Opinion: Discovering the folly of spectacular opulence at funerals

Peter Lanchene Toobu

I am sharing this story today 13th October 2019 as a prelude to and in remembrance of the death of my mother 42 years ago (14th October 1977).

She died while in pain thinking of whether her last born being me was going to survive the shock at such a tender age. The early departure of my mother to eternity and my continuous weeping for over a month without hope of her ever coming back to support me go through adolescence changed my world view as I have since been toughened.

Man is bold but jittery in the face of death. The wicked can only think of destroying and finally killing. The wicked plans towards other humans are just to inflict pain on the flesh and finally kill it.

If you are so vindictive and unforgiving, you may have to read this piece twice. If you are saving towards a grand funeral or have applied for a loan to bury your relative in grand style as a sign of appreciating the dead, you need to read this piece not hurriedly.

On 21st June 2017, I got involved in a terrible accident a few kilometres to Nkawkaw in the Eastern Region of Ghana on my way to Kumasi in the Ashanti Region with two other colleagues.

We were on official assignment to attend the annual Police Command Conference. It was about 2130 hours when all I heard was a loud screeching sound followed by a big bang and wailing of people. I saw a very nice Toyota Land cruiser crashed into another vehicle resulting in billowing smoke.

I sympathised deep heartedly with the lives in the cars as well as the properties that had gotten destroyed in the accident. I watched the accident scene like a live video for almost ten seconds and there was an immediate twist.

After about ten seconds of witnessing the accident, I began to feel that I could not breathe. I struggled earnestly for fresh air but only heard the driver shouting “save my master”.  At that moment I gained consciousness only to realize that I was personally involved in the accident and the scene I viewed a few seconds was actually my own accident viewed live from another conscious state.

Fortunately, our vehicle was followed by an Intercity STC bus which stopped to assist the accident victims. A nurse in the bus did the best she could to stabilise us until the Police arrived and conveyed us to the Holy Family Hospital at Nkawkaw which was nearest for better medical attention.

We were all later that night transported in an ambulance to the Police Hospital in Accra where we met a team of doctors led by a lady surgeon DCOP/Dr. Mabel Aboah. My colleague who drove our vehicle suffered a severe fracture in the thigh. My other colleague and I suffered several cuts in various parts of our bodies.

I was fortunate to be wearing my seatbelt sitting behind the driver before the accident. The seat belt inflicted cuts on my body along the line from my shoulder down to my hip (the seatbelt line).

The cuts meant that without the seat belt, I would have just flown over the driver and crashed into the cargo truck which was ahead of us. My body would have been very difficult to retrieve from the wreckage.  Note; wearing a seatbelt is a necessity irrespective of where you sit in a vehicle.

I am sharing this story to raise the consciousness of people about the simplicity attached to the reality of death. I got to understand that my spirit was out of my mortal flesh the first few seconds following the accident.

The fact that I viewed my own accident without feeling it was closer to me is the snag. At death, when one’s spirit leaves the body, communication between the two ceases immediately. Thus, whatever happens to a dead body, the spirit will witness the action but has no connection to understanding the relevance.

Whether your body is burnt to ashes, chopped into pieces, laid in a golden casket and buried in a fully tiled tomb,  left to rot in the open or sold to cannibals as food, it has no relevance on the other side of life.

To me, if there is anything of relevance towards the dead, it should be prayers for the departed spirit and not so much waste on the remains which the spirit cannot even appreciate or associate with.

Let us spend less at funerals and redirect our little savings if any at making a positive impact on the living. Spending US$1 to support orphans and the needy is a better venture than burying your relative or love one with a golden casket.  Death will come when it is least expected but your spirit will remain alive until the day of judgement.

Live life as if today is your last day on earth and do not be extravagant in honouring the dead as there is no connection between the dead body and the departed spirit.

The world is getting confused as funeral homes make more money than hospitals. Those who are to feed the flock are becoming wealthier and better fed at the expense of heavily impoverished sheep.

The spirit to serve is endangered as greed and selfishness dictate to leadership. Remember, death is just a second away. You can leave a better legacy in your good deeds that will continue to impact lives after you are long gone.

God is good all the time.


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