The Power of Death

Aderonke Adelegan

This past weekend, I experienced the power of death. A woman named Bunmi lost her mother who lived in another country. In Bunmi’s tradition and culture, if a parent or loved one died, and as the child, you cannot be physically there for the funeral, it is your responsibility to commemorate the death of the person wherever you are. It is also expected that memorial be made public, it usually takes place in a place of worship.
Bunmi is a Christian who held a Thanksgiving service with her closest friends.  Church members celebrated the death of her mother through dance and worship. The celebration continued at her house with a party, that featured barbecued ribs, hot dogs, jollof rice, and all types of food.
Death is generally known as a negative thing but has different significance in each culture, but in some it is a time to celebrate. I caught up with Bunmi to ask a few questions:
Reporter: “If you don’t mind me asking, how old was your mom when she died”
Bunmi: “She was 85 years old”
Reporter: “Okay, so you would agree she didn’t die prematurely”
Bunmi: “Yes”
Reporter: “What does the celebration of your mom’s death mean to you, even though you couldn’t physically be there for”
Bunmi: “Well I believe it helps me feel more connected to her, and this way I have a chance to remember her”
Reporter: “When was the last time you saw your mother”
Bunmi: “Well I came into this country 16 years ago, so that was the last time I saw her”
Reporter: “Why didn’t you go visit her in Nigeria”
Bunmi: “I couldn’t leave the country for too long or my visa would expire”
Reporter: “Okay, how does the fact that people came to support you make you feel and what does it mean to you.”
Bunmi: “Well for me it makes me see that the people in my life care.”
Reporter: “Thank you for your time”
Bunmi’s culture portrays the importance of commemeration, especially for a loved one no matter how long ago you’ve seen each other and no matter the number of miles that separate you.