DEATH? NO …. A NEW BIRTH, A NEW LIFE

The title might not be the ideal choice just after marking Easter. … or ,  maybe it even is….

Anyways , I’ve just had an undeniably powerful urge to share this .. Considering that it had been sitting in the box as a draft following weeks of debating…( to share or not to share )….

It’s a long read , brace yourself!!!!

Recently,I was  spending some quality time with my youngest,and amidst all the fun we were having,He suddenly came out with this  … Mum why do we have to die?……………

Before attempting to unravel the above or even start to narrate how I responded, I’ll say this first….

We are born with a natural instinct to survive , hence our innate reflexes as neonates…..

This need for self-preservation continues to grow and  develop as we wade through the waters of life ..It takes on different forms depending on our experience of what we call LIFE

Life as we try to live it, Earth as we see and feel it , Existence as we perceive it, to a great extent determines how attached /detached we are ….Thus, when one’s  child asks .. “Mum , why do we have to die? I don’t want to die , I want to be with you forever …….” We should be glad for their thought processes, and be grateful for the opportunity to light up our little ones’ lives with stories of hope and love….

Did I do that when I heard the question drop out of my son’s lips ? No… Panic mode set in(of course), my vulnerabilities came alive , my complete lack of knowledge hit me, my heart stopped beating for a bit……Why the question , what’s happening ….and so on… ?

There was  no preparation for the tears that rolled down my eyes as the real depths of his unanswerable question began to unfold … ….

I actually experienced true heart ache for the very first time, as I realised, yet again, that a time shall come, when to my limited mind, I would be no more physically present with my loved ones, and all that’s dear to my heart….

Have we thought about this lately? How does it make us feel? I bet we want to close this page and not give it another thought … That’s the feeling it uncovers …Right ?…..

Anyway, trying to unravel my son’s honest question ,in order to give the most genuine answer I could , took me back many years …..

….Sometime in the 80’s… I remember  looking outside my window at night as a child, admiring the moon and stars in the sky… In awe, I would ask myself questions , that in my then 6/7 year old mind, remained unanswerable… ….

Try bringing up questions around death in a typical ” Extended African Family “…You immediately get hushed down from Great-grandmother  to Aunties and Uncles…..It was a topic no one knew how to truly answer…

Moreso, for  a little growing mind to even pre-conceive the idea?…It wouldn’t have been encouraged.. No one was going to sincerely answer  the deep burning questions of a 6-year-old living in 20th Century ,New Age, somewhat developing Africa?

It would then be left to Mum and Dad to address my queries and they would lovingly tell  me religious/ spiritual  stories, that were almost always sufficient to calm my inquisitive  mind…

Now going back to my dear son’s question …What did I say ? I tell you a fact .. I too was stumped, just like my predecessors , who hushed me as a child when I dared to ask those questions…

I hear my  inner whispers say to me, “It has come back full circle Ral.Your questions asked as a child are now going to be answered by you, as your own child asks you the same questions”…

I hurriedly thought to myself …Do I give an answer based on oral tradition? Do I change the topic out of fear? Do I give a faith-based answer?

I said something in the nature of this to him..

” I really do not know (material evidence/ facts ), darling , but I feel in my heart that we do not die , we transform .. We move on to another form of existence …There’s a life force inside of you that’s like the fuel we put in Mummy’s car… this gives you the lovely opportunity to be here on earth and experience all that you experience … At some point it has to move on to newer experiences, so that it doesn’t get bored , hence Death , as we call it…” Death somewhat signifies the end , however the way I’ve chosen to see it, is as follows:

 If I know not how it began , why then shall I give it an end? Hence, the process is transformational  to me and  Life to me is a continuum…

I then went on to explain how the faith I’ve chosen, and a few other religious or spiritual organisations try to explain death…

( At this point , he’s giving me that ” You’re a Lunatic , Mum” Look.. I knew it was coming though , because how do you explain the intricacies surrounding DEATH to a little child of 6? How can he comprehend the rantings of my beautiful mind, without getting lost in the maze?)

With that, a can of “GOODIES” was opened , and we began to have a very intellectually spiritual conversation that only happens when two deep, weirdos meet… Lots of interesting things were unearthed, we talked about the cycles of life et al… and I’ll not go into them all , so as not to  bore you to DEATH!!!

On the flip side though,this made me realise something .. I was hushed then because my grown- ups  were all in Awe of what we call DEATH and it  might have been difficult to get my 6-year-old brain to fully comprehend  this mystery of life … (So I forgive you all for not answering my questions-Dead and Living!!!)

POINT IS???…..

To me, the FREEDOM to truly deliberate what DEATH means to me has been very enlightening, rewarding and de-sensitizing. At least for now…

I’m finding that, the more I think about it, the less threatening it feels , and the more I look upon it as a NEW BIRTH, the more welcoming and acceptable it feels…

It has really given me a deeper level of understanding/ purpose with regards to LIFE and LIVING…And as such, every minute matters. As the seconds tick so do our opportunities, our chances , our experiences, our ability to love….

I remember this “Ibo” saying from a Reverend Father ( whilst I was sat in a Catholic church with my family in my pre-teen years …. All these years and it still  remains fresh in my memory)..It goes like this ……..

“Onye  lo ta onwu, o nua nwayo” – basically translated as  When one remembers death, one becomes still / calm”…

Does the saying above strike a chord ? It did then for me, and it still does now…

How Powerful the thought of Death is, it automatically turns us inwards , doesn’t it?

Turning inwards is key to understanding life and living , as well as coming to terms with internal and external chaos…

May we have the stillness, to truly comprehend Life and Living and as such savour the very essence of it…. This I Pray…

One Love..

Ral …XXx….

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