The Trouble with Euphemism

‘Dele Oladipupo ©2019

Just to be sure, we may need to return to the meaning and root of the word, ‘euphemism’. First, it is derived from the Greek word ‘euphemismos’ where it means ‘good speech’. From the foregoing, it is possible to aver that euphemism has to do with socially acceptable words or expressions used in such a way that the folks listening are not in any way offended. Euphemism, as we know, is a form of metaphor and it refers to mild ways of saying things that are harsh or even embarrassing. Euphemisms , in themselves , are good but when they are converted to blankets which help people mollycoddle decadent tendencies and actions then they become unhelpful.

The society faces a lot of danger when things are not referred to by their appropriate names. It is now customary to window-dress infamy to the point that they take on a positive guise. In those days when we were in secondary school, it was common practice to be asked to repeat a class because one had failed either English or Mathematics. Sometimes, students who failed either Biology or even Literature where compelled to repeat the class for another session. It was the height of ignominy in those days to be asked to repeat. Students in the class behind you would catch up with you. It became the norm for ‘repeaters’ to sit at the back of the class far away from those who had made progress with their lives. At some point, we devised a novel way of dealing with the malady since exam results were no longer handed to the students but their parents or guardians. If we wanted to ask a friend whether he passed or failed and either the father or mother was standing close by, we would simply ask, ‘se o j’ewa?’ . Literally, that translates as ‘ did you eat beans?’ If that person said ‘yes’, it means he had failed. If he said ‘no’, he passed. We could do this because many of us had a fore knowledge of what was coming and merely made our parents go through the motions. I think our problems started from all such flights of fancy.

When we were preparing for WAEC, one smart girl got pregnant. She immediately became the talk of the entire school. If my memory serves me right, I think some teachers with microscope as eyes got wind of her status before the ‘belle carrier’ herself knew a child was growing in her womb. A few weeks before the commencement of the exams, she had to quietly leave the school. The shame was too much to bear. These days, it has become the norm rather than the exception to have a child as a teenager. They’ve even acquired a new title, ‘baby mama’. Back then, it was both a shame to the girl and her family if one got pregnant outside wedlock. That is no longer so. Nearly all the popular male musicians have ,at least, two or three children from different women.

These days, teenagers have grown so daring that their actions seemed utterly impossible. Someone went to talk to teenagers in a church about ‘Sex and Sexuality’. When it was time to take questions, he found that the person reading the questions seemed thoroughly embarrassed after looking at a piece of paper. He became curious. The piece of paper was passed to him. He found to his utter consternation that the girl who wrote the question had written that she would like to have sex with him. The organisers threatened fire and brimstone. Eventually, the person owned up. She claimed she did it because her friends dared her.

Fraud now has a euphemistic colouration. It is referred as ‘yahoo’ or ‘wire’. When it was rumoured that one of my childhood friends had joined the league of internet fraudsters, many of us would not even touch him with a ten foot pole. Nobody envied him, in fact. The perpetrators are no longer referred to as ‘fraudsters’. Their new name is ‘ yahoo boys’ or ‘G boys’. A teenager confessed to me that his brother is a yahoo boy and that he is the bread winner of their family. Her father, an elder in the church, benefits immensely from his son’s largesse. He encouraged his son to shift his operational base to Ghana when SARS continually harassed the boy. Back then, we wouldn’t dare take anything which belonged to a friend home. We would be quizzed, even accused of stealing. These days, girls and boys whose parents live in face- me- I -slap – You apartments use the latest Iphones. Prostitution, which used to be utterly despicable has now been re- dressed. These girls call themselves ‘hustlers’ and the society has code-named them ‘olosho’ or ‘runs girls’. Before now, prostitutes never showed their faces in the day time. If you saw them in the day time, you probably won’t even recognise them. Many years ago, I spoke with a girl who told me once she got into the university, she would be a runs girl. When I asked her why she told me , ‘ sir, they live well. They use expensive things. People look up to them.’ You should have seen how wide my mouth became that day. I was too shocked to offer any piece of advice or condemnatory remark. Such is the extent to which we have become morally decadent.

Folks who go to church in the day time and still patronise herbalists in dead of night now call it ‘aajo’ which means taking care or monitoring. Voluptuous ladies are now euphemistically referred to as ‘fish’ and to have sex with such a woman means you ‘chop’ her or you’ve ‘smashed her mouth’. Ours is now a world on its head. Hard work has lost its allure and quick lucre is the fad. Rather than use language to better our society, we are using it to blunt the edges of hideous acts. These mild expressions are making it easy for evil to fester.

According to Rita Mae Brown, language ‘is the road map of a culture. It tells you where the people come from and where they are going.’ With the way we use words now, where are we going? The answer, my friend, lies in every man’s mind. We cannot continue to use finery for decadent behavior. According to Shakespeare, a dog referred to by any other name will still be a dog. A thief is a thief. A fraudster is a fraudster. This subject intrigues me. I hope, someday, to explore it in greater detail. Many thanks for your time.


The Loneliness of a Marathoner

Dele Oladipupo ©2019

In my culture, we were raised to believe that it is impossible for several people to be wrong. Perhaps, the closest to that line of thought is the overused aphorism, ‘two heads are better than one’. Don’t get me wrong , please. While it is true that a thousand heads may process things better than a lone head, the size regardless, there are always exceptions. You cannot compare ten thousand heads to Einstein’s. Einstein has been variously described as the greatest mind of the twentieth century and the one to whom we owe all the technological luxuries we now enjoy. When a man like that speaks, even nations will listen. The point I’m trying to make here is that everything must be investigated. Truth must be ferreted and dug out . It does not matter whether we agree or disagree, it is absolutely possible for a thousand people to be wrong and one man will be right. History is replete with instances where this has transpired.

Anyone who has done a bit of Physics would remember the popular story of how Newton discovered the Laws of Gravity. We were told that he sat under an apple tree , and an apple fell on his head. That story is definitely apocryphal. Newton only said that he sat under an apple tree and was ‘in a contemplative mood’ which was occasioned by ‘the fall of an apple’. Tell me, is there any mention of an apple landing with a thud (gbam!) on the man’s head? The answer is definitely NO. Apparently, somebody with a fertile imagination added condiments to the story and it’s been passed down to generations who thoroughly enjoyed the tale and missed the substance. I stumbled on this fact when I read Stephen Hawking’s amazing book, A Brief History of Time. So, all along, we got the story twisted.

Several years ago, before I secured admission into the university, I was the church interpreter. My elder sister was the interpreter, actually. When she left for Ibadan, she passed the torch to me. We had a week long programme at some point. We went for church meetings in the evenings. The guest minister preached in Yoruba and I did my best to interprete in English. As it’s typical of most churches, the last day was for both thanksgiving and testimonies. A certain elderly lady came out to testify. She narrated her story in Yoruba while I interpreted in English. Her story revolved around her son-in-law who had acquired the startling notoriety of pummeling his wife. She said, ‘o wa na omo mi’ in Yoruba and I interpreted that as ‘ and he beat my daughter’. The same guest minister who had preached for one week in Yoruba suuddenly became a professor of English. ‘Hmmn…beat’, he bellowed into the microphone and the entire church erupted with laughter. My guess is, he could not comprehend why the past tense of ‘beat’ would be ‘beat’ still. Perhaps, he felt it should have been ‘beated’ or something else. Of course, the church was jammed to capacity that night. There were probably five hundred or more persons in that hall. Their laughter reverberated all through the length and breath of that place. From that minute, I lost my composure. I stuttered and stammered till the service ended. My knees shook severely and I fought back tears as they welled up in my eyes. Fortunately, my sister was in church that night. As soon as we shared the benediction, I raced to the back of the church to meet her. ‘Sister mi’, I began, ‘what is the past tense of “beat”, ma?’ She looked at me and smiled. ‘Don’t mind them. You were right.’ I was unsatisfied. Maybe my cerebral sister was no longer as smart as she used to be. I ran back home, brought out three different dictionaries and checked. Folks, I found that the past tense of ‘beat’ is ‘beat’. So, what happened in church? It’s basically the same thing we often rebel against. I learnt one of the hardest lessons of my life that night. It took me years to really process it. Now, I am convinced that the wisdom of a lone, dissenting voice just might be the life safer that we need. Just look at it this way, we say, ‘ experience is the best teacher’ but that’s incomplete. The man who gave us that line said something different. According to him, ‘ experience is the best teacher for a fool…’. Simply put, only fools learn by experience!

Sometimes, I wonder whether my name is really what it is. I wonder whether all things I assume I know are in fact correct. For every single thing that we know ,there are , probably, a hundred that we don’t know. Yet, we carry ourselves as though we know it all. One of my friends has made a sport of picking holes in the fabric of people’s expressions and articulations. I often laugh in my head and pity him. We know so little. So little that we may need to listen more than we talk. Let’s take solace in the fact this is the information age and things will most likely get better.

Toilet Etiquette

‘Dele Oladipupo ©2019

Nearly everyone has experienced it a few times. You’re out and suddenly you find that you’re pressed beyond tolerance. The only way your discomfiture can be eased is when you use the convenience. You ask around and somebody kindly points you in the right direction. You move with increased pace, trotting a few times too. You open the door and to your utter dismay and disgust, the sight that assails your face makes your intestines squirm. Some dirty fellow , apparently, used the toilet and ‘forgot’ to flush it. Of course , you close the door and walk away quietly, fuming and berating no one in particular. This is one of the those times when you suddenly realise that you have super human strength. You’ve sent fecal matter back to the land of the gods!

Why do people find it difficult to flush after using public toilets? When such acts are committed by people are supposedly educated, what can we say? If you think this improbable, then visit the toilet in your office, the mall or even your church. In the past, I would try to engage in small talk with some of the women who wash these toilets. I noticed that they’re often angry and act as though they’d rather the toilets remained under lock and key. I concluded, erroneously, they were like that because theirs was both a disgusting and a thankless job. That view point has changed. I believe they’re constantly upset because adults who should know better are the ones who mess up the toilets!

Several years ago, I made the acquaintance of a beautiful, career-driven lady. I nurtured secret hopes about her. I paid her a visit the first time. Her apartment was modest but exquisite. I was impressed. We talked, made banters; I ate too. After a while, I had to ease my bowels. She showed me the toilet. As I urinated, I noticed a a small paint bucket where she had soaked her panties. I looked away, kept my mouth and my thing where they each belong and stepped out. I left her house not long afterwards.

The following weekend, I was in her neighbourhood. I called her. She was out but she described where she hid her house keys. She told me to make myself comfortable. I decided to wait for her. Well, it happened again that I had to urinate. I found the bucket of soaked panties in that same position. I assumed that had to be another set. So I peered. The water in which the objects were soaked had turned brown. I kicked the bucket slightly. The dirty water had turned filmy and its surface rumpled a bit. The stench that emanated from that bucket can kill a man. I forgot to urinate. I went out quietly and returned her key to the same place I took it from. This is why the elders often say: ‘ charity begins at home.’

Many of those who mess up public toilets look good on the outside but their houses are like dump sites. ‘Cleanliness’, is not even ‘next to godliness’. Cleanliness is a choice. It serves our interest. I think it was the vice-president who paid an ‘unscheduled’ visit to a toilet in one of the airports. I’m certain that visit must have schooled him on the types of feaces and their peculiarities. When we learn how to do simple things right, especially when nobody is looking, complex things will be way easier to grapple with. Have a great week. Hugs.

Dear God

‘Dele Oladipupo ©2019

Sometimes, it’s hard to wrap one’s head around this thing called ‘life’. Where does one even start from? The other day, I read the innocent letter a fine child ‘sent’ to you. The boy begged you to just kill all the bad guys, destroy all the guns and make the world a safe place. Considering your massive strength and influence, I suppose this is possible.

Some years ago, I read a sad story in Tai Solarin’s autobiography. It was one of the major reasons why the man became an atheist. A woman had just lost her husband. After fulfilling the mourning rites, she went to the farm to do some work. She placed her little child at the foot of a tree as she worked. The sudden cry of the child caused her to look back. She saw a snake slithering away. The snake had bitten the poor child. The poor woman became hysterical. She called for help, even ran as fast as her legs could carry her. The closest hospital was several miles away. Of course, help came too late. The child died. If the father died because of his sins, what sin did the innocent child commit? Dear God.

Once upon a time, suicide seemed like an echo from distant climes. These days, however, it has brought its stool and mat and is now permanently domiciled with us. A man committed suicide because of financial difficulties. A girl hanged herself because her boyfriend left her. A university professor killed himself because he was lonely. A boy in secondary school ended it all because he was bullied mercilessly. Where is that hope which Pope says ‘springs eternal in the human breast’? What is the value of life at this time? In Nigeria today, there are churches on every street. In some cases, there are two different churches in a single building. Are we any better for it? We know churches but we don’t know You. Isn’t it possible to compel everyone to do the right thing? Desperate times call for desperate measures. Isn’t that what they say? Dear God.

We were at the General Hospital in Jega, Kebbi State one night when a police van drove in. Two policemen half carried, half supported a girl who was quickly taken into the hospital. She couldn’t have been older than eight. She seemed thoroughly shaken. Her eyes were wide like the eyes of one who had seen the shadow of a ghost. She wore a yellow gown that was gradually turning crimson from the waistline. The multi coloured scarf tilted gingerly to the left but it didn’t fall off. As they took her in, blood trickled down her legs and left a distinguishable trail. We were concerned, so we asked questions. We found, to our utter consternation, that her father had raped her. A man raped his own daughter. The man himself was in the van. Two angry policemen sat on either side of him. He looked about him defiantly. He showed no remorse. He showed no discomfiture. Why don’t you just wipe out fathers with such inclinations or even prevent them from being born at all. Nostradamus predicted the birth of Hitler long before the killer was born. He only missed the spelling of his name narrowly. He spelt it as ‘Hister’. Hitler still came and he massacred people in their millions. Why did you allow it? Dear God.

You still remember Leah Sharibu? The poor girl was one of the 112 girls abducted by Boko Haram on the 19th of February, 2018. ‘Leah’ in Hebrew means ‘weary’. I wonder how weary her parents must be right now. While the release of the others has been secured, the terrorists held on to the girl because of her refusal to deny Jesus. The girl is still there and I shudder to figure out the state she must be in right now. The psyche of a terrorist is like the fathomless lines drawn by a child who hasn’t learnt to write yet. They can’t possibly keep the girl in a glass case like some priced possession or an artefact. The rest is better left to the imagination. These matters are weighty and hard to process. Dear God.

Some how, You have to find a way to communicate the way forward to us. One can’t even move about ,these days, without looking over one’s shoulders again and again. Why don’t You tell Jesus to come or even cause the world to end in a whimper? I have many questions to ask You. Even if I manage to put them all here, will you even read them?



Re-thinking our Humanity

‘Dele Oladipupo ©2019

Years ago when I was posted to Kebbi State to serve, it seemed as though the weight of the whole world had collapsed on my shoulders. I complained to somebody who was gracious enough to schedule a meeting between me and her daughter. The lady had just returned from the state. She served there. The meeting, rather than assuage my fear, compounded it. She told me that the sun there was annoyingly hot and that Kebbi was the headquarters of flies and reptiles in Africa. To be honest, that assertion isn’t entirely far from the truth. That’s not the focal point of this piece, in any case. That year, my eyes became open to certain truth. Please, let me share some of them with you.

These days, pundits and opinion makers complain that NYSC as a scheme has lost its value. I’m inclined to disagree. By far the most important advantage it gives you, is the ability to understand other people’s culture. The Hausas are not perfect at all. When you, remove religious extremism, crudity, lack of education from the Hausa equation, what you have is a set of human beings close to perfection. A few examples will suffice.

From the very outset, I noticed that the typical Hausa is incredibly honest. Whenever you’re in the market haggling and the guy from whom you’re trying get a fine bargain says: ‘ wallahi’ or ‘gaskiya’, just take his word for it. Forgive me in advance . I do not mean any disrespect. Pitch what happens in the north beside what transpires in the markets here. People will shout: ‘Jesus’, ‘wallahi’, ‘I swear’ and they’ll still swindle you regardless. Hausas are mostly honest folks.

I had the (mis) fortune of being posted to an all boys secondary school to teach. The boys, to a certain extent, were a thorn in the flesh but they were as nice as the word ‘nice’. The school was a boarding school where both English and Arabic were the languages of instruction. After school hours, rather than rest, these students would go round the lodges to ask if they could help you fetch water or do some other chores. Sometimes, while playing or reading in the shade of trees and they spot you from a distance carrying a heavy gallon of water they would try to outrun one another just to come and ease your burden. If you refuse, they would beg and cajole until you yield out of weariness.

One day while chatting with some of them, I decided to ask why they acted that way. I wasn’t accustomed to teenagers racing just to come and help you, especially when there’s no reward attached to the offer. In the south here, teenagers would even pass by without a nod to show your presence and burden are acknowledged. They explained enthusiastically that they were following one of the teachings in the Koran. The Prophet had explained that anyone who passes knowledge down to you deserves your utmost respect. I have checked this with my friends here. They agree this is true.

One other thing I noticed, Hausas rarely take you for granted. I was fortunate to make the acquaintance of one of the sons of the Emir of Jega. He was a gentleman to the core. Sometimes when I call and he happened to be far from the reach of his phone, he would come all the way on his bike to our lodge to apologise and ask how things were with me. There are , of course, fetish and idiotic Hausas as well. These constituted the exception rather than than the standard.

Perhaps by now you’re already wondering, why is he regaling us with tales of his service year? I’ll get to the point shortly. You remember all such jokes as: ‘How many people are in that room?’ Then, someone replies, ‘five people plus one Hausa man’. The message here is clear enough, the Hausa man is a mere appendage. He is less of a man. So, here’s the point: Our humanity takes primacy every other thing. Ethnicity, religion and race are human constructs. When God made you, He made a man not a Yoruba man. He made a human being, not a Christian. In Nigeria today, we have a reached a point where politicians who have been accused of looting can’t be tried in peace. Someone quickly points out the ‘Ibo nation is being witch hunted’ and in no time, this becomes the national anthem. Sometimes, ‘no, this is an attack on Christians’ and the case becomes another farce. Achebe has admonished that we must retrace our steps to the point where the rain began to beat us. Perhaps, it started when we lost our humanity. We must re-think our humanity. We need to re- focus on our essence. Have a beautiful weekend. Hugs

The Man in the Mirror

‘Dele Oladipupo©2019

Of course, you already know that I have appropriated the title of Michael Jackson’s famous song. So, who is the man in the mirror? Well, that man is You. There are probably a few exceptions but when we look in the mirror, we see what we want to see. We delude ourselves that we’re the best thing on this side of the earth. The mirror, in a sense, is an object of self deception. That is in absolute agreement with the fact that some mirrors distort the reflected image. This, perhaps, is the reason why it is one of man’s most famous inventions. I picked up a line from a book sometime ago: ‘We are blind to our blindness’. Such powerful words. Let me try to paraphrase that: We are ignorant and unaware that we are. That’s why the Yoruba’s often say: ‘ Ipako onipako laari, aaki ri tara eni’. It is easy to point out another’s flaws.

The man in the mirror,sometimes, makes gargantuan mistakes yet chooses to wriggle his way out instead of going the path of an unreserved apology. The revered Bishop Oyedepo once read a newspaper article upside down. His mistake started the moment he referred to the author of the article as ‘one Tunji Dare’. Anybody who understands English can tell that ‘one’ as used here suggests that Tunji Dare is little known, maybe obscure, in fact. Error one. Tunji Dare is a both a professor and a famed satirist who has been in the game for over thirty years. So, the article talked about the fact that Buhari has been cloned and that a Sudanese is the one at the helm of affairs. The author went on to provide ‘proof’ to substantiate his claims. The Bishop misinterpreted the article and told his mammoth congregation that the man in Aso Rock is Jubril al Sudan and not Buhari. He shored up his claims with ‘ facts’ from Professor Dare’s article. Error two. Bishop Oyedepo encouraged his congregation to pray against modern day slavery and they prayed hard. He missed the satiric bent of the piece.

If our knowledge of a particular field is limited, it behoves us to find out from those who know. The Bishop certainly didn’t. His media and editorial board chairman, Professor Folarin came hard in his defence. He claimed the Bishop knew the piece was a satire. Now, this is the error of errors. Which is easier? To tell a blatant lie or tell the truth. Why deify the man and give folks the impression he is incapable of making mistakes? Let’s be honest, it is easier to lie. It is divine, however, to tell the truth and admit we had goofed. There is an Oyedepo in all of us. The man in the mirror rarely admits publicly that he’s wrong. It is instructive to note that the idea that Buhari is dead and has been replaced by Jubril originated from Nnamdi Kanu’s twisted mind. Sadly, many people still believe Buhari is dead and that the whole world, including America’s king of rants Donald Trump, is enmeshed in a conspiracy of silence.

The man in the mirror is incredibly selfish. Oscar Wilde has provided a sound definition of selfishness: ‘ Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.’ Nigerian politics is a study in selfishness. When Governor Ambode’s rift with his god father became public knowledge and the former realised the governorship was slipping away, he quickly called a press conference where he thoroughly slandered Sanwo-olu his opponent at the primaries. He claimed the man was once arrested for spending fake dollars in America. He also told us his opponent was mentally unfit to govern because he had been a patient at the Gbagada General Hospital. In the characteristic manner of politicians, he added:’ We don’t want to talk about all the things we know’. The question is, what’s there to talk about again? Whether we agree or not, there is an Ambode in all of us. The degree to which he manifests, however, varies.

The man in the mirror is often deceptive. When we were still in the north, one of my friends had a girlfriend whom he loved immensely. I remember on one occasion, he collected his meagre allowance of N9,500 and sent it straight to the girl. My friend was so sure they would end up together. After all, they met in the university and both were members of the same fellowship. Both were committed; both blazed amazing spiritual fire. My friend was posted to serve in Kebbi. She was sent to Kano. I have often maintained that service year is the litmus test of all relationships. Any relationship that survives it may last a life time. Long story short, all the while that my friend was sending money to the girl, she was warming the bosom of another another Christian brother. Perhaps to a lesser degree, we’re mostly like this lady. When we stand before the mirror we know who we are but that’s not what we see. We are blind to our faults but can easily pinpoint other people’s infelicities.

The man in the mirror must change. By now, it is probably apparent to all Nigerians that the present government is just as clueless as a man in a strange land. It is an overstated fact that we must be the change we want to see in the world. It is possible for the earth to be Heaven’s anteroom if we all strive to be a little better than we were the previous day. Just think about it, the man in the mirror must exhibit God’s nature; not his own wicked propensities.

One Day for Sure

‘Dele Oladipupo©2019

One day or day one, we will all die. I think it was Soyinka who explained that ‘death is an inevitable state of terminality’. If you are a Christian, you may have noticed that people echo their loudest ‘Amen’ when the pastor prays against death. Deep down, we know it’s a debt we owe. Still, we all carry on as though we are the lords and masters of tomorrow. We use our friends, we speak from two sides of our mouths, we don’t care what happens to the fellow next door as long as we’re doing great. No one prays to die early yet people do and many will.

About ten years ago, I met a remarkable teenager. His name was Damilola. What drew me to him was his trademark toothy smile. I don’t think I know any other male who smiles and laughs with that same ease now. In those days, Damilola’s smile seemed like the sun peeping behind the cloud’s golden curtain. One other thing I liked about him was his unending questions. His mind, as we say, had an extra large question mark. He harassed me every time with several questions. Some I could answer, some I parried and some I couldn’t even fathom.

His questions were borne out of a genuine desire to make sense out of a chaotic world. One day, I woke up to the sad news that Damilola had died. It seemed like one long and ugly dream. He slept and he never woke up again. He was seventeen at that time. Unknown to many of us, he had a hole in his heart. He knew this yet, he carried on like a warrior. He is dead and gone. At best, we can only speak of him in the past tense. I remember this boy again a few weeks ago when Professor Pius Adesanmi passed on. Adesanmi died when Ethiopian Airline Flight 302 crashed after take off on the 10th of March, 2019. This man had so much promise. He spoke truth to power. He was ever ready to lend a helping hand. For all his brilliance and courage, he still died. And he’s not fifty yet!

While it may be disconcerting to go around mulling over the day we will die, it is helpful to bear it in mind. Perhaps, it can check our excesses and remind us of our mortality. Somebody suggested we should all write our epitaph and put it where you can see it,at least, twice daily. How would you like to be remembered when you’re gone? Write it, please. Just one sentence. May be this will help us see things in a better light and probably remove the shoulder pads from our hearts and shoulders. Where death is concerned, age is inconsequential. You may be ten or twenty, thirty or fifty, when death comes,there is no armour against it. May we find ourselves lucky enough to reach a ripe, old age. We must bear in mind still, one day or day one,we will die.

P.S : And God shall wipe away tears from all eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelations 21:4