I know an evil little imp
she’s short and very small
she barks and hisses
she snarles and disses
she’s smart and very strong
but uses it for wrong.
She pinches kids, twists their ears
and taunts them very long.
I know an evil little imp
she used to knock my head.
She’d pinch and squeeze
and laugh and tease
she’d fuss and fight
then claim she’s right.
She’s here, she’s there she’s everywhere.
People have enabled her.
She thought she was the queen.
She thought that she was it.
but suddenly she’s realized
her throne is made of shit.
I left my smart phone at home and took my smart self to the funeral. No what’s app, no facebook, no instagram, none of that. I made myself PRESENT. I allowed myself to be immersed in the pain, and I committed my time and energy. Not phone battery energy, my real energy. Seeing so many people rush towards the casket with their phones, tablets and selfie sticks really got me thinking about how things have changed in my lifetime.
Thanks to the timely intervention of the funeral moderators, announcing the family’s request for no pictures or videos, there will be no photos of the corpse circulating on social media. Oh yes we do this in Africa. We go to funerals, take photos of “popular corpses”, then circulate them on social media to boost our website traffic, facebook and instagram likes, and twitter following. Of course, the extreme morbid curiosity we display in this part of the world ensures that it all works together perfectly. We are truly becoming disconnected from the HEART of humanity and moving into a very dangerous place. We need to check ourselves. Especially in the face of tragedy and a grieving family.
If there is any positive feedback I can give you about what happened today, it would be the wake up call. Once in a while we get that shocking wake up call that reminds us that tomorrow is not promised. Our lives hang in the balance of the universe on a thread that is thinner than that of a spider’s web. It is
so thin, it is invisible to the naked eye. At any moment that thread can snap. Then what? We have been reminded that material worth means nothing if you don’t have love. We have been reminded how FAITH plays a vital role in our lives here on earth as well as in times of transition. We have been reminded to count every blessing and to savour all the beautiful moments. Unless of course you were checking your phone or taking a selfie and you missed the moments that mattered. I didn’t leave my phone at home deliberately. When I got into the car to leave I realized I had left it but I said to myself “Oh what the heck, forget the phone.” And I’m glad I did.
You know that cousin who isn’t really your blood cousin but rather an “honorary cousin” or “cousin by merit”? It’s a really cool feature we had (and still have) , growing up in my amazingly unique country – Ghana. This country is having her challenges, but the social scope has always been beautiful. Growing up, in our social circles we were all “cousins”. If someone said to any of us , “who is this you are with?” We would say, “this is my cousin.” Yes. We felt that close and connected. Our parents (even if just friends), to us were nothing less than brothers or sisters so if you are not my brother or sister, then you must be my cousin! 🙂
I can’t even begin to list the names of all the people I have once called “cousin”. They are many and most of them know themselves because they see me as their cousin too. Whether we are apart for one day or ten years, reunions are always like we never left or parted ways. In the Western world, it is only the offspring of your aunt or uncle who qualifies to be called your cousin. But here in Ghana, we have various types of cousins. Blood cousin – second and third included. “Family friend cousin”. “Our parents are best buddies” cousin. And “I love you, I hang with you all the time, and you look like you could be my” cousin.
Tomorrow I will be witnessing the burial of such a well known and celebrated cousin. There are many of us who have had very little sleep since the tragic
news broke a few days ago. Social media is still ablaze with thoughts and memories of Jehad. Anxiety presents itself as we prepare ourselves for tomorrow and the inevitable.
Spirituality has a lot to do with the ways we process and deal with grief during the tragic loss of a loved one. Last night I received the tragic news of the transition of a brother – Jehad Ashkar and it took me back almost eleven years to the day I lost my brother Waleed. My mind immediately went to his family. His parents, sisters, recently wedded wife, and beautiful baby daughter. My sorrow feels deep and I feel strongly connected to this transition especially as I remember Jehad’s mother holding my hand and speaking words of comfort and encouragement on the morning Waleed passed.
Fast forward to facebook and all the posts pouring forth on our time lines. Jehad was a great guy and it shows. Right now as I type this, pictures of him with tributes are circulating all over social media. Everyone has a great story to tell about him and his great personality not to mention his sense of adventure. Jehad was a rockstar.
How do we deal with such tragic losses while maintaining our sanity and earthly composure? How do we make sense of all the pains we go through as part of life? The pain we feel when we lose someone is proof of love. If it were not for love, there would be no pain. Ironic isn’t it? But yes. If I didn’t have love for him it wouldn’t hurt me if he’s gone. Pain is probably the greatest teacher that proves that love really does exist, has been, and will forever be the reason and essence of our existence, here and beyond. We are all spirits and energy living experiences in human form. The human journey always ends at some point but the energy is always there. The “soul” and essence of who you are and what you love will always remain continuous. If not here, somewhere else in the universe. And if you believe this, you will “overstand” the human experience and how to deal with each wave of emotion as it comes. First comes the shock and the intense wave of pain and emotional suffering through which comes either denial or acceptance of what has transpired. Many go through years of denial, not wanting to accept what has happened. Some bereaved people go through denial until they pass on themselves. When acceptance comes, it comes with peace and understanding. Some people make peace with the departed spirits and some are lucky enough to catch a glimpse into the “state” or “condiditon” in which they exist now.
I have had visions connected to my father and brother. In the last one they were together in a beautiful place all dressed up and elegant looking, almost angelic. There was love and joy in the vision and my heart felt at peace.
My heart is aching in unison with the heart of the family and friends of Jehad. I am sending love and healing vibes to all who have been affected by his passing. I pray for his soul as he finds eternal love and light.
This is our human experience. This is what love feels like.
I am so proud to have led the team that organized the first “Mother Earth Festival” in Kokrobite, Ghana.
The festival is all about connecting with nature and our mother earth while uplifting our spirits through dance, art, and music.
As usual, with every first, there are lessons to be learned and points noted for future improvement. Overall, day 1 was a great day full of colour and joy.
Next weekend Bibini Music is bringing the Mother Earth Festival to Kokrobite! I was excited to see the news in the Daily Guide and Graphic Showbiz – two of Ghana’s biggest newspapers, this morning.
The 2-day “Mother Earth festival” is all about strengthening our bond with mother earth as we enjoy music, dance and art.
Saturday 26th March:
From 10am – Eco market and bazaar
From 6pm – Reggae Rising concert featuring KniiLante, Osagyefo, Yasmeen, Jahwi, and Fiifi Selah
Sunday 27th March – Tribute to Faisal Helwani
From 10am: Bibini Music Exhibition with traditional music and dance
7pm: film screening – “The Roots of Highlife ”
Daytime entry fee for both days is 10cedis per day, and the Reggae Rising concert costs 20cedis. Tents are available for rent please call 0244799143 to book packages in advance.
While at the festival, don’t forget to visit any of our plant/tree adoption points. At least two hundred people will leave the festival with a new flower, plant, or tree to care for. We will also be giving the “Natural Beauty Prize” – 250ghc worth of Madame Yasmeen products to the best natural hairstyle at the festival.