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I want to die tomorrow, so people can speak well of me

By Omwa Ombara

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Professional Mourners in South Africa.

WHEN I LOOK at the way the dead are treated, with so much pomp, color, love, dignity and awe, I wish that I could die. To tell the truth I do not mind dying at all because I am starving of praises.
Suddenly, everyone wants to speak well of you and anyone who has negative things to say about you might get a shot in the head. Whatever crime you committed, no matter how heinous will only be acknowledged in whispers.

I want to die tomorrow, so that a tombstone or plaque can at least be in my name. I may not deserve a statue, church, road, hospital or even a kiosk named after me, but just a simple wooden cross with my names carefully painted with beautiful words like, “She loved the world, she lived to the fullest and we hope she shall love Heaven too”.

It is umpteenth years since someone even gave me a red rose but if I die tomorrow, I will have hundreds of beautiful wreaths. They will be in all shades of colors like the biblical Joseph’s coat of many colors; red, purple, yellow, blue, orange, green, lavender, pink, maroon and what a beautiful bush of flowers that will be! I see myself laughing hysterically from the grave, wishing the dead could record a movie and splash it at my own funeral.

I will be the most expensive woman in town, having been dressed in new clothing mostly white, new shoes, a white veil. Goodness, how kind and touching to be given such a VIP treatment! They will have called the Morgue anatomist to fit in the most complete set of teeth I never had. And I flash the one-million dollar to all those who come to ‘fare thee well’, me. They will spray me with sweet perfume, like Mary Magdalene did to the feet of Jesus; whatever it takes to kill my natural smell. All that expensive make up will be mine for the day to take along with me down to my grave.

They will push me in some sophisticated trolley like they are serving breakfast in a Five Star Hotel

As if that is not enough, I know am of slight build and weigh only 50kg (enough sugar to make enough black tea for thousands of mourners) but I will be so honored that nobody will want to carry my coffin. They will push me in some sophisticated trolley like they are serving breakfast in a Five Star Hotel – think The Hilton or The Sheraton and they will click some small button and roll me down to the grave where I shall be watching all these cartoons treat me like I was the very Queen of England! It will be so funny I tell you, quite funny but nice!

Yes, and important people, most of whom I do not even know and all dressed in black will parade behind my special trolley looking rather sad, like people at Mass lining up to receive Holy Communion or a triumphant soldier who died in crossfire now receiving the 21-gun salute, so honorable I tell you and just for me! I think I will be moved to tears just watching how people are so wonderful to me.

Luo traditional dancers

A fund raising, they will hold for me and raise the millions I never set my eyes on just to give me the best farewell. They will place a whole page of my colored picture in the obituary pages of my local newspapers, tagging along all the important relatives I have but never met in my life. I will watch from my grave as they are introduced and will smile in acknowledgement, so glad that after all I came from the good stock.

I will see the Master of Ceremony, my old Cousin Japs describing me as a woman of many talents and a master of all.

I wish to die tomorrow, my dear friends, so that my enemies can eat humble pie and sing my praises. These are the mourners who will wail louder than the bereaved. They will gnash their teeth and try to outdo each other by acting as if I was their best friend. I will smile sweetly as I turn in my grave. I will giggle a bit but I know I will be so ticklish that I will burst into laughter. But I had better check myself in case I spoil a great feast and miss the cream of the cake.

I will see the Master of Ceremony, my old Cousin Japs describing me as a woman of many talents and a master of all. A great international journalist who could build words into a castle and was famous the world over. A gifted musician who captured the world in the heat of one song, they will say, he will say. A creative artiste who published Books that were read as far as India, London and America.

A Godly woman (ha ha) who loved the Lord and always gave her ten per cent tithe. She was so kind and generous that her left hand did not know what her right hand was doing. Japs and I have not talked for several years so who even made him in charge of my funeral? Surely everyone knows we hate each other.

Anyways, it will be rather lovely to see Japs humbled to says these wonderful things about me. I will watch in wonder as friends who have never lent me money, refused to lend me money go out of their pockets to spends millions at my funeral. Yes, I am confident that my enemies will sign sweet rubbish in my condolence book, but the most common one will be “Rest in Peace”, as if I wanted to fight a war. 

My nasty ex, will appear in huge goggles to hide his crocodile tears and will write in my visitor’s book that he loved me but God loved me better while my hateful neighbor who has been stressing me will write, that I go in Peace. It will be so disgusting to watch them, I dare say but again it will be part of the fun.

Yes, I want to die tomorrow and watch them defy my will. They will bury me in a white wooden coffin, paved with gold and ignore the fact that I wished to be cremated. I want to die tomorrow and see who will unpack my clothing meant for the orphanage and distribute them among my relatives. I will watch as they steal my shoes, silver earrings, handbags, jeans and start a second- hand shop. I will laugh as they try on my shoes and say what a nice person I once was.

I die to hear my eulogy. That will be the climax of my funeral. It will be so nice to see my enemies pour out grief and exaggerate my achievements.  They will declare that I have died from a short illness bravely borne and not a lengthy illness whose name is too heavy for the tongue to carry.

And then the sweetest of them all will be to see my enemies fearfully and guiltily throwing ash to my grave as the huge fat priest chants, “ash to ash, she came from dust and to dust she returneth! Blessed be the name of the Lord.” I want to die tomorrow, so that all this great drama does not pass me by! But for my close family and friends it will be truly sad and I will surely miss them. So just to save them the pain of losing me, I will give them a second chance to treat me better and tell me good things about me to me.

Wait a minute, people! Stop! Stop! I have changed my mind. I no longer want to die tomorrow. I have a three o’clock coffee date with my Fiancé tomorrow. I hope he is truly nice to me.

Copyright Omwa Ombara. February 22, 2012. Satire.

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