How we die

Boy Die

As we begin the year 2023, there is a need to take stock of our lives. How do you want to be remembered when you die? Today, the likes of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and many others are being remembered for their tremendous contributions. What drew my attention to this article has to do with my recent location in the Gambia as a Professional Law student at the Gambia Law School.

My apartment is situated very close to a cemetery. I sometimes stand close to the windows to view the dead. My colleagues’ Professional Law students are not too conversant with our apartment location due to the cemetery. But the reality is that we shall all die one day.

In my case, I say, it is not the fact that we will die, but how we die. Pondering on this issue drew my attention to one old article by a friend, Daniel Tsokpor, published in the defunct Dangme Newspaper on this same subject which I am sharing with you. How we die is the subject of this article.

This is the deal: At a very tender age, my very responsible dad used to put up a mantra that he won’t die like the worm but he will die the death of a millipede.

That saying however didn’t make sense to me as the eldest of his children, let alone my younger siblings. As I grew up, I began to ponder more and more on this subject. I began to analyze how the worm and the millipede die.
In my curiosity as a child, I placed a dead worm and millipede in our backyard for about a week. Afterward, I found out that, the worm degenerated into total dust and had left behind no remains.

Unlike the worm, the millipede, though equally dead, I found that its bodilyrings remained and lived on. For almost a month and over, I still noticed the remains of the millipede in our backyard while the worm was lost.

From this experiment, I concluded; the worm dies and leaves no remains for its memorial; the millipede dies and leaves evidence of its existence.

My dad’s parable was adequately interpreted by me.
Yes, what we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others lives on forever. The end of a matter is better than its beginning. How we die matters to the world. Our lives are found on purpose. Our daily efforts must draw us a step closer to that great purpose we carry. In this New Year, let us all try to help others for this is the purpose of man on this earth. We must do away with self-centeredness and apply holistic help for no one knows tomorrow. Happy New Year!

The writer is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare, President, Nyarkotey University College of Holistic Medicine & Technology, Ashaiman, Ghana, a Medical Journalist, and a science writer. Currently, BL Candidate at the Gambia Law School, Banjul, Gambia. E. mail:

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