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Today was my mom’s funeral. I planned every detail meticulously, with great love. She was surrounded by people who knew her, admired her, and remembered her from some point along the great, long winding road of her remarkable life.

I was so pleased with the elegant, beautiful service. My only disappointment was that music wasn’t provided for graveside services. I chose a longtime family friend to speak, and as he began his beautiful remembrance of her, he asked us to all sing the first stanza of Amazing Grace. He didn’t tell me that in advance and, as I sat there beside her for the final time, I was so grateful that he had thought of it. She loved music and some of her aides at the nursing home would sing hymns with her, bringing her joy as her life wound to its close. It was such a joy to me that her final song was sung to her by an impromptu choir composed of the voices of people she loved. And what a rare occurrence, privilege, and honor that I got to sing my mother to sleep, as she had done for me so lovingly as a child.

I would have loved to speak, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to be understood through my weeping. If I could have, I would have read one of my favorite poems. Funeral Blues, by W. H. Auden is not about a daughter and her mother, but it captures the beauty-lined pain of saying goodbye to someone beloved for the last time. Since I couldn’t read it for her, tonight I’ve found this wonderful reading, by actor Tom Hiddleston.

Rest in peace, dearest one.

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