Like the traditional CCTV cameras that capture and record scenes within their focus area, the brain records every moment we experience and tends to do a quick rewind at the point of transition from life to death. These flashes of moment tell us that our lives were all about us and nobody else, and that the only business each of us had was to live our own life. In most cases, when people get this at dying moments, they aren’t privileged to be given a second chance to live. How sad!
I tell you that these happen in snaps of seconds; moments of the person’s life appear in a flashes from the most recent moment, counting down to the day he or she was born. Some people who also experienced near-death situations say theirs happened in a hap-hazard fashion, but there were flashes of moments that often brought them to their beginning. And when I say “near-death situation,” I don’t mean close-to-death experiences when people are still in their consciousness, making them experience shock. In this case, they are very much alive. I mean a subconscious state one transcends into when one is dying.
My story can be scary but I wouldn’t make it so frightening. Let me just give you a surface overview.
When I was younger, I got involved in an autocrash while crossing a street. The way it happened was terrible. I got flung from one car unto an on-coming vehicle on the other side of the road, then to the roadside. It was like what happens in football match when one footballer heads the ball to his team mate, who in turn heads the ball in another direction. Picture me being the ball. At that moment, I didn’t feel any pain, the only thing I heard was “boom!”, “boom!” “boom!” As I finally got settled, a flock of people headed in my direction and turned my body, making me face upwards. I saw the faces of these people all staring at me. Thank God for people who help us when we can’t help ourselves! May God continue to position life savers where they would be needed.
Anyway, let me continue my story. The people stared at me, talking in panic. I’m sure they must have said so many things like “What should we do?” “Is she dead?” “Let’s take are to the hospital!” so so and so. But the truth is that I didn’t hear them- their words were muffling in my ears. Then, their picture began to wane in my eyes as darkness began to set in, to the time that I experienced a blackout.
Just immediately, the flash began! It began from their faces to the accident to the time I was crossing the road like a quick rewind; rewinding through moments I had lived! Some moments lasted longer. One of such was the memorable moment when Nigeria scored the final goal during Atlanta 96’ which qualified us for the football gold medal at the Olympics. There was this “Goooooaaaaaal!” that echoed in the environment for more than 15 minutes. I had witnessed my father run out of our house in excitement and people in the neighbourhood do funny things. The flash of this moment lasted maybe 2 or 3 seconds. Another moment I recall that lasted in the flashes of moments was a day when I was so excited as a baby. I was in my walker when my elder brother and an older relative played with me in front of our house back in Sokoto. I giggled severally. Then, the rewind resumed and played to when I was born. Another blackout set in! It took me into wandering endlessly in a strange land, to a point when I tried to find my way back. And no, I didn’t get to the “place of judgment time” to be sent to heaven or hell. I don’t have an idea of what that looks like. Some people who have been privileged to resurrect from real death say they got there and returned. I was probably in the interlude between life and death- say coma or whatever. One very tasking job was getting into my body at the hospital. I tried fruitlessly, struggling to get into my own body. After so much efforts and time, I was able to get in with the tip of my fingers and toes. Proper alignment helped me! It makes me wonder how many people in similar condition try to do this and finally give up on reuniting their spirits or souls and bodies.This might sound mystical and out of this world and definitely isn’t the focus of this article, so let me go straight to the point.
Every single moment we experience counts. No dying person’s flashback tells the life of a certain governor or beggar, but his very own. It wouldn’t tell how Davido is giving Chioma assurance, No! It would tell of his day to day life. And “he” here means man or woman, boy or girl.
Cesar Kuriyama shoots one second of video every day as part of an ongoing project to collect all the special bits of his life. You need to watch the 8-minutes TED talk “One Second Every Day” by this man who realized that every day counts in one’s history. The truth is that the moments we live are the greatest treasures we have. It makes me wonder why people forget their own experiences but tell the stories of others- stories they cannot validate. The only person you can give a true testimony of is yourself because you have been with yourself from the first second of your life till now.
Again, it’s amazing how people don’t know much about themselves and the moments they have lived. Sometimes, I help people do online form entries by filling their biodata and education, work, and other experiences, as well as other personal information. It’s surprising how they ask me to be patient so that they can think or calculate when the year concluded primary school or when they had their second promotion for instance. Also, when I talk with some of my old friends on what happened in class on a certain day and how they reacted, they say “Oh, really? How come you remember? I can’t remember most things I did in secondary school” but these are people who can analyze Obama’s life! If people don’t write about their lives, would we be given the opportunities to study such literatures and talk about them? On the other hand, writing an autobiography like Ben Carson’s “Gifted Hands” would be an uphill task for those who don’t take time to notice or recall their life moments.
Maybe it was that incidence that occurred years ago that flung me into a life of reflection like some others who consider their ‘rebirth’, or probably, that my return from coma shot up my memory-retaining capacity which also boosted my academic performances from 50th percentile to about 30 percentile higher. What I’m grateful for is that I didn’t die, because at a much younger age, I had lost my best friend in an accident when returning from school one fateful day. I now think about life, observe and recall moments I’ve lived because that’s what life is really about. For me, stories are to be told and not suppressed. Therefore, our stories-whether positive or negative- should be told to teach lessons and our experiences should be shared to guide others.
The only business we have in this life is to live our lives: that is our one and true business. So as we strive to lead good and impactful lives, let us endeavor to remember the moments we have lived.