If we accept the idea that the death of any individual, diminishes the collective in ways we can never fully articulate (just as the birth of any individual enriches the collective in ways, we can never fully articulate) then we must expand the meaning of recently bereaved to include every one of us. Yet there is no escaping the fact that some persons will feel more particularly the absence of the recently departed than the rest of us. Can the rest of us relate as closely with a sense of loss as Pastor Taiwo Odukoya, Tim Tim and Jom Jom over the passing of Pastor Nomthi? Can the rest of us relate as closely with a sense of loss as Sani Dangote’s wife and children over the matter of his recent passing? Or can we relate as closely with Dr. Mercy Ezekiel on her sense of loss over the passing of her husband of many decades, Rev Ezekiel? We can recall loads and loads of other example of deaths that occurred in the outgoing year. May God continue to comfort and console the families and friends of all dearly departed persons with what is required to take every new day as it comes. The sense of loss and pain is definitely in degrees, we can relate. It is what it is. Yet it is the week of Christmas. Harmattan has even made its own appearance. He would not be left out. There are many that acknowledge his entrance and are grateful for how the heat seems more tolerable. Those that are finicky about little blessings, who have prepaid meters actually look at the impact of Mr. Harmattan on their electricity bills and smile. It is something those with estimated bills cannot quite understand. But there is no question that they like the entrance of Harmattan.
Exactly how do the recently bereaved celebrate the first Christmas or end-of-year season without the physical presence of their dearly beloved departed? Can celebration of any kind be included in the space they currently occupy? Are we inconsiderate and insensitive in expecting them to indulge in whatever kind of celebration because it is Christmas or the end of year season?
Would the recently departed wish upon their families and friends prolonged grief and protracted misery if they were given that choice? Or would they wish happiness and pleasantness for their families and friends as they come to terms with the new reality?
What if we remembered that the first Christmas was about a special gift? Can we take the idea of a special gift further if we place the idea of the first Christmas being a special gift alongside the fact that the first Christmas without these dearly departed persons, offers us some kind of opportunity to reflect again on the many gifts their physical presence brought into our lives –both tangible and intangible gifts?
Merry Christmas to all families and friends whose loved ones passed away in 2021!