Flowing yesterday’s rant by Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko at the funeral service for the departed valiant Kibra MP Ken Okoth, our resident opinion leader Shosh gives advice on what to do and not to do in case you are a speaker at a funeral.
Funerals have become more frequent than ever before. Having watched the way people behave in the televised funerals of prominent Kenyans I think it is time to comment at our behaviour in funerals.
It is a very sad state of affairs to note that we are so morally corupt that we do not know how to behave even when it comes to serious issues like funerals.
I think when it comes to funerals we should know that we are sending home a departed soul. And most importantly that there are people grieved by the death of the their loved one. Any behaviour should be in the interests of those bereaved. And at all times we should put ourselves in the shoes of the bereaved.
First, before taking a journey to the funeral just ask yourself…” Why am I going to this funeral?” This will guide your behaviour. If you are going to just be with the other people,then it is unfortunate. You might find yourself chatting freely with your neighbour or glued to your Smartphone. Most people forget that they are being watched by the eagle eyed viewers from a distance.
Secondly, never say things that make the congregants laugh as if they are watching a comedian. Remember as you cause such laughter somebody is grieving and wondering if you are laughing at them. If we do not say things to make people weep at weddings, why should we say things to make people burst into a prolonged laughter at funerals?
Thirdly, when given a chance to speak or to pay a tribute do so in a reasonable and well thought-out way. Some things said at funerals can grieve the bereaved more. Others can put the departed into disrepute. My people say that one fly rots a whole cowhide. So we might have said so many good things about the departed only to get one speaker adulterate all of it. In fact certain things should not be said at funerals.
Is it legal to refer to the contents of the will before it is read, possibly after interring the departed? That could mean the one doing so is telling secrets entrusted to them to the wrong people.
If one reveals that the departed had a secret family, how does this impact on the deceased persons family? What about the reputation of the departed?
When given a chance to speak never tell your own story as if seeking publicity through the tragedy. If one has secrets between one and the deceased let one keep them to oneself. Referring to such secrets leaves close members wondering what secrets these ones are. That the departed had clandestine affairs or was involved in criminal activities? Which secrets are these? And how does a speaker say they used to drink secretly but in public? What else did they do secretly? Again alcoholic drinks of whatever category are never held favourably.
If one just says I drink it is concluded that one is a drunkard! Perhaps one smokes something besides. Why allow people to make unfortunate conclusions about the departed?
Take this because I heard it…X asked me to nominate his girlfriend as a ward representative. How are we to take the speaker and the X? accomplices in corruption? Who qualifies to be nominated for a political post? Surely this should not be said at a funeral.
Never bring up drama at a funeral. Never use a corpse to have your way. A funeral is not a wedding that you are stopping the groom from marrying your rival. In a funeral the departed is mute. Dragging the truly bereaved to a court of law is unfortunate. Bury the departed first and if you think of going to court do so later. No right thinking person wants a burial delayed even for a day!
And to safeguard against saying what is not necessary just take a few minutes, no more than six to speak or read a tribute. Avoid repetition and disobediencd to the Time Keeper.
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