World News

Death of my Brothers

13 May 2017 at 11:00 | 1515 views

By Dr. Nanah Sheriff Fofanah-Sesay,USA.

Ideally, death is the cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism.

It is a phenomenon that commonly results from biological aging, predation, malnutrition, diseases, suicide, homicide, starvation, dehydration, accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury. As Shakespeare eloquently stated, death, a necessary end,
it will come when it will come. Religious scholars frequently reiterate the fact that all living things will at some point in their lives taste death as it is a prerequisite of their creation.

All these testaments serve as preparatory tools for the awareness of one’s own death. Moreover, these testaments provide coping mechanisms when a loved one is lost through death.

The purpose of this article is to memorialize two of my beloved brothers who were prematurely separated from us through death.

It was a bright and warm summer day in Songo, and as I was in the midst of socializing with my peers towards the end of the day, when the news broke out that my brother (Brima Fofanah) had died. Even at the tender age of 11 the news of his death felt like the excruciating pain of kidney stones or the grilling of a root canal in the absence of anesthesia. The reactions of other family members, friends, and neighbors to his death was overwhelming considering the fact that he was only 17 years old and a promising 11th grade student. Immediately following his death, his corpse was moved to my father’s main house, where he was laid awaiting the next day for burial.

I can vividly remember how we surrounded his lifeless body crying and hoping it was all a bad dream that will soon come to an end. Its turns out that it was all real and we had to deal with the series of steps that followed. My brother was one of the finest, funniest, smartest, and coolest youth you will ever encounter. These innate characteristics were seen to be appreciated by people in Songo and its environs through their unforgettable support of my family. He was given one of the most befitting home-goings as his remains were escorted to the cemetery by students from all the then existing primary and secondary schools in Songo. Students were dressed in full ceremonial uniforms in their quest to pay one final respect for a fallen brother.Teachers from all schools as well as the principal of his high school were among the mourners and well-wishers.

Through prayers, faith and resilience, we were able to forge ahead of this tragedy. However, approximately 41 years later, we were struck again by another painful and unbelievable death in the family. My other brother (Justice Sheikh Abdulai Fofanah) was known by many as a well-mannered young man who succeeded academically and professionally through humility, hard work and resilience. Prior to the death of our father, he was designated as one of the head members of the Fofanah family. He was bigger than life itself and lived life to the fullest. Unlike Brima who died from a medical condition, Justice Fofanah died spontaneously from a motor vehicle crash. News of his death created a cascade of emotional turmoil within his family and beyond. On the third day of his death, his burial in Songo town brought together people from all walks of life and age spectrums.

While pictures and videos of his funeral exploded on the Internet, the family remained engrossed with the planning phases of his funeral rites such as the 3th, 7th, and 40th days’ ceremonies. Through support from his friends, colleagues, and other well-wishers, these ceremonial rites were carried out as expected. The final task entails the collection of all his assets for appraisal and appropriate disposition.

The Fofanah family in Sierra Leone and around the world remains steadfast with the full understanding that “he who giveth, taketh” and that life must continue to exist for the survivors. I can reassure my two fallen giants who are currently in heaven that they will always be a part of our existence.

This article is dedicated to all the supporters of the Fofanah family during our time of grief and mourning.