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I buried my cousin on Facebook Stay


The chairs ended up placed at least 1m (3ft) apart – loved ones sat on a person side, church officers on the other. Anyone wore a mask.

Everyone realized of the rigorous recommendations that the Kenyan authorities had laid down for funerals all through the coronavirus pandemic.

Only 15 persons could collect for the burial of my cousin, Chris, and every thing had to be done by 09:00 area time.

By 07:00 the rest of us had collected, in front of our phones and desktops, viewing the burial unfold as a good friend dwell-streamed it on Fb.

There ended up hundreds of us to pay our last respects to Chris. He was a people’s man or woman – the lifestyle and soul of family functions.

His deep chortle attained you even ahead of he set foot in the house – in actuality, you could hear it 200m away at the gate.

And Chris used to display up for people today, be it at funerals or weddings. He was a excellent mobiliser, rallying folks for all instances.

So, on this working day, we showed up for him way too. But not remaining there intended it was not the same.

‘We could not perform his favourite songs’

Chris was my immediate cousin, but we ended up elevated in the identical dwelling and he was far more than a brother to me.

He died in Kisumu in western Kenya on Easter Sunday, immediately after getting unwell for a several months with liver cirrhosis.

The federal government gave us the guidelines for his burial. He had to be buried inside three times.

But with lots of of his spouse and children and buddies underneath lockdown in the money, Nairobi, not everybody could go to the burial.

The sermon was shorter. The speeches have been limited. And there was very very little singing.

Chris cherished music – he performed the drum package in the Salvation Army church band. So it was distressing that no one could be there to engage in his favorite tunes.

I watched as are living opinions from his mates and colleagues rolled in on Facebook.

In electronic solace, individuals remaining messages of condolence and talked of how excellent a person Chris was.

And I thought, perhaps I should really choose screenshots and print this out simply because this was essentially our condolences book.

Every thing felt so distinctive. We could not hug, contact or see every other’s tears. We could not toss fistfuls of grime on the coffin as it was reduced into the grave.

When a beloved one dies we search for to grieve, we glance for comfort and ease and closure. But how do you that when you are confined?

I was upset. I by no means imagined I would have to bury a beloved 1 by social media. I never ever assumed I would crave human call that substantially. It was like a motion picture, besides that I was section of the forged.

And regrettably, the Facebook Dwell failed, owing to a weak community link. So I could not even observe Chris’ ultimate journey to the very finish. I did not see his coffin remaining covered.

In lots of African societies demise and existence are intricately tied. Numerous traditions see dying as a rite of passage – a changeover to one more variety.

Therefore the relevance of ancestors – they are the people who have died but carry on to “live” in the group.

This, in flip, usually means that when persons die they should get a perfect burial – total with rituals that have been noticed for generations.

For the communities in western Kenya wherever I arrive from, like the Luo and Luhya, a person’s demise and their burial are unbelievably critical gatherings.

Elaborate funeral with 10 diverse rites

A lifeless person is taken care of with utmost regard and there are loss of life and burial rites to be followed, to be certain a faultless send-off.

Initially of all burials are not hurried, especially for the aged. A person’s loss of life is a call for celebration, even amidst the mourning and grieving.

It takes at minimum a 7 days for an adult to be buried. There is loud mourning and weeping, for times on finish. Folks huddle with each other and help the bereaved to mourn.

Bonfires are lit in the homestead and persons obtain about them, embracing, crying, reliving the existence of the departed.

There is the ritualistic slaughter of animals, and the planning and serving of meals and drinks to console mourners. It is a present of unity amongst neighbours and loved ones.

The useless are introduced property a working day or two prior to the burial. They lie in the compound, to demonstrate that they are recognized and cherished, even in demise.

Mourners usually toss sand into the grave

Forty times after one is buried, a memorial service is intended to be held – the remaining celebration of their existence. We, yet again, will not be ready to do this for Chris.

I have this sensation that I have only partly grieved for Chris. This is not how he deserves to be mourned.

Perhaps when all this is more than – when we can hug again, and cry in just about every other’s arms – we will mourn him like we ought to.


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