Death is never easy to accept
Every news of the passing of another human life is reason for sad and sober reflection. Yes peeps, death is a jarring jolt of reminder about our own frail mortality. And when the folks who make the transition are people with whom we have some kind of bond or connection, the jolt is harder. I have had much cause for such painful pauses in recent days.
First, I pause in grief with dear friend-for-life and former high school classmate Sharon Corrodus, who's being visited by the unwelcome agony every parent fears - that of having to bury one's offspring. Her 29-year-old son Vincent had his promising young life cut short and his nine-month-old infant made fatherless by a tragic motor vehicle accident a few weeks ago.
Then last week I learned of the passing on the same day, of writer Austin Clarke and journalist/film-maker Fred Wilmot - two esteemed elders whom I've admired from a distance, and two men who in their different ways have lead powerfully inspiring lives and left lasting legacies through excellent work. One young man and two elders; three painful pauses at the proximity of life and death.
And then I heard about the untimely passing of my brethren Solomon McCalla, and I felt something more than sadness. I felt rage. Yes friends, I weep for young Vincent who was the victim of a fatal accident, and Austin and Fred whose journey was quickened by age and ill-health. I share in the grief their family and close friends must be now feeling. In Solomon's case though, the pain is colored by anger and outrage. He didn't fall to age, ill health or accident. His life was deliberately taken by murderous criminals. Solomon was a good man who served his family, community and country with distinction. I know of his sterling career as an army man, his leadership role in 'Fathers Incorporated' and his exemplary work as an educator at Trench Town High School. And I know he still had much more work left to do, so the brutal murder of this good man is an exceptionally hard pill to swallow.
I was even more outraged by a report on the incident that said the criminals who killed Solomon also 'relieved him of his licensed firearm and other items'. Relieved? What di hell dem mean by 'relieved'? Why some of these news report writers insist on softening or prettying up di ting? The man was attacked by some wicked teefing mongrels and brutally robbed of his life! He was violently deprived of his hard earned property. His family has been deprived of a good husband, father, uncle and brother.
I'm sick of hearing reports saying robbers 'relieve' people of things. Robbery involves the intention to deprive, not to relieve. And it may be a stretch, but I believe that euphemistic phrases like 'the victim was relieved of her jewellery' or 'the robbers made good their escape' contribute to normalising crime and desensitising people. We must call the crimes by their real ugly names. I shared my disgust and anger in a Facebook post two days ago and the more than 200 likes and 20 odd shares suggest that other people agree with me. What you think?
I'm sad people. Sad and angry. As our mutual friend Linda Craigie-Brown posted on FB, "practitioners who work in the area of parenting education and support will really miss the contributions made by Solomon through Fathers Incorporated. One of our concerns has always been promoting positive parenting as a violence prevention strategy, linked to this is making the home a violence free zone; and the role of parents in passing on the strong Jamaican values, which should help children to respect the lives and properties of others. I remember some of our conversations, and the times he tried his best to highlight the importance of positive fathering. It should not be that Salla should become a victim of the same circumstances he so wanted to prevent. My heart bleeds."
Jah know, I hope police hurry up and apprehend those murderers. Walk good Solomon!