Nothing brings clarity of mind as much as a funeral. People ask questions like, “what is really important in this life?” “How have I loved, who have I lost?” When you are the one singing at a funeral, the only question to ask yourself is…”How will this help heal the people left behind.” It’s quandary…
There is sadness from the loss, but joy of memories and Heavenly hopes or re-births. Peace and strife all in an hours time within each person there is a small battle; no matter what economics, background, belief system, foundation of life or walk of life…it’s a time of peace and turmoil…it’s a funeral.
I was asked to sing at the funeral for the man I previously blogged about. It was an honor, of couse, so I excepted. The song chosen was Amazing Grace. Now, Amazing Grace is a beautiful heartfelt piece that according to what I have read, was started on a slave-trade boat and encapsulated by that of a man who at one time was the slave trader on that very boat. No matter your belief in any Gods, the-behind-the-scenes-story of Amazing Grace is both inspiring and a healthy reminder of humanity…both positive and negative. For the funeral, the bag pipes would open the song, then the piano and myself would come in and the bag pipes would re-enter at the end. The bag piper physically left the sanctuary while he was playing the end of the song. It was so powerful. The first time I heard him play during rehearsals, my heart hit my knees. My throat clinched, eyes watered, chest tightened and I was hit with a wave of pride, honor, grief and respect. (Now I want to travel to hear this beautiful instrument in it’s original home-land!)
The day of the funeral had arrived. As a reminder, I had been spending time with this mans wife and during the ceremony, she was in the front row….His family and MANY friends were packed into the building and some had such a constant stream of tears, I worried that there would be no one at home to console them and I didn’t want them to be left a lone. I wanted to hold them and allow their hurt to get out. I couldn’t be a one-on-one friend, but I wanted to help…and I could do that singing. or so I hoped…
After the guest speaker had spoken, I noticed the crowd “shutting down.” They seemed to be closing their emotions up and putting them aside for some other time. They didn’t relate to the guest speaker and literally grew restless…the bag pipes began. I sang the best I absolutely could for them. I sang for the deceased, thanking him in my heart for helping keep Jazz Music in the Rogue Valley by supporting our yearly festival and for all of the other good deeds done. Memories of all I had learned about him, his family, the history in the room, the politicians to care-givers to long time friends, flew though my mind. People cried…and the bagpipes left the room.
Lastly, I had my own private challenge. My divorce was final April of 2010. I was married 12 years…the funeral was in the church I had been married in over 12 years previously and I was flooded with memories, flashbacks and emotions. I had stood on that platform before, but was now looking out at a completely different crowd.
The funeral day was not about me, so I tabled those thoughts, until now..for my blog. I think this event will influence my 5 album challenge in as big way. Thanks for listening…where there is peace, there is understanding.