Remembering My Youngest Brother, Tenggo

Written by Api Sulistyo

June 8, 2020

Tenggo was holding our second daughter, Ingrid in Singapore, 1999

It was Saturday morning (June 6, 2020) at 8:26am when my phone rang. I picked up my phone and I identified the caller. It was my sister, Rini, in Central Java, Indonesia. It was bad news but she was not able to complete her sentence to give me more details because she was sobbing. She gave the phone to our neighbor, Widodo who patiently delivered the message that my youngest brother, Tenggo, just passed away. I was very surprised because I recently received a message that he was doing well and he should be able to go home from the local hospital.

Why him? Why brain cancer? Why did he have to leave us so soon? This is the question that I need to get the answers for. However, the next couple hours I was busy connecting with my relatives. We needed to figure out what needed to be done. My other sister, Asri and her husband, Adi moved fast to take care of the situation. My brother’s body was buried the next day, Sunday, June 7 at 11am (11pm, June 6, CST).

It was a very sad day for our family. I could not imagine how devastating it was for my parents to see their youngest son pass away. I was informed that my dad suddenly felt ill and collapsed on the ground in my brother’s house.

I needed time alone. I wanted to spend a special time to think about my youngest brother. I wanted to feel his presence with me. I went to Lake Nokomis and parked my car in the parking lot near the Lake Nokomis Community Center. I ran eight miles along Minnehaha Creek. At the same time, my wife Tami was kayaking on the lake.

I did not know why I was running eight miles. I later realized that my brother was born on the eighth of May. It was his last birthday, turning 50. Our family called him with video and sang happy birthday for him in both Indonesian and English. I still remember his big smile watching us singing before he started crying.

After the run, my wife took a picture of me next to a new tree near the boat launch. From now on I will come to visit this tree to connect with my brother. For me, it is my Tenggo tree.

It is sad that he left us so soon. I am grieving that I was not able to be with the family. It helped me that I wrote a small note about my youngest brother along with my wife, and we asked a family member to read it during the family prayer. I want to share that note with you here, first in English, then in Indonesian, as a tribute to my brother Tenggo:


June 6, 2020

Our whole family in Minnesota were deeply saddened by the departure of Uncle Tenggo. We thought he was doing well and was in recovery process, but God had a different plan.

As a family we pray for Uncle Tenggo. And as people of faith, we believe that Uncle Tenggo is now happy with our Father in heaven. His fight is over and God has taken away all his misery and burden in this world.

We know him as someone who loved his family so much and he did the best for them that he could. Tenggo never stopped being a responsible son, father, husband, and family member. We have been impressed by his creativity, entrepreneurship, being the source of happiness for other people.

We apologize for not being able to be present during his funeral. We pray and think of him and he is always in our hearts. Thank you Uncle Tenggo for teaching us how to accept life as it is, being helpful to other people, and bringing laughter and happiness to us.

Tutik (wife), Aldo (son) and Tamara (daughter), we are a family. God provides for our lives. Together we will go through this grief and difficult time as a family.

God Bless us all.

Hugs and kisses from us in America.

(Alex, David, Ingrid, Megan, Tami, Api)


6 Juni 2020

Kami sekeluarga di Minnesota sangat sedih karena kepergian Om Tenggo. Kami kira dia sudah dalam proses penyembuhan, tetapi Tuhan mempunyai kehendak yang berbeda.

Kami sekeluarga berdoa untuk Om Tenggo. Sebagai orang yang beriman, kami percaya bahwa Om Tenggo sekarang bebahagia dengan Bapa di surga. Perjuangannya telah selesai dan Tuhan telah mengambil semua jerih payah dan bebannya di dunia.

Kami mengenal Om Tenggo sebagai orang yang sangat mencintai keluarganya dan melakukan yang terbaik bagi mereka. Dia tak pernah berhenti untuk menjadi anak, bapak, suami, dan saudara yang bertanggung-jawab. Kami selalu terkesan oleh kreativitasnya, kegigihan dalam berusaha, dan menjadi sumber kebahagian bagi orang lain.

Mohon maaf bahwa kami tidak bisa hadir pada acara penguburan. Om Tenggo selalu ada bersama kami dalam doa-doa, pikiran, dan hati kami. Terima kasih Om Tenggo yang telah mengajari kami untuk menerima hidup ini apa adanya, selalu ringan tangan, dan membawa ketawa kebahagian bagi kami.

Bulik Tutik, Aldo, dan Tamara (Wawa), kita adalah keluarga. Tuhan adalah penyelenggara hidup kita. Bersama-sama kita melalui masa sedih ini sebagai keluarga.

Berkat Tuhan bagi kita semua.

Peluk cium dari kami di Amerika.

(Alex, David, Ingrid, Megan, Tami, Api)

One thought on “Remembering My Youngest Brother, Tenggo

  1. Pingback: Remembering My Youngest Brother, Tenggo | Story Lighthouse

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s