When family members die together – Peju Akande

When family members die together – Peju Akande

 

 

Years back; my father used to insist our family should never travel in the same vehicle; especially when we were going to his hometown for Sallah.

 

And every year I would query him and ask why. His usual reply was ‘in case of in-casity.’

 

 

And I would ask, ‘What is in-casity?’

 

He would respond, exasperated, ‘Wo Peju fi mi si le.’

 

On the few occasions we did, however, because you see, you won’t always have people to drive your family; especially when you do not have the means, my father would slow the car to an annoying crawl on the road. We hated this and would many times urge him to speed up. Indeed, we would spend two hours on a 45 minutes’ drive.

 

 

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He was being careful; I later came to realise; trying to play his part as the man who knew the danger of over speeding; especially as his entire family was in the car. But he was also being myopic. He wasn’t the only driver on the road. What if a drunk driver came charging from the opposite side of the road?

 

 

When family members die together - Peju Akande

 

 

Anyway, I eventually found out what ‘incasity’ meant. This was during one of those travels when an uncle drove us on a journey. We witnessed the immediate aftermath of an accident that left me so traumatized, I was having nightmares for weeks.

 

We saw, spewed across the road, human remains of passengers of a private car and a tipper truck in a head-on collision.

 

I was too young to make out much beyond the large spread of blood; as well as a limb flung across the road, a situation that soon built up into a mad traffic behind us. However, I was old enough to know that the lives that remained after this; would never be the same again. I mean those who survived. I had overheard the uncle telling my father later “…that was an entire family gone…”

 

So ‘incasity’ meant to me, accidents that could wipe out entire families.

 

Sometime last year in December, on Kubwa-Zuba expressway in Abuja; the entire family of Samson Alowe perished in a ghastly motor accident. Their car was reported to have crashed and burst into flames, killing the father, mother and their three children!

 

What did Samson do wrong putting his whole family in that vehicle at once? Nothing. There was just no one left in the immediate family to mourn and wonder why he/she was spared.

 

 

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This wouldn’t be the first time I would read/ hear about entire families dying in accidents; even freak accidents like that of Gabriel Diya, the RCCG pastor who drowned in a hotel swimming pool; with his 16-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter!

 

Imagine? They died in what we would consider a safe place to swim. They left the wife and mother behind to mourn; to ask herself why she was not looking while her family drowned; why she wasn’t around when with arms flaying, they were begging to be rescued. Would she be ruing the decision to stay indoors while her family went to play in the pool?

 

 

Who knows?

 

 

What of families wiped out after a meal? Or those snuffed out from generator fumes?

 

 

Thing is, bad things happen! and so whether it be one person or an entire family; pain is pain and its measure can’t be quantified.

 

 

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The recent demise of Kobe Bryant through a helicopter crash brought everything home again. Here again, Kobe and his daughter along with seven others, among them a man; his wife and their daughter perished in the crash!

 

 

When family members die together - Peju Akande

 

 

 

What went wrong?

 

 

Bad things happen even to the best of us. This is just another tragedy that reminds us of our mortality. We can pass on anytime, anything can happen to anyone at any time. There are no absolute guarantees in life…except God and the certainty that we will all leave this earth; you know, through the grave.

 

 

In fact, my friend and I visited the family of a mutual friend who recently passed on. Our words of comfort may have soothed them but we knew that once we left; they would be faced with their pain once again.

 

 

They say time heals all things, all wounds. I hope the families grieving find comfort in the memories of their loved ones gone.

 

 

May the souls of the departed rest in peace.

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