Part of the wedding vows prospective couples answer include the question, “do you promise from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish………(partner’s name mentioned)….. , until death do you part?” The usual well-rehearsed answer is “I do!”
Recent happenings and the high divorce rates suggest the “I dos” are only skin-deep and are meant for a public-show. Sometimes, after such expensive/flamboyant weddings, “I do” simply founders in only a few months in fierce fiery flames as the couple rail unbelievably at one another demanding their pound of flesh!
However, on Friday 20th January 2023 at the Garrison Methodist-Presbyterian Church (GMPC), Burma Camp, not even death could “do a couple part!” Their two caskets had them side-by-side.
Lt Col & Mrs Sintim-Eddey
In his opening remarks to his sermon, the Director-General of Religious Affairs (formerly Chaplain-General) of the Ghana Armed Forces, Rev Commodore (Cdre) Paul Adjei-Djan stated that, for the first time in his career as a priest, he was presiding over the funeral of a husband and his wife! The officer Lt Col Leslie George Sintim-Eddey and his wife Mrs Susie Sintim-Eddey were both members of GMPC, Burma Camp.
While preparations were under way for the funeral of the colonel at the end of 2022, his wife a former head-teacher at Burma Camp also died, hence the decision to have their funerals together! In effect, in the words of a congregant, not even death could “do them part!” The promise “I do” was carried out to the very end!
The funeral which was attended by a cross-section of Ghanaian society had both civilian dignitaries, as well as the CDS and Generals both serving and retired, senior officers, Men/Women of the Ghana Armed Forces as well Civilian Staff of the Ministry of Defence.
Rev Cdre Adjei-Djan chose for his sermon, Matthew Chapter 22, where in verse 34, a Sadducee lawyer tried ambushing Jesus with the question, “Which is the greatest Commandment of all?”
Jesus’ answer found in verse 37-40 was;
“37. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Leveraging on LOVE as the greatest of all the commandments, the Chaplain related love to the couple as the bedrock of all their dealings with others. Though a very simple couple, they exuded love in all they did in their relations with others which he illustrated with personal examples both for the colonel and his wife. He spoke of their affable nature which made them easily approachable. Their humility was exemplary!
Then came the Chaplain’s questions! How many of us Ghanaians show love to fellow Ghanaians? How often do we forgive those who wrong us? How many are affable enough to make others feel unintimidated, and easily approach us? Do we value humility as a people?
Incidentally, the congregation had some top government officials/politicians among us!
As the chaplain preached, two quotes welled up in my mind. First was the words Shakespeare put in the mouth of Julius Caesar when he was warned by a soothsayer not to go out, but “beware the Ides (15th) of March” 44 BC, as he would be assassinated. Caesar replied,
“of all the wonders that I have heard, it seems to me most-strange, that men should fear, seeing that, death a necessary end, will come when it will come!” Indeed, he was killed as predicted.
Secondly, in his book “Allan Quartermain,” the English author Sir Rider Haggard described death rather poignantly in his words;
“The great wheel of Fate rolls on like a Juggernaut and crushes us all in turn; some soon, some late. It does not matter when. In the end, it crushes us all.”
So, why the absolute lack of humility in managing us lesser mortals in their estimation, as if they and their families will defy Shakespeare and Rider Haggard and live forever?
Undressing Naked Man?
Coincidentally, on the Friday 20th January 2023 as the funeral service was in progress, ace veteran writer Enimil Ashon asked in his article in the Daily Graphic/Graphic online, “How do you undress a naked man?”
For many retirees on meagre pensions, government securities like bonds provided the risk-free investment we need in our old age. Already, on a SSNIT pension of one-thousand- four-hundred (1,400) cedis/month, my “Manager” and some of her colleagues with Masters degrees after thirty-five years of teaching, feel naked. By the way is it true that the highest paid SSNIT pensioner takes about 169,000 cedis per month? Even though confirmed, I just cannot believe it!
Now, managers of our economy, do want to undress naked women by freezing their bonds for your recklessness? How inhumane and sadistic can you be as attempts are made to justify the domestic debt exchange programme?
Mr Ashon asked,
“Why would the President of an African country, whose citizens drink and bath with water from brown, tadpole-infested village stream, need to take a shower on an airplane in an 11-hour flight? That kind of lifestyle is for and by people whose pot of gold is their own personal acquirement and is bottomless.”
I hope that, the politicians/government-officials who came to Burma Camp for the funeral of Lt Col and Mrs Susie Sintim-Eddey will convey the message of Rev Cdre Adjei-Djan on love and the simple lives the couple led, to their colleagues.
For as it is written in Proverbs 22,1 “a good name is better than riches!” In a recent radio production by Uncle Ebo Whyte, he asked Ghanaians to read Deuteronomy Chapter 28 on the blessings and curses for the actions and inactions of man, especially on man’s inhumanity to man. He concluded by asking Ghanaians to wear whichever cap fitted!
Finally, humility, love, forgiveness and kindness to fellow human beings leave a good legacy. Arrogance does not!
May the souls of Lt Col and Mrs Susie Sintim-Eddey rest in perfect peace!
Fellow Ghanaians, WAKE UP!
Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd)
Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association
Family Health University College
Source: Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd), Former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association, Nairobi, Kenya
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