“My case officer in #Moirai probably thought I am Clarke Kent, when she was dishing out the fates for 2016. Now I feel like Atlas before #Anubis. *sips Al-Iksir*”
I posted the above on my Twitter handle a few days back, after losing my elder sister two weeks ago, exactly six months after burying my late Dad, and seven months after he died. It was a very unusual experience for me, that left me in a rather queer situation since it happened, so much so that I couldn’t cry, in fact I laughed at some point, remembering what the Afrobeat legend, the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti sang in one of his songs, where he said he laughed at his situation, seeing that as a man he couldn’t cry. Though it may have seemed to many like that, it surely was more than that for me, because it seems like I have lost the ability to cry. Sadly, people like me who don’t outwardly express hurt, tend to grieve the longer, sometimes enough to cause irreparable damage to the soul.
When I saw her six days to the day she died, she was asleep and we didn’t talk, but a week before that she was not so much in a bad state, though she was still frail, from the debililitating effect of an illness of which she was the inspiration for my writing “https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/now-that-cancer-has-come-home-to-roost/”. I can still vividly recall how she lamented why it seems that bad things happen to good people, referring to an adverse situation she had come to know me to be battling. I had simply nodded to her one of my “hmmmmns” in agreement to her words, considering that even if I was no saint, I still adjudge myself undeserving of the card life dealt me. It would turn out to be the last conversation we would share. Incidentally, it would appear that the last words she also heard before passing were mine, as I made to arrange for her to be moved to where I thought she could be better cared for.
I hadn’t hurried to go to her house when I received her husband’s call that fateful morning, to look in to their place on my way to work, thinking that they’ve finally decided to consider a path different from that which they’d been careering since her condition took a turn for the worse three months back. Alas, I met her drawing her (now very faint) last breaths when I eventually arrived about two hours after the call, having been in a precarious situation all night. Her twin sister and husband couldn’t believe it, while her kids were at a loss as to what was playing out before their very eyes. I checked for her pulse after she went still, but it wasn’t there. She used to be fair, but was all white that morning. I figured that if I’d tried some chest compressions I’d probably end up breaking some of her ribs, besides she’d suffered so much already that death however unpleasant, at some point began to look like a necessary inconvenience, with regrets only for those she would leave behind.
I have always been fascinated by death, as evidenced by the sheer number of posts I have devoted to the subject since starting this blog, and though I can’t remember been suicidal even in my most depressed of states. As a kid I used to dream of me in a casket, lying-in-state shadowing images seen on TV mainly, having not experienced funerals that much at the time. Cadavers in gross anatomy had little effect on me, unlike some of my peers who threw up at the sight the first time, as the formaldehyde-soaked bodies looked plastic and not life-like. The bodies in morbid anatomy on the slab for autopsies the next year, were the ones that really got to me. It was there that my non-smoking pledge was reinforced after seeing the state of smokers’ lungs at death, besides further fueling the many inquiries I have concerning death and the afterlife.
Until about a few years ago I lived through moments of my life like it would be my last, even my wife got frustrated hearing me tell her about deals I was involved in and with whom, like I expected her to know should the inevitable happened. Though I have seen less than four decades on earth, I never felt nor thought I’d live this long, such that I thought to draw a tombstone, captioned “10 Years After” as my contribution to the yearbook of my class in the final year of university. Like the ancient Egyptians the understanding of the afterlife has been a passion of mine. Unfortunately, the only thing I have become convinced of is that death isn’t the end. You have to see the dying draw the last breath to know how true this is. How the body seems bereft of life suddenly, abandoned by the force that drives it. How limbs relaxes or even contracts, deceiving the bereaved nearby as to the possibility of some life still left, drawing hope that’s tampered in prayer for the dying for a miraculous reversal of events, and to the intuitive and discerning of the likes of an “angel of death”, or an Anubis setting the body in what it considers the appropriate pose to leave it in, as it escorts the deceased ones’ spirit to the other side.
It was Bob Tamasy commenting on my post – “https://madukovich.wordpress.com/2016/04/28/grieving-as-a-messianic-jew/” in April, a month after I lost my Dad, that drew my attention to the situation in death akin to that of a child about to be born. I have since surmised that the way the end in the womb isn’t considered such a big deal, as with the beginning that occurs with new life on earth when a child is born, so should it not be difficult to imagine that the end on this side of life, should pale before the beginning that’s in the afterlife. Maybe it’s how I rationalize things to numb the hurt I feel for losing very close people in my life, in such a short space of time, but beyond grieving, it further furnishes the discourse especially from experience of what will eventually form my stand on death, life, afterlife and our purpose in life amongst other related sundry, if there ever will be a time when I will have full understanding of these things. In recent days, my hurting has left me numb to my environment, and I know that again, this will take some time to wear off. I figure there’ll be no consolation if no chance exists out there that we who have lost loved ones in tragic (and non-tragic) circumstances will be reunited with them in the hereafter. Hmmmmmn!