THIS is a follow-up to the serving of last week. If like me you hate to dwell
on death, rest assured you and I belong together and that for now and for sometime to come this is the end of this discussion. Today though, focus is on an aspect of death that everyone would want to internalise. Whatever you do, don’t die untimely.
Yes, because an untimely death is a painful loss to the deceased, family and friends. Does that mean a timely death is not painful? Well, the pain felt by children of a 90-something or a hundred and something year old grandparent who dies is not the same as that by the parents of a dead infant or adolescent grandchild. By the way, timely or untimely death is only a human reckoning; not evidence- or proof-based.
We move. A month or two back, during Ask The Counsellor, a global Christian Question & Answer media show, run by Doctors Abel and Rachel Damina of Power City International, Dr. Damina (fondly called Global Ba’aba because of his bible
dexterity) recounted how an elderly man who had been following the programme invited him over. During their meeting, the man thanked him for teaching him Christ, and declared he needed prayer as he was prepared to die. And, the man died!
Surely, even for that man’s family, his cannot be seen as a painful nor untimely death. That therefore is not the type this piece is about. Only a tiny few the world over die such privileged death. Our concern is about regular death.
Whatever you do, don’t die regular. Don’t die young. Don’t die when you shouldn’t. Always find a reason or two to hang on to life, up until ripe old age.
Most often than not, in the third world, early deaths leave behind too much misery, too much suspicion, too much anger,
too much allegation as well as too much general nonsense. None of such deaths is not attributable to somebody or something that somebody did or said, or did not do
or say. In Africa, bereaved families and their friends are known to point the finger easily and casually. If your young aide dies, chances are that people start looking at you one kind -as we say in Nigeria- because you may have sacrificed him for money or power or fame.
A fresh widower is never allowed to mourn in peace. There are always loud whispers all around him insinuating
that the cult or occult group he belongs demanded the blood of his wife. Woe betide him, if a so-called prophet comes into the mix. With such spiritual confirmation, even his own children, parents and friends would jump on the bandwagon of accusation.
In like fashion, a new widow faces a worse fate. In front of and behind her, she has to deal with monumental mockery, humongous (mental and physical) mistreatment, and unfounded accusations. She has to swear to Satan that she did not directly
and indirectly kill her man. Even so, doubt would persist her husband died because she committed adultery or poisoned him.
In which case, some men suspected to have been close to her would become butts of attacks or gossips. Women go through hell when their husbands suddenly go to heaven. Men who never dared disrespect them while their husbands were alive don’t even allow time before they begin taunting them with sexual advances. Imagine the shameless insensitivity suffered by someone mourning!
In our part of the world, parents and grandparents of a deceased child also receive quite some sticks. The father or grandpa must be a wizard or the mother
or grandma a witch. We always tend to believe that the young life was cut short for one reason or the other. If not for any of the aforementioned reasons, then it must so the parent or grandparent or relative would enjoy longevity!
Now, you see why as a man or woman or child, you must never die early. Do everything to stay alive. Save your family and friends the twin trouble of not only weeping over your departure but also simultaneously being put through insulting humiliation and tittle-tattle. Stay alive so that your killer doesn’t scapegoat an innocent person who only set himself up to be misconstrued.
Stay alive so your position or wealth is not up for grabs to every Tom and Dick. Stay alive so those you always swear are your friends don’t overnight transmogrify into fiends. Stay alive so you enjoy the fruits of all that labour. Stay alive so you don’t become useless or empty history or mere statistic, just like that.
Stay alive even if you can’t so the centre of your family fabric continue to hold. Stay alive no matter what it takes so no idiot -knowing you won’t defend yourself- ac- cuses you of indirect suicide (whatever
that means). Stay alive as much as you can so those tied to the apron strings of your existence are not suddenly stranded. Stay alive long, don’t die just yet so cats who having been hiding like rats won’t emerge and strut about like tigers boasting of the tigritude we all know only you possess.
Realise that when you, the real tiger, die at the time you shouldn’t, common pussy (sorry, I mean pussy cat) could muster the temerity of fakeness, dress like a scarecrow and come out to frighten off even emerging tigers you were grooming. If you didn’t catch that, please let’s try again. Realise that if a lion suddenly dies while building an army, its charge could fall to a goat or
a sheep or both. From all of the foregoing, you agree with me that untimely death is as unattractive as it is expensive.
To evade early grave: one, never ever take anything for granted. Two, never
ever play with let alone eat or drink with people you don’t trust. Which brings me to three: never ever believe that a long spoon is enough antidote when you dine with the devil. Four, never ever fail to keep at least one eye open 24/7 even when in love (which is said to be blind).
Five, never ever be afraid of fear but
also never ever be carelessly unafraid. Six, never ever think that because you are a good person everybody around you means well. Seven, above all, never ever take your eyes off Christ. There’s something God cannot do: namely, to allow those who trust and live in Jesus to die untimely.
Finally, to families like mine that have lost too many and too much to untimely death, may the Christocentric assurance keep healing and comforting us. To those who haven’t had the experience, may you never taste it. To humanity, the first of two must-do things is: learn how to die only at ripe old age. And, second, learn to never judge and to never accuse too hastily.
God bless Nigeria!