Have you prepared for your death?


The sad and stark reality about life is that death is an inevitable phenomenon. As real as it is, it remains one thing most people dread to hold in their mind: thinking about their own death. This is better illustrated in the joke made by the legendary reggae maestro, Peter Tosh, that ”everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die”. Why are we afraid to die when we know we must die one day?
Death is the cessation of life. It hardly brings joy to anybody except where the deceased has brought untold misery and terminated many other lives as was the case of Muammar Gadhafi of Libya and other world despots. Even at that their loved ones would still nurse the pain.
At death once blossoming relationships are abruptly terminated, businesses end, losses of all kinds occur, whatever is the skill and capabilities of the individual are lost. When good people and such quality minds and national heroes like Mandela, Ojukwu, Gani Fawehinmi, Achebe etc bow to death you wish it should be arrested to vomit them. At this point people have had to question the meaning of life forgetting that whatever thing that has a beginning must have an end.
The negative impact of death cannot be exhausted in a small piece like this. Some emotionally traumatized people have lost their lives resulting from the death of their loved ones. Sometimes the exit of a particular person has had to destabilize an entire family, community or organization or even an entire nation at least for some time.
Ordinarily in life we plan virtually most of our activities consciously or unconsciously. We prepare to marry, bring up children, plan our trips, plan our businesses, and make projections ahead of time. It is very doubtful if we ever sit for a moment to plan for our death which we behold must come.
What is meant here for purpose of clarification is not making plans on how one should transit. Except for those who may wish to take their lives by themselves (suicide bids) it is quite abnormal to see people plan on how to die. Death itself comes unannounced and may take different forms.
People have passed on through sickness, some through accidents yet others through some mysterious inexplicable accounts. Some are bewitched to die untimely as is reported to be the case in most of the black world. Some also grow to a ripe old age and bow out when the body becomes too weak to host the Soul essence.
Through sleep people also transit to the great beyond as well. Violent actions such as Boko haram and wars also claim many lives. There are countless other ways through which people die. What is significant is not how people die but the inevitability of death which has got no solution. Whatever may be our attainment in life bows to death which awaits us all.
Death is a leveller. It brings all men to the same denominator. All men must go down six feet irrespective of our earthly status. During burial ceremonies, the lying in state of the deceased has had to evoke some emotional question as to the meaning of life. It is shocking to behold that after all the struggles and unbridled material acquisition we abandon everything here to go to God knows where. Death experience provides a lot of lessons for the living but are we picking them?
Looking at faces at burial ceremonies one gets the impression that people are awed or humbled as they conduct themselves solemnly, some wearing mournful faces, in pity, some wondering how their funerals would look like. But moments after the same people begin to conduct themselves as if life is an endless journey. When one looks at the activities of men it brings to memory the statement made by Socrates eons of years back: ‘that men eat as if they are going to die today and build as if they are going to live forever’. Nothing is further from this truth.
Imagine the clamour for power among our politicians. Imagine the unconscionable quest for wealth among us, the brigandage, the war of attrition, all the pride and show of power we exhibit, all our wealth and knowledge and all of our other achievements will someday bow to death. Little wonder all of these material acquisitions have been described by the scripture as vanities.
Someone once quipped that life is an illusion. It can never be what you expect no matter how well you think you know it. Surprisingly too we little bother about this and carry on as if it will never happen. In the days of yore we have had tales of our forebears preparing for their deaths and leaving messages behind before they transit. Such is rare now.
Death is so dreadful to behold that we will one day leave this carcass into which the Soul, the real self, has been encased. The earth life we have been taught in religious circle is a school where we come to learn lessons and proceed but what is unknown to many of us except to the knowing ones is how much of the earth life is allotted to each man. It is in the phenomena of death that the Creator confounds man. We are born and leave at different times. Some die at child birth making you wonder why they were even conceived in the first place, some in their teens, others middle age and yet some live to a ripe old age.
I think it is the motto of the Scout movement which proclaims: ‘Be prepared all the time’. But in truth are we on the issue of death? Death strikes like a thief at night at unknown hours. We are always caught napping like an unprepared goal keeper. Death is seen as the worst calamity that ever befalls man and the worst thing any man would wish his fellow man. Sadly, man even precipitates the death of another. But the knowing ones tell us that death is birth into another world just as birth is an entry into earth from another world. When we are born we rejoice and celebrate. When we pass on we mourn. Funny, isn’t it?
I think the fear of death stems from the fear of the unknown and our clinging to materiality. Man remains the greatest loser as his contributions will also be lost. But it seems like they say everything is in its rightful place and nothing occurs by chance meaning that what we lament and kill ourselves for fit into the perfect will of God. Is there any need then to cry our hearts out when a loved one departs? But another question is why would God allow such a good man who has touched immense lives to exit suddenly in such a terrible manner when he is still needed? Life is not fair we all exclaim.
What happens after death is a matter of conjecture because different religious group hold different opinions with each claiming its correctness on the issue. It is better to stave off unnecessary debate by not sharing opinions on that because this piece is concerned more with the unpreparedness of man to meet the call of death. When we die unprepared most of us with wealth that die intestate leave our family in tatters especially those with a polygamous setting.
When we die unprepared most businesses we run die with us if there are no succession plans already laid out. When we die unprepared our plans for future activities also die with us. When we die unprepared most of our hidden accounts and resources go with us. Death remains that great enigma that has no solution. It cannot be cured or stopped when it wants to strike. It is that leveler that brings all mankind irrespective of status to that same six feet below the soil.
For me the take away from the sudden death of a loved and respected one is a resolution to begin to live life ready to leave the earth any moment. There is no need for this selfish primitive accumulation of wealth as if we are going to live forever. Life is better lived sharing what we have because God ministers to others through man. Many have gone but are still living in the hearts of those they left behind and according to Esquirrel that is not to die. Now have you prepared for your death?


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