Will they be enough?
I can’t remember the last time all News TV Stations the world over decided to broadcast the same live feed like they did during the late Nelson Mandela’s funeral on the 15th December, 2013. I am glad they did this because then they made it possible for all those who couldn’t attend the funeral physically to do so virtually. It was a day filled with mixed feelings. I say this because as much as we all agree that he had led a full life worth celebrating, it was still sad to know that he was gone, never to be seen or heard again, except through the memories he had left behind. And what a lifetime of memories he left!
Sitting in my living room watching the proceedings on Tv, I couldn’t help but feel sadness wash over me, not because I ever knew the man, which of course I didn’t, but because those who did made me feel like I knew him in person. I also got to learn some history not even my history teachers knew. For instance, in President Kikwete’s speech at the funeral, I got to learn the role Tanzania played in South Africa’s liberation process which made me finally understand why there is such a deeply rooted relationship between the two countries. It was a moving speech delivered eloquently by a great orator. And then there was the sad farewell message given by his long-time friend and fellow prisoner, Ahmed Kathrada. His carefully thought out words made me really sad especially when he said he didn’t know what to do now that his mentor and friend was gone forever.
Going back to the history lessons learnt on that day, how many of you can honestly say they knew about the small town called Qunu, prior to Mandela’s death? How many of you even knew that he opted to build a small humble house for himself instead of the palaces and mansions that are synonymous with African presidents, in fact, not just presidents but African leaders in general? Did you know he loved doing early morning walks, way too early for some of us I’d say? And how about his amusement whenever he met people who didn’t know who he was; I bet some other leaders would have sent an execution team to execute anyone who did not recognize their position. It’s a twist, but the truth is, his death brought to life and to light very many things that none of us would have otherwise known, unless of course you have read his 600 plus paged autobiography. But even so, that would not have been enough.
So as I watched the proceedings from the comfort of my home, so much was going on in my mind. For instance, if he had not been the selfless person he was, would his death have touched the world like it did? Of course to his family it would have, but would your local TV station halt several hours of normal programming just to air a live feed of some visionless, passionless and selfish leader? What about his family, would they have had the privilege of retaining the rich memories they now do of the legend? Or would they have had to struggle looking for some memories to hold on to? Believe it or not, there are some people who are so selfish and inhuman that when they leave planet earth, those left behind sigh with relief that the person is no longer with them to stress them.
And so my question to you today is, when your time comes, what will be said about you? Will you have left a legacy and enough wonderful memories for those who knew and loved you as well as those who would have loved to know you, or will they be looking for at least one positive memory to remember about you with no luck? Will you have lived your life fully and for the purpose it was intended for, or will somebody else’s life be affected because you refused to play your role fully in life? Will you have made a positive impact on someone else’s life or will you have eroded all possibility for impact from them?
Zeroing in on couples, what memories will your leave your spouse with should you leave this planet today? Will they be fond memories or will they be sighing with relief that you are no more? I ask these questions as I remember a friend of mine who lost her husband on 19th December, 2013. When I attended their wedding over 5 years ago, I couldn’t help but marvel at the love they had for each other. It was just amazing to see the chemistry between the two of them and not just on their wedding day, but even thereafter. Those two have been through hell and back (figuratively speaking), but their love for each other has always been steadfast. Now that the husband is gone, memories are the only thing the wife has been left with. To my friend, I pray that God will give her strength, peace and comfort during this very trying time for her and the rest of their family. I also extend this same prayer to anyone else out there who is mourning a loved one at this very time.
So, to all of you in relationships, whether marriage or dating, to quote Ronan Keating’s song, “if tomorrow never comes, will she know how much I loved her, did I try in every way to show her every day that she’s my only one? And if my time on earth were through, and she must face this world without me, Is the love I gave her in the past gonna be enough to last, if tomorrow never comes?” Will your spouse/partner have enough memories to keep him/her going through the tough grieving, mourning, funeral and post funeral period? Only you can answer these questions.
As we take a break from the usual hustle and bustle of our daily routines, as we celebrate and give thanks to God for the year that is almost coming to an end, as we go through Christmas and plan for a new year, let one of your plans be to create enough memories to last your loved ones a lifetime should you suddenly depart from them. Spend quality time with your family, love them like you’ve never done before, be attentive to them like never in the past. To the men out there, be extra caring to your women this time round, whether this is your tendency or not, let it be extra special this year. Shower them with renewed and rekindled love and attention and let them bask in the security and comfort of knowing they are loved that much.
There has been too many deaths of people I know, especially towards the last quarter of the year and indeed the words “no one knows tomorrow” have been echoed so much in the happenings we have been seeing in the recent past, not just here in the region, but also internationally. So, for you driving to different parts of the country or region, please be extra careful on the road and don't be part of the statistics. Do not drink and drive, and if you must drink and drive, then drink fresh milk! We still need you alive after Christmas so that together we can continue building this wonderful country.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas full of great memories, lots of cheer, sharing and unconditional love. Remember to share with those who are not as privileged as you are.
And most importantly, remember there is January, so do spend wisely.