Tuesday, 16 January 2007

The ‘pause’ of Benji in bereavement

In death we find kinship

Every once in a while, you find similarities between cultures and that is quite instructive. I knew years ago in Nigeria, there were sections in the dailies where obituaries and “in memoriam” notices were placed, some taking up whole pages as the graveyard vista of mere tombstones and humongous mausoleums played out either the achievements of the dead or the aggrandisement of the living.

In some way, they all made very interesting reading, so it is no wonder that sometimes, I find myself reading having traversed a link from the Wikipedia main page the Recent Deaths section.

Deaths are sometimes a reflection of life and it bothers me when one month had young people barely half my age dying from violence in the streets, then you have middle-aged people dying of conditions that only used to affect people a lot older, indeed, you take something away, be it a warning, a clue, an instruction or some weird feeling – what would one want written about oneself when you do not have the means to seek edition of the detail?

Brief illness syndrome

However, back to the listings, another thing I noticed then was that as I commented in a blog a few days ago – I cannot remember where I placed the comment, methinks, blogs require a comment tracker for the commentators to keep track of territory one has marked in the “Blogosphere”, I really hate that word.

Nigerians rarely die of some chronic, protracted or even terminal illness, most die of the epidemiologically pathogenic brief illness – it needs to be properly researched, this is in light of the clean bill of health the President of Nigeria gave the presidential candidate selected to replace him.

Family notices

So, I was reading one of the Dutch high-brow papers, well, skimming it, the standard of Dutch in those papers is radically different from the Dutch you see in the free metro rags which is somewhat easier to read.

The family notices can be found on the back page of Economic section, exactly, and there was three notices – obituaries – about the same lady, where her family and nieces and nephews addressed her fully, all names, six in all with the obligatory title of Jonkvrouwe – which is a rarity in the Netherlands except for royalty, the English equivalent is Dame.

The siblings however still see her as sister, as one would without all the trimmings.

In the main family notice, usually the persons are listed with their locations and her husband of 51 years appeared first and then the children many away some abroad, nice enough.

The importance of Benji

Then, there was Benji who appeared just below the husband but before the children and a little picture to the left of what I think were paws. I had to ask, do these paws mean anything?


Benji magnified 800% - taken from the obituary.

Well, there were only two; it could be a bear, a kangaroo or well, just the representation of a pet; dog, cat or something so cuddling and definitely not a Tamagotchi or an Aibo.

Well, a pet just feels as much loss for its owner even if we do not recognise that pets do have feelings, apart from the fact that pets in some homes are almost substitute companions for human beings.

We live and we learn, I pray Benji finds that fortitude and strength to bear the loss.

PS: Pause in the title should really be paws

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