Friday, June 05, 2020

Another Zoom Funeral

Another zoom funeral
Grief unbounded
In unfamiliar settings
Burdened further by social distancing
Families in the diaspora
Dealt with all-too-familiar loss
Exiled souls and flowing tears
A beautiful soul now dearly lost
Flesh buried mid-Atlantic
We all one day will pay a similar cost

The spirit rests in cyberspace
Our rituals provide solace
In darkness we seek relief
Dirty pretty things arisen
After shifts working in care homes
Night nurses all, both young and old
We were in need of a merciful release
Ananse gathered all these burdened folk
To deliver us from unrelenting grief

And so we shared stories
Of laughter and peace
Of our brethren and sistren of yore
Storytelling, some call it folklore
Those precious memories of yesterday
The sour was overwhelmed by the sweet
Our culture and deft social interplay
Even amidst all this modernity
Meant we had riches untold
Tradition is not poverty
It remains our comfort suite

The faces linger, rectangular expressions of empathy
A worldwide gathering of chatroom sympathy
Mics muted and unmuted, a choral symphony
The background noise a nuisant reality
The funeral director, used to American brevity,
Could hardly handle Nigerian internet connectivity
We chuckled, us Ghanaians, with knowing Third World solidarity
We're dragging ourselves slowly into the First World polity

The sounds of uncontrolled sobs
An ingredient oft missing
In Western settings
Duly had to be injected
African customs persisting.
The cryer's mournful sounds
Provide a deserved sanctuary
Our final respects paid
Amidst the required mask wearing
All protocols observed
As we left the virtual mortuary
Our duty of care intact
We celebrated our mother's legacy
Even as we later clicked
To close the browser tab

For Auntie Ama

This dirge is a slight revision
Of the original spontaneous conception.
I can't bear the thought of editorial decision
Hence both are offered for your reading comprehension.

I simply felt I needed to add some more sweet to my concoction of grief soup.

See also: Funeral Minded, my first encounter with the new normalcy of virtual covidious grieving.

A day later...

It strikes me that the two recent covidious funerals I've attended had a missing ingredient beyond touch and presence, in the dearly departed's absence. Contra Western sterility, the African antidote is music and dance. Hence I give you

Celebration of Life, a playlist

The pity is that these would now be coronavirus superspreading events (a timeline).

Start with an Abutia clan funeral ceremony. It was a painful moment for all of us, we had lost Da but you can see the exact second when my Aunt's grief was sublimated and she lost herself in the dance, in fond remembrance of her mother.

I woke up to music this morning and I can safely say that the most exhilarating 9 minutes of recent memory was when The 7 year old and I took out our white handkerchief and comfort blanket respectively, and got down to our Bobobor song and dance circle. We were alone upstairs in the house, 6,000 miles away in time and space, sheltering in place in a pandemic across the Atlantic ocean, yet we were on the road to freedom. Music of the Gods

What paradise have we lost?

See also: African Ceremonies

File under: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments: