Death! Ah death – that which puts so much fear in the heart of man, that which brings so much pain and so I start my blog with a personal reflection on death. First of all the death of a loved one is always a painful experience. Somehow you can’t bring yourself to think that ‘I won’t see him, talk to him share the pleasure of his/her companionship anymore’. I have come to believe that when two people have a good relationship between them – they become interwoven into each other’s beings, souls or spirits. So when a loved one dies, part of you really dies with them – all the emotional investment in that person, all the support (physical, emotional and spiritual) seems in that moment to have gone in smoke.
I am an African – from Cameroon to be specific and it has always amazed me how the west seemingly trivializes death in its popular media. But it got me thinking, ‘Why do we mourn so much?’ I now know that in most parts of Africa, especially amidst economic hardship, family bonds and attachment to loved ones are the only anchors to a happy, meaningful life. So when a loved one dies and more specifically when someone who is the breadwinner dies in a family, we mourn, not only for the loss of a friend, a brother, a sister, an uncle or a parent, but we also mourn for the loss of the source of livelihood, we mourn for the loss of he/she that feeds us, clothes us and pays our school fees. Selfish? I don’t have any opinion on that but that feeling of fear of uncertainty (something I believe Self Mastery in pursuit of Excellence can help us with) is really dreadful and here has so many components than I can tell anyone who has never experienced it.
Going back to my loss, let me try and put it in perspective – I mourn that I have lost an uncle, but beyond that, I am very closely attached to my cousin – Carine (the late uncle’s daughter), so I also feel her pain – at this moment, my pain is more as a result of her than anything else. I feel for six children who no longer have a father – the sole bread earner in the family. I feel for a woman who will experience what it means to be an unemployed widow with at least three more children to put through school and feed and clothe all by herself without any form of formal social security. All these almost cripple me but writing this helps – I can bring it out and perhaps deal better with it.
Yet despite my sad beginings, I believe that the Search for Excellence & Perfection must continue, everyone must in order to become immune to the pains to this world discover who s/he is, what they believe in and come to grips with death, poverty, injustice, hate, racism and all the other things by which we cripple our lives. Next blog, I hope to delve deeper into a description of my own quest for meaningpurposeexcellenceperfection.