Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Reflections on the Gifts of Love

Before this past weekend,  I would never have believed that a pair of funerals in a three-day span could be inspiring and beautiful.  Dark clothing, tears, sadness, mournful eulogies.... isn't that what we all think of when we hear the word "funeral"?  I had thought that burying a parent would be one of the hardest things to do in the world.  I never would have believed that burying two parents in one weekend could be so much the opposite.

Don't get me wrong.  There were tears and there was sadness.  But there was also something almost impossible to describe that was almost like a sense of renewal.   I was so incredibly moved when over 30 of my fellow singers appeared as if by magic in the choir loft of my church.  My fellow mourners and I were treated to the sounds of angels from above and their presence touched my heart in a way that  everyone should experience at least once in their lives.   I discovered that my best friend and my husband had craftily organized this behind my back, and I wonder if "gratitude" could possibly do justice to my feelings during and after that Mass.  I was so amused to hear my BFF and my hubby repeatedly referring to each other as "my Hero", and even now as I type this, I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

Two days later, I was the cantor at my father-in-law's funeral.  I had been practicing religiously for a week (which is about six days more than I usually practice in order to cantor at your basic weekend Mass).  My mother-in-law had been having a difficult time since returning to the area from Florida.  Likewise, my husband was also struggling, although he never showed it outwardly.  I  coddled my voice, drank tea (bleck!), and tried mightily to pamper my persnickety sinuses which occasionally sabotaged my vocal efforts.  My efforts were rewarded, thank you God, and I was so happy to provide some sort of solace to my family members in a way that perhaps nobody else could.  It's hard to explain how a vocal performance could be so difficult yet so easy at the same time.  How often does a vocalist know with total certainty that the sound he or she is making is ...... just perfect.

In the aftermath, I felt an overwhelming sense of calm and happiness.  This was so unexpected, and I just could not figure out why I felt this way after the funerals of two parents.  Finally last night, Bill said something to me that made it crystal clear.  He said "I have to apologize to you.  The music at my Dad's funeral was so much better than the music at your Mom's funeral."  Huh?  I thought that my ears were playing tricks on me, and I pretty much told him that he was delusional.  Nope.   He repeated himself again a couple of hours later.   Yes, indeed, in both of our minds, the music at our parent's funeral was absolutely perfect, not only because it was beautiful but because it represented our love for each other and the love of good friends.

I really am lucky.

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