From the time the first cries of a new born are uttered, after the umbilical connection to the beautiful quiet of the uterus is severed, man is born to die. Every step and breath taken from birth is a step that leads us all closer to our final destination which is death.

Life is uncertain but death is sure; that is the curse of our mortal shell. The bane of our existence is that we live to deteriorate, and deteriorate to die. All the things we hold dear and worry about; our poverty or wealth, beauty or ugliness, fitness or fat, potentials or its total absence and our social status means not much at the end of the day because when we cease to be, so does all such pursuits.

Equality is a word we bandy about and strive for in life but it is ironical that it only becomes achievable in death. In death, all plans, struggles and strife cease; all pursuits lose fervour and dissipate into nothingness. For the first time, a silver spoon never matters for we all rot to dust regardless of who we were.

These were the thoughts that filled my head as I watched my friend lay at his final resting place today. It matters no more now how death disfigured his handsome features, how intelligent he was, what his dreams and aspirations were, what he owned or the life he hoped to live. All that remain are the memories he left behind that live in the hearts of those he touched.

For us who knew him, as we trudge to our inevitable destination, his demise is sharp reminder that death is non-discriminatory. How good we are or how bad can never shield us from the fate of certain death. What we did in life can never make a case for us when we get to the crossroads. When and where our hourglass runs its course is where the road ends.

Is there life after death? Despite what our various faiths tell us, we can never really know till we go and sadly, those who know can never tell. All we can really be certain of is who we are and where we are now because the next moment and place is not certain.

Living with the consciousness that we are born to die should make us resolve to live for the now because that is all we truly own. For that reason, we must learn to cherish every breath, love without restraint, appreciate the life we’ve been given, strive for worthy causes every where and every time and above all, be happy and be agents of happiness.

The uncertainty of life and the certainty of death will be much easier to live with.

Malcolm O. Ifi.

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