I could care less to be buried a “G.” I would just hope that I’ve lived a life that a eulogy could be read for me. When I heard the recording of the great Ossie Davis reading a eulogy for, as he termed him, our “Black ShiningPrince,” I knew then that was how I wanted someone to memorialize me. For those who may be unaware, Mr. Davis’ “Black Shining Prince” reference was for El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, better known as Brother Malcolm X. And a eulogy, which many of our kids are unfamiliar with, is defined as: a speech or writing in praise of a person; a set oration in honor of a deceased person; high praise or commendation. That’s how I want to be memorialized.
Written by Cornell Dews
Don’t pour out liquor for me. Don’t bust your guns for me. Don’t place my picture on a tee shirt and create a makeshift memorial, which often includes stained teddy bears, balloons and empty bottles of the deceased drink of choice. Instead, listen to someone who knew me, talk about the remarkable life I lived. Listen to those who knew me talk about how I inspired and helped many. Listen to those who knew me talk about how I motivated them to pursue their dreams, by pursuing my own. Allow my funeral to be recognized as a “Home Going,” a life celebrated and not that of an individual who died with more promise them accomplishments.
Nowadays, so many of our young black men are being buried as “promising individuals” whose life was cut short. How often have you heard the following statement, “he had so much more to offer?” The obituary read of “accomplishments” that their closest friends are unfamiliar with. He gave his life to Christ when, we ask? He was educated in what school system? As we think to ourselves, for all of the years I’ve known him, I’ve never heard him once utter the Lords name, unless in vain and I never recalled seeing him in class. After the reading of the obituary, we’re left asking ourselves the following question in exaggerated context. He loved to do “what?” You begin to wonder if you’re at the right funeral.
Then after the obituary is read, throughout the rest of the ceremony, there’s very little reference made about the individual that we all gathered to mourn. Why? Well honestly, because he hasn’t lived long enough in life to accomplish anything worthy of recognition. And most of what was read about him already has been embellished. So the focus is then turned to attempting to save the lives, by rhetoric, of the young friends of the deceased in attendance. Who wants to die like that?
I remember being told, “You should live your life as if you’re authoring your own obituary.” Well, in actuality, that’s what we’re doing. So I ask, “How do you want people to remember you?” And, “what do you want people to remember you for?” We all have the opportunity to make an impact on people lives. So make an impact on some-one’s life and allow someone to make an impact on yours.
When asked, “Cornell, what’s your goal in life?” Without hesitation, my response is, “to live a life that will allow my daughter to go wherever she chooses and when asked to give her name, Imani Dews, it will beckon the question, was your father Cornell Dews?” And she could proudly say, “Yes he is!”
So, when I Die, bury me a MAN, whom lived an accomplished life; one that his family can be proud of. And again I ask, “how do you want to be remembered?”
Written by Cornell Dews