Thursday, June 01, 2006

saying goodbye

This evening was the memorial service for Nana, who passed away Monday morning. It was held at the Church of the Intercession, a lovely Episcopalian church in Harlem. It was a lovely service. Her clergy and fellow church members did a wonderful job. I think she would be very pleased.

Her body was cremated, just as she requested, soon after her death on Monday. At the conclusion of the memorial service today, I and the many others there in attendance walked solemnly behind the clergy to the grotto beneath the church, where we came to a grey stone wall full of niches neatly ordered and organized. There in this wall was her small box-like niche amongst the others. After a few prayers and short readings, one of the three priests present lay Nana's ashes in her niche, her final resting place: niche 65A.

There were a mix of emotions floating around during tonight's service. I was upset and saddened by the loss of her in my life, but I also felt comforted by my memories of her and the many moments that we shared. I cried a lot throughout the service. Just tears and tears. The solemn, heavenly organ music that was played intensified that emotional deluge of mine. I love the pipe organ. It's my favorite instrument in part because of its raw emotional power, which it uses to tap into everyone's heart (or more accurately, at least that's the case with me). The organ is deep, dark, and powerful and the emotions it stirs well up inside and come bursting out. It's a purger. Its music is able to reach emotions that may have been buried. It taps our inner self, our subconscious self.

Some of pain and sadness that welled up inside of me as the pipe organ was played was related to my battle with cancer as well. I think the tears were a product of the suffering that I myself had experienced during the past months and was now coming to terms with and then, to have my Nana's death to happen before us all so suddenly just intensified those feelings. Cancer and my Nana were indeed very much of what I was reflecting over as that magnificient music filled the belly of the church.


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