So, the boys attended their first final burial. Actually, their first burial-anything since I've never been sure about the perfect time to introduce death and its realities. Now I can say that a full-on Nigerian-style party makes for a great buffer because nothing says we're outside like a Naija party (a proven fact). Before we set out, they wanted to know one thing and one thing only.
Would there be rice and chicken wings?
Yes, most definitely on the first. Heck No! on the 2nd.
I let them know there would be hard chicken. The struggle kind.
Cooked, fried, and marinated in fried pepper with spices. Best eaten while sitting right by your frenemy so you can be petty AF, anointing them with red oil while playing innocent and pretending to wipe it away while actually dabbing it into the weft of expensive lace.
I may or may not have done it before. I'll never tell.
As far as memorials go, it was beautiful. Everyone had something good to say about Pa Odeyale. And they all rang true to me. He was a kind man, as in that soul-good kind of person who did it because that was the way his heart worked. Always encouraging and admonishing with gentle yet impactful words. His life was dedicated to his ministry and the people in his community. He dedicated both our boys and always had gifts for them.
None of that two-faced business. Just grace for his flock, the "unflocked" and even the eff your flock population around the church location in Philly.
The dancefloor was alive and their Amala-on-the-spot was a hit.
Turns out there was Asoebi + a white dress code. I had no idea and showed up in my favorite Green Zara blazer looking like Anna Sorokin on her way to pitch a new Startup but I don't think Pa Odeyale would have minded.
FYI, if you think White is just White then you've never been to a Yoruba-all-white affair.
Have I said it was lit? Ok, I have but yeah, let me reiterate.
On the drive back home when the boys asked why people would even dance at a burial. I waxed philosophical about the concept of celebrating a person's life after they're gone. And how no one remembers your drip, your house, or your haircut (the older one is currently obsessed with his hair so I threw that in for good measure)
When Pa Odeyale passed away in 2020, my husband and I were very sad. It didn't matter that he was 72, we wanted more time with him and had never considered what it would mean to lose him.
Don't knock the African (some parts) culture of final burials. I don't think it's a bad idea for loved ones to gather after dealing with the early stages of grief so they can actually reminisce and rejoice over a life well spent.
I don't want the last time people to gather because of me drowned in tears and snot. I'm not about to draft my Order of Service but if it's anything like Pa Odeyale's then it's not so bad.
What's something about your culture that's commonly misunderstood but actually makes sense to you?
How old would you say a child should be before having a full-on conversation about death?
Please share in the comments.