By Michael Addai
When the living no longer exists, death succeeds. Death is an inevitability that will befall every living creature on this earth. From the womb to the tomb is our lot i.e., from the cradle to the grave.
As we exit the womb to come into the world, we are gripped with fear and trepidation going through this traumatic experience of venturing into an unknown territory, we then cry loudly not only to announce our arrival but to express our sadness from exiting the womb. Ironically, we are met with much joy and excitement outside the womb for our safe entrance to this world. This enjoyment is palpable. However, in the end we go out of this world with internal joy and peace, and for most part leaving our suffering behind to escape this unforgiven world, but our departure is met with much sadness on earth all around. Fare thee well is our parting gift from loved ones. Joy as we arrive but sadness as we exit.
We hope one day we’ll be safe and be in a better place called heaven after death and our souls rest in perfect peace. If you meant so much to your loved ones and others you will be sorely missed, and your memories will endure forever. Your great relationships, unions, commitments, and marriages are put asunder by death when you pledge to be in that relationship, union, commitment, bond, and marriages ‘for better or for worse, till death do us apart’.
Death is a phenomenon that is often taken for granted when we arrive on this earth. We are eager to accumulate worth, accomplish things, burden ourselves with life commitments and exigencies without giving any thought to death, if any just fleeting, that one day all those endeavours and things will be left behind when our time is up.
Losing a loved one is an experience that nobody wants to go through, especially when that dear person happened to be your mum who meant so much to you and had sacrificed so much for you.
I lost my dear mum suddenly through breast cancer in the year that my then fiancée and I were preparing to get married. Before then, my mum had been on my case for a long time to get married. So, when I finally found someone that she gave her blessing to, my mum was so happy for me and was thrilled that she was, finally, going to see her grandkids one day. She was rest assured and threw herself into the wedding preparation and was looking forward with excitement and joy to the wedding day.
Within a few months later, all these wedding excitements and preparations were suddenly replaced with sadness, depression, trepidation, anxiety, and funeral preparation. All the wedding plans were, suddenly, dashed and we had to plan for a funeral instead. It was a very devastating blow to me, particularly that my dear mum couldn’t live to see the very day that she had spent so much time looking forward to. I was heartbroken, shocked and in disbelief and kept on wondering why me and why this time, this year. To say it was a very difficult period for me, and the rest of my family, would be an understatement.
Nevertheless, I clung on to my Catholic faith. My mum brought us up i.e., my siblings and I, to be staunch Catholics, she sent all of us to Catholic schools. She never messed up or joked with her faith, attending daily mass was her passion and her belief in God was unquestionable. She would say her rosary, incessantly, either in good times or in bad times. It was her faith in God that pulled her through divorce and endured her as a single parent to her three kids. She was very fond of saying ‘While I breathe, I hope’ — “Dum Spiro Spero” all the time in moments of difficulties.
This saying from my departed mother forced me into deep realization. It suddenly dawned on me that my dear mum would not have had it any other way for me but to plod on with life knowing that whenever there is life there is hope. So, with these words of my mother in my head I had no choice but to get my act together and live life as best as I could until I met her again.
Living life as best as I could, so did I. I marked the loss by being there for my siblings and gave a befitting burial to our mum despite the odds. I went on to have my wedding later in the year as my mother would have wished, and I dedicated the ceremony to her. To top it all, my wife and I are blessed with 3 kids, the grandchildren she never got to meet, the two of them were named after my mum to mark her loss. So therefore, anytime their names are mentioned, not only do they remind me of the loss of my dear mum, but they do give me the assurance that she is still with me in flesh because I see her in them.
Most often we go about living without any care in the world, thinking that death is only an event for others that needs to be celebrated or attended though our immortality is reminded in these events.
One may ask, if death is a matter of course then what is the point of living? What is the point of all these worth, greatness, sadness, pain, suffering if we were to succumb to death one day? Unfortunately, we are meant to live and die since we have been programmed not to have a say as to how, when and where to be born let alone on how, when and where to die but only given a say, for the most part, to an extent, as to the kind of choices that we make in life and the kind of legacy that we leave on this earth during the transition period from life to death.
We accept our weaknesses and work towards to rectify them with humility. There is no place for holier than thou attitude, nor should there be any place for hubris as we are all human after all. We come in peace and sometimes go in peace, but we will always wish to rest in perfect peace after we have departed from this world.
So, let’s live and die and hope one day we will be remembered for the good legacy and not the bad legacy that we leave on this earth.
My mum continues to be an enduring figure in my life as well as my siblings, and that of her grandchildren.
May she continue to rest in perfect peace. Amen.
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