I didn't spare myself from looking at the lifeless body of a friend who made an unexpected exit from this realm without warning. It was hard to accept that she had left which was precisely the subconscious reason I went to see for myself.
If she were simply asleep, she would adjust her neck which was resting at an uncomfortable angle. Did it mean, she was dead?
If she were alive she would be uncomfortable in a closed box. But she didn't bang against it for air, or yell and scream to be let out. Did it mean, she was dead?
If she were alive, she wouldn't need to be hidden from view beneath the ground. But she wasn't above it with me, so did it mean she was dead?
Whenever I found myself fighting with reason, the pictures of reality would flash in my mind's eye and I would give up my questions and just cry.
I didn't spare myself from going to the graveyard.
Death was a part of life, why run away from the reality that it happens or the reminders that it can happen to anyone?
I didn't spare myself from witnessing her being laid to rest.
Grief was a part of the spectrum of emotions allotted to human experience, why feel some and repress the feeling of others?
I didn't spare myself from crying till my heart felt like it would break.
I had lost something.
It slowly dawned on me that when someone dies, we loose their physical presence and the relationship we have with them is not only rudely interrupted but abruptly ended.
We can't call them and say how shocked we are that they are suddenly gone or relay our experience of their death!
I had lost something.
There would be no more sharing and no more continuity. I would only be able to re-live experiences, remember interactions and imagine responses.
I remember the feeling of wanting to snatch everyone by the shirt and say "don't ever do this to me, I don't ever want to feel this way again".
Later, while writing something of a parting message on a platform someone had provided for mourners to express their grief, I stumbled on a new understanding of the phrase- "Let the will of the Lord be done".
I realised that when people said it, it wasn't that they were accepting the situation but they were accepting their powerlessness to change it. It wasn't ironical then that it was the go-to expression where death was involved.
"Chidinma, let the will of the Lord be done with us here on earth as it is done with you there in heaven."
As I wrote those words, I knew they were symbolic of that final white flag of quiet surrender in the face of things beyond my control.
*While writing this, I struggled with putting up an image to go with this post, I didn't want to put her picture and wanted to reflect this decision by putting a blank image but it didn't feel right either, until I realised I was avoiding reality...*