Monday, April 5, 2010


In times like these, when words don't come easily, others are able to articulate what many of us feel. I asked Hannah and Noah to write something several days after Bob's death. Their thoughts are below. Also, two poems have been sent to me by members of our home church, Madison Square Christian Reformed Church, who knew and loved Bob. They have given me permission to share them with you. Hannah, Noah, and I will return to Ghana this Saturday; your continued prayers are appreciated.
Bob as a baby

Noah: Wow, I can’t believe this. As many of you know my father, Robert Allen Reed, passed away on Saturday March 20, 2010. It’s a day that will haunt me forever. I didn’t know anything was even wrong because I was still asleep when they left. Then someone came to our gate and said he was told to bring us to the hospital. At this point I knew that either something was very wrong or he had died. When we arrived at the hospital my mom greeted us, in tears and told us that he had died. I was stunned. I had braced myself for this but I was not ready at all for it. I had to see his body for myself. I can’t put into words what it felt-like looking down at my dad whose normal spark of life was gone. I don’t know what I am going to do without him. I wish I had spoken to him more, told him I loved him more. The day before he died, Friday night, he came into my room at 4 am to get his computer. He said to me; “Noah, I really love you, you know that? I wish we could spend more time talking to each other”. Now that he’s gone, I am thinking about this a lot.

Dad, I too wish I could have spoken to you more. I miss you so much. I don’t know what we are going to do without you around to mess around and guide us. I never told you but I bet you knew that you were my hero. You were the person I could always rely on and look up to. I feel that even more now, as I see how many lives you’ve touched and how many people care. You were a strong Christian too; I could go to you whenever I had questions or doubts. It’s definitely going to be hard without you dad…I miss you so much and love you so much, I hope you are having a great time in your new body in heaven. Good-bye for now, I will see you soon.

Hannah: Robert Allen Reed. To those in Liberia he was Uncle Bob. To his bloggers he was Yers Trooly. To countless others he was just Bob. To me, he was Daddy, and he was the best daddy a girl could ever ask for. I was very blessed, growing up, to have to loving, intelligent, faith-driven parents who taught me about God and about life, from many perspectives. My dad was a professional counselor and as such, he always knew when something was bothering me and he was always there to talk through it. Although that majorly annoyed me when I just wanted to stay ticked off, I really love that. He would pull me into his ‘office’, a.k.a. his bedroom, sit me down, and 9.7 times out of ten, I would come clean. I got along so well with my Dad. He was so funny, walking around the house, yelling out a song or a quote from a movie, typically with his own spin that made it hilarious. I was always impressed with how smart he was. He was one the smartest people I’ve ever known, if not the smartest. Dad was the go-to guy. He knew it all, but he always said don’t ask him for help in math cause he just couldn’t help with that (I don’t blame him, math isn’t my favorite either. Not by a long shot). But almost anything else, if you asked him, he’d either know the answer or he’d have one after some time. He also applied that intelligence to his faith. He was so grounded in it, he didn’t base his faith on emotions or on others’ opinion, but he thought it out, learned all he could, read thick books about faith and God. He knew why he believed what he believed. I admire that so much about him, because so many times people will ask questions that I just don’t have a ready answer for. But another good thing was he was also ready to accept that he doesn’t know the answer and just go on faith. My dad was a great man. I love him so much, and that will never change. I am happy for him. He’s celebrating, and learning even more and just having a great time. But I still miss him, and will always love him.

Daddy, you are an amazing man. I love you so much, and I’m happy that where you are there is no sickness, no pain, no suffering of any kind. You are very missed here already, by everyone you came into contact with. Thank you for your love and guidance. It made me the person I am today. There will always be a place in my heart that belongs to you, and no matter how many years pass by that will not change. I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I’m living, my Daddy you’ll be. I love you.

For Robert Allen Reed
(by Dorwin Gray)

The desirable life is...
To be emulated, not exalted.
To exhibit the possible,
in the exercise of faith.
To exemplify candor in compassion,
kindness in correction.
Truth in love.
Love above all.
To be one, through which, the One
loves the many, without reservation.
[Bob as a young man...yes, that is his real hair! ]
(Written Tuesday, March 30 by Michael Thomson)
Sometimes the presence,
In quiet voice,
In mystic song,
Will gently convince,
A gentle breeze,
A tranquil ghost,
The sweetness of incense.

Sometimes the numinous,
Like thunderclap,
Like avalanche,
Will openly discuss,
A blazing light,
The shaking soil,
The truth can be as thus.
Sometimes there is a Type,
That shatters glass,
That peels the skin,
And such will take a swipe,
Not suffering fools,
No nods to lies,
But every tear will wipe.

Sometimes there is a man,
That breaks the mold,
That loves his Lord,
And makes a loyal stand,
With healing words,
With stinging salve,
Yet he seeks to understand.

Sometimes there is a friend,
A soul-mate to one,
A father to two,
The life that he did spend,
Painfully brief,
Fully poured out,
A parable that will portend,

The way,
The truth,
The life,
The love,
The greatest of these is love.

Goodbye Bob,

October 20, 1990


Anonymous said...

Hi Renita, Hannah and Noah; I hope you all are doing well after a very sad and historic time in your lives...the funeral of your husband, father and our friend Bob.

This is a very memorable and touching commentary about your father Hannah and Noah.
Yes, Bob was a go-to person but, more than that, he was a people person indeed. I know Trokon, Enoch and Eastman and all the people of Forster town (ELWA) in Liberia are equally saddened by this untimely passing of uncle Bob.
His love knew no boundary! He shared his loved for you (Hannah and Noah) with Trokon, Enoch and Eastman and all the Liberian children that came his way while you all were in Liberia. A real Father he was!

However, as followers of Jesus Christ we believe Bob is now in a better place and his soul will indeed, rest in perfect peace.


Marianne Bailey said...

Thank you Noah and Hannah for sharing the thoughts of your father. You are both eloquent as your dad was. The pictures of your dad with you are precious. Much strength to the three of you as you go back to Ghana. You will continue to be in my prayers. Perhaps one or all of you could keep this blog going for a while if you have the energy.

Justin said...

Hi Reeds,

The strength that your family exudes during this difficult time is a testimony to God's presence and grace in each of your lives. I pray that you continue to grow in the Lord and continue to bless everyone in your path.

Renita, if Noah would like a pen-pal I would love to start that up with him. As someone who lived in Ghana for a while, I would love to hear his stories and share my own as you guys continue your journey. Let him know he is always welcome to shoot me an email!

Finally, It was a true honor to play on the worship team for Bob's home-going. I never really met him, but to be a part of that for you guys was a blessing to me, and I hope to you.

Take care and say hi to all my lovely Ghanaian friends!

Justin Daining

Anonymous said...

Renita, Noah, Hannah,

Your thoughts, and the poems and pictures are so beautiful. You are so eloquent and I wept when I read them. I'm sorry you had to let your dad go, so young in your lives. Please know that he will always be alive in your hearts, and soon, you will be dreaming about him if you haven't already.

I still have dreams about my parents who died 5 and 3 years ago. Although they were at the end of long lives, no matter how old a person is, they will still miss their parents.

I will continue to pray for all of you....having lost a job a few years ago and not been able to find another good one, it's about all I can do for you....pray, but I love to pray and I will do so.

May Jesus hold you close to Himself while you journey through this grief time.

Marti B.
Madison Square CRC

Jan Chinn said...

We did not know you all, but heard of your loss from a missionary friend in Ghana. We serve there as well, but are in the US at the moment. We are so sorry for your loss and just reading the posts about Bob's life we can see Christ in him. We join you in thanking God for his life and legacy - and we join you in mourning this loss for yourself, your children, and your entire family.

We will be praying continually for you. We love you with the love of the Lord, and hope to one day meet you face to face.

The Chinn family

Anonymous said...

Hi Renita,
Please know that the Cannons continue to pray for you, and won't forget to pray for you and the children as you chart the path ahead. You and Bob and your family were so supportive our time together in Liberia. Times like this we always wish we could have had more time, but we do have eternity to look forward to. Much, much love.

Jim and Terri Cannon
Samuel and Jessica

Lorraine said...

Hannah and Noah--your dad will live on in you both . . . I see the best of both of your parents in each of you . . . and can't wait to see where life will take you.

This pain, as overwhelming as it is, is just one more thing that will shape you . . . as hard as it is for any of us to understand why this happened, and as painful as it is for your family, I "know that I know that I know" that God is going to take that pain and make something beautiful out of these ashes.

You are all in my prayers . . . you are ALL my heroes . . . my own life has been shaken by this, but in a good way--in an "I want to be more like Jesus . . . the way Bob was like Jesus" way. I have heard so many others say this as well . . . I don't know where this will take me, but if I could do even a fraction of the good that Bob has done in this world, I would be thrilled.

Know that many are praying for you and that we will continue to do so.

Bob said...

We live and work in Saboba in northern Ghana. We are friends with Peter and Linda DiLorenzo. We grieve with you in your loss. But let us share something with you: when Bob died, Jesus reached out his hand, Bob sprang out of his sick body, and all the Africans Bob had ever helped to know Jesus were there to dance into heaven with him.

My Bob went through 4 major operations in 2 1/2 years, including emergency heart surgery. I can't imagine your pain but I can imagine your feelings of loss.
Yours in Christ,
Dr. Jean Young
Saboba Medical Centre
Saboba, N/R