By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
[Dip. Law (First Class) – LDC; Cert. PELD – NALI-K; LLB (Hons) – Mak; PG Cert. Oil & Gas – Mak]
I have consciously written my epitaph, to be inscribed on my tombstone, when I die. It states as follows:
When it is said that I – Bakampa Brian Baryaguma, friend of all, enemy of none – am dead, let it be known by all and sundry that I am not, but simply gone to glory to be with Jesus, my Lord, eternal friend and savior, in whom I now have a long and peaceful rest.
My dear compatriots, friends, relatives, and strangers alike, in the event that I die, please see to it that those words are well labeled on my tombstone, and any photos or images either announcing my demise, or commemorating my stay in this world. My epitaph should serve as my parting message to a mundane world that I shall be happy to leave behind, and to a people I so cherished and loved; and further, to usher me into the realm of graceful eternity. It is only to be consciously changed by me while I still live.
It is human nature to fear and dread the unknown. It is no wonder, therefore, that people fear death. Fortunately I don’t, because to my mind, death, in and as of itself, is a good thing, since it is a transition to greater things and place ahead. Rather, I am afraid of how I die: in the sense that first, I dread death from a long and painful sickness, and second, dying without a credible legacy or leaving without having done something worthy and of benefit to humanity. That is why my unwavering prayer to the Almighty God is for the blessing of a long-enough life, with wisdom, for me to be able to cater for as many human needs as possible; and at the end of the day, when I have done all I humanly could, to pass away in peace. I may be wrong, but I think dying in sleep is dying peacefully. That is the kind of death I desire.
I wonder why people fear death, for, as well stated by Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich (1937), as revised and expanded by Dr. Arthur R. Pell (2004), at 273, ‘This fear is useless. Death will come, no matter what anyone may think about it. Accept it as a necessity and pass the thought out of your mind. It must be a necessity or it would not come at all.’ I cannot agree more. People fear death so much that they even abdicate their responsibilities like writing wills, for fear that if they do so, they will be invariably wishing and inviting death upon themselves. This is extremely irrational and embarrassing.
You see, nature designed life on earth in such a way that one living thing must die to give way to, and/or sustain another. Now, you who fear death: just imagine all the people who died were still alive today, right from the earliest person: would there be enough space for you to occupy, and food to eat, after thousands (perhaps millions) of years? I don’t think so. Then, think of those being born now, or merely being planned to be born: where and how will they live, if you don’t give way for them, by dying, like your predecessors did for you? So you see, death is a blessing, and pretty good thing, after all.
When the ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, was condemned to suffer death by poisoning, through drinking hemlock, for ostensibly corrupting the morals of youth, his wife, students, and friends offered to help him escape death, by bribing the prison guards so he may escape to a pre-arranged exile. The immortal Socrates turned down their offer, reasoning that he was not afraid of dying, since to him death was nothing, but a long peaceful sleep, which is not to be feared.
It is my stead-fast belief and faith in the salvation of Jesus Christ, the remarkable foresight and time tested wisdom of Socrates, and the inspirational writing of Napoleon Hill, that inspire my epitaph. When I shall have done all there is for me to do, I shall happily say, ‘Come, Lord Jesus! I gladly wait for you.’