LIFE AND DEATHWRITTEN BY NANA
Hello! My name is Nana Giyose. I am from Durban, South Africa, and fluent in English as well as Isi-Zulu. I am a recent graduate of a Music and Performance Study degree at the University of KZN and I am passionate about teaching. I opened a Pre-School in 2012 focusing on early childhood development; which ignited my love for languages. I am TEFL/TESL certified and enjoy facilitating growth in all my students.
Life and death are viewed as either being with or being without. The beginning of life is celebrated. While death is resented and feared by most. Death is about great loss and tragedy while its competitor, life, is seen as a gift from the gods.
Is there a more logical reason as to why we fear something that happens so much? It could be that no one knows what happens after death has happened. Is there a way in which we could view death as a loss as well as a blessing for the lessons it teaches us?
My mother has always said, “Every living thing’s blessing of birth comes with the burden of death, and whilst we may not be fond of death we need to find comfort in knowing that each living day brings us closer to it.” This statement does not blame death for its existence but requests us to glorify it. We study in institutions to one day pass on to greater forms of knowledge. We plant trees and flowers that blossom in the summer and then shed their leaves in Autumn. We eat things to sustain ourselves and give birth to new ideas and children every day. We are exploring life and death as we know it at a much minute scale. As small as this scale may be, we are indeed a part of the circle of life.
Although life and death are words that don’t seem to find common ground in our minds we need to acknowledge and prepare for their complex relationship to one day visit our doorstep. We should perhaps then not view death as the end of things or the end of life as we know it but rather a new beginning for life as we do not know it. Let us also find comfort in that we are in this together and as Elbert Hubbard said: “Don’t take life too seriously, no one makes it out alive.”
Being the youngest has always made me slightly uncomfortable. It has often left me feeling uneasy… feelings of wanting to kick the bucket always seemed easier to slip into. I know that these thoughts aren’t healthy and as my psychologist would say, “Oh, do pick yourself up, brighter days are coming”. I have never quite understood her optimism but I have nevertheless had to get over certain situations with suppression. I have always been seen as the baby of the family so my point of view has never mattered much. I have never been quite old enough to voice my opinions or be taken seriously. One could say that I had a fairly average childhood. A girl from a small town who spent most of her time playing football instead of playing with dolls. This was supposedly one of the many reasons why I could never let my hair down and why the kids from way back nicknamed me Betty Boy. Betty, from Elizabeth, means dedication. I have lots of dedication. But the anxiety of always trying to prove myself has kept me on the edge for the majority of my life.
And so here I was between life and death.. What an eventful night, I had to keep reminding myself that it was indeed still Christmas eve. Instead of deciding which dessert to dig into first, tonight I’m conflicted with trying to save my family from a group of armed men. Our night was full of life… but that all died away before we could even slice the turkey. This is my chance to prove my loyalty and strength to my family, I reassure myself. Hopefully, they can learn to bury the hatchet and see how important we are to each other.
It feels like hours ago that I headed to the basement to check on the furnace. The unknown men upstairs had no idea I was down here. As I hide in the basement calmly trying to load the gun I got out of grandpa’s safe, I realize that the noise has died down upstairs when all of a sudden I hear a gunshot. I’m not sure where everyone is, but at some point, I heard my brother in law scream my sisters’ name. At least they have each other to live for or to worry about. I have no one. Unlike them, I have nothing to lose. I quickly unlatch the safety and slip up the staircase. None of them will be expecting me. Flight or fight… I would obviously fall in the latter. I am a dangerous woman passing through, not just through these familiar walls and floors filled with so many memories but through life. I am not scared of the other side nor do I fear the journey that will one day get me there. Tonight, I will pull through and be the hero.
In the darkness, as I glide down the hall, I see a mild light flashing under what seems to be an object unidentified to me. The house has been turned upside down and the stench of foreign cologne fills up my lungs. Deep, silent breaths are the only way I will be able to do what I need to do. I bite the bullet and head towards it, it’s my mother’s mobile phone. She must have dropped it during the confusion just moments before. Using it will only bring attention to me and that’s the last thing I need right now. I do hope I haven’t brought a knife to a gunfight. While deep in thought, someone passes me and I fire my first shot. Straight to the chest. The target lands on the ground lifeless.
I hear a few shuffles as the men try to figure out what just happened. This gives me a chance to suss out the enemy and with fearlessness in my eyes, I soldier on, ready to do the dirty work, one intruder at a time. Tonight I have fully immersed myself in the complexities of my nature. Russian roulette is a game for fools because someone has to bite the dust. This is an intrusion and it makes me see red…
RIP to the bad guys. One down… I wonder how many more to go?
To be continued.
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Life and death idioms / expressions
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