A single I hated in my whole life was…
Burials… And here was I being forced to attend one by my mother after many battles of endless words with her before the day drew nearer.
Now, my name is SANDRA, and I have a story to tell, one that might leave you surprised at the end of my boring tale. Do not mind my tenses or use of word, this is my world, my diary, and my word is my law.
You see, as a young girl that I am, I love birthdays, naming ceremonies and the likes but I detest burials especially one that is grand and extravagant, the burial of the aged. People seem to spend so much on such funeral that I wonder if such money could not be channeled to do something worthwhile.
I was 14 when I attended a burial ceremony for the first time in my life, why should they call it a burial ceremony? Ceremony is something joyous, burial is a time to cry, an opportunity to be sober once in a lifetime. Perhaps it should be called a burial arrangement, burial procedure, and the likes but funny enough the names do not stick, so I would join the multitude and call it a burial ceremony in this story.
Now to my story, it was the burial ceremony of a legend, as my mother would say even as I write this, she never stops calling the man by that title. He was goodly man while he was alive, she would say. I dressed up for the occasion so to speak, my mother commanded that I wore black since black was a symbol for death and mourning. I told her, I wasn’t a family member of the deceased, so I disobediently put on white. Funny, isn’t it? One could call it disobedience but, it was a choice I made and definitely this would be the last burial ceremony I ever attend except for the ones close to me that I am not ready to lose now. Amen
We got to the venue of the program, it was decorated moderately. One thing I appreciated, the deceased was a rich man while he was alive, but I applaud the children for their wisdom at keeping the hall moderate in decor. I looked left, and right to at least find a soul wailing or crying. I found none, even my mother who was fond of crying had her eyes dry. She was seated quietly, just like everyone else in the hall. The children even with their grandchildren were dressed in black, but their faces were dry. Definitely the man was wicked while alive, I thought, even the aged wife I expect to see crying or sober had no tears running down her face or was I just blind to see it?
I tapped my mother curiously, she shushed me as soon as she could. Each and every goodly soul said at least a thing or two about the man, each one of them had a glow on their face, smiles mixed with bitterness and Joy. Then the eldest daughter was told to speak to round it all up, she stepped on the podium with sunshades covering her eyes, one I thought not classy for the ceremony of her father’s death. She hmmed into the microphone if there is a word for that ‘hmmed’ add to your dictionary.
Then she began to speak, telling tales from her childhood and, I started feeling sleepy, it was more or less like a speech than a tribute to me. Her legs moved quicker than I can count until she stood in front of the row I was seated on. I felt like she was staring at me, you know the issue with those who put on glasses, their look seems to pierce into you without your knowledge; I felt that way.
She started to speak, her words resounding in my ears as I write, ”You might be wondering why no one amidst the family members cried? Well, my father left this world as a man on a journey who knows his destination. He died a peaceful death, on his death bed, he called we the children and spoke to us lovingly like he always did. He knew he was dying, he knew he was going home, he knew his days were numbered.”
“My father is one special man I must say. His favorite verse in the Bible when he was 80 years of old is “Mark the perfect man, and behold the righteous: for the end of that man is peace.” His desperate heart cry whenever I engage in a conversation with him is this always ‘Yetunde, I want my end to be peaceful,’ and so it was” she ended her speech as the tears dropped down. No woman is ever a super woman, we all cry.
I didn’t shed a single tear at the burial, but my heart felt heavy whenever I remember the verse the daughter quoted, a thing I held dear from the ceremony is that verse.
Deep down as I write in my diary, I prayed for my mother and myself that we shall die in peace and not in pain. Amen
My mama always say something I must share with you, her words are “It doesn’t matter who at the very end of your life shed unending tears for you at your departure just for few days, all that mattered is the people who smile whenever they call your name, those who hold the memories dear knowing you have gone to rest with your maker and they will one day see you again.
I remain SANDRA, and this ends my story.
I shall return.
“Mark the perfect man and behold the righteous: for the end of that man is peace ” Excerpt from the KJV Bible in Psalms 37:37