Time: there is so much of it, but never enough, especially when ikú (death) takes one’s final breath away. For me, today is a day like any other; I got up; I ate; I walked the dogs; and, I taught divination to my students, my friends. Yet for my friend, this day was unlike any other since his birth: he died. After class was over I had an email in my inbox telling me . . .
A friend died in his sleep.
A couple of years ago, we had a falling out of sorts. It involved three people, really: myself, her, and by extension, her husband. For quite some time we did not speak. Then about six months ago we broke the ice; and about two months ago, I was having dinner at their house. And today, he is dead.
My friends: life is too short to hold on to past grudges and errors. Let them go. Breathe. Apologize. Breathe. And keep breathing together until ikú takes your last breath away.
I’m not sure where I got this from, but it was sent to me years ago and I saved it. It is a bit of Ifá divination poetry from the odu Oyekun’che. It seems appropriate to mark the death of a friend:
The teachings of Ifá were interpreted for the wise ones.
Who assembled and invited some Babalawo to interpret the teachings of Ifá on death.
The asked why is it that death kills people and there is no one who does not die?
The Babalawo said that it is good that Amuniwaye, (the one who brought us into the world, this is a Praise name for Olódùmarè) created death.
Water, which does not flow back and forth, becomes a pond of polluted water. A pond of water which causes disease.
Water takes people away freely and water brings them back freely.
Let them go home to receive a new body (awo titun a new skin, a new vessel for the Spirit); let the corrupt go home to receive new character so they may return to the world.
Then the Babalawo asked: “What is unpleasant about this?”
The wise ones prostrated in respect for Ifá, saying: aboru; aboye; abosise. (The offering has been made, may it be accepted; may it be blessed.
Then they went away and they no longer considered death as a matter of sorrow.
Forgive. Relax. And breathe. Life really can be that simple.