The death of Blues legend Riley B. King, popularly known by his stage name B.B. King, come on my news alert at 2:22am. Although I was sound asleep, the distinct sound got my attention. I started contemplating about death as I drifted off to sleep again.
When I awoke, I was strangely still thinking about death.
This whole death thing got me thinking.
‘Why is death is so much of a morbid subject’? I’m not completely sure so I decided to go on that road of exploration.
It was an uneventful Sunday morning, just like all the others. Maame, my grandmother (as she is affectionately called) and I returned from ‘Church’. I didn’t particularly like the lunch that was prepared. I’m not sure what I ate then, but vividly remember her decision to go get some ripe plantains to prepare what she knew was one of my favorite meals at that time.
I left for a youth meeting as she was getting ready to go get the plantains. I thought about the food all throughout the meeting. I could even catch the pleasant aroma, and could not wait to get home to Maame’s delicately prepared meal just for me.
As I approached home, half running half jogging, I noticed Maame’s store was closed. This was unusual. There were hordes of people swarming the house and all around the compound. An uneasy hush swept through the crowd as I passed them and made my way to our front door. I overhead someone say, “. . . here comes her beloved grandson. . . . it’s not going to be good.”
Sensing something was wrong I inquired around and was rushed next door where Papa, my grandmother’s brother was among a gathering of some official-looking people. I had hardly settled in a seat offered me when a policeman entered and inadvertently broke the news.
“The body has been transferred to the morgue!”
My world came to a crashing halt! This was my first and cruel close encounter with death. Until that time, it was a distant and mysterious phenomenon. Now, it was an uncomfortably oppressive companion. The weeks, months and years that followed were accompanied by questions I have had no answers to, even now!
While I’m not an expert on the subject, over the years, I have on several occasions been introduced to, and come to accept death in ways that I now feel a bit comfortable talking about.
Death is as natural as being born. We will all die one day. (Some may live to see the return of Jesus Christ). It is the natural order of things. But we tend to be surprised whenever it comes. I wonder why?
But death is not the end at all! It is a transition to the next world. For Followers of Jesus Christ, whom have professed a belief in Him as the Savior of this world, it is rather the gateway to Heaven.
The fear of death therefore evaporates with this conviction. Or it should because this world is NOT our final destination.
Mark Twain said it best,
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
Our focus, I’m realizing ever more, must be placed on living to the fullest here on earth and to courageously move on when that inevitable time comes.
The grief and obvious sadness that comes with the loss must be tempered with the knowledge of the hopeful happy reunion. And that is the way I have found peace with the loss of Maame.
My heartfelt condolences to the families of B. B. King, Ben E. King and all those who have lost a loved one.
May we all be remaindered, as we await our turn, that. . . .
“Every man dies, not every man really lives.” ~ William Wallace, in the Movie ‘Braveheart’.
Click here to watch how passionately B. B King performed live at Montreux in 1993.
Click here for ‘Stand By Me’, by Ben E. King.
How have you dealt with the fear of death or the loss of a loved one?