Yesterday, I attended the funeral of a very dear friend.
Miriam, a beautiful woman, lived a beautiful ninety-three years. The funeral home was filled with those of us who love her. Three pastors officiated at the service. All four of her children, and two of her grandchildren, told stories of their life experiences with this remarkable human.
I talked to her husband, Jack, also a beloved friend, the day after her death. There are no words adequate to convey how heartbroken he is. Miriam was “his person,” and the cherished memories of them together will always be treasured.
“Swan song” is a metaphor for a final gesture—a final song—and at this celebration of Miriam’s life, her family played two recordings of her operatic singing—”Morning Has Broken” and “Ava Maria.” In her characteristically humble way, she probably would have vetoed that if she could, but those recordings were, I believe, Miriam’s “swan song.”
I was honored to read at this liturgy, both a scripture passage and a poem. And, although these words will never be adequate, I’d like to share them with you.
"Miriam" memories dance through my awareness, some poignant: "oh, you are so sweet," some prosaic: "oh, I've had this old jacket for decades!" the gentleness and the confidence the beauty and the tenacity the mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother the opera singer who discounted her talent the hostess of visitors from far-away lands the gracious woman who opened her heart to all the wife whose love story is one for the ages the reader of literature and world news and cookbooks....so many cookbooks the lover of art and flowers and people and life and so it is here between the fractures of the darkest dark and the brightest light that we reside in these days and hours and fragile poignant moments laughter and memories, sorrow and loss all mixed into one life that saw more decades than most will witness but—because of who she was—who she is not nearly enough years for those who love her as I hold her in my heart, the music of Verdi, Mozart, and Puccini plays in the background and she strolls through the beautiful garden on the arm of the man she loves ❦
May the rest of this week remind you of all that matters most.