A year a marquer d'une pierre noire for my best friend. His mother passed away around 3 months ago. Its his brother's funeral today. Died in a car accident Sunday morning. What do you say in such circumstances? I don't know. I didn't want to think about it. People don't normally go around imagining and rehearsing condolences, do they? I could think of nothing better to do that switch my cellphone off. I didn't want C. to call me and tell me his brother just died. I kept telling myself that it was just an accident. A bad one, Ok, but just an accident nonetheless. He's in ICU and he's gonna be alright. That was never to be.
A couple of months ago I had a a very heated argument with one my fellow passengers in the van. According to her people don't normally die young. Of natural deaths. It's always accidental, due to a disease, murder.... Anything but natural causes. I asked her what age she thought is the age to die of natural causes. She said, at least seventy. I asked her what according to her are “natural causes”. She thought hard then came up with “cardiac arrest”. “That means you're dead”, I told her. “That your heart stopped functioning”. She doesn't talk much tome now. At least, not of serious issues. She think I am bizzare.
Our African oral traditions taught us a lot. Am using the past tense since oral traditions are less and less in use. “When an ancient (old person) dies in Africa, it's a whole library gone to dust”said the famous Hampaté Bah. 100% right. To come back to the subject, my philosophy on the issue my fellow van passenger argued about is completely different.
When God assigned Tasks to the Angels, they were almost all satisfied except for the Angel of Death.
“Why God? I am going to be the most hated Angel. People will always curse and speak ill of me.”
“Rest assured,” said God “for never shall your name be mentioned in case of death. Never shall your fear be founded.”
“For what is to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun?”
Do you ever say “the Angel of Death came to him”? Do you even ever think about the Angel of Death when you hear about somebody's death? No. What we always say is “He/She was sick”, “Who? Yes, the poor fellow had an accident”, “You don't know?!!! But he was murdered!!” “She used arsenic and finished him off”, “He cut her throat, he did!”
When my sister who got the call from her colleague told me the news, my first question was “But how? How did he die?” For us, people, having an answer to this question is primordial. It consoles us somehow to know the circumstances and reasons for the loss of our loved and dear ones. Nothing is as bad as not knowing.
Heather's post about the Invisible children comes to mind here. My little brother lost a friend. A. was his best friend from Standard 1 (First class of the primary level) to Standard 3. He was such a cute little boy. My brother used to boss him around. He just disappeared. His pictures are flashed from time to time on TV but less and less now. His mother is still interviewed sometimes for programs related to disappearances. It's sad. She clings to her little son. Younger than the one who disappeared. She talks about him in both the present and past tense. More in the present. It's been around 5 years now since he'd been last seen. He was in front of the gate to his house one minute and nowhere to be found the next minute. I can't imagine nothing as bad as the pain his parents are perpetually going through. It's a pain which won't last till they find an answer as to his whereabouts if he's still alive....
D, my best friend's brother would have een 26 next year. In May.