You sat there wondering what your funeral would look like. Obviously, nothing like Davidzo’s as he had chosen the most untoward part. Internally many parts of you were fuming, at yourself and at Davidzo. You hated yourself for not fully grasping why he had chosen to end himself, especially the way he did. The humming and light singing punctuated by sobs did nothing to help you process your thoughts and emotions. This was the part you would be planning to give the best friend’s speech, in any normal funeral proceeding. But this, this wasn’t normal, and they treated it as such.
You stood there; hands tightened into fists a futile attempt at holding in your emotions. All while recalling the things you would have wanted to say if they weren’t rushing to throw Davidzo away. Before the talking got monotonous, or tears cut you halfway you wanted to make sure everyone knew he was not a coward. If only they knew how much of a good fight he had tried so hard to fight, they would do things differently. You wondered if there was a way to tweak culture and tradition a bit, this one time so that he could receive a dignified burial. There wasn’t anyone you could ask. Besides, it was a known fact that anyone who died by suicide would be thrown away like trash. He knew, and you had talked about it on occasion. The remainder of the old patriarchs in the family stood supported by their weathered but shining walking sticks, stern faced watching the proceedings. Sekuru Gutu, in his white beard and checkered suit, was the one rushing the program. You had met him on occasion as he used to show up at Davidzo’s home every month as he would come to collect his rentals. He was the oldest brother in his mother’s family, and seemingly the only one well versed with funeral rites and traditions as he detailed the dos and don’ts.
He had been the one to lead the dare a few hours after you had found Davidzo on the floor, hands clutching his tummy as if he had been writhingly in pain. No suicide note, just a bottle of Rattol and plans for the evening that would never be. You desperately wanted to know why he chose such a violent ending; you wondered if there weren’t any methods less painful but equally effective. Close to midnight on the very same Tuesday Davidzo committed suicide, Sekuru Gutu called the dare, typically Davidzo’s father or his brothers would have been the ones to do so as Davidzo belonged to them, but he was too shaken to do so, and his brothers on the other hand were fuming. Bamunini Josphat, the youngest caused scenes two days in a row.
“Hakuna mhofu inozviuraya, maiguru taurayi kuti mwana uyu ndewekupi.” He roared drunk and barely able to stand on his feet.
“I’m sorry.” You whispered under your mask as they pulled the casket out of the hearse and the wailing increased. You only hoped none of the women would take this as a dress rehearsal for Shakespeare and throw themselves to the ground wailing. Davidzo hated that part of funerals with a passion.
You stood there, barely holding up, readying to carry what remained of your best friend to his final resting place. Perhaps, his first resting place. You scanned the compound for his mother and spotted her head down, guarded by her youngest brother and two women in church uniforms. Again, Davidzo wouldn’t have wanted this to be a church funeral, but he wasn’t one to decide at this point.
“Vakomana, takurai bhokisi munoisa pamusoro pemusha. Tendererai nekuseri kwemusha uko mweya usapinda mumusha. (Boys, carry the casket and place it on top of the grave. Circle around the compound so that the spirit of the deceased does not infiltrate the compound.” Sekuru Gutu commanded.
You chuckled helplessly as you realized how all things Davidzo were lost right in this moment. Yes, he had “killed himself”, but did that really mean he couldn’t be afforded the decency of a night in his mother’s living room? Heck a simple moment of body viewing even?
“He did not kill himself” you thought to yourself. But then how were you going to explain this to the people who believed he was a coward who took the easy way out? How were you going to explain that he was so sick he couldn’t live with himself anymore? How would you explain the way you chose to understand it, that maybe the depression, anxiety and panic attacks had eaten him from the inside and he saw this as the best he could do for himself in that moment?
“Fuck!” you muttered under your breathe, partly because the casket was heavy and mostly because you couldn’t bear hearing his mother sob and scream uncontrollably. A few more people followed behind with all his belongings, ironically, he went to the grave with everything he owned. She would have wanted there to be a body viewing, she had even asked with you backing her, but Sekuru Gutu was adamant it was against tradition and that Davidzo had committed one of the greatest sins. You wondered how you were going to believe. Perhaps seeing his face in there would have made it real for you. His mother asked how she would know that was really her son, maybe they changed bodies after she had left the funeral parlor. No one cared to listen to the words of a woman possibly running amok because of grief. You complied and followed the funeral proceedings, after all you were an outsider. At least they placed flowers on the mound of red earth under which they buried him.