Sunday 3rd of June 2012 is a day that has been etched in my memory for several reasons. I woke up that morning and went to church. For the first time in a very long time. I still remember what I wore, like it was just yesterday. I recall receiving calls and text messages from old school mates, friends and acquaintances later that evening. All of them saying the same thing in many different words.
The Wiseone had always been a survivor. “He would have jumped out”, I told myself repeatedly. By the time I confirmed the details about the crash, wrt the manifest in particular, I wept. I wept that night and for several days and nights that followed. Ah, I wept. The death of a loved one is always bad, worse with each fresh blow; hitting the already wounded soul at its most vulnerable spot. Harsh!
The next few days, I tortured myself with morbid scenes of his unsuccessful attempts to escape. I pictured him trying to jump out of the burning plane as the die-hard-survivor I had known him to be. I could not stop imagining the supposed final moments of the passengers in the aircraft. If they were conscious pre-impact, or at impact, prior to the time the plane was engulfed in flames et al.
What were their thoughts? Dreams? Aspirations? Motivations…? Wishes? I mean, what flashes through your mind when you realize that death is a possibility, if not imminent? Worse, when you’re totally helpless? Handicapped to death, forced to an early grave without the benefit or luxury of organizing a “last-wishes-to-family-and-friends” dinner.
By Tuesday, his body had been identified…along with all the drama that ensued. He had not been burned. I’m sure he would have made it out alive if not for circumstances beyond his control. Friends and family eventually came together and we started making plans to lay his unscarred body to rest. By the end of that week, he had been buried. 33 year old, ambitious, wise, but… deceased.
Burials give friends and family a bit of closure. A semblance to ‘moving on’. We returned to our jobs and locations, giving the immediate family some respite and time alone to grieve. They did not need constant reminders of their loss, albeit from empathetic strangers. Yes, it is always better to mourn with those who mourn, but hosting people is tiring. They needed to rest.
Prior to his death, I had never given much thought to the hereafter.
However, in the days that followed, I began to ponder about life after death. Where was he and what was he doing there? What were all those souls doing? Where did they all go? Why did God (Kabiyesi) allow that crash to happen? What … Where … How … WHY?!?