find out exactly how many children he ended up bringing to Sunday school. It seems like it was over 50, but my memory escapes me.
As far as pranks- he was the King of pranks. He and my two sisters would play pranks and they let us younger siblings join in the fun. The pranks were well orchestrated playing on the suspicions of the "pointianak" - a female zombie who was reported to come out of banana trees at night. My eldest sister would dress in a long white gown and she already had the long hair. Late at night, we hid behind the banana trees. When a motorcyclist, or bicyclist raced down the dark road my sister would emerge from the banana grove. Invariably the person in question would scream and rush off in panic. Sometimes even dropping their mode of transport to run away. All of us would laugh with glee. I believe Rick came up with all the pranks. There were so many more.
He wasn't always playful, he knew how to be serious and caring when the need arose. When I was in the States for University, he visited me on one of his trips from Singapore and there was a Father-Daughter banquet at the school. He told me that he was going to go with me since my dad was all the way in Singapore. I was very grateful. Shortly after that, my studies seemed too overwhelming. I was attempting to finish a four year course in 2 and a half years. I told him I was planning on dropping out. He sat with me and mapped out my options. He showed me the pros and cons of my decision. Rick then said, "It's not my decision, but I would strongly advise you to not give up." I was forever grateful for his wise advice, which I did listen to.
The majority of my life we have not lived on the same continent. I was 6 years younger than him. He left home for University at 14 years old - I was only 8. By the time he returned to Singapore, I was away at school in Penang and then on to the States for University. Somehow, even though we lived so far apart, God made it possible that he helped me in some major decisions in my life. He helped keep me from making major mistakes. One time specifically, I was about to make a life-changing decision and he said to me, "Connie, you've made one huge mistake, don't compound it by making another mistake." How grateful I was that he gave me that advice!
I thank God that I have a hope that this is not the end for my brother. He has moved on and He is now rejoicing. For this, I am so thankful! Of course, with any farewell- even if it is for a short time, our hearts feel a loss. My loss here on earth is his gain. He has won his race. He has gotten his prize. Now I know he joins those who are talked about in Hebrews 12: 1-3, "For now since so great a crowd of witnesses surround us let us run this race..." He is part of those witnesses as I continue to run this race. He is cheering me and so many others on.