WHILE WAILING, THEY FEASTED

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WHILE WAILING, THEY FEASTED

By Onochie Igwesi

 

Adaeze finished from a private and reputable secondary school in Enugu at a tender age of 15 and at 16, she had already gained admission into one of the universities in the country to study Architecture, at a time when most of her age mates were just beginning their senior secondary classes. In school, she was outstanding as her academics witnessed no setback despite participating in virtually every curricular & extra-curricular activity on campus. By her 300level, she already had a CGP of 4.59. She was a good basketball player and as if that wasn’t enough, she had the voice of the heavenlies. To say that Adaeze was pretty was an understatement; she was fit for only Kings and Princes. As expected, guys were always on her matter-without committing to anyone, she just went with the tide. On social media, she was a bad ass hottie & influencer. She had a thriving lingerie & perfume business that fetched her extra cash aside her monthly upkeep from her apparently wealthy parents. Did I mention that her Dad was a reputable Architect and she already had a position reserved for her in her Dad’s company? One thing was certain-the future was already set for and beckoning on Adaeze.

Fast forward to her final year, she wrote her degree examinations, defended her project and began the usual clearance preceding NYSC. One fateful day, two months into her wait for her call up letter to NYSC, she complained of feeling excruciating pains in her stomach, she got drugs to relieve her of the pains but when the pains wouldn’t leave, she was admitted in a hospital. Three days later, she bade the earth farewell in a manner most painful to her family and friends. (Exhales) After all the struggles and seeming promises of bliss & greatness the future held for Adaeze, she died just like that. Her family wept profusely over her inexplicable death, her mum quickly developing high BP from the news. Her demise shattered the walls of social media, trending for weeks, non-stop. Her course mates were too devastated to believe it was true. It just didn’t make sense that one minute Adaeze was alive, apparently responding to treatments and the next minute she was dead; lots of questions with no answers. Well, life had to go on.

What followed next was the preparation for Adaeze’s funeral. Her family vowed to accord her a deserving last respect. There were invitations to be sent to different groups, radio announcements to be made, uniforms to be bought, distributed & sown, posters to be printed, polo shirts with her face and name to be produced, different kinds of food to be cooked for both the night of songs and funeral proper, drinks to be bought, burial brochure to be produced, cows, goats and fowls to be slaughtered, coffin to be bought, decorators to be consulted, meetings between the church and Adaeze’s family, services of undertakers to be employed; it was as if the list of things to be taken care of were unending. After months of careful preparation by Adaeze’s family to which the extended family and friends contributed little to nothing, the D-day finally came; the day the gorgeous and promising Adaeze was to be buried. Immediately Adaeze was interred to mother earth amidst the cries and wailings of family, friends and well-wishers, plates of food began flying around the “event”. People were seriously clamouring for their own share of foods and drinks; voices were raised and the attendants were cussed by those who felt cheated by the sharing formula-tears began to diminish & disappear from people’s eyes. Even Adaeze’s parents were so busy doling out instructions to the attendants to make sure that all attendees were satisfied that they forgot they had just lost their gem of a daughter. Hmmm! At that point, barely no one remembered again that the future of a young and promising girl was just snuffed out in pitch darkness by inexplicable events. Needless saying that all attendees were really satisfied because Adaeze’s burial was the talk of the town for months.

This is just Fiction. I’m merely trying to use it to drive home a point. Let us go back in time to the creation story-the good old days of Eden. When God made man, He never intended that man would go down six feet deep after a time on earth but due to the fall of man, He gave us death, not as a revel but as a reminder in strong terms of man’s depravity. Suffice to say that today, it appears death and its inevitability has lost its message. Funerals have become feasts and opportunities for outrageous merrymaking. The hearts of most are only heavy for as long as the Preacher’s heart-rending sermon during the funeral lasts. You scarcely hear dirges sung in funerals again. Mostly gone are those days when during the funeral of a deceased, family and friends become melodramatic, wanting to jump into the grave and be buried together with the deceased. These things no longer happen. They are now moribund and can only be seen in Nollywood movies. At present, aside walking down the aisle, one other easy way to bankruptcy is funerals and woe betide you, if the person you are to bury lived up to 85years and above. You know, we call the funerals of those at that age and above “Celebration of life”. I am not saying that it is entirely wrong to give a befitting funeral to an outstanding person. What I am saying is that the grandiosity of a funeral has never, can never, and will never be a criterion for measuring the essence and usefulness of one’s life. When a man dies, what should be of utmost importance are the things to learn from his life, how to extend and bequeath the memory of his legacies to the present and the unborn, not how to use a costly funeral to canonize a horrible person. Sometimes, I wish we could take a cue from the Westerners on issues of funeral.

Even if our funerals should be such revelry then everyone must learn decisively to cut their coat according to their cloth. The rich should bury like the rich and the poor like the poor. I do not see a reason why funerals should put one’s account on red simply because one wants the echoes of a funeral to be heard louder than that of a neighbour. Let’s try not to forget the cause of death and the clandestine message it carries. We must not forget that no matter the affluence of a funeral, the same fate awaits us all. We must also begin to be reoriented that after we have gone the way of all the earth, the living shall only remember us because of our works.

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Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.

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  1. The Truth about this is that it’s an aspect african culture that has long outlived it’s purpose.

    We so much have value the dead as compared to the living.

    Something back a grandma died because she fell into a pit toilet, something that could have been fixed with a few thousands of naira, but typical of the african culture it wasn’t. Immediately she died the toilet was fixed, the delipidated house she lived was refurbished because men of class will be coming for the burial ceremony.

    Most times, persons will be sick, everyone will be lamenting of money for treatment, but immediately the person passes on….
    Money will be will be within reach in a couple of days for ‘A befitting Burial.’

    Most of this burial leaves the cost bearers in debt for years all in the bid to please the community and meet the certain set imaginary standard.

    This topic is a sensitive one, but a time will come when burial ceremonies will be just burials and not burial ceremonies.

  2. I hope that time you talked about comes, because as it seems, people are now in competition on who will do more than the other person.
    This is where the issue arises, turning grief into a ceremonious affair.

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