SANDRA L BLOOD
Attired in black tees personalized with gold font that perpendicularly read: Clyde Thomas 2.11.51 – 8.24.23, were his children: Janna, Shimelle, Rebecca “Beccy” (Thomas) and grandchildren: Jenniah Jackman, Jaidon Thomas, Ade Moyo, Joshua Collins and Kai Haynes.
Helping also colour the canvas of loved ones were his sons-in and daughter-in-law Jason Collins, Osei Moyao, Kevin Jackman, Wendy and siblings, Bella, Charlie and Elenore Thomas. They gathered to say goodbye!
The celebration of life of Clyde Antoinio Thomas took place on September 9, at 10am at the Belgrove Memorial Chapel.
The video presentation titled, Celebrating Clyde’s Precious Memories, offered an insight of the ‘Artist, Addict, Counsellor, Mas Man’. Oral and visual excerpts revealed his love for family, his great friend, love for eating, his work, charity and giving back, his love for art, his eye for detail, assisting with cultural school projects, the skinny Clyde, and last but not least, his love for culture and music, with pan – bp Renegades – at the helm.
Renegades’ music was used as listening pleasure during the video, one of its leading tenor players, Emanuel Joseph, serenaded in the reception area, the cover of the programme displays Clyde in one of his favourite tops – bp Renegades’ 70th anniversary t-shirt, which in poster form, was affixed to the Jit Samaroo Wall in Renegades’ panyard,138 Renegades Way, upper Charlotte Street.
He was laid to rest in a bp Renegades 2023 Panorama XXII victory signature t-shirt.
Snippets of contributions
Consistent with Clyde’s love for food and eating, tributes started from the Brown Cow Restaurant, Tobago, executive chef and fine dining restaurateur Xenon, who recalled his uncle showing interest in his (Xenon) love for the culinary world and his passionate interest in opening a restaurant.
“He inspired me to never give up; keep on pushing; and never accept second best.”
In closing, he said he loves his uncle Clyde and will greatly miss him.
Ade: “My grandad was a very fun loving, caring, passionate, helpful person who assisted me and my other cousins with our school projects. He always made jokes; always thought I was a ‘girls’ man’; and he will be someone who I will always miss – will be in my heart forever.”
Shimelle: “My dad was my papa bear. I loved him.”
She recalled having left her handprints on her dad’s stomach after pressing into it, which excited her, but wasn’t sure why.
“He will always be with me in my thoughts and tasks. I love you daddy. I thank you for being there.”
Beccy summed up her dad in one word, “passionate.” She will mostly miss the passion he had for life and culture, music, his work, helping others – particularly substance-abused individuals, given he walked that road, and he prevented others from suffering the same fate. Kamau Haynes said he will miss Clyde’s laughs, love for pan and mas, all in all, his father-in-law gave him many things – great memories. Jaidon:
“I’ve never seen him complain to help another person…. He was a loving, caring, funny, reliable person, with a contagious laugh that lit up a room. He changed many people’s lives in many ways, including mine. Grandpa, until we meet again.”
Joshua, 8: “Grandpa, I love you so much! Thanks for making me able to live. I hope you are safe up there on your journey…. I hope you are happy with all you cousins and brothers.”
Jenniah recalled her granddad as loving foolishness too bad. She particularly admired how he helped many people.
Janna: “Daddy was full; not a fool; full of life; a great support to me; gave us strength – emotional strength (how to deal with difficult situations). He was a hero – climbing out of addiction then used his experience to help others. Daddy gave us the ability to love and help beyond self. I will love him now and forever.”
Nerissa’s delivery, ironically, as dilatory as the background music at that time, revealed that she’s known Clyde for 30 years.
“We just clicked! He was just one of those persons who you could have had conversations with. I admired his high level of creativity; how easily he came up with ideas. He was a very truthful person; he gave me advice. He was well-respected – came from a dark place in life and accomplished many achievements. He respected others and helped others (up), something the world needs today.”
She sparked up at the juncture of their commonality: food. “We both love food!” She shared a story about herself, Clyde, and ham – him wanting to taste ham. She baked the ultimate Christmas ham embellished with pineapple, and he tasted it “four days before he was hospitalized,” she revealed. She said it made him happy, which made her happy because he really loved food.
Long-time friend Wayne, recalled having met Clyde in the New Life Ministry after-care counselling program. He referenced back to when his college principal told the class, “If you have five good friends or you can count them on one hand, you should count yourself lucky. Clyde was one of those fingers.”
The first eulogy saw a 15-minute, beauty – a kaleidoscopic, in-depth, creative coverage of Clyde’s life – from Andre, who cautiously glided through the happy, fun, sad, and confusing times, with a bottom line: “Embrace his legacy; learn and live with the knowledge. He did love his bed. Sleep well Clydeee!
Lead daughter Janna eulogized her dad’s insatiable hunger for life, food and adventurous spirit. She touched on his addiction and impact, recovery, counselling and helping others. She recalled the emotional pain when her mom had to take her and her sisters, as her dad worked towards getting his life together, but the love was always there. She also reflected on visiting him and not wanting to bathe after, for fear of washing off his hugs, a behaviour she displayed upon his passing – not wanting to wash the pillow to “wash off his essence.
“Daddy was very worried that he didn’t have wealth – didn’t have money to leave for his children, but he gave us much more. Just look at the three powerhouses – my sisters and I…. He made us strong – strong in love, strong in family. He gave us that emotional strength. He always had my back….
“Every standard one creative project, the children got grade A+ for perfectly-made craft. He was very involved in the PTA – always showing interest in what was happening next. Dad was very collective up until the end.”
Janna said she was happy her dad regained his eyesight after eye surgery, and was able to make fun of his grandson’s hair referring to it as a mop, and his granddaughter’s green and pink hair: ‘Is it a snow cone on your head?’ This drew laughter from the congregation. He was able to hold and see his last grandchild.
Wittiness still flowed through Clyde as Janna recalled him with the mask on having told his ex-wife while at his bedside:
“Dawn, I like you, you know.” This evoked another set of laughter from the congregation. “Dad left earth knowing that they all were okay.”
Beccy remembered her dad as a loving person. I know he’s in a better place. I’m happy that I was able to see him alive, and that he was able to see and hold his last grandchild.” (Zya, 11 months)
“Prepare things up there, dad. You can chill out with Michael, Junior, Jaime, Shirley…. Just set things up for us, so when we come up, everything’s nice,” she closed.
Prayer for Eternal Peace by ex-wife (Dr Dawn Bacchus-Horan)
“Our most glorious and beloved heavenly parent. Our true parents are heaven, earth and humankind. Lord Jesus, we honor and adore you! The most important element of ascension is our attitude – love, honour and respect for Clyde Thomas, and joyfully releasing him to begin his new life. The heavenly way of dealing with death/ascension is one part of the larger purpose of life in which, through realities, it's recognized as having two dimensions – physical and spiritual.
“After death, the body, which once held Clyde’s holy human life, returned to the earth, and the greatest consideration and respect are accorded his ascension. Today (September 9) was a celebration of the commencement of Clyde’s life as an exclusively spiritual being. This ceremony is regarded as beautiful, enlightening, and joyful for all the loved ones. Each person comes into the world through three sets of parents – material: an extension of us…, physical: giving us birth, and third: God, the master of love…. People go through a second life which is called death – born this time in the spirit world, where we are united with our loved ones. May the eternal light of God’s love guide Clyde Antonio Thomas to his eternal resting place…, be comforted by God’s eternal love.”
Following the emotional closing of the celebration – decorating Clyde with long-stemmed white roses; getting to physically touch him and say a few words to him face-to-face for the last time, Final Committal, seeing him wheeled in at the mouth of the cremation chamber and deposited behind closed doors – a cozy and bubbly repass was held at Clyde’s last place of abode, Oxford Street, Port of Spain, where pelau was proudly served in Clyde Thomas-branded sanitary containers as created by Janna. Chocolate cake, snacks, and libation, were also not in short supply.
Clyde Antonio Thomas was also the son of Ezekiel and Josephine Thomas (deceased), brother of Jenny and Lena (abroad), and Shirley, Junior and Michael (deceased).
“The family acknowledges with sincere appreciation, the comforting messages, tributes and other expressions of kindness during this time of bereavement.”