“There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”
When a person dies, I think of this quote because for many, the third death may never come. This includes people like Socrates, Pharaoh Hatshepsut, Hannibal, Rumi, Dr. King, Malcolm X, Tupac, Biggie, Michael Jackson, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Prince, my grandparents and now, Muhammad Ali.
When I asked about Ali’s hospital status and was told that he died, I just went numb. I am not a big boxing fan. I don’t know Ali’s stats or his skills except that he floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee. However, I do know what he represented—a fighter for justice and equality. He was shut out of boxing for 3 ½ years for standing up for what he believed in. He illuminated America’s ill ways and refused to go to a senseless war to kill innocent people. He represented racial pride and kept to his faith, which pissed some people off. This happens when you own your truth sometimes. He also made people realize that “impossible” is not a fact, but an opinion among other things, including my favorite—a dare. Louisville Lip always knew the right words to say.
Now, however, it is family, friends, fans and former opponents who are finding the words to pay homage to the man born Cassius Clay. His daughter, Hana Ali, shared that after all his organs had failed his heart continued to beat for 30 minutes, something the doctors have never seen before. He kept going, like his legacy will.
Ali died his first death when his body ceased to function. He will die his second death when he is buried tomorrow. Ali will cheat his last death because his name will be spoken for centuries to come as “The Greatest Of All Time.”
RIP Champ and may Allah grant you Jannah.
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