Courageous Conversations: Death and Funeral

Sending love! Help me thank Benjamin once again for this one. While we’re at, please check out his blog. His perspective on life is interesting and I find myself challenged to think every time I spend there.


Some time back my mother retired and she started to be at home with us. A year into her retirement, she got a problem with her womb and the medical experts advised that she got rid of it. She did the preparations secluded from me and my little brother. And in July of 2009, she was ready for the medical procedure. Before she left home we discussed the other aspect of events, what if she didn’t get up from the surgical bed, or what if she got up but soon after died from a complication. It was not the first time the three of us discussed her death. A few years earlier we had talked about it, but then she didn’t say much, it was more of getting ready than anything.

I have lost a few people close to me in the past and the confusion that followed was not something I desired. Here we are three boys and a mother doing a risk assessment not on property, but on an eventuality of a lost life. She gave us instructions on how to handle the burial, explored three modes on how to do it. Talked a bit of wealth and how we would carry on afterward. Who to trust and who not to invite home. The burial guest list and costs for all things if it happened. Her last instruction was for us to keep home, no hospital visits one thing that people have never figured out till today. For 7 days we didn’t visit her in the hospital.

Today she is alive. Since then, we have since reviewed the procedure. This time it is not only her death we have discussed, but even ours. We have all agreed on the options for burial grounds or the mode of burial according to the circumstances of death.

In Africa, you can not discuss your death. In fact, funeral rehearsals are unheard of. I had an uncle who happened to die when he was in Botswana where he was a resident for more than 30 years. It took his family 6 months to raise the cost of returning his body for burial. Something that dented the family finances up to this day. They have been case of disagreeing where someone should be buried. Today land is so prized that burial grounds are sold off and families have to relocate the dead like they still matter.

At what point of your life should one have a will? What are the key and basic things that should be in a will? Are you sure you would want to spend tens of thousands of dollars transporting a dead person from one end of the world to another for a burial when you could have had their ash in an envelop. For those that believe in the Bible, if the sea will give up the dead during rapture why insist on a specific burial ground.

We may hate death because it’s an enemy, but remember the wage for sin is death which sin our bodies are subject to. I only think it’s sensible to have that family discussion about your burial and who should attend and speak. I tell people if I find myself asking for directions for a funeral watch then am most likely not supposed to go in the first place. When we have a new life come into this world a few people who matter get to know about it, death is important more than birth because then you have lived and met new people. Those that matter and were valuable to you should make you funeral guest list to reduce on the costs. Because as you die life continues.


27 Comments Add yours

  1. Ecclesiastes 3:18-19 (KJV) Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun:
    because I should leave it unto the man that shall be s-after me.
    And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool?
    yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured,
    and wherein I have shewed myself under the sun. This is also vanity.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. King Solomon with all his wisdom told us this, who are we then

      Liked by 2 people

      1. King Solomon also said, “who is without sin throw the first stone.” (at the woman)!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. GodChild says:

    Benjamin, this is a very important issue! My Dad was a refugee from a country overseas, and was much older than my Mom when they married. He insisted on talking to her about “when” (not “if”) he died. He did die when she was still a very young widow, but she knew what to do next because he had insisted that she sit down and talk through it with him ahead of time. That was a very generous thing for him to have done. She would have been totally lost, a young widow with children and no way to earn a living, if he hadn’t walked through it with her step by step ahead of time. Thank you for your courageous writing!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. The earlier we talk about it as a society the better

      Like

    2. faithmalie says:

      I don’t really care where I end up buried but I sure know I don’t want my body to be cremated because somehow, I think it’s painful (childish right? Lol…). I don’t believe in incurring costs to bring back a dead body, don’t even get it why dead bodies are so prized. Funds wasted on such can be used in more productive avenues, that said, having a conversation about death is something I’m still trying to work on, it’s the elephant in the room!

      Wills should be written and improved on with as time goes by, it’s a good practice that everyone should get used to.
      Death scares me that I don’t even hang pictures of dead relatives in my house!

      Nice piece Benj, it only gets better…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Faith about cremation think of Soul when he died in battle, the Israelites could not move his body because of the circumstances, he had one of the biggest funeral services because David even later composed a song about the death.

        Again about pain, the Bible tells us the dead know nothing, they have no feelings there are only in Gods memory waiting for the voice of his sun to wake up, the Bible tells us even the see will give them up when the time comes to live again.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Moreblessing says:

        Hey 👋🏾
        I totally hear you. It’s a delicate subject and the fact that you can at least express that you’re scared of death helps you deal with it better than one who doesn’t address how they feel at all

        Thanks for reading 😄

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Perth Girl says:

    Thank you for this reminder to have such a conversation. We as a family do not do such a thing and your writing has prompted me to give it some serious thought.
    Blessings 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Moreblessing says:

      Glad it prompted your thoughts 😊
      Thank you for reading fam

      Liked by 2 people

  4. kinge says:

    I think society and the cultures we are born into teach us to fear death and as we grow we fear death even more. I came to learn much about death not long ago, pushed by circumstances after losing people close to me. Now I know that death is part of life and failure to accept it as such, we lose a lot in life. By acknowledging it, you become more present and mindful. Your priority list becomes that of value to you and those around you. Enabling you to live a life of service, give love freely and attain personal development since you learn you can only offer as much value as you have and that life is a gift.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I once talked to someone who later passed away at 115 year’s, she told me I don’t fear death anymore, at a certain age when your friends are gone you start to anticipate

      Liked by 2 people

      1. kinge says:

        I can imagine her state and scenario.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Moreblessing says:

        I am sure with time you learn to embrace fundamental elements of life better

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Moreblessing says:

      Well said! Indeed, the acknowledgement serves us better than avoiding the matter

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kinge says:

        Yes it does.

        Like

  5. conniedia says:

    Deep deep conversation, many families are left in quagmire because we don’t have such conversation

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is very true, something we should learn from

      Like

    2. Moreblessing says:

      It’s real 😅 we need to do better

      Like

  6. Racheal says:

    This is very interesting. I have never heard about people discussing their death and where or how everything should go down. Something for me to think about.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Moreblessing says:

      You know!? When Ben sent the piece to me, I knew right away it was a much needed conversation especially in the African community and we have the power to change the trajectory of how it’s done in the near future

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Racheal says:

        We really do. So much food for thought.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Bolaji Gelax says:

    Oh, Benjamin! To think I was just telling my friends this week I’d like to have my funeral service while I’m still alive.

    I don’t want you saying how much I mean to you when I’m already dead and most likely can’t hear. Also, I have decided to have every of my viable organs donated after my demise. There’s absolutely no post burying it in the ground to rot when it can save lives.

    This isn’t a conversation we like to have, but we must. Thank you for such a powerful piece.

    And, thank you too, Anomaly for sharing this wonderful series. ♥️✨

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Moreblessing says:

      Your readership is valued 😄

      You just reminded of the movie “the fault in our stars” I really like the idea of having the funeral service when I can hear what you have to say

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Mellie says:

    An important reminder thank you

    Liked by 2 people

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