Last weekend I was in western again. I lost my paternal grandmother and for the second time in two weeks I saw a parent lose a parent. For the second time in two weeks the priest, the same priest coincidentally, called for family to drop soil into the grave, for the second time in two weeks, I wore a black T-shirt with my grandma’s photo and I am drained.
There is something about seeing the body being lowered into the ground that brings such finality to all situations. It signals an end of that person and reality hits you so hard and all the things you wished you had done for that person or with that person flash past your eyes and then the tears, the somberness, the disbelief and oh yes, the realization that it comes to everyone that death has no respect for humans, that death does not care who you leave behind, it does not care what else you have to do it just comes.
My paternal grandma, Paulina Nassubo Ogema, God rest her soul. Had lived to a ripe old age but that only made the loss worse. She lived to be 94 but she touched so many lives, mentored many people, raise children, grandchildren and great grand children the loss was all the more damning. She was a christian, a catechist’s wife for that matter and she spread the good news. She endured a lot and in her last days even suffered memory loss that broke hearts, she couldn’t recognise people and her body just gave up. She could not leave the bed, she could not walk, could not eat and she withered. Nothing prepares you for how to deal with death. You just have to find a way.
Over the last month since all this started, I have found myself thinking a lot about life in the present and in the afterlife. I am a christian and I personally believe in heaven and hell. Over the past month I have wondered what it would be like to be dead. Do you hear everything like people say but cannot do anything, do you see your body while you are in spirit form and watch people cry for you? Or are you just gone until the day all the dead will rise for judgement.
I have wondered where God’s mercy ends, and where hell begins, I have wondered if I am a good person, I have wondered whether I am good enough for heaven. I have been terrified of hell. I have judged myself harshly, maybe I am mourning, maybe I have just had an awakening.
Losing two very strong and influential women has made me wonder how it will be when I die. I have imagined a small intimate ceremony, I don’t know what people will say about me. I don’t know who will cry and who will not. If it happens now, will I have done anything worth mentioning? Have I lived a full life? Have I even lived at all?
I am drained, I am down and so sad right now but I hope I will snap out of it and will have a break from all the funerals. I am really all ‘funeraled’ out.