Right from the very inception of time, mankind has been characterized by 2 classic and unique phenomena: Life and Death. Every age, season, century and time experiences these phenomena. The birth of a new born is often followed by wide spread joy, celebration, gift presentations and well-sounded choruses. In the African setting, it is quite symbolic and portends better things ahead; many families could go as far as holding a communal party as a sign of proclamation of the entry of this new born.
Conversely, ‘Death’ is marked by sorrow, pain, grief, dirges, wailing and weeping whether it comes suddenly or is quite expected. The death phenomenon has been classified as one of the characteristics of living things; it is a phenomenon that is global in scope, not bound by age, race, echelon or charisma; it is one experience that everyone is bound to have someday; still yet, like a disease, many have been infected by death and very many still are affected by it.
There is actually a certain feeling you get when you become aware of the fact that someone whom you were quite close to, used to and fond of, is no more: An understanding that as days go by, you would never see or feel this person again. This feeling brings with it a deep sense of reflection, self-purging and examination.
Death brings with it an inescapable sting, very much fiercer than that of a bee or wasp; the sting of death itself is that shock, agony, depression, very heavy heartedness and general brokenness that is experienced at the death of a loved one. With eyes wide open, the bereaved looks on as a loved one is lowered 6 feet below the ground; this point most times, marks the climax of the emotional fall as every doubt that had hitherto existed becomes a clear reality. While yet in this state, crying becomes a hobby, regrets at past mistakes or disputes with the dead is obviously felt and of course, there is an ultimate feeling of the wish to hold the power to ‘turn back time’ or ‘give life to the dead’.
Daily, without due notice, the mighty hand of death leaves many children across this planet fatherless, motherless or orphaned. In like manner, many parents become eternally childless; wives mourn husbands; husbands mourn wives; siblings mourn siblings; children mourn parents and parents mourn children. It is simply a case of no exception. With an average period less than a second and also with a good proportion, the ‘Grave’ experience population increases in its house hold. Oh death, how painful is thy sting? Indeed very painful.
In spite of the very many attempts to explain or subdue the power of death, the ‘death phenomenon’ has quite proven to be one thing that mankind cannot overcome in spite of her very advanced technological developments. It has shown that life itself is a gift from the Almighty and that He alone can give and take it at will. Man has been given one lifetime: we only live once and die once. Little wonder, Akon sang (in one of his songs titled ‘Ghetto’) that ”…there is no need to cherish luxury because everything come and go; even the life that you have is borrowed because you are not promised tomorrow, so live your life as if everyday is going to be the last…”
As long as life exists, there is an ever present possibility of an unprecedented strike by death and thus the harsh but real chance of experiencing the agonizing and deep sting of death.