Obsessions for Funerals & Canonisation in Eulogies: DESERVED OR NOT – Barbadians and their stalking of Death and all its Trappings
I had forgotten ’til only recently there was a Frank Collymore story where a funeral was reviewed and it was only at the end of the tale you realised the person went to the wrong burial!
Strangely enough, concerning burials, I see my old stomping grounds of Sanitation took a half page ad at least twice recently stating they have not sold burial plots on National Cemeteries since 1974 and anyone caught doing so is ILLEGAL! Whosoever corns mash, then whatever corns will get what’s comin’ to them, of that I’m sure…
When I was at CBC, I recall some guy died and they carried a story like he invented the cure for AIDS, but I had no sympathy for him as it was known he beat his wife mercilessly. Folk asked how could I say such a thing, behaving as if my comments were a lie? I stated that I called it as I saw it. Pearson Morgan asked me if I am not afraid that someone may curse me when I drop dead, I said I wouldn’t be surprised – since most of them (at CBC) had little regard for me now, what I’d prefer is if everyone wore bright colours and say, “The Bitch is dead, so long and Good riddance,” toss worms at my grave then drink rum, eat roti and wuk up by my headstone.
The whole Newsroom was in utter shock, finally it was Novaline Brewster (she’s now Public Affairs at the Central Bank) who asked me if I wanted therapy, and I asked for what? Keeping it real? Bajans have this notion when even an absolute villain drops dead then no one must speak the truth, only praise – regardless.
There is a similar if not even more rabid viewpoint if those deemed worthy pass away, and believe me – there are some who have their own personal shrines for the newly Deified. Don’t get me wrong – if you are my friend I will adore you forever, but woe betide should you cross my path… Then I will calmly sit by the river to see when your corpse comes floating by the shoreline. No big thing, just my nature. Help me, I reward you. Hinder me? I will hunt you down, nothing personal, just retribution in effect.
All of this reminiscence, revelations and recollections came to a head recently when on Facebook I was checking Notifications and I see in the corner there’s a reminder for me to send a note to Lesaah Guerrier (Clarification: this is a Haitian-Barbadian who contacted ME to be part of HER Network, I did not even know her)… Thing is, I knew Lesaah died before she had a chance to really bloom, so to speak i.e. she died young – so why am I getting a note to write a dead person?
I visited her page and see it’s still up, so I left a comment which said basically isn’t it time for the page to be taken down since she’s no longer with us?
OM-freakin’-G, who tell me to do that, eh?
There was a slinging match from a whole pile of folk at me, even one who I deal with on shows and events – so I sent her a note asking if she was calling me rude for daring to ask that question… What she didn’t know was I had an even harsher comment laying in wait, it was never used ’til now;-
“I keep forgetting how most Bajans are a bunch of backwards and primitive, Stone Age idiots when it comes to handling Death, those departed must be venerated to the point of Sainthood, regardless! I miss Terry Mayers but I do not watch videos or stare at his photos all the time, I moved on – that is me, I have just as much right to my opinion as you do to yours. I really thought you were more cosmopolitan than you appear to be.” (For what it’s worth, it hurts to look at pictures of Terry even now, I cannot understand the obsession to play music, video or stare at photos of dead people long after they’re gone)
You’d think that I would have learned my lesson from earlier this year, too?
When Richard Cox, Head of CBC News died… I spoke my mind on his passing, it got in a tizzy and caused many an anonymous detractor to get all in a huff – even thought I had bad manners, LOL!
My views on death, which are mine and I am entitled to them as you are to yours, are sort of similar to Klingons… I am gone, the body is a shell – what I did is either good or bad and must be acknowledged and treated accordingly.
Truthfully, on my death I’d like to be just shoved in a hole in my backyard and plant a tree above to feed off me. Failing that, a variation on a full Viking burial with a Pint & 1/2of Eclipse (not Ayesha Gibson’s version) in one hand with a roti in the next, and perhaps Simon & Patch at my feet if they predecease me while laid out in an aloha shirt, shorts and flip-flops on a flaming canoe sent out to sea to char me extra-crispy as I go to Valhalla or wherever…
What was really frightening in the Lesaah Guerrier page on Facebook, is that when I went to delete her as a a pal, since she’s not here to directly object – is that I happen to do the deed on her Birthday and I learned this based on the remarks from a whole pile of folk talking as if she’s alive and for me that seemed creepy. Not that I wouldn’t do that if someone is dear to my heart, but doing that in public and not having any thought for how weird that may seem to others. Yes, even I have my limits, folks!
Anyhow, while I understand that if anyone keels over in Barbados then they must be canonised if evil or Deified if a hero, I cannot guarantee I will keep my feelings to myself – I am aware that there can be friends, family and associates who grieve but this may be my way of handling the passing – if it’s a body I clashed with, I might be annoyed that I never got the chance to resolve the dispute.
If it’s a person I got along with I may feel the worship is overboard and if I do, I usually say so – if when I’m gone you don’t wanna acknowledge I passed through then that’s cool, it’s equally cool if you wanna insult the daylights out of me, I’m not here – hopefully I may be in a more intriguing if not necessarily better place!