Jeremy…husband of Catherine, father of Ben, Simeon, Tom, Joshua & Lydia. Up until the end of April 2015, he was pastor/vicar of a group of churches on the edge of Exeter in Devon, UK. In early October 2014, aged 48, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer, a stage four malignant melanoma presenting as a tumour on his lungs. The usual life expectancy is 8-12 months. Then, in late December 2014, 23 year old Ben suffered a seizure. After prolonged medical care for what was most likely to have been a viral infection affecting his brain, Ben died in April 2015. Jeremy has up until recently seemed to have responded well to pioneering immunotherapy treatments that can extend life, but from September 2016 is now facing the fresh development of brain tumours and potentially now just months to live. On January 27th 2017 Jeremy took his last breath and went to be his Lord and Saviour. The family share their thoughts, feelings and reflections as they taJeremy…husband of Catherine, father of Ben, Simeon, Tom, Joshua & Lydia. Up until the end of April 2015, he was pastor/vicar of a group of churches on the edge of Exeter in Devon, UK. In early October 2014, aged 48, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer, a stage four malignant melanoma presenting as a tumour on his lungs. The usual life expectancy is 8-12 months. Then, in late December 2014, 23 year old Ben suffered a seizure. After prolonged medical care for what was most likely to have been a viral infection affecting his brain, Ben died in April 2015. Jeremy has up until recently seemed to have responded well to pioneering immunotherapy treatments that can extend life, but from September 2016 is now facing the fresh development of brain tumours and potentially now just months to live. On January 27th 2017 Jeremy took his last breath and went to be with his Lord and Saviour. The family share their thoughts, feelings and reflections as they take this painful and unexpected journey.

Ben Clark (1991-2015)Last evening, and without warning, we lost our precious son, brother, and for Dabi, her husband.

During the late afternoon, part way through Josh’s 18th birthday and just as we were arriving to visit Ben, he suffered a seizure and went into cardiac arrest. After a brief time working on him in the Mardon Centre, the nurses and paramedics rushed him round the corner to A&E, where after a further time of attempted resuscitation, they could do no more. Somewhere in the midst of all the activity, he slipped away…home.

We are heartbroken beyond words to describe. It all seems horribly unreal. The waves of grief and an awful numbness have moved in as we gasp and heave in agony for our wonderful firstborn, an amazing and inspirational big brother and, for Dabi, a precious soul mate.

Only a few days ago, Ben had spoken with us about the possibility of this happening. We’d asked him how he felt about it and he expressed so clearly his peace about dying. He and I had only 24hrs before read through the words he’d written on the source of his hope here on the blog in November. As many wonderful friends gathered at the hospital with us in the hours after he died, we all took hands and prayed. Ben would have been among the first to have said, “Amen”.

Thanks for the many, many messages that have started pouring in. The road ahead is going to be wracked with grief and tears. But your love, care and prayer is wonderful.

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Comments on: "Our agonising loss of Ben" (96)

  1. Janice & Ivan Phillips said:

    Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time.
    Janice & Ivan

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    • Teresa Birtles said:

      I can’t know how you feel to loose your first born only to say that I lost a brother four years ago and the pain gets easier to bear with time, knowing he is in a better place helps and that he is no longer suffering. You are all in our prayers and we send our love and condolences. Teresa and Stuart Birtles. Trinity Church.

      Like

  2. Helen Sinclair said:

    Dear Jeremy, Catherine, Dabi and all the family.

    What a dreadful shock to hear the news of the sudden and unexpected loss of Ben. I can only imagine your grief and sadness at this time and offer you our love and prayers as you come to terms with and face this huge gap in your lives.

    My special prayers for you, Dabi, so newly married and far from home. I know you will be surrounded by much love from those you know you but be assured there are people all round the world holding you in their hearts right now as you mourn the loss of Ben after such a short time together.

    I give thanks for the precious time you had when Ben raised the possibility of dying with you not too long ago. To know that he had faced the prospect with peace must be a great comfort in the midst of all the turmoil you are going through right now.

    Much love and many tears.
    Helen

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  3. Sarah Pollard said:

    I was at the Barn christian group last night & not knowing this I was moved to pray for you all , especially the words may eagle’s wings of come & peace wrap you all in Jesus Love…….. Dearest Cathy & Jeremy & Dabi & brothers & sister Lydia …..a Deepest shock for you all….no words are deep enough for your loss , I will continue to pray for you all , my Heart goes out to you …..Sending Love & a Big Hug (((( ❤ ))))
    I will update my prayer chains for prayer for you especially at this time ….
    Love Sarah xxxx

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  4. Rob Sharp said:

    So so sad to hear this news, yet comforted that you realise we do not morn as those who have no hope. Your whole family will be in my prayers.

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  5. Val Parkinson said:

    So very sad to hear your tragic news. Ben was a lovely person,our hearts go out to all of you, there are no words to ease your pain, may God surround you with his great love.God Bless you, all much love John & Val xxx

    Like

  6. Words are not enough, you are all in our hearts minds and prayers, Ian, Karen, Archie and Ethan xxxx

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  7. I was deeply moved and upset to learn that Ben had died, so young and in such circumstances. I didn’t know him directly , but from your words and his, I learnt of his spiritual presence, and strength. May he be renewed now in God’s light and love , and may you who have suffered with him also be blessed., relieved that his suffering is over and able to be with the sense of who he still is,across his passing, I am praying for healing and peace for you all and send love .
    Gail

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  8. Michael and Marion Andrews said:

    O Joy that seekest me through pain
    I cannot close my heart to Thee,
    I trace the rainbow through the rain
    and feel the promise is not vain that morn shall tearless be.

    Our love to you all. Michael & Marion

    Like

  9. Brian & Bridie Ardill said:

    So, so sad to hear of Ben’s homecoming. You’re very much in our thoughts & praying for the Lord’s support and comfort at this very distressful time.
    Love in Christ
    Brian & Bridie

    Like

  10. Karen Jennings said:

    Dear Jeremy, Catherine and family I met you briefly last year during the rounders match Cranbrook v Rockbeare. I live in Cranbrook and I am a friend of Mark Gilborson. I have been following your Tracing the Rainbow Through the Rain posts. Through these posts I feel I have got to know you all a little. I can only imagine the pain and sadness you are all feeling at this time. For Ben to express that he had peace with the possibilty of his passing reminds me of our 18 year old neighbour in London who passed away at 18 with cancer. Like your son he had great faith, and when asked by his priest how he felt about having cancer his response was ‘if it means one less person in the world will have cancer than that is ok with me’! What great strength shown by these two fine young men. Sending you all heartfelt sympathy at the loss of your dear son Ben. Kind regards Karen.

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  11. Frances Down said:

    I’m so sorry to hear the devastating news of your loss of Ben, and have no words which can make this time easier for you. I will continue to pray for you as a family that the God of all comfort will be very close and that His strength will be your rock. We can be sure that Ben is now ‘in a place where the sun shines with the glory of the Lamb’ and where there is no more pain and suffering. My hope is that this certainty will help get you through this. God bless you all. With love, Frances

    Like

  12. Marian Stack said:

    Dear Jeremy, Catherine & Family, I am so very saddened by Ben’s passing, a young man who sounded so loving, caring and spiritual. He also seemed accepting and at peace with his situation which must give you a little comfort. My heart and prayers go out to you while you manage your grief and to his young wife Dabi who had so few years with the one she loved.
    Marian Stack

    Like

  13. Sharon Gilborson said:

    I cannot even imagine the immense grief you are all feeling. I am thankful that you know the love and peace that Christ gives. I pray that God will continue to surround you with his love. With deep sympathy, my thoughts and prayers, sharon gilborson

    Like

  14. sarah clarke said:

    Dear Catherine and Jeremy
    I feel that words are inadequate to express how you must be feeling. It is so hard to know what to write or say. I am so grateful that Jesus is with you all now, and with Ben, as always. It is so hard to believe that this has happened. I am so sorry. Love, hugs, and prayers.
    Sarah Clarke

    Like

  15. Sue Bassett said:

    Dearest Jeremy, There are just no words to describe the pain I know you and your family are feeling. I am with you, as much as I know you always have been for me. Sue B xx

    Like

  16. Just so so sorry to hear your news. Our deepest sympathy to you all. We lament with you and pray for you. Chris Martin & family

    Like

  17. This is simply just beyond words… My heart goes out to all of you at this time. Praying. John Raby

    Like

  18. YVONNE LIDDON said:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. You are such special people and we know the lord will hold you in his arms love Yvonne,Tony, James & Edward Liddon

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  19. Caroline Cook said:

    Dear Jeremy, Catherine and Family. Grief beyond words. So sorry for your loss. Praying for a deep comfort from our (and Bens) Lord and Heavenly Father, that is deeper than the grief you feel at this time and in the weeks and months ahead. I can’t be there in body but am with you in prayer and know and trust that Fathers tender love and care is enveloping all of you.
    Love Caroline & Steve x

    Like

  20. Ruth Prince said:

    All words must seem inadequate to comfort you as you come to terms with the loss of Ben. However,,do take comfort from the knowledge that Ben is now at peace,no longer anxious as to the timing of the next seizure,nor fretting over the uphill struggle to reach some sort of normality. Be glad and sad together knowing that the Lord’s arms uphold you hour by hour.

    My love to you all. Ruth.

    Like

  21. Guy & Tania West said:

    Dear Jeremy and family,

    Tania and I were stunned to hear this morning of Ben’s sudden death. We can only imagine what it is like to lose a child. There are no words in these circumstances – we will ‘sit’ with you in your shock, pain and grief.

    Your candidness and deep faith in all you have been through is an inspiration to us all – thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings so honestly and effectively.

    May you all receive the comfort and love you need through this tough time

    You will be in our prayers

    With much love
    Guy & Tania

    Like

  22. Malcolm Lane said:

    So sorry to hear this most distressing news. We are praying for you that you may know the comfort that only our God can provide.
    “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you . . ” 2 Thess. 2:16-17 NLTse.
    With our love, Malcolm and Joyce

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  23. There are no words of wisdom, just heart felt sorry and pain for the loss you and the family have suffered. All I can do is place you all in Gods deep loving arms and allow Him to provide comfort. Jesus has gone before and shares in your suffering and pain. Isaiah 53:11 the Servant King understands.
    We are here if Ruth and I can help in any way. 😢🙏💕

    Like

  24. Kate Warbrick said:

    No words but heartfelt tears of love for you all. One day, many years ago, a very special man walked into my office and showed me the love of Christ. That man was you Jeremy and now those far and near come alongside you, as you once did for me, to simply say we are here; thinking of you all, praying for you all and loving you all. Kate

    Like

  25. Lou Lewis said:

    Dear Jeremy and Catherine
    Our hearts ache for you and are stunned with you at the tragic loss of your beloved son.
    Human words feel so inadequate. May the Living Word himself who bridges the gap between Heaven and Earth sustain and comfort the deep places of grief.
    We stand with you and our prayers surround you.
    Much love to you and your family
    Lou Lewis

    Like

  26. Liz & Ron Hay said:

    On the other side of the world, during your night-time, we have been upholding you all, lifting you into the care of our loving Father, and praying for his strength and grace for you during these agonising, heart-wrenching days. We pray too for your NZ family -and will continue to do so. Much love, Liz and Ron Hay, NZ

    Like

  27. Chris Saunders said:

    May the God who is our comforter reach into the depths of your grief and the in the darkest times may our Saviour bring to you the fulness of God’s love. I pray the Holy Spirit will guide you. May our Lord and Father bless you all. We continue to pray and share your grief and with you know the certainty of life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Like

  28. barbara pentreath said:

    From Farringdon parish our love & deepest sorrow at your loss of Ben goes out to you all – Jeremy, Catherine, Gabriela, Simeon, Tom, 18 year old Josh, and Lydia. May you be given the strength to bear the unbearable.

    Like

  29. Jane and Steve Hill said:

    Dear Jeremy, Catherine and all the family,
    We weep with you…there are no other words.
    Much love and fervent prayers from Jane and Steve.

    Like

  30. Dear Jeremy, our lovely brother! I´m so sorry for the loss of Benjy. I would like to say many words in this moment, but i think that I would not reach. My heart is crying for all of you. It was a great pleasure to know Benjy, while he leaved in Joinville. He was a lovely e amazing boy that I have never know in my life. I ask God for comfort and peace in your hearts, for all the family. We love you, Jeremy, and you know it´s true. All I can say now: God is Good, all the time….. With much, much love…Jorge Oliveira

    Like

  31. Brenda Lockett said:

    I have just returned from my break in Cornwall and caught up with my e mails. So very sad to read about Ben what heartache that must be to lose your son. My prayers for you and your family will join all the many others from your host of friends. I hope your faith comes to your aid in the days ahead I am sure it will.
    Brenda and Keith

    Like

  32. Lisa Parr said:

    To all of you,
    Reading this is absolutely heartbreaking. But the peace and assurance Ben seemed to have (from reading the other posts) is amazing. You must be so proud of him. I can’t imagine how each of you are feeling right now, but I pray that God wraps you head to toe in his love, comfort and peace. Loads of love, Lisa (was Hunter)

    Like

  33. Through the grief and turmoil, may you indeed find God to be your refuge and strength and very present help. With our love and prayers.

    Like

  34. ian and joyce wilson said:

    Dear Jeremy, Catherine and all the family,
    Words are inadequate but we want to assure you all of our love, thoughts and prayers at this most distressing time. We pray that God will wrap His loving arms around you and that you will know His comfort, strength and peace.All our love Ian and Joyce Wilson x

    Like

  35. laetitia smith said:

    Dear Jeremy and Katherine, I was shocked to hear from cousin Debs today in Sydney of your terrible loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.
    Fondest love, Laetitia (Simon’s cousin)

    Like

  36. Timothy Robb said:

    Dear Jeremy, Catherine and all the family,
    Our love, thoughts and prayers, along with those of our church are with you at this difficult time. Our hearts weep with yours and we pray that God will wrap his loving arms around all of you now and in the days ahead. With all our love – Tim, Julie & Sarah Robb

    Like

  37. Dear Jeremy, Catherine and Family,
    Praying for you all at this time – just read Ben’s article from November and inspired.
    Lots of love,
    Steve and Larissa Jones

    Like

  38. Peter & Sally Twin said:

    Words fail. Couldn’t even finish reading the blog for a few days. We embrace you all in our prayers and give thanks for the love and joy that Ben brought to your lives. Sally & Peter

    Like

  39. Sue Brooks said:

    You are in our thoughts and prayers at this desperately sad time. May the God of all comfort be very close to you all. Much love Sue and Malcolm

    Like

  40. Jessie Hume said:

    Dear Jeremy & Cathrine
    I have just read with tears in my eyes about the lose of your son Ben, we all know Ben is with our Lord and out of his suffering, but my heart and soul go out to you both at this time. I have been following your blog for some time now and you are both an inspiration in your love and fortitude for the Lord – God bless you both.
    I don’t expect you will remember me but I was Pat Nickson’s admin.assistant. You were curate at St.Mary’s Upton when Derek and I first came to St.Marys.
    Jessie

    Like

  41. Tania West said:

    There are just no words to express our deepest and heartfelt sorrow to learn of the death of Ben and our hearts go out to you and Catherine and all your family at this time. We weep, and we mourn and we hope and we trust with you. Our love Guy and Tania x

    Like

  42. Alphington Maureen & Brian said:

    Jeremy, Catherine and family our thoughts are with you at this sad time. Found a little poem for you.
    Those we love don’t go away,
    they walk beside us every day.
    Unseen,unheard, but always near,
    still loved, still missed and very dear.

    May God be with you all with love.

    Like

  43. Dear Jeremy & Catherine,

    You may not remember us, but we are good friends of Stephen & Jane Judson, and godparents to their boys Matthew & Nathan, so I’m sure our paths have crossed at some point. We heard the devastating news about Ben’s death from them and were prompted to search out your blog.

    Having read back through your story from the beginning, I greatly admire your writing style and your clear ability to communicate your strong faith in Jesus which sustains you through the most trying circumstances.

    We will continue to pray & lift you up through the hard days ahead. I leave you with this poem which has helped me in those moments of asking how God could allow such pain in our lives. “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” 1 Cor 13:12

    Rebecca & Alistair Bell, Boston, MA

    “Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)

    “My life is but a weaving
    Between my God and me.
    I cannot choose the colors
    He weaveth steadily.

    Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
    And I in foolish pride
    Forget He sees the upper
    And I the underside.

    Not ’til the loom is silent
    And the shuttles cease to fly
    Will God unroll the canvas
    And reveal the reason why.

    The dark threads are as needful
    In the weaver’s skillful hand
    As the threads of gold and silver
    In the pattern He has planned

    He knows, He loves, He cares;
    Nothing this truth can dim.
    He gives the very best to those
    Who leave the choice to Him.”

    ― Corrie ten Boom

    Like

  44. Stefan Cantore said:

    Continuing to pray for you all. Taking every opportunity to share with others the clear testimony of the hope you have in Jesus and the resurrection–a hope founded not in fantasy or myth but grounded in history–up from the grave He arose! I hope to see you on Friday to join in thanksgiving and prayer. Every blessing in the midst of trial.

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