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In 1998, my father died solitary in a bachelor quarters in Tshwane, South Africa. My mother followed twenty years later. Pneumonia related complications in both cases.
There were about eleven other fellow patients in my mother’s ward at the hospital in Thabong, Welkom. She had kept everyone awake all night with her moaning in pain, crying out an unknown name all along. Nevertheless, she managed to eat her 0700RS breakfast that fateful Sunday morning; much to everyone’s delight since she hadn’t had much appetite the two previous days. After eating she fell asleep.
When my nephew, Kgosi, and I went to check on her during the morning visit hour between 1000-1100HRS, we found her sleeping peacefully. Apparently. After hearing the report by fellow patients about my mother’s restless night, we thought it wise not to immediately awaken her. She could have her full sleep during the course of the morning, and we’d come back to see her again in the afternoon as per routine.
Fifteen minutes into our arrival in the ward, an impatient family friend found that my mother was cold and lifeless. A few minutes later, a doctor declared her officially dead. She had probably died two hours earlier. No one had taken notice. It was one of those cases of “She died peacefully in her sleep”, I guess. Perhaps the same may be said about my father. He had been dead for about two days by the time his corpse was found in his residence.
I opt to convince myself that, indeed, both my parents died peacefully in their sleep when their respective times to go arrived. Neither was surrounded by their loved ones upon breathing their respective lasts.
The thought of whether or not my own death will pounce on me in solitude has been on my mind since February, 1991. I had for the first time ever gotten ill with what I later understood to have been an acute attack of the flu. Bedridden with high fever and profuse sweating for three days in my single student room, I was so weak that I was unable to lift a telephone sitting beside me on my bed to call my school or doctor in Oslo.
One week later I had recovered without having had received any medical attention. An older, more knowledgeable friend told me that I had actually had a close brush with death. Perhaps I should consider getting myself a wife, he suggested. He argued that many people who live alone tend to die unnecessarily because there is often nobody there to render immediate assistance in times of emergencies.
In the northern hemisphere spring of 1995, I had a first-time mean attack of hay fever. I didn’t know what it was at first. For many days I kept sneezing like what I thought was like a mad man. Then I began to cough as inexplicably madly. What I thought sounded like a small cat soon started mewing in my chest. This made breathing painfully difficult even at the mildest physical exertion. Then I knew I was in trouble.
At great financial cost to me that I could afford regardless, a former lover at that time then finally hastily made it possible for me to acquire an emergency cocktail of various tablets, capsules, and an assortment of asthma medicines. Had I been alone at that critical time, I could have died from pneumonia, the former lover said later.
Today, the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, moving at a frighteningly fast pace is threatening human life across the globe. The United Nations and national governments are taking drastic and, in some cases, Human Rights defying draconian measures in individual and concerted efforts to isolate, treat, control, and eventually effectively manage the disease. The ideal situation would be to eliminate the disease, of course. But it’ll take time to develop necessary relevant curative and preventive medicine. Researchers the world over are currently working at break-neck speeds to achieve the latter.
Millions of people are under various levels of quarantine throughout the world, depending on suspected or actual infections and severity. Much of the industrialized world is under lockdowns. People whose immune systems are compromised from before are dying rapidly. Some people are quarantined in their private homes with their near family units. I am alone in my abode.
I am feeling well and strong. I can’t help, though, but think about my mortality in the event that my health should take a sudden, COVID-19 related downturn. Some other shit could happen too. One never knows when shit will hit the fan. I can’t help but think that were I to die now, I sure would do so peacefully. I’d die with no beloveds of mine surrounding me. If it happened to my parents it might as well be the same with me. Family solidarity. Family tradition. I’m their eldest child after all.
Like my parents, I leave no great fortunes behind. It’s just as well for me that, unlike my parents, I leave no children behind. As to whether or not it’s a good thing to die as my corpse shall be in a cremation oven, I shall find out upon arrival on the other side.
March 15-16, 2020
Order, read, and be inspired by my latest book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories.
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My Strength, MY Power
COOL Coaching®’s journeys of Self-Discovery, Self-Knowledge, Self-Renewal, and Self-Reinvention are not only about stimulating or rekindling creativity and innovation today for constantly better tomorrows. They are also about retrieving, and applying, from your fundamental life education those experiences that lay the foundation for the SuperStarInYou® that you have grown up to be today.
Thursday morning (22/ 11-2012) I crossed a threshold by unexpectedly overcoming a physical handicap due to a long-standing medical condition impeding execution of certain movements relative to heavy and intensive physical exercise workouts. In my elation, the COOL Coaching® Successful Living Through Magic and Wonder® flash came through. Then I realized that since I embarked on a new training routine at the end of June 2012 after a first ever six months’ pause, the words of my Karate teacher, Professor Stephen Chan, 9 Dan, OBE, have been ringing in my head everyday, “The academic mind is a mind of structure, Semmy … Go and read TS Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions!”(Greece, December 1985)
So were also the words of one of my first ever Karate Sensei, Anver Bey, Sho Dan, a year or two later, “Semmy, you must train with an open mind. You must also read a lot. The more you read the more you’ll find that no one has monopoly on knowledge of how to train, and how to live in general. When you know, nothing and no one can fuck with your training and your life”. During my later years in Lusaka, Anver and I grew to be very close friends, and he taught me a lot of things about life and training. The news of his passing on years ago truly broke my heart. He invariably visits me each time I do power training in the gym though.
I do not recall to have ever trained so patiently and systematically before; paying particular attention to, and respecting, my moods and feelings from day to day. The latter have a bearing as to how strong and enthusiastic I’ll get about things. The structure of my training since I started to train with conscious and clearly defined desirable outcomes since I was 4½ years old has been in relation to three important external factors: Self-protection, Competition, and Leadership (as at age 17 years I started to teach Karate and lead my own groups, and subsequently my own clubs in Norway). Both as practitioner and teacher of Karate I simply had to be stronger and better than anyone else. Nothing else mattered, just I glossed in the glory of my personal victories and successes, as well as those of my students. This was very important for my ego; given my constant struggle against outsider/underdog prejudices directed towards my person everywhere I go.
These days I train alone, for myself, by myself. Renewing my Mind, Body, and Soul according to fundamentals of my teachers’ teachings of my once young, wild, and (still) mad me. It’s a new way to work directing my strength and power first and foremost into myself. The older paradigm by which I worked was to primarily think about how to project my strength and power out to the world as intensely as possible. Waste of time and energy. I’m free. It feels good to know and understand that I own my strength and my power inside. So, I can from the outset do with my Mind, Body, and Soul only the things that make sense to me. My self-reinvention visions have never been more vivid, modelled after what I see and feel inside of me for myself alone. I now know that this is the essence of my education in the fundamentals of life and living by all my teachers so far. Thanks to COOL Coaching®’s journeys of Self-Discovery, Self-Knowledge, Self-Renewal, and Self-Reinvention. My life gets better all the time.
November 24, 2012
Tel.: +47 97000488/ +27 717 454 115 (South Africa)
JUST ALLOW ME.
Up until age seventeen it was a matter of course that I was headed to be a Doctor of Medicine when grown up. Three years earlier in my township, Thabong, Welkom, I had already picked out a spot where I’d build my clinic and gym when done with my Doctor studies in Durban.
But then again, my extreme teenage anger hit its peak about that time, getting meaner and meaner with age till I was about thirty-two years old. At the latter age I am in Norway, and two very significant things happen almost simultaneously: I fall in love, and I’m introduced to NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). My life would never be the same again.
Love told me that sustained, long-term anger eats the body up. The body will eventually die, but before then, it will have endured a lot of pain and misery; such intense pain incurable even by the strongest medicines to the extent that anger lasts. Love was warm and soothing; gave me hope that all will be fine in the end. When the end came, I went out of love, never to return.
NLP told me it was okay to choose to get and remain angry all my life. But is that what I really want? NLP taught me how to speak with me, myself, and I. For many years NLP drilled me to get to appreciate the who, the where, the what, the when, and the how of things, as well as my reality in its concurrent objective and subjective nature. A new man was born. Almost 20 years later COOL Coaching (Chilembo Optimal Outcomes Life Coaching) was begot. I have never been happier in my life.
August 29, 2012