The news of the death of the veteran singer and rapper, Olanrewaju Abdul-Ganiu Fasasi, a.k.a Sound Sultan, on the 11th of July, 2021, struck many with unexplainable sorrow. For some, it was their first time encountering his name, while it came to the knowledge of some that he suffered a rare type of cancer called Angioimmunoblastic T-cell Lymphoma. Hearty comments about how wonderful the late singer was, flooded the internet.
Pleasant nostalgic memories from friends began to emerge. (“oh, he was a rare gem,” “he was a loving friend,” “I love the way he always did this,” “I remember the day we…,” “I’ve always known him to be such a kind-hearted man,” and the list seems endless.) Time after time, we see comments like these overflow at the announcement of the demise of a fellow. However, one reflective question we should ask ourselves is this: “How often did we speak these kind words to the hearing of the demise while they were alive? Or “How unreserved were we in pouring out our hearts and sincere gratitude the same way we do in their absence?
Is it not insensitive to ask, by our silence, that death give us a reason to acknowledge one another?
Is it not sad that we give death the privilege to interrupt our busy schedule and remind us of how much our loved ones mean to us? Is it not sad to rely on death’s harsh alarm to write that love letter, say that prayer, and give that appraisal to our friends? Is it not insensitive to ask, by our silence, that death give us a reason to acknowledge one another?
We sometimes create assumptions in our heads as an excuse for not giving sincere and frequent admiration to our friends. Assumptions like: “don’t show too much appreciation, it will get to their head, or you will come off as ‘unprofessional’ or ‘unsophisticated’, and so on. At the root of these assumptions, can we not see that the presiding factor is our ego? That we put on the appearance of professionalism and a highly-regarded fellow by despising simple acts of love towards one another?
Many a time, we bask in the busyness of life until the wind gust of death reminds us of our responsibility to love. We get swayed by our ego that we allow trivial matters to get the best of our friendships. We become outside-minded that we forget about the intentionality of our love towards one another until the shell of death breaks, the scale falls off our eyes, then, we begin to reminisce about the “good old days”: the good old days we despised for seemingly important business; the good old days we willfully, sacrificed on the altar of strife; the good old days we skipped because we felt they were too trivial a thing to pay attention. But now we realise, what good is it to the deceased at this point other than painting the shaft of their remains in beautifully crafted words as souvenirs for the world to see?
We suddenly create the time to write long epistles of love and admiration which, in truth, is ceremonial rather than authentic.
The kernel of death breaks on our loved ones and we pick up the things we call small and begin to amplify them, vocalising how much those tiny acts meant to us. But to what part of them exactly are we talking: their life-filled body or their lifeless? The kernel of death breaks and we suddenly realised that though anger, quarrels and resentments occurred, we should not have allowed death to call the shots. We begin to say prayers we never whispered to their ears while we had them. We begin to call them names that hardly fell off our lips when they had flesh. We suddenly create the time to write long epistles of love and admiration which, in truth, is ceremonial rather than authentic. For what would make an authentic love letter to the dead, would be to gather the ones we wrote them when they were alive and reread them to their lifeless body which encountered it when it still had life.
‘Celebrate me while I am alive’ should be the tag we see on one another’s faces. That way, we could strip this tyrant called death, of the power of being our love instructor and begin to demonstrate love intentionally and frequently.
♦ Favour Chiagozie Ebubechukwu is an editorial staff writer and columnist with the WAP