What a year it was – 2020, I mean.
I think I may have slept through New Year’s Eve, the memories are a bit fuzzy. However, I know that for me, the year 2020 came just like the years before it – with me snoring lightly on my bed. I remember just a month before the new year, how I started a new job after I grew tired of the unhappiness my old job supplied in abundance. Seeing new faces and having a new desk was exciting for a few weeks, but just like most things in my life, this excitement was short-lived – I was already bored when the new year introduced itself.
I planned a very short visit to a lover – it is incredible what a little love can do. Upon my return, I started making new plans. If I was going to have the strength to wake up every morning, take a shower, go sit on the same desk, see the same faces and repeat the same the next day, this was my out – new plans. So, I did my research and put down some payments for some of the places I wanted to visit.
And COVID19 came.
I became aware of what my biggest fear was – dying.
I took in a lot of information from a lot of people who happened to be as confused as I was. We all did. Nobody knew what was happening to us – the world. At the time, I knew that it wouldn’t feel like it did forever, I knew it wouldn’t always be that dark – at least not for everyone. I only wanted more than anything to live to see it. I didn’t want to die. I didn’t want to be a part of the statistics – “Oh she was one of those people that died during the pandemic”.
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress, yet it felt so alien to me. I am naturally not a violent person however, I remember telling two of my co-workers who tried to make fun of my fear of the virus that, if they as much as touched any item on my desk with their hands, I would knock off all the teeth in their mouths. When I started working from home, I remember how I randomly stood up from my workstation to wash my hands in the bathroom. I took so many vitamins and lemon/ginger drinks that I almost burnt my throat.
I didn’t want to die. I specifically didn’t want to die alone. It would take my family and lover a few days to panic if they didn’t hear from me. I would likely get a few queries and caution letters from my job if I went silent for a few days before they would think about looking for where I lived. With the state and the federal government imposed lockdown/curfews, give or take, it may take anyone whom I mattered to, about two-three weeks to get to my body, had I died in my apartment.
My Father would be seventy-one in July. I thank God every day that he is healthy and alive. He is a loving Father, so we all hope and pray that we have at least thirty more years to spend with him. Anyway, amongst his other almsgiving, my Father occasionally contributes to my Church’s burial funds account. He does this to help the church bury its dead and so that the church would afford him what he and so many of the people in his age group call a ‘befitting’ burial. This is often characterized by having a lot of people whom the dead had impacted their lives present at the burial – feed them until there is no space left in their stomachs. I mean how else would the world know that a great person had died?
I know this essay was supposed to tell you how I want to die, I am afraid that I may end up telling you about how I don’t want to die, as I am yet to fathom the former.
I don’t want to die alone. I don’t want my Family to grieve; I have seen what adversity can do to people. I have seen how the mind of a man in despair works. I mean I would want them to cry if I died, but not for long. I would want them to carry on with their lives.
I do not want a far-reaching burial ceremony.
I don’t want to be knocked down by a car and have my bones cracked.
I don’t want my body undiscovered several days after I am gone. Even in death, I do not want to ‘smell’.
Nice One Nkiru!
I too do not want to die young; below 70
what great piece