[I] say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but in thankfulness that he was.- Hebrew Proverb
For over a decade, on this day I have a private sobbing session. This morning was no different! I woke up and allowed myself to succumb to overwhelming feelings of fondness from simply remembering memories of a life that is no more.
I snorted and cried like an inconsolable child, especially when I realised my own selfishness/foolishness. Until today, it never quite dawned on me that my loss wasn’t just mine. There are loved ones out there, who might have understood all this time, that I have this sobbing session to simply acknowledge that indeed I have experienced love in my life time. A love from an imperfect but caring uncle, who was very protective of his family. A man who convinced me, among many other things, that it is not blasphemous to declare Bob Marley a saint (and in my opinion, “a true heritage icon for the world” )!
My all-rounded uncle, malome-rangoane Sammy, graces us no more with his wings in the air, but I am sure glad that I remember with great fondness his flight. To me, he remains a rare bird that I am thankful to have seen fly and grace the skies of my existence, even if only for a fleeting moment.
So, with unabashed gratitude, today (and in the future) I will allow myself to sob and/or weep for this rare bird, for its flight (including the gliding away flight) remains memorable to me. In part, because a certain realisation of its glorious purpose (at least to my life) deepened in death, much like a thorn bird reaches its potential in death. (Arguably, this may sound warped, but I do believe in the idea of death bringing out the most glorious sound from a thorn bird.) For this reason, I cannot curse death; I can but cleanse my soul with tears of gratitude and let the words “memento mori” propel me forward!
A year ago and a day ago I wrote a post titled “Memento mori” — remember that one day you will die! I wrote that as part of celebrating my mom’s birthday. It was my own way of saying life is a gift, enjoy each day and don’t worry about tomorrow. After all, we are talking about a woman who has raised three daughters who understand the importance of family, sisterhood, love and sticking together when the proverbial hits the fan. A woman who has survived two kinds of cancers: one cured by doctors and the other cured by lawyers. And a woman who is blessed in so many ways I care to mention.
This post however is not about my dear mother. It is about yours truly. Yesterday, I was involved in a stupid road accident. It wasn’t my fault but when you are on two wheels; it really doesn’t matter who is wrong! Believe me, when I started riding my scooter someone did tell me this but yesterday it became crystal clear.
For a few seconds yesterday, the world had two people in it who were aware of what was going to happen with true certainty. I was going to collide into a car performing untimed u-turn manoeuvre. This was fate and there was no stopping it, without stopping time itself. I knew it and so did Nick — a perfect stranger who witnessed it all and who could but only rush to my rescue. I assure you that before either one of us could finish “what-the-…” statement, bang and I was down! Nick was lifting the scooter and with great relieve, he was asking if I was fine? I had just done a MacGyver avoidance manoeuvre with near zero injuries and I couldn’t believe my instincts! Actually my disbelief almost sent me into shock, I was hyperventilating and by the second getting overwhelmed by the driver’s insistence to point out that he genuinely didn’t see me. Of course he didn’t and just when I was about snap, Nick had brought water to calm me down and some other guy (sadly didn’t get his name) was offering me a Coke to drink. I hadn’t had Coke in twenty years and I must say, I forgot why at all I chose not to ever drink it. In minutes I was calm and grateful for my life. Accidents are accidents. I kept telling myself this as well as the driver, who at this stage seemed to be entering into a state of shock. I wished there was more I could do to assure him of my understanding but I couldn’t. I just wanted him out of my sight because all I could see was a man, who could have killed me on my mom’s birthday. I gave him my numbers to call and asked him as politely as I could to go home and be with his loved ones. He is yet to call but in the whole scheme of things, I am just thankful to be alive.
I am thankful to Nick and all those who came to my aid. I didn’t see my life flash before me but nonetheless I am thankful for the reminder that life is a gift we need to cherish with each day we are alive. Lets all be glad to be alive.
Much love to all and God bless!
Given that Moshoeshoe’s day commemorates death, it may sound a little strange when I say: happy Moshoeshoes’ day! The truth however is that for Moshoeshoe I, death was like a gift. As I have suggested before (in this post), Moshoeshoe I understood that it is in death that he will be able to finally meet and thank his Creator and his ancestors (Molimo le balimo ba hae, as Basotho would put it ;-)) for guiding him in his journey. A journey in which he became the great leader that he yearned to be as a young man! For this reason, death was truly a gift to him, for his dreams did come true and all he needed was to express his gratitude.
I suppose when one fails to view life as a gift, it may be a bit difficult to see why death itself is a gift. Today as we celebrate Moshoeshoe’s day, it is therefore my wish that all will be inspired to live a life in which in death one will find joy and celebrate the transition to the next life. So, happy Moshoeshoe’s day! And lets remember that one day we too shall die — memento mori, memento mori!
This is Latin and translates roughly to “don’t forget one day you will die”. This may sound a bit depressing but it is not. This is but a reminder that we need to enjoy every moment of life for life is too short. Today, is my mother’s 55th birthday. She never thought she will live to see this day but despite cancer and all that life threw at her, she is alive!
So when I say “memento mori”, I am simply saying we need to recognise that each day is precious. Therefore, we should remember to tell those we love how much we do love them. We should forgive those who have hurt us knowingly or unknowingly. We should put on a smile everyday because even in a stormy weather the sun can shine. Most importantly, we should stand up to any obstacle and believe that if anything must break; it will be the obstacle and not us.
Memento mori, I declare! And to all I say, let us celebrate the gift of life whilst we still have it. Memento mori, memento mori!
“Lefu le qoleng ea kobo!” This is a saying that one often hears at home and its literal translation is ‘death lies at a tip of a blanket’ (remember that Basotho are a nation of proud blanket wearers and as such it is fitting to use blanket). This expression is often used to remind us of our own mortality so that we can live a meaningful life where each day is lived to its fullest.
Let me get straight to the point of this blog. About two weeks ago, whilst watching soccer and explaining why my support for teams is dependent on which team is least favoured in the room. Denis, a fellow resident at the village, remarked about my perspective on things. I had stated to him in the past that I believe death needs to be celebrated for no one is likely to leave this world alive. We all laughed at this seemingly hidden life secret whose reality only hits us when a loved one has been called to meet up with the creator. He thought that my aurgument was very unusual but being the nice guy he was, he made it a point to understand my point of view….
Today, I learnt that Denis answered the call to leave this world of ours. This came as a real shock but I guess it is true;”lefu le qoleng ea kobo”. With this expression coming to mind, I quickly remembered elements of my argument to Denis that much as we may feel pain or sorrow, we need to embrace death as the key that finally grants us a true peaceful dwelling with our creator. Denis has run his race with grace and kindness; for that he will certainly be remembered. I therefore hope that as his family and all who know him mourn, will also celebrate his loving and kind heart. It is also my hope that we will continue with own race in life with full appreciation that our time may not be as long as we hope; thus we need to live each day as though it was our last.
Finally,it is my sincerest prayer that his soul will rest in perfect peace and in time that his family will come to terms with his departure.