People spend their lives worrying about what happens to them after death. I’ve spent many hours obsessing about that. But wondering is all I have had the bravery for. To go further would be to admit that death defeats us all. That I have not prepared for the end. Honestly what scares me most is to admit that death has a secret weapon that makes him invincible. Death’s power of surprise make him an enemy impossible to defeat simply because you never see him approach the battlefield. Every time someone close to me passes away, the thoughts creep back into my head-
” Did they believe in God? Was their relationship with god in the right place? Did they go to heaven or hell? will i see them again? Am i in the right place?”
This post isn’t about how I had an epiphany and know the answers to those questions. On the contrary its about how I realized those were the wrong questions.
Chinua Achebe passed away. A few days before his death I had a heated discussion with my Nigerian friend where I called him a traitor to his English degree and nationality for not considering Achebe’s literature as the best in Nigerian writing. Unlike when a family member dies however, the questions of life after death did not pop up in my head. I felt the same remorse that I feel when my mother, across the distant crackling of the phone, tells me a distant family member who’s name I cannot remember has passed away. I sympathize with the loved ones left behind but feel no loss on my part.
To me mourning Achebe seemed out of place despite my great love for him. Because to me Achebe was his words. His ability to weave gold out of ink was what made him a treasured and valued part of my life. And his death cannot change that. He will always be alive to me. I will always look to his words for wisdom. The characters he created will keep me company along my journeys. his poetry will always be enlightening.
Chinua Achebe is immortal. The lives he has changed, and will continue to change, have immortalized him. He found a way to take a piece of his heart and leave it in the world.
This is my tribute to a great African man, who wore his heritage with pride and touched my life.
” its not difficult to understand somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What’s more difficult is to identify with someone you don’t see, who’s very far way, who’s a different color, who eats a different kind of food. when you do that then literature is really performing its wonders.” Mr. Achebe I hope to live up to the greatness you have.
When death comes, what lies ahead my be unknown, but i want to be sure that what I’ve left behind is something to be proud of.