By: Shallom Lumor |
Some of us do not like attending funerals not because we do not have the time, but they always look boring, mind boggling and time taking.
But it is good to mourn with mourners.
“Even though he was heavily addicted to alcohol, he found the chance to make peace with those he normally had problem with.”
Everyone present at the funeral ground shouted, “what a biography!”
This was the 8th biographies out of 10.
Ten corpses in 10 caskets nicely arranged in line, 10 different family mourners, about 16 canopies, 9 or less different churches with the Evangelical Presbyterian (EP) Church of Ghana, leading the funeral service, one funeral ground, 2-hour service and less than 20 minutes sermon by the Principal of Amedzofe Training College, Dr. Dickson Etsey.
This was Amedzofe last Saturday, mass burial for 10 bodies, not because they died on the same day or in one tragic event, but because that has been the arrangement of the traditional leaders of the town. A date set aside for all deceased persons expected to be buried in the Amedzofe Township.
Funeral proceedings started at 9: 00am, with each family bringing the casket of their deceased ones to the funeral service ground. The EP church was leading the service with a woman as the service leader. Instructing how every casket should be arranged, how every family canopy should be mounted to allow guests and mourners to find a place.
Only biographies were expected to be read, no tributes, no funfair of mourning skills. One after the other, the biography detailed the life and achievements of the deceased. The nine out of 10 tributes were read by family members between the ages of 40-70 years, whiles the youngest of the deceased person’s biography that caught my attention was read by much younger, fluent and eloquent family member or a friend I guessed.
To some of us, this was the most honest biography ever written. All other 9 biographies were published nicely in different funeral hand books, while my 38-year old dead buddy’s own was read from an old brown diary by a gentleman. God knows the relationship he had with the deceased.
Then he continued, “our friend and loved one was very controversial, heavily addicted to alcohol but loved everyone in the community, he was everyone’s friend and served everyone who needed his services humbly.”
He tried to get married but could not sustain all the three women who got 3 different children for him.”
“We loved him and may his soul rest in peace.” Simple and short.
All the other deceased persons were presented as saints, no faults, no life mistakes, their big achievements, great educational backgrounds, hard working in their various churches.
Actually, these 9 persons might have been worse off than our one devil whose true nature was presented but it looked like he was the devil among the saints laid down there waiting to be carried away.
Often times we always present the great side of the deceased. We lie in biographies and tributes as if lying was in our DNA.
Observing the ceremony and the families of these bodies said a lot of different things about life.
The church life of this young man was not mentioned, which meant that ideally, the family would have to beg a church to organise funeral service for him, but because of the initial arrangement of the town, this guy also found favour in the eyes of EP Church to perform the service for him knowing well that one must be a recognised member to be buried by the church upon death.
What does this tell you today? Some happenings and decisions of others can give you a certain honour at a certain time. The others might have worked hard to be buried by the church but for our one drunkard, favour had found his body.
Secondly, when it was time for each deceased to be carried away, about 5 or 6 ambulances were present, with each being led by either a borborbor group or brass band, and some with nicely branded pallbearers. But for our “brother”, he was carried away by his “classmates” who were all almost looking like him in his picture serving as pallbearers.
His pallbearers were 4 in number, his friends and family I guessed, playing their own borborbor song and marching along with him with one wreath to the cemetery. Theses pallbearers had their own brands, mouths looking reddish, eyes looking sleepy and in red apparels. With love and heavy heart, they took their deceased to the cemetery to be buried.
But at the end of the day, all these 10 deceased persons went down 6 feet, same soil.
The type of coffin does not matter, whether branded pallbearers or not, whether whisked away with fellow mates or carried in an ambulance, what’s important is that, everyone will get buried at the end.
Life has an end, prepare for it.
NB: The writer is a Journalist and Executive Director of a non-governmental organisation, Shalom Word Foundation