Monthly Archives: December 2012

Beyond the Choices

I love happy endings, be such in relationships, lessons or activities. I’ve been a student of the past one year, opening my heart, eyes and ears to every anecdote, word, idea, gesture and unaltered silence that came my way. From each of these I’ve learnt a lot, enough to prove the maxim that “some things in life are caught, not taught.” I’ve felt deep emotions about things and people and I’ve kept my eyes focused on seeing the beauty life has blessed me with. I’ve been worried about the sprawling poverty around – poverty of basic needs, of commitment to service and also poverty of values. I still remember the most popular axiom while growing up: “children are the leaders of tomorrow.” I took this literarily and reasoned that, if this must come true, one must weigh the consequences of each action as deeply as possible before deciding on a course of action. Now, what I hear is complaint from the elderly ones: “children of these days are too ambitious,” as though being ambitious makes one a misfit.

I write this post out of concern about the values that seem to be pervasive in our society, values that are worrisome and anti-developmental. I have been blessed to know and work with wonderful people with strong values, ideas, leadership potentials and love for humanity. In spite of this, I feel saddened when I come across an outstanding breach committed by a young person. It’s as if such has not generated enough anger against the disappointments of the elderly ones who have plundered our collective resources. When that happens, I know the person has been an unfortunate mentee. One fortunate thing in our world today is that it is suffused with positive mentors with commitment to values that are timeless and priceless. One unfortunate thing in our world today is that there is also copious supply of negative mentors. The difference then lies in the choices we make. Making the right choice is never an easy task. You have to constantly fight against yourself, and sometimes against a group you belong. The self-deceit lies in telling yourself you have to be better than someone else or meet a certain ideal set by someone else. In the race towards the Truth and the Best in human existence, we run against ourselves. Some choices bring about immediate consequences while others have deferred consequences. Positive choices are like deferred gratification, but they yield immediate peace and lasting reward.

Following on the heels of all that I’ve said above, it’s time to bring the illustrative case which informed this post. I recently came by a young man, under thirty, who lost an opportunity of an interesting career in one of the prime institutions in the country. He joined the organisation a few years back on a comfortable income and good working conditions, but decided to exploit the trust of his colleagues and got caught up in a series of fraudulent activities. He spent the yields from the fraudulent actions on “financial terrorism” – living ostentatious lifestyle, intimidating others and employing personal chauffeur under claims of being financed by his “wealthy parents.” When his cover was blown and investigators pored through the books and his background, he became an inmate of a police detention cell. As he confessed to the numerous frauds he committed, investigators wanted to know what moved him to such ignominious end. He admitted it was caused by greed and when he saw that he was trusted by his colleagues, he abused the trust.

As I watched his broken family struggle to come to terms with the son they thought they knew, it was clear his choices didn’t affect him only. The casualties were many; among them were his parents, siblings, pregnant wife, and most importantly, the expected child who might come forth from the womb to find the father in jail. I’ve been deeply saddened by this incident, trying to understand the weight of the greed that drove him. Was he ambitious? I can’t say. I would think ambition is guided by a well thought-out set of priorities, guided by values that engender their full realization. I’m wont to think this was a case of misplaced priorities. Unfortunately, he is not alone. I’ve heard and read about young people who have expressed readiness to seize similar opportunity and walk same path, with same choices. In most cases, they stop at the choices, not on the consequences, often rationalizing ethical dilemmas to avoid a feeling of cognitive dissonance. Even when the world is replete with stories of unwholesome consequences from bad choices, they rationalize themselves away as being smarter. It is the reasoning adopted by those who believe they can buy their freedom from the law, should they be caught. It’s a saddening reality.

In spite of the fact that in our country, we may have some bad people, be sickened by hate and divisions, squashed by poverty and hemmed in by corruption from all sides, our spirit can still aspire towards purity. It has been proven timelessly that the man who strives against greater opposition obtains greater victory. I’m thankful for those who have chosen to act wisely and with the consciousness that every negative act or thought breathes negative energy into our lives. They have taught us to believe in the best, work for the best and expect the best. I’m ending the year with a reinforced lesson: making the right choice brings about positive consequences in the short, medium and long term. Having watched how the mighty have fallen in spite of their wealth, making the right choices sure gives peace of mind. They keep the police away too; and when the police do come, they come for the right choices one has made. Making the right choice builds our mentoring integrity as well as a worthy heritage, solid and unassailable.

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The Animal Instinct

It’s just one of those moments when my mind spins on its orbit and my heart traces and retraces varied paths my consciousness has travelled. Now, I’m wondering what constitutes the subsistent element of human life. Though I wonder about this, I let not myself wander much into the abyss. It’s because I love life and its potency in bringing forth beauty, growth and life. I’m not surprised that blood remains life’s precious fluid. It might not be subsistent, but blood is certainly elemental to life, whether it’s human or non-human. Looking back through history, blood has always been viewed as being coterminous with life, and rightly so. It is not surprising that blood is shed during the birthing process in order to bring forth life. This is in spite of the fact that recent statistics point to hemorrhaging as the commonest cause of death among pregnant women in Nigeria. Shedding one’s blood to give life to another is an altruistic act which has sustained the human population all through the ages.

On the flip side, however, so much blood has been shed in Nigeria, deliberately and carelessly. When we talk about the shedding of human blood, I’m referring to the senseless murders that have taken place across this country in the past one year? I don’t mean only acts of terrorists who bomb people dead or slit the throats of innocent citizens as though they were readied for suya meat. I also mean the murder that bad roads have committed, because those who have responsibilities to repair them have embezzled the money with impunity and got rewarded with juicier positions in government, leaving the pot-holed roads to the recklessness of drivers and siren-blaring public officials. It feels as if there is a god-goddess enthroned somewhere, whose delight is to feast upon gourmet blood. When I talk about blood-letting, I’m referring to the hospitals, where the voiceless and poor are legally murdered due to lack of adequate equipment and competences. I’m also referring to the extra-judicial killings by agents of the state and the attendant reprisal killings. I’m thinking if all the blood that has been shed in Nigeria this year were collected and contained in some form, they would sure sail a ship steadily from Lagos to Maiduguri.

The country is soaked in blood and this is not good for true development. When bloodletting is not curtailed, peace is endangered. Our search for solutions through political correctness and maneuvering will lead us along a path that is not sustainable. I’ve often wondered how people feel when they take human lives, directly or by proxy. Thinking about this now, I remember a discussion I had some years ago with a retired Colonel of the Israeli Army. He happened to have been one of those who, as a young officer, carried out the Operation Entebbe of 4 July, 1976 during the reign of Idi Amin of Uganda. Knowing him to be a veteran sniper and blunt too, I believed he would be sincere with me. We were discussing his various engagements in the military when I asked him, “Looking back, how do you feel recollecting those moments when you had to aim the gun at someone and then pull the trigger?” The retired colonel looked me intently in the eye and responded “Charles, I’ve never let my eyes look into a man’s eyes when I pull the trigger. No true human being does that. At the point you pull the trigger, you must submit yourself to the animal instinct.” I was subdued by his frankness, but I learnt something deep.

Recently, a colleague’s brother was coldly murdered in Bornu State and months ago a video of communal homicide was posted on the internet, of how four young men were murdered by a community in Rivers State. During the year, there was also the circulation of a video of children, mainly under six years, who were murdered by some terrorists. All through the year, we hear stories of deaths, of carnage across the land. Going by the bloodletting that has become pervasive in Nigeria, I truly believe that it takes becoming an animal to kill a human being. Respecting the preciousness of human life and its sanctity bestows some form of purity on the human soul. Our land needs healing, as the cries of the innocent resound across the space and those they have left behind bewail their suffering. The healing must start from our hearts, as we seek peace, breathe peace, speak peace and work for peace. Each positive action we take to stop a human life from being a victim of the animal instinct is a valid action that contributes to our collective and individual healing and sanity. We need this healing to grow, to overcome the hurdles politics, religion, greed, hate and egos have placed on our way.

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a grateful spirit

I’m grateful for the tears of the year
They’ve proven I’m human after all;
I’m grateful for successes attained,
They’ve strengthened my faith in me.

I’m grateful for friends that stayed
There’s some purpose in our bond;
I’m grateful for those that fell aside,
Our purpose had run its course.
I’m grateful for new friends found,
They prove that help is always around.

I’m grateful for each word I’ve crafted,
They’ve been my sublime guide.
I’m grateful for all I’ve read and learnt;
They’ve enriched my dance steps with life.
I am grateful for family, near and far;
They’ve remained great pillar of strength.

I’m grateful for the air and its breath,
The conveyance of life and freshness;
I’m grateful for the Truth I seek,
The embrace of my soulful dance.

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Beyond the Routine

It was Boxing Day and I’d woken to a rewarding time ahead of me. There were some messages still coming in with wishes of goodwill. I needed to send some out too. So, I settled for sparing some time to chat. The lot fell on a pediatrician friend I hadn’t heard from for quite some time. I wanted to find out how she was doing during the Christmas season and to express my good wishes. She was about 300 miles away, in Calabar, where so many activities were taking place during the season.

“Christmas? I’m not the best person to know how it is. I’ve been busy in the theatre resuscitating babies.”

I was quite thrilled, though I could read she meant she wasn’t in the usual Christmas mood that characterized Calabar at the moment. The reality was that I wasn’t interested in finding out how Christmas was in Calabar; I was interested in knowing how her Christmas season was.

I needed to let her know, so I replied, “That is the real Christmas. I’d give up what I’m doing now to be in that situation.”

“Really?” Her response smacked of surprise.

“Sure. You’re doing something really worthwhile, building and mending lives; giving hope to people. That’s the real Christmas.”

She dropped a smiley face before adding, “Thank you. You know, one does this so often that it becomes a routine and one hardly sees it any differently.”

She was right. But, I wasn’t going to accept that as the way it should be. So, I took her through the experiences. I wanted her to feel the freshness in her efforts, the love that throbs in the moments and the transformation that takes place through her routine. I reminded her of the panic that parents express when the children are brought in and the debilitating conditions of the children, sometimes too weak to eat, cry or even talk. Then I contrasted these with the calm and radiance that shine on the faces of the parents after being attended to and noticing the child’s emerging smile and playfulness. I reminded her that her efforts contribute to the transformation. That is infusion of life, a rebirth of some sort. That is what we are called to do, to be co-creators by creating and re-creating conditions of better wellbeing, love, happiness and peace.

Isn’t that the way many of our lives are? Getting so caught up with the routine that we fail to feel the essence in our daily engagements? Aren’t we so often bugged down by routine that we hardly see the beauty in our activities? I’ve noticed how parents feel obligated to love their children and care for them that they see and feel only the routine in the expressions of love, oblivious of the uniqueness of each moment and the life it breathes. I’ve seen workers approach their jobs as drudgery, compelled by financial need to stay on it without appreciating the lives it touches or the fun it should bring to their lives. Routine should not make our lives any less interesting, especially when we can relate with the purpose inherent in it. Focusing on the purpose rather than just the activity of our engagements or activities can enrich our perspective of life, our relationships and our overall wellbeing. This, I think, should be the Christmas gift we should gift ourselves.

Well, I ended the chat with my friend by reminding her “each mother, each child may take it that you’re doing your job, but your work breathes positive energy into life – your life, their lives and the world. This, for me is the real purpose of work.”

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“We take it for granted that our lives are ordinary because we are living them, yet every moment of each of our stories is unique. No one else lives them for us, no one else can feel them as we do. Each of us leaves our mark on history, even if it passes unnoticed and fades unremarked.”

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

dec2012 027I’m sitting here in tears tonight, exhausted and a little fragile as I am rather unwell, but that is not why the tears. No, the tears fall because of a realisation that has taken a few decades too many to sink home. I can be terribly dense sometimes. An idiot, really.

I had a message in my inbox tonight that made me cry. It comes from a man in the US whom I will probably never meet and yet whose life and dreams have touched and intertwined with mine for a little while along the way and who has become a friend. It was sent with love, in a momentary respite from a very busy days cooking, shopping and cleaning in preparation for the evening’s festivities, telling me how he and his wife are hosting a family gathering tonight. “I know that while there may be 23 folks here physically…

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Love in the Now

I love holidays. They allow me more time to spend with my family, to write, read and even reflect more deeply. This year’s Christmas holidays were no different. I woke up hungry and had to satisfy my appetite by sipping garri with moi moi. Oh, it was a luxuriant feeling. Over the past few days since my daughter found me at home for longer hours than usual, she had been insisting that I be the one to bathe her in the mornings and in the evenings. So, I had to do that on the morning of Christmas Day before we both rushed for the Ipad, only that she beat me to it on that day. I was more engrossed with reading the short messages that were inundating my mobile phones. As I stretched on the sofa and perused the messages, my mind began to wonder.

Let me tell you what happened, or what I was thinking of. I’ll start by sharing some of the messages with you, but before I do that, I’ll like to ask you if you have ever wondered what Christmas meant to you? It sure means different things to different folks. In fact, in one’s life time, Christmas means different things at different times. Perhaps, while one was young, one was more inclined to associate Christmas with family time, colourful decorations, symphonic renditions, carol glitters, Santa Claus mystery, motley of cuisines, or a combination of these and many more. Then as one grew a little bit more, one began to associate it with time to spend with friends, more time to play games, go visiting, enjoy the lush ambience of nature and the breezy freshness of parks. Yet, as one grows older, it begins to have more esoteric meaning or just turns out to be no different than any other holiday. Whatever one’s experience, I think we should associate Christmas with something. For me, I associate it with the Love in the Now, with everyday experience while approaching each day as though it were Christmas, or at least, should be. Morever, because it comes just six days to the end of the Gregorian calendar year, I also associate Christmas with the period of Examination of Conscience, an exercise I learnt as a teenager while in the Seminary.

Now, let me share the messages just the way they were received, unedited. I’m juxtaposing the messages I received from my Christian and Muslim friends, for emphasis:

A Christian friend wrote “May the celebration of xmas bring forth double portion of blessn and grace upon u and ur household. Merry xmas.”
A Muslim friend wrote “May the good tidings of this period be with you and the family now and always. Merry Christmas.”
Another Christian friend wrote “U’re so special 2 me dat 2day being a special day I send u & ur family dis best wishes of hapyly filld xmas wit extravagant grace, joy and merriment. Merry xam.”
A Muslim friend wrote “Wishing u and family members Merry Christmas; and Happy and Prosperous New Year.”
Another Christian friend wrote “Xst is the reason for the season, may d new born xst bring new reason to rejoice in your entire family, amen. Merry xmas and a prosperous new year in advance.”
A Muslim friend wrote “As you celebrate this Christmas may divine protection and good health be the gifts from God to you and everyone in your household, Amin.
A Christian friend wrote “Wen God opened his tap of blesin, I laughed at dose wit cups & jugs bcos I wz wit bucket, surprise I saw u wt tanks. Celebrat 4 ur fada and he is d rezin 4 ds sezin, hpy xm.
Another Muslim friend wrote “May the blessings of Christmas locate you and your family for a prosperous new year.”

I’ve chosen not to bore you by selecting only these eight for illustrative purposes. As I flipped through my messages, I kept wondering to myself: why don’t people just say what they want to say the right way. The contrast in the messages made me wonder: Who was more careless? Who was more expressive? Which was more worthy of my attention? Why do people find it so difficult to spell the word “Christmas?” I love those messages from my Muslim friends; they had more appeal and meaning to me and is a sign of their deep appreciation of the relevant. I know one may say I’m old-school, but I’ve learnt a lot in my youthful life. As a student of the symbolic interactionist school, I have learnt that symbols have shared meaning and therefore, the use of a symbol like Xmas with certain connotative meaning shouldn’t be crucified. Unfortunately, the symbolism in this case is contextually misplaced. The Greek letter chi (X) was used as a symbol for Christos as an initial, just the same way C would be used for Charles. However, as Christmas assumed traditional roots within Christendom, the use of X as an initial for Christos shed its glottochronological relevance as the full meaning of Christmas came to denote Christ’s Mass in the English language, with the “mass” drawn from Latinate source. Thus, it becomes a distortion of reality to bypass the richness of the term Christmas and settle for the initial which has assumed diversity of meanings, thereby diminishing the potency of the symbolism.

Used as an initial, just as C could refer to Charlene, Cael, Chester, Clinton, Chrysostom other than Charles, so does X refer to numerous options such as the mathematician’s “unknown quantity,” an obliterated sign or an extra. The use of “Xmas” to replace “Christmas” is a misnomer, popularized as a means of demeaning the centrality of Christ to Christmas. Unfortunately, our illusive disposition to abbreviate words in this age of social media has further popularized the reference which is shifting variedly as the above short messages tend to point. I’ve seen varied abuses of words characterized by baseless abbreviations which demonstrate ignorance and a signet of unserious attitude to life. I’m inclined to think that the changing denotations in our expressions as noted here reflect an individual’s approach to Christmas and its message or spirit. Words are portraits and we draw with them. Whatever the meaning we attach to Christmas over the changing experiences of our lifetime, one thing is certain: Christmas cannot be truly explained, even if not experienced, without reference to Jesus Christ. I really don’t care what day of the year it falls since it would be deceptive to mark any day as being more or less worthier than another. It is the spirit with which we infuse into a day or a moment that makes it holy. Thus, we should approach Christmas, as much as our lives, with the consciousness of our being as spirit and let the spirit of Christmas make us yield with love to a needy world.

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When the Light turns Green

It was during the morning of Twenty Six (after Christmas Day) when I drove out to the office to pick up the security token for my laptop since I needed to complete some reports that were to be due the following day, that I grinded to a halt by a traffic light when it turned red and a young man in seemingly healthy physical shape but with wrinkled and hungry looks approached my car and stretched out his hand for anything I could offer, hanging on without leaving for other cars, perhaps confident by my turning to take a full glimpse of him as he poured blessings upon me, while I pondered why he should be begging rather than finding something meaningful to do, half-thinking if I should throw out something to him or not; just when I made up my mind that it was Christmas after all and sharing wouldn’t hurt, and decided to reach out for my wallet tucked in my trousers’ back pocket, the traffic light beamed green and I noticed the young man wave bye-bye to me while hobbling away as the blaring sounds of car horns behind me unconsciously gave breath to my accelerator and I zoomed off, with my mind restlessly rested on thoughts of the young man, his beggarly face gazing sorrowfully – yet beseechingly – into my soul until I, unable to contain the feeling of guilt, drove back in search of him after about an hour and not finding him, could only assuage my half sense of guilt by giving out what I would have given him to another beggar, who was listlessly leaning by a pole, seemingly contented not to bother someone like me, leaving me to wonder about the best moments to do the right thing.

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Beyond Oronto Douglas: Irresponsibility As Statecraft By Pius Adesanmi | Sahara Reporters

Beyond Oronto Douglas: Irresponsibility As Statecraft By Pius Adesanmi | Sahara Reporters.

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The Uninvited Guest

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I’ve always known Nigeria to be soaked in the despondent slime of poverty, but the encounter of that Tuesday afternoon was not anticipated, as I walked into a roadside cafeteria in Hawan Hotoro area of Kano and placed an order for wheat and egusi soup which was promptly served before I stood up to a corner to wash my hands, only to return and see that a young man, disheveled and dressed in dirty and tattered clothing, with hair curled by months of combless neglect and dryness, had gone almost half-way in munching the food with such frenzy that my twitching belly and the hunger I felt suddenly settled into subdued calm as I beheld him while letting my eyes soak in the algid normalcy that sat on the faces of others in the cafeteria – including the one seated closest to him – wondering if I was normal myself to be surprised by the sight, waited until he was done with the last ball, stood up with the sachet water which he splashed to wash his soiled hands and then gulped the rest before doing obeisance to me as a show of gratitude, thereafter dashing away, while I followed on his trail, to find out more about this spectacle; and when I caught up with him and asked how he survived each day, he looked me up with a beckoning eye, then held me mildly by the wrist, leading me through footpaths, across feeder roads, saying nothing until we were at an open grassland, with large expanse sparsely dotted by deciduous trees, before turning to me to speak “I’ve no burden, so I live in the open field and survive each day on those like you who can feed themselves, either through the work they’ve for me or through their food,” leaving me to wonder about the various burdens we carry in life such that when I traced my path back to the comfort of my hotel room, all I could feel was emptiness and brooding thoughts about how complicated our lives have become.

Note: I’ve found some fun writing one-sentence stories and I’ll be posting some of these once in a while, hoping that you, my reader, would share in the fun. I’ll be grateful for your feedback. Thank you.

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Nunc Dimittis

Freedom
I’ve not been in my best creative mood lately due to the passing away of a beloved one in the family. I don’t think there is a creative way to mourning. Well, there are creative ways to coming to terms with the reality that strikes one, but I’ve had many encounters with death to know that the dead don’t truly go away. Every death holds my hand and leads me backwards to the beginning, to the earliest of my experience. But, I’m always trying to walk away, to live only in the now. While growing up decades ago, I served as an altar boy at several burials and each brought me close to the dead and the dying ones. I think we are all dead people or dying people, in some form. Each time we lose a loved one or encounter death, a part of us dies. Inevitably, each dying moment of life decays from our grasp and becomes history.

It’s two weeks since Elizabeth, my elder sister, left us physically, and her departure brings back memories, of the various deaths I’ve grown up to know. Her death was just three days away from five years memorial of Gloria, my young niece who lived with me and died out of careless medical doctor’s handling while I was thousands of miles away. Eli’s portrait has hung on my phone since her departure, as a memento of the love we shared, with a radiant smile that mocks death.

I gaze upon her face, intently, but all I could see is her smile, and memories. Memories we shared, growing up. There are so many cherished memories I have of her, but one stands out. Hers was the only childbirth I have ever witnessed. I was a child then, under ten, when she had her first child, attended to by a midwife at home. I was straddled to our mum’s apron string when she went into labour and everyone was so busy trying to attend to her. I saw her hung on the thin thread between life and death in that exerting trice, with her muscles contracting as she pushed to bring forth life; then, the pool of blood flowed. I never forgot and since then, I knew I had witnessed enough child birth. One was truly enough and I wasn’t going to be a midwife.

As I look upon her memories, a tear traces its feeder path from the reservoir of my eyes through the cheeks, branching off into tributaries downwards. Her smile is imprinted upon my heart as I keep vigil upon memories of her. Eli was a teacher with a passion and we had discussed plans of establishing an educational institution together sometime in the future, to assuage her teaching appetite and my knowledge-searching mind while experimenting an educational model. We had disagreement about where we would establish the institution, but it was something close to our hearts. She was my senior, but would readily concede to me on so many fronts, though our ideas often overlapped, after some fine-tuning. Our last discussion was on her son who just got admission into a private university in the country to study Mass Communication, on mentoring options for the young man. We had plans for the year end and even for February, 2013. She was a sister close to my heart.

With Eli, you could never relapse into the past. She was the Now person, with so much excitement about it, and glowing gaze upon tomorrows. Her disposition reminded me what St. Therese wrote over a century ago, “If I did not simply live from one moment to another, it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I look only at the present, I forget the past, and I take good care not to forestall the future.” She was patient, diligent and full of life. Her love for simplicity and humility was exemplary and I loved her more for that. It feels so strange to refer to her in the past tense, as though she were a word, not the beautiful soul I know. Yet, I know, she is.

Since her departure, so many deaths have plagued our world. Many children have been killed in Connecticut, bringing the issue of gun-control in the United States to the fore. Since her death, a naval helicopter has crashed in Nigeria, killing six people. Since her death, a friend has lost his first child to stillbirth after waiting for eight years of married life. Since her death, many children have been born into a world ridden with guns, disease and debilitating human conditions. Since her death, we have found a reason to live the miracle of a new day. Since her death, we have shed tears we could not control and controlled ones we could not fathom. Since her death, we had wished a thousand times that she was alive. Since her death many have carried on as though their lives could not end today. Since her death many people have amassed so much wealth as though they would never die.

Her death is a reminder, like every other should be. We live not for yesterday or for tomorrow. We live for the now, for the only true day we live is the day we die. The day before doesn’t matter, neither does the day after. The day we die is the only definitive day of our life. It is today that we can do the good we can, express the love we can, pour out our soul into the moment as much as we can and connect with our purpose as much as we can. As I am drawn into this dance with death, I cannot extricate this consciousness from my mind. A friend heard about Eli’s departure and complained that I should’ve told her, if she were truly my friend. It was a comic relief for me as I wondered what was so newsworthy about death to broadcast as though it were a sympathy-seeking incident. I’d more readily talk about my daily struggles in preparation for mine than someone else’s.

I remember having to visit many funeral homes while growing up and watching the different mourning patterns, with a somewhat sociological eye. I often thought then that people cry over their loved ones for various reasons. Some cry because they would genuinely miss the person for the bond of relationship they shared; some mourn because of the material warranty they would lose; some cry because they are mindful of the cost of burial they are likely to incur; some mourn because they missed a chance to build a better relationship with the person. I don’t think the reasons have changed much. I try not to mourn for Eli in any obvious way, but my spirit grieves deeply over her departure and I know however reflective I may be over her death today, I’ll mourn her more appropriately in years to come. Our beloved ones don’t leave us alone; they live in us every day and a part of them grows in us. What we owe their memory is to live each day as though we are prepared to meet them. If we truly love them we would be prepared each day and live as though it were our last, not with nihilistic fear, but with conviction that each day is a sub-project that must be completed effectively for another to be built upon.

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