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Opinions of Saturday, 25 January 2014

Columnist: Richard Annerquaye Abbey

Death must not end it all...

Death’s sting seems to always stun people. In spite of the Bible’s assertion that, it is appointed unto man to die…, the death of a relation or a friend is bound to leave us crushed. Wailing, a pensive mood, and a feeling of one’s life crumbling abruptly among others are immediate reactions to the loss of a loved one.

Some people even have been driven to commit suicide at the loss of a relation which is very unfortunate. Apart from love, sex and life, death is one of the most popular themes in songs, movies and other art forms. This shows that, it is at the very heart of everything we do thus a journey everyone will make as part of life.

Unfortunately, the element of surprise in death cannot be obliterated. I once knew a beautiful lady, who was also very brainy. She virtually topped every class at school since she was in crèche. She had a wonderful personality and was cut for success, but before she could even finish high school, death took her painfully. It was not a pleasant piece of news; a budding, healthy tree gone…forever! Her family was devastated, and they wondered why it had to be her because obviously her life had not even begun…but there she lay breathless, cold, a bubbly girl snuffed never to smile again.

Indeed, death has always had a way of getting at us like no other. The sister of the deceased, who was my friend and schoolmate, found life meaningless soon after - You know when it happens like that, at least for the first two or so weeks, we all wished that it was just a bad dream.

The reality we have to come to terms with is that, this is a person you will never see again in life and that is exactly what breaks your soul. For months, my friend went through ‘hell’ but as reality has it, no amount of tears could revive her sister. She just could not come to terms with the fact that her intelligent, innocent sister was no more.

So with Komla Dumor’s death, it seems the news has not even sunk in; many people are still in denial and a lot more keep wondering, “ Is he gone? Just like that?” Yes, just like that. But don’t be surprised that there are those who still hang on to a glimmer of hope that Komla would come out and clear the air, describing his death announcement as a mere expensive joke.

But you know, in times like this, we have two options: to resign ourselves to fate or pick ourselves up from the dust and forge ahead with our lives. Of the two, the latter seems the more difficult to do.

Komla lived a very fulfilling life, and I am sure he would not want us to beat ourselves up for something we did not do. Of course, he would cherish the love we have all shown him, but at the same time, he would also appreciate that we continued with the remainder of our tasks here assigned on earth.

Taking care of ourselves

While we work so hard, we must pause and share some time with our family and friends, for they are the ones who cherish us most. Personally, I believe hard work should not be detrimental to one’s health. That is not to say you must not give your utmost, but what you must also know is that the body has limited capacity just like a machine, and overworking it and not taking it through regular maintenance will lead to an eventual shutdown - a system overload.

The Bible says that, God created the universe and all that’s in it within six days, and he rested on the seventh day. Even the Almighty rested. This underscores the need for rest and it must not be taken for granted.

You can decide to adjust your body to work for 10, 12 or even 14 hours daily. That’s cool, but you should know that rest must also be taken in similar proportion to ensure a well-balanced body.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng, former CEO of the Cardiothoracic Centre at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, has bemoaned how a lot of young professionals are working themselves to their graves. "You can't cheat nature," he said. The sad aspect of it is that mostly, the people we work so hard to impress; our families, are rather left miserable because even while alive we were too busy working than loving them and eventually died trying to provide for them. Sad as it is, you can be replaced at your work place but your family will never be able to replace you with somebody else.

But this should not to be an excuse for people who are outright lazy; not at all. Lazy people must not seek refuge in this but we ought to know that while giving our 101% best is ideal, we must also know that it is because of the need for rest that we have five working days, the weekend off, and an annual leave.

I am saying all these because I believe beyond work, we must also make time and enjoy with the ones we so cherish. It should be as simple as ABCD. We’ve all got to get the balance right.

Our thoughts and prayers however, should be with the family of Komla, especially his wife Kwansema and those three lovely angels, Elinam, Elorm and Emefa.


The writer is the author of Rhythms of Thoughts, a column published in the Weekend edition of the Business and Financial Times (B&FT).