Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What will you say just before you die? What will it say about you?

Listen up: the daddy wants to ask you a question about something you probably don't want to think about: death. No, not death in general. It's about the moment you face death for the last time.

Just before you die, will you shout something like, "Give me liberty or give me death?" Okay, maybe that's too dramatic, too broad. Well, how about "Lord, please watch over my family and community, when I'm gone?" Or "Lord, thank you for helping Black folk to survive this cold new land they call America. Help us to save our soul by releasing from our heart the hatred against those who who hurt us here. And, Lord, help us to be better Americans without losing our identity as a people. Amen."

The daddy is wondering about this, because he's meditating on the John Brown's revolt (one of my heroes?), about the great Frederick Douglas agreeing with John Brown in principle but warning him that it would not work.

The daddy is thinking not so much about leaders like John Brown so much as his courageous followers, many of them slaves who decided to unite with their white brother (John Brown) to revolt, to spur the end of slavery, to step onto the stage of history and play their part in ridding our great country of slavery, odds be damned.

The daddy is wondering, "How we regular folk act, what will we say when we "come to the end of the road?"

Want a good example? Then then check this out. December 16th is the date of the hanging of two of the five men who joined John Brown's in the raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859: Shields Green and John Anthony Copeland.

According to the African American Atlas, as Copeland was led to the gallows he shouted, “I am dying for freedom. I could not die for a better cause. I would rather die than be a slave.”

What will you say before you die? What will it say about the life you lived?


Anonymous said...

Nobody talked about them in school. The just talked about John Brown

Somebodies Friend said...

Why McDaddy would someone agree with a plan that they knew would not work?

I am trying to forgive those who have hurt me McDaddy, it is hard, it seems to be everyone, and they tried to KILL ME AND MY PEOPLE.

And every where I go people treat me like 'I' am the one that did something wrong? Explain that one to me?

Why is it that I was doing just fine, now this damn holiday season comes and there is more realizations about folks that did me BAD, and now I am not in the holiday spirit.

How does it work when a whole group of people tried to KILL ME, and now they all want my help. It makes no sense to me, seeing if they had succeeded I would not be able to help them, because I would be DEAD! Can you explain this to me.

There were so many people involved I just want to leave town.

Somebodies Friend said...

That last comment sounds like I am overflowing with resentment, I am not.

I am not resentful, but at the same time I do not really want to associate with these individuals thats all.

Anonymous said...

The end of the road? What to say or think about one's life and legacy at death's door? My sense is the vast majority of us will never have that cogent "experience". Rather we may drift taken suddenly, etc. And of course it could happen to ANY one of us reading and blogging today or 30 years from now. That's why at the end of MOST days (I'm not perfect), I have a quiet little recollection of how the day has gone, what I'm grateful for and think about a brighter future as I doze off --usually peacefully. So if I can fully and meaningfully live and appreciate each day as it comes, perhaps I'll pass on in peace-- knowing I did my best each day. Not very heroic but my reality. I hope those I love concur and feel loved and appreciated when I pass. Life is each day as if... Remember that one, Mac?

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Anonymous said...

Who is this sorry Ivsport who intrudes on a blog with his spam---that's a first for me. Hopefully you can get rid of him, MacDaddy.

Somebodies Friend. I'm feeling your anxiety and send you calm and peaceful thoughts. So often during the holiday time, we get caught up in old feelings, bygone days, old tapes. Whatever...they can be upsetting and intrusive. I hope you can kick them out of your thinking and regain the positive attitude we've all come to appreciate in you. I know you will. You are with friends.

rainywalker said...

Perhaps there are three answers to your question. If you are killed as a martyr you have the responsibility perhaps to make a statement. Which would be different than dying suddenly where you might not get a chance to say anything. A reflective death would give you the opportunity in some cases for last words. You would likly get some kind of feeling you have never had in life and know your time is near. I am not afraid of the Death Angel so maybe; "I am free, will I now get answers to all my questions?"

nicki nicki tembo said...

For me life is war, a battle, struggle. From living and loving to working and raising children. So I suppose that it is fitting that Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" is one of my all time favorite works. It has the ability to speak to one on so many levels to be of so few words.

I should think I'll embracing Sun Tzu until my last breath - "the fight is chaotic yet [I] am not subject to chaos"

@somebodies friend, Sun Tzu offers something to all of us and for you I impart: If it accords advantage, then employ...If it does not, then stop. Wrath can return to joy. Rancor can return to delight... The enlightened...[are] careful about this...the good are...[are]cautious about this.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Gee, MacDaddy, did you just come back with bad news from the doctor or something? Dang, this is an odd friggin post, lol!

I'll roll with it anyway. It's a cool question.

Lord, please forgive me for my sins, even the ones I'm unaware of... and especially those. Please look out for my family and loved ones. Amen."

While I'd like to sound noble and say I'd be praying for the planet and world peace, done that already in my lifetime. My last moments breathing, I think, would be a more personal conversation with God, and probably not longer than that since He already knows what's in my heart.

rainywalker said...

Nicki Nicki Tembo,
Excellent book. My grandfather used to say, "An impatient man is a grave diggers friend." Like Sun Tzu it requires thought and time.

Somebodies Friend,
Some people are thoughtless and cruel, that is the way of the world. But you get to decide whether today I am going to let them bother me or will I overcome, persevere. Have a nice holiday in your own tradition. I will think of you smiling!

SagaciousHillbilly said...

I've often wondered if on my death bed (if I have one) I'll have some dumb little diddy or jingle going through my head and be pissed because it won't leave.
Did you ever have the theme song to some 60s sitcom endlessly repeating itself in your brain? You try and replace it with some brilliant majestic piece of music but it just won't go away.
What if that's your last thought?
But really, life is so freaking magnificent I don't think too much anymore about then or before. Right now it too awe inspiring.
What if I keel over before I push the "Publish" button.

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Whew, made it.

Friend. I'm sorry for your pain and those who caused it. Look out your window at something beautiful. Others in a different place and the past are irrelevant.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

@ Sagacious, man, that cracks me up. Hopefully we won't lay dying from a car wreck hearing the jingle we grew up with, "buckle up with seatbelts, always buckle up..."

Or maybe something else morbid, like
if you ever see
a hearse go by
you will be
the next to die...

MacDaddy said...

"Nobody talked about them in school."
Anon: I hear you. I feel as if I'm just learning true American history. And it's exciting.

Sombody: Some people on this blog have made some good suggestions. Take it end. I would just like to add that you have to make a decision about the people you hang around with. It doesn't sound to me like they are good for your well-being. Just my opinion, but I believe you have the intelligence and the fortitude to work it out and come out on the other side. Blessings.

Anon: your suggestions speak for itself. Thank you.

Rainywalkier: I love the way you're looking at this...when you stare death in the face and come out on the other side, it frees you to deal with life as it is, and not the way you wish it to be.

nicki: Ahhh. Sun Tzu. "The Art of War" and a history book called "Stolen Legacy" are two books I make sure I read every year.

Kit: I know it's a different kind of post. But I was trying to get people to connect death with their lives...a kind of indirect way of suggesting that we shouldn't wait until we're near death to think about the life we're leading now. I got this idea from Dr. Marti Luther King and Steven Covey. In "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," Covey suggests that we should ask ourselves what we want people to say about at our funeral. As writers, I think we need to help people to think about what we're doing NOW, and not in some after- life, or at the point of death. BTW: Congrats on becoming a member of AfrSpear. Love Wayne and them folks at Electronic Village. They make a difference.

Sagacious: Thanks for your suggestions. They're really for all of us. I think that Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays that's tough on a lot of us. Thank you.

IVSPORTS: Don't bring any advertisements to this blog!

CurvyGurl said...

Good question, MacDaddy. I'm on the same page as Kit.

Anonymous said...

mcdaddy why would you read art of war once a year?

Anonymous said...

I've thought so much about death all my life, about people I love dying or wishing I could die myself, or hoping that I'll have a choice on when to end my own suffering, so here's my thought. I hope and pray for the following (1) a swift, good heart-related death, or (2) enough morphine to be placed above the pain, in a state of euphoria where I'd try to make peace with all the wrongs others have done to me, or I have done to them.

Save these options, I might opt to go to Switzerland, where there are legitimate centers that will help you pass on before the worst of your suffering. The name of one of the clinics is Dignitas. Or I might just simply stockpile med's and research how much it would take (google "Final Exit" -- I've had the book for 20 years).

Please don't think I'm depressed or anything like that, it's just that I've thought about this for over 40 years, and I think this is what I will want to do. It's based on knowing that I'm just not very brave at all when it comes to pain and suffering. Or even discomfort.

We love you MacDaddy. This is a good topic, but I hope and pray you're OK!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

To Somebodies' Friend: I feel for you. Here at daddyBstrong, you're safe. Please take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

MacDaddy, I think that life *should* be precious, and I do think you are precious, but the reality of the world is that some lives are worth more than others. In some geographic parts of the world, life seems to be drastically more or less precious.

I struggle with the value of my own life compared to all of the unseen, unknown, and unnamed victims of war, neglect, disease, or convenience that are sacrificed daily, usually to serve the power hierarchies.

MacDaddy said...

Anon: You ask why would I read "The Art of War" every year. Well, this precious book is not so much about was as it is about strategy and psychology. It helped Mao Tse Tung defeat Chang Kai Shek, the Vietnamese defeat the French at Dien Ben Phu (hope I got the name right); and the Vietnamese to confuse Americans generals.

It is not a book about going out shooting people. It's more about psychology that goes about to hundreds of years. I'll probably do a post on it.

"This is a great topic, but I hope and pray you are safe."
Anon: Thanks for your concern, but I'm doing fine. Remember: I addressed this topic on December 16th, the date that two of the five remaining were hung for collaborating with John Brown. This is when one of the men said, "I would rather die than live a slave." To me, it was a way of connecting history to the present, showing that we are faced with the same kind of questions, questions like: "How do I want to live my life and make a difference, and not wait until the end and "get religion?"

Somebody: Like anon says, you're safe here. We got your back.

Christopher said...

Unless you die a violent, instantaneous death by gun fire or in a plane crash, chances are you will say nothing before you die.

Here's why.

If you're ill with a terminal disease and in the hospital, you will probably be drugged up and not coherent.

Anonymous said...

Christopher, In response to your remark about being drugged up, I personally look forward to the availability of drugs to numb pain / discomfort that might come with terminal illness. I'm glad they're available so that I don't have to resort to alcohol or other such inferior chemical substances aimed at altering consciousness.

I think being drugged up can often give you more clarity, or at least it can take your mind off seering pain and simulate euphoria long enough for one to even have a coherent thought. Bring it on, I say, if I'm at that point.

Anonymous said...

Mac, thanks for the reminder of the date, December 16 and the significance. Yes, I think I would rather die than be enslaved.

I think modern enslavement is much more insidious than it used to be. I think we can be enslaved by corporations / employers / status quo hierarchies and ideologies. I remember being "enslaved" to an employer -- 15 years -- and getting to the point where I had almost daily thoughts that were self-destructive / suicidal. Yes, It was my own limitations in realizing I needed to move on. But I guess that in a less dramatic way from actual slavery, I can relate to the feeling of rather dying than being enslaved.