A letter to Zeritu Kebede

1 Mon Ago
A letter to Zeritu Kebede

I have recently developed a sense of apprehension when reading the comments on individuals' social media posts. Previously, whenever I encountered a video on TikTok, I would peruse the comments for additional insights and elucidation, particularly for content that was not local. But these days, it appears as though individuals are engaged in a competition to deliver the most scathing and unsympathetic remarks. Singer Zeritu Kebede recently experienced the tragic loss of her first-born son, Christian Lakachew, who was a mere 17 years old. May his soul rest in peace.

The incident elicited profound sorrow and despair from many. During a church farewell ceremony, Zeritu delivered a poignant eulogy that I partially viewed on TikTok. Her speech resonated deeply with me, and I marveled at the immense faith required to articulate her sentiments. Zeritu expressed that her love for her son isn't greater than God's love for him. And she doesn't possess the omniscience and omnipotence that God embodies. She expressed gratitude for the time she spent with her son and even extended thanks to God. She spoke of her son as a virtuous, affectionate, and obedient individual. The suffering had ceased, and she found solace in the knowledge that he was now with God, who loved him more than she did. Tears welled up in my eyes upon hearing her words. The strength of one's faith necessary to utter such sentiments is truly remarkable.

 Many individuals may find themselves expressing their frustrations, heartbreak, and appeals to the Divine in response to such a challenging circumstance. Over time, they gradually come to terms with the harsh reality they face. It is rare for a mother who has lost her child, particularly her firstborn, to express gratitude towards God for the privilege of having children and the time spent with them. The deep connection between a mother and her eldest son is undeniable. As the esteemed Hollywood actor Denzel Washington once eloquently stated, "A mother is her son’s first true love; and a son is his mother's last true love." I often pray that I am not subjected to such a trial with my own children, as I fear that the impact of such a loss would forever change me. This sentiment likely strikes a chord with most mothers. The loss of a child, especially a firstborn, leaves an irreplaceable void in a mother's heart.

The only other instance where I have witnessed mothers expressing gratitude for the time they were given with their children and accepting their suffering was among the Palestinian people. They often praised Allah (God) despite their circumstances, embodying the spirit of true believers. I have often pondered why they and others like them endure such insurmountable suffering. According to the tenets of their faith, we are all placed in this world to be tested, and those who exhibit gratitude and praise are among the ones that will be rewarded in the afterlife. Even the slightest pain, such as a prick from a thorn expiates some of the believers sins. The concept is that we should view our existence in this world as transient. We arrive empty-handed and will depart in a similar manner.

 However, our attachments to individuals and possessions often lead to heartbreak and pain. Someone who is confident in their eventual reunion with God in the afterlife and perceives this life as temporary would likely not be consumed by grief when their loved ones depart, as they understand it is only a matter of time. Our children are gifts from God, and it is only fitting that He reclaims His gift when their time has come. However, for non-believers, this concept may be difficult to accept. Albert Camus, the author of "The Stranger,"famously remarked, "I would rather live my life as if there is a god and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is."

As I was on TikTok I came across a video of Zeritu's eulogy and then I found myself reading the comments. I was taken aback by the insensitivity displayed by individuals. Comments such as "Are you sure you are a mother or even human? It would have been better if you had died. Instead of your son" and other disparaging remarks were disheartening. Who are these people to pass judgment on a grieving mother? No one, absolutely no one, solicited their opinions in the first place. Anyone with a semblance of empathy could discern the profound sadness Zeritu was experiencing. Despite her anguish, she chose to express gratitude for the time she spent with her son rather than succumb to sorrow over his loss.

My heart aches every time I see her, contemplating the depth of her pain. Experiencing pain does not warrant lashing out in anger or renouncing one's blessings. It baffles me that in this day and age, people still anticipate mourners to engage in ostentatious displays of grief. We even have funeral catering services, for heaven's sake, a sign that everything has changed. One individual created a video criticizing Zeritu for not adhering to traditional mourning customs due to her religious beliefs. How about refraining from dictating how others should grieve?

It appears as though some individuals have nothing better to do than meddle in the affairs of others and impose their opinions where they are unwelcome. Even a TikToker named Elias remarked that the primary purpose of attending a funeral is to condole and offer condolences to the bereaved. If the bereaved have already found peace and solace, then that should be celebrated. Why should people be outraged by that? He further expressed his desire for other mothers facing similar circumstances to find the same strength and faith as Zeritu.

At last, I extend my condolences for Zeritu's loss, and I commend her for her unwavering faith and fortitude. She once articulated in one of her songs the disparities between the poor and the wealthy and how everything unfolds according to God's divine plan. She acknowledged that God is infallible, and everything happens for a reason reminding us that we were indeed in no position to doubt or to judge his work just because we failed to find an answer to our pleas. After all, we are but creations and He is the Creator. Her faith has remained steadfast then and endures now. I pray that God grants her ease and her son paradise.

አስተያየትዎን እዚህ ያስፍሩ