Grieving Ellen Tenders Gratitude -Appreciates Groundswell Of Supports In Son’s Burial

It wouldn’t be a mistake to say former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is deeply drowned in brief that would take many years to get her sober. The passing of a child, more so first child, is a cruel hurt to experience. It is less than a week since the passing of her first child whom she often describes as a “truly devoted son”—a description that defines the weight of grief she bears. Under that weight she still sees clearly and is able to say something to someone—specifically those who ‘put hands around her’ in her difficult times. In just one Twitter paragraph, loaded with much wit and heartfelt gratitude, the former Liberian leader show appreciation to many Liberians, and non-Liberians for their support in kind and cash. The Analyst reports.

Battling the sting of grief incurred in the death of her beloved son, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is not waiting a moment to appreciate those who stood with her during her bereavement and the processing of the deceased for burial.

The former head of state’s first child passed off December 22, 2021 at his Congo Town residence with no immediate history of ailment.

From December 22, 2021 to burial on January 11, 2022 Madam Sirleaf and other most bereaved family members mourned James Ebreem Sirleaf also affectionately called JES.

It seems the benefiting burial accorded JES was not made possible by the Sirleaf family alone. Scores of Liberians and non-Liberians here in the country and out might have contributed to the upkeep of the family, amongst other things, during that period.

Madam Sirleaf is not letting a week pass by nor allowing her grief to subside before recognizing and acknowledging those who identified with her and her family.

Seemingly painstakingly, former President Sirleaf managed to muster the courage, and she summoned her Twitter page to pen these words:

“My thanks & gratitude go to all family, friends and co-workers and to the President, Vice President, officials & the Liberian people for their presence, prayers & words of comfort as I laid the body of my first and truly devoted son to earth in eternal peace. God bless all of you.”

The former Liberian president is currently Goodwill Ambassador of World Health Organization and founded of Amuejay, a nongovernmental organization crusading for the rights, dignity and equality of women.

Her fallen son, James E. Sirleaf, 64, was found dead at his Congo Town residence on Wednesday morning.

James was a career banking and finance expert, Mr. Sirleaf worked with Citibank/Citigroup Profit Center Management, Branch Operations and Credit.

Mr. Sirleaf was also the former General Manager of First International Bank Liberia, now SIB Bank.

He held an MBA from the University of Liverpool, Post Graduate in E-Business from the University of Westminster England, and a degree in Business Administration. He was also a partner at Monrovia Oil Trading Corporation.

He was never someone who can shy from commenting on critical national issues. Mr.  Sirleaf on several occasions would engage the public; especially on issues that dwelt on misinformation about his mother.

According to close family members, the last five years of his life were restricted to farming, especially the breeding of animals.

The former President’s son was buried January 11, 2022 following a jostled funeral services at the First United Methodist Church on Ashmun Street.

He was given his last respect in color and style. By the morning hours on January 11, 2022, the vicinity of the First United Methodist Church was already swarmed, as was the hearse that bore the remains of JES. The hearse and the throngs of mourners moved slowly towards the Church. In the crowd were the deceased’s mother, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, siblings and other family members. Multitudes of bystanders stood in awe, watching the procession.

The church environment wore a subdued look, speaking from the angle that a leading member of the congregation, JES, was departing the shores to join his ancestors and by extension according to the belief of Christendom, has gone to be with the Lord.

Praises were showered on the Lord for the journey that the fallen James E. Sirleaf spent on Planet Earth. The fervor of sorrow was powerfully felt in every corner of the church edifice, including amongst those standing outside. Many bowed and consistently they wept their cheeks for rolling tears.

Rev. Dr. Larry W. Bropleh, Pastor of the Charles White United Methodist Church, delivered the funeral. He spoke profoundly on the need for the living to live a Christ-like life which, he said, entails caring for and sharing with the people. “Life is not just living it; it is also about what you do for others,” he said as a way accentuating the philanthropic nature of the deceased.

He also drew the congregation to what he said can make Liberia a better place when people begin to start caring for each other and having the understanding that we are all tied together as citizens.

Rev. Bropleh also said that citizens should positively engage the governance through constructive criticism and not the destructive one because going contrary will only keep the country divided more.

“We can succeed in the world when we do things unto others that we expect them to do unto us,” he stressed. “We can make Liberia better when we begin to engage in constructive criticism and not destructive criticism which will only keep u divided.”

The eloquent cleric offered words of consolation to the bereaved family and urged them to take the death in good stride as Christian. He stated that it was better to live for God just like how the deceased labored for Christ so that the promise of Heaven will be assured.

In his acknowledgment on behalf of the family, a brother of the deceased, Charles Sirleaf, former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia extended thanks and appreciation to all those who identified with them during their hours of sorrow, recognizing the presence of President George Manneh Weah, Vice President Jewel Howard-Taylor and others who graced the occasion.

The family tributes at the program were read by Dr. James Adamah Sirleaf and Miss Robin Aletha Sirleaf, brother and daughter of the deceased respectively while Reverend Dr. Erlene P. Thompson offered prayer for the family.

She prayed that God provides comfort and fortitude for the family to bear the colossal loss.

Immediately after the funeral, the cortege of mourners moved to Jovan, The Sirleafs Farm,  Todee Junction, where, after a brief ceremony, interment was carried out.

Footage from Providence TV, the only sanctioned television station which provided live streaming of the program, saw weeping and crying from family members and sympathizers.

Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, upon arrival at the Sirleafs Farm for the burial, initially took her seat facially looking groggy with grief.  In a moment, she was brought closer to grave by her sister, Jenny.

Before taking her seat, Madam Sirleaf briefly placed her hand on the coffin bearing the remains of her son for a moment before taking her seat, looking on pensively as the body was lowered into the grave.

Mr. James E. Sirleaf or “JES” as he was fondly called by family members and close friends, was a career banking and finance expert who had worked with Citibank/Citigroup Profit Center Management, Branch Operations and Credit.

He held an MBA from the University of Liverpool, Post Graduate in E-Business from the University of Westminster England, and a degree in Business Administration. He was also a partner at Monrovia Oil Trading Corporation.

According to close family members, the last five years of his life were devoted to farming, especially the breeding of animals.

He was a former banker with formidable years of business banking experience based at Citibank London, Div. Head for Corporate and Institutional Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Liberia, General Manager Corporate and Institutional Banking at formerly called FI and now called SIB Bank in Monrovia.

James was a high silhouette participant at Strasbourg, France World Forum for Democracy under the Council for Europe in October 2012, where he along with the Head of the Asia Development Bank (Japan) both delivered addresses on the impact of the World Economic and Financial Crisis in Weakening democratic institutions.

He also served as Member of the Board of Directors of Blue Cross Insurance, Inc. in Monrovia, Liberia, and Consultant and Advising Director of Monrovia Oil Trading Corporation in Monrovia, Liberia.

Monrovia Oil Trading Corporation (MOTC) is historically and when possible providing fuel support services and sales of lubricants and with no illicit products to a number of major corporations in Liberia. .

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