Oh Death, Where is Thy Sting?
A story about removing the power from death
One of the stories often heard as children was that when a person dies, his or her spirit travels the earth for 40 days and 40 nights. I guess this was one of the things that gave rise to our famous Caribbean Jumbie Stories.
What is a spirit doing when it hangs around for all those days after the physical death of its body? Was it tying up loose ends, meeting with family and friends, going places it didn’t go when it was in a human body or exacting revenge upon the persons who treated it poorly during life?
You can imagine how this would add to the fear factor of children since when it gets dark, one never knows what is roaming around the place.
As a child, I believed these stories, and when a person from my village died, you would not catch me outside after dark for a while. I had no intention of having an encounter with an angry spirit.
Someone I knew quite well died recently
He was my teacher. He taught me a lot: self- confidence, stick-to-it-iveness, how to maintain stamina, and build endurance. I recall many sessions with him standing in from of me saying “again, again, again..” I had to get that punch or that kick just right! And though I have long moved on from his classes, I would still remember him fondly.
So this day, I am on my way home, not thinking about anything in particular when I felt a heavy energy in my car. My heart skipped a beat. I knew that something was around. I wish that they would send a warning, “hey, Ilis, we are passing by at 9:07am this Friday, look out for us.” Or something like that.
I looked up and I saw him; hovering in the sky above the hills.
The energy that embodied him was strong, expansive, powerful, taking up the entire vista above the valley. He smiled and waved. I smiled back and said hello. I was not surprised really. I knew he would have made his presence felt in a grand way, being a bit of a show-off when he was on this side. He would have wanted me to write about him.
“Okay, my friend. Thanks for the visit. I see that you are okay, more than okay.”
And with one final nod and smile, he faded as if a mist into the heavens.
This would have made quite the Jumbie story!
I know better; I understand a little more the going ons of here and over there — not everything, but a lot more than I did when I was a child.
This knowing has taken the sting out of what we know as death; since, really, there is no death.