Saturday, February 13, 2010

Playing for a Family Member's Funeral

I did it. I wasn't sure if I could, but I did.

My dear Grama died after 96 years of chuckling at life. This was 0805 on 2/5/10, in Butte, Montana.

We immediately made plans to drive up there. My dear, sweet husband had taken us all up there the week before so I could see her before she passed through the veil. I got to hold her hand, and she held mine back. Aunts and uncles, cousins and nephews and nieces were all there. Even Mom!. We were out and about a lot, to exercise the kids, but we kept coming back to Grama and holding her hand. I kissed her good-bye before we left. Then a week later, the call came.

My cousin Rosemary asked Piper Pat and I to play for the services, so on Sunday we met in the Finlen Hotel ballroom, with the sun warming the golden flowers on the carpet. We got pretty much tuned to each other, and to the scale as it is known in general. Several sets were planned out, and we chose the best among them. At the vigil Monday night we played Danny Boy (for Grama, born in Ireland) and Nu Farmer Skoven Trindt on Lendt (or something . . .for my Danish Grampa). At the funeral on Tuesday morning, we played the casket out to the hearse. Since we both know Highland Cathedral, we played that over and over. Had to fight a church lady so she would let us out of the door, us thinking that that whole cavalcade was on our backs. But when we passed the hearse and turned around, they were still only halfway down the ramp. So we sstood out ttthere in ttthe frrreezing coldddd and playedddd the ttttune a ccccouple mmmmore ttttimes . . . and then we were done. No graveside services, as the body is going to be cremated.

I managed not to cry. I focused on playing and marching so much that I thought I was going to burn a hole in . . . whatever I was focusing on.

I also managed not to light anything on fire.

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