“You should wear dark or somber colored clothes; you should not smile or laugh too much; you should not wear anything ostentatious at the funeral or wake; you must give a befitting burial; you must stay at home for a mourning period; you should not see the dead body of your child nor go for the funeral; Man up you are a man don’t cry.
We are used to giving orders and telling others how they ought to live their lives. Because someone did theirs in a particular way doesn’t mean all must toe that line. We look, talk, act, walk, dress and love differently so why can’t we mourn differently.
Why must I be told how to mourn? Who gives anyone the right to tell me how to love and mourn my husband, wife, child, brother, sister, father, mother, friend, mentor etc?
Why should I be told not to cry if and when I want to? To remonstrate and ask God questions, if I want to, why must I be treated as a dead person even though I am living.
What do they know about our lives, our history, what we know the other person would have loved. Do they know what we discussed about death and what to do if it came?
Why must a woman in this day and age sit at home for 40 days, 4 months, 1 year, wear all white or all black just because she lost her husband?
Who will feed her and her children for those days she sits at home, how will her bills be paid. I can assure you those who made the rules wouldn’t do nada.
Why must society tell us when it’s alright to live again , to dance again, to love again, when we have paid the penance for living when our significant other is dead, when it is alright to declare women innocent of their husbands death.
Why must men be told they shouldn’t cry.
I have heard horror stories of how family members use the opportunity of the death of a person to terrorize their loved ones and I must say that I am blessed with lovely in-laws who let me have my way in practically everything I wanted but I know that’s not the case for a vast majority of women. Losing a loved one brings so much pain and it’s unbelievable that people intentionally make the process more hurtful with ridiculous and offensive with cultural demands which makes them relevant in the scheme of things.
For Mr Aisi, I wanted a night of tributes not a wake. You see, I had always wondered why we had those wakes and service of songs where only 3 people would be called to tell us about the deceased from his family, work and neighborhood within the period of 2 minutes each. I had concluded that it was at best a funeral rite to help people process their grief because it really did nothing for the essence of the person that had passed.
Also I wanted music and laughter because I wanted to celebrate (not his death) but his life, appreciate the impact he had on other people besides his family (boy, there were several things he did that I knew nothing about) and leave people with good memories of the man I loved .
I wore nice clothes and jewelry because I was seeing my husband off and I didn’t think the way I dressed was a reflection of how much I loved or didn’t love him.
I told all the groups to which i belonged that I didn’t want sorrowful faces around me but that’s me and I don’t believe anyone or everyone should grieve like I did and that exactly is my point. Our circumstances are different, we process things differently, we have different temperaments, beliefs and philosophies to life so why must our reactions to death be the same.
I have noticed that it is mostly women that are used to uphold these repugnant and offensive cultures, we are the foot soldiers of culture and most often we gleefully carry out our orders without thinking about the individuals in the midst of it all.
As a people we ought to challenge what we know is blatantly wrong, the dead is dead and gone and nothing can hurt them again. If we really loved the dead as we profess It’s the living they have left behind that we must nurture.
There is a reason why the living is not buried with the dead and it’s because they are still alive so let’s not demand that someone die or cease to exist for a while because their loved one (whom we loved also) died.
Life continues, is for living and should be lived.