The Khalil Amani Reader

Hip-hop/Spirituality/Freethinking. Speaking for all underdogs!

On Death and Dying… (In Loving Memory of Michael Leonard Clark)

On Death and Dying….
(In Loving Memory of Michael Leonard Clark)
By (uncle) Khalil Amani

We are alive, therefore we will die. This is the simplest, most obvious truth of our existence, and yet very few of us have really come to terms with our mortality. Simply put, death is a fact of life—Death is the next phase of life where the Soul lives on eternally.

With the recent passing of my nephew Michael “Mikey” Leonard Clark (R.I.P.), I am moved to write on this subject. This young man Michael was born with some serious health issues, but lived a full life, doing the best that he could and living one day at a time. He fought the good fight and has been taken up on Eagle’s Wings.

(Mikey R.I.P. [on right] with his brothers back-in-the-day)

Losing a child has to be one of the hardest things imaginable! By God’s Providence and the natural order of posterity, we expect that our children will bury us. But when God calls one of his young ones home, we have to find the strength to accept God’s wisdom. We have to thank Him/Her for sharing one of His/Her’s with us for however long He did.

Physical life is Yahweh (God) loaning us to one another—to live, to love, to procreate and alas!—to return unto Him/Her.

Mikey’s life and legacy will be one of strength and the Will to live through adversity—that no matter the lot in life that has been handed to us, we can learn from Mikey’s life about the Will of the Self—the Will to be—that no matter what problems we face in this lifetime—they pale in comparison to the struggles, which finally dimmed his light. We should complain less and thank God for being healthy amongst the land of the living.

How do we grieve?

I grieve in spirit. God knows my heart is pure and that I am with him always.

The noted authority on death and dying, Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, in her book, On Death and Dying says that there are five stages of grieving: Denial ("I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."), Anger ("Why me? It's not fair!"), Bargaining ("I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."), Depression ("I'm going to die... What's the point?") and Acceptance. ("It's going to be okay.") At any given time, we are dealing with one of these stages of death. There is no right or wrong way to grieve the death of a loved one. Some people cry, some don’t, some people mourn openly and some mourn privately. All manner of emotion comes to the fore.


I am reminded of when I was training to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). One of the things that were taught was that, as medical professionals, it is not uncommon to see doctors, nurses and other medical personnel laughing, joking and idly chatting right after a serious trauma, which resulted in the loss of life. To some, this behavior might appear disrespectful, but in reality, this is a “coping mechanism,” which kicks in instinctively—when dealing with death on a regular basis. Otherwise, there would be mass suicides, homicides, and a skyrocketing mental health crisis amongst health care workers. On a few occasions I’ve shed tears for people I didn’t even know. I’ve found myself in the emergency room drawing blood on a patient who clearly was not going to make it and having to watch and listen to a hysterical family digest the death of their loved one. I’ve found myself grieving for their loss.


A funeral is for the living, not the dead!

Most of us have a fear of dying. It is natural. The longing to stay young, healthy and alive is a common theme sang about and rapped about. The longing to have more time with a loved one is also a theme sang and rapped about. Luther Vandross (R.I.P.) longed for his deceased father’s touch. He sang, “If I could dance with my father again...”

Rapper Nas rapped about his mom’s passing; “One more dance with you mama (if I could only have one-more-dance-with-you-mama/wish you’d appear/just for a second from heaven/If heaven was a mile away and you could ride by the gates/Would you try to run inside when it opens/would you try to die today?”

Jay-Z, on his recent album The Blue Print III has a song called “Young Forever” where he raps, “Forever young. I wanna be forever young. Do you really wanna live forever? Forever, forever…”

Rappers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac rapped of death, heaven and hell. Tupac rapped, "Bury me smilin' with G's in my pocket/have a party at my funeral/let every rapper rock it/let tha hoes that I usta know/from way befo/kiss me from my head to my toe/give me a paper and a pen/so I can write about my life of sin/a couple bottles of Gin/in case I don't get in..."

Death is the most UN-known, known—the most IN-tangible, tangible! The Bible tells us that only three people escaped death—(1) Melchizedek, the King of Salem, who is reported, "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually." (Hebrew 7:3)—(2) Elijah, who “suddenly there appeared in the air a chariot of fire, with horses of fire, which, parting the two asunder, carried up Elijah in a whirlwind to heaven.” (I Kings 18) and—(3) Enoch, which the Bible tells us, just disappeared off the earth; “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)

None of us shall escape that Great Gettin’ Up Mornin’! The Bible teaches that “there is a time to be born and a time to die” (Ecc. 3:1). It also teaches that “one generation passes away and another cometh” (1:4).

As I end this blog, I want to say to my family that I wish I could physically be with you all at this time, but I cannot. I am there in spirit and in truth. Those amongst you, who really know my heart, know that I am there with you. Until we meet again, God Bless Mikey and all of you! With love, your brother, uncle and friend, Khalil Amani.

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