Death is a reality but a lot of us refuse to face that fact. The hausas even have a saying – Mutu a dole. (Death is sure)
It is strange but true that even though we long to go to heaven we are very reluctant to die. I suppose I am weird , but I have always been a realist and l have never been one to shy away from the truth. I have always been honest with myself and will always want to know the truth even if it hurts.
I understand why we don’t like to face the realities of our mortality. For some of us we think that what we don’t think about will not come our way and for some it’s inconceivable to even think about it especially if we are optimistic in nature.
But the truth is that no matter what we say, feel or think , we cannot control all aspects of our lives and sooner or later we will be faced with the unexpected but inevitable blows that life deals to each and every one of us.
We need to be prepared for the inevitable and it doesn’t mean that bad things will come our way just because we plan for them. It just like insurance , we take policies not because we want the things insured against to happen, but because we want to have some leverage in case they do happen.
I have seen cases where even the terminally ill refuse to discuss any thing that may suggest their death when they still have the presence of mind to do so. They wait till they see death at their doorsteps, feel its breath warm on their cheeks before they start to make frantic efforts to express themselves or put their house in order. Many a time it’s too late , they lose their power of speech, memory or fall into a coma and never regain their consciousness.
There’s no point amassing wealth , property and/or substance only for our loved ones to suffer before they can have access to them. Sometimes, our loved ones may not even be aware of all we possess and the sweat of our labors may pass on to total strangers.
I am not just talking about writing a will because even though a will is good it is not an immediate solution to the needs of the bereaved. A will still has to be admitted into probate and that can take nothing less than 6 months to process. Also a will can be contested and if that happens it may lead to litigation which can last for years.
If we truly love our loved ones as we profess to do, then it behoves us to plan for a life when we may not be with them and ensure as much as it lies within us that their daily lives and/or standard of living are minimally disrupted.
I went to visit a friend who lost her husband and after commiserating with her I turned to the practical realities. Her husband had died suddenly and their children were quite young so I was eager to know how she stood financially.
It turned out that my friend did not know her husband’s financial details. She didn’t know his phone nor bank passwords. She told me in tears “Tara I didn’t have any reason to know or to distrust him” Fortunately, she knew his PIN numbers and was able to transfer money albeit in small amounts to her account before his account went dormant.
I learnt a lesson that day and resolved to ask Mr Aisi for his financial details “in case of incase-ity.”
As is wont with most men he was a bit reluctant to share his details with me and after asking several times I had a brain wave. I took out a piece of paper and wrote all my account details and passwords on it and asked him to do the same . He did so and I placed the paper in a drawer where we kept our passports, certificates etc .
When he died it was that piece of paper I went looking for to enable me have immediate access to his personal and financial details. I was able, using his internet banking app on his phone to access his accounts and transfer whatever monies I saw there.
He did not write a will but I was not in any way adversely affected by the lack of his writing one because we had discussed at length what he had , and what he wanted to do with his personal things. I knew for example what he wanted to do with his books, his intellectual property etc.
I and his children are the better for it even though he didn’t write a will because we recognized the inevitability of death and whilst we did not desire it or expect so soon, we acknowledged and planned for it.
So my question to us today is if death is inevitable how are we planning to get the better of it.
This question does not relate only to the financial aspects of our lives even though I have focused on that it also relates to the passing of skills, know how, culture, language, family history etc.
Death is inevitable and we owe our loved ones the duty to look beyond ourselves to the future we will not see.