Before delving into this topic I think it's important to apologise in advance for any misconstrued tones of insensitivity of the subject matter. I admit that, in writing this, I have no intentions of going back to read through looking for things that might appear this way as it's more important for me to convey my point. Therefore, hopefully by doing this, I've made it clear that I do not intend to offend anyone.
Death is something we can't escape in life. They say one of the reasons why it's good for children to have pets is so that, when the inevitable death of the pet occurs, the child learns an invaluable life lesson early on that everything, eventually, comes to an end. No matter how much one loves it.
When I was 15, I had my first experience of someone close to me dying. I say close to me, we weren't actually close at all at the time of his death, but we had a period of being very close in primary school. In any case, it hit home. Hard. I remember I found out on a Saturday and for the whole weekend, it didn't really hit me. It was on Monday when I was at school and life was continuing as normal where the realisation hit me and I was overwhelmed by an overwhelming amount of emotion; I burst into tears and nobody understood why, excluding the one friend in my class who I'd told about it over the weekend.
Fast forward six years and in that time I've had another friend pass and family friends. But I have not shed a single tear, excluding that first time. I can't really explain why. In fact, it quite confuses me that I haven't cried, especially when the other friend died more recently who I was much closer to. I think that might have had something to do with having to be strong for everyone else.
Now all the above was context for the main issue at hand, for me. Visiting cemeteries.
I've never liked cemeteries. Ever. I don't even like walking/driving past them, they creep me out (I can only assume that exposure to Michael Jackson's Thriller video from a young age subconsciously contributes to this). A lot of people like to visit the gravestones of those they've laid to rest. Some regularly, some annually, some when they're just missing the person. Some leave letters, leave flowers etc. This has never been something I've been able to identify with. Partially, of course because I don't like cemeteries. But, more importantly, for me I just can't identify with the reasoning that most like to do it. I am a Christian and, therefore, my belief is that all that remains on Earth is the flesh and the soul goes elsewhere (hopefully, Heaven), completed separated from Earthly occurrences. For me, I've never felt that the dead don't hear our prayers, well-wishes and they most certainly are not aware of our visits to their fleshy leftovers on Earth.
I think about people that have passed from time to time. I remember them, I reminisce. But I don't feel it necessary to go to their graveyards to do this, nor do I feel any guilt whatsoever for not going. Any guilt that I might have would be more so for the family of our lost ones. We never forget that person, nor do the families. But without communication, it can be so easy for one to think the other has forgotten.
So I guess, for me, this is somewhat of an open-letter, an admission that even though I've only ever visited you both once at the grounds you were laid to rest, that you are never forgotten. And an understanding between myself and those who's lives you contributed to that, no matter how busy life gets and how much further we walk in life, that I, at least, never forget the part you played.
R.I.P. Tobi Talabi, R.I.P. Ayobola Awotemi x
Currently listening to: Estelle - Come Over (remix) feat. Sean Paul