The TV series The Highlander, speaks of the time of the gathering and proclaims, “There can be only one.” Today was also a time of gathering but it was very much opposite of The Highlander. Instead of one, there were many. Many. Many. Linda brought us together once again, strengthening old connections and forging new ones.
The funeral service was a perfect combination of respect, tribute, and twist---exactly like Aunt Linda. She respected things meriting respect, things like human rights, hard work, and our country; she paid tribute to family, the Jazz, and Christ, and, with an almost-but-not-really wicked grin, she generally added her Aunt Linda twist, something unexpected, unique, insightful, powerful, and fun.
And such was the funeral. Sara shared Monte’s words and her thoughts. She delivered a beautiful tribute to her mother as an educator and gave specific messages to each grandchild. JL also gave a beautiful tribute to her mother as a mother, greatest cheerleader, mentor, coach, and best friend. A group of friends sang “My Turn on Earth” and ToMmY played a melody of hymns on the violin. Beautiful. Respecting both tradition and Aunt Linda.
Then the twist. Aunt Linda had the last word. In a video recorded by Sara, Aunt Linda answered the question “What advice would you give your family?” Aunt Linda told life is journey; there will be good things and bad things. When the good things come, don’t get all high and mighty. When the bad things happen, don’t get depressed; you will get through it. Support each other. Work hard. Monte, Sara, and JL are hard workers and the grandchildren should be hard workers too. Give a little more than a day’s work for a day’s wages. She ended singing “Don’t worry. Be happy” and smiling. Grinning, in fact.
Maybe she was grinning because she knew what was coming next….
After the closing prayer, ToMmY played the fiddle. She fiddled as we stood, as Aunt Linda’s body was carried out, and as we filed from the room. Fiddle music. Foot-stomping, hand-clapping, heart-pumping fiddle music. The Aunt Linda twist. So perfect. SO PERFECT!
We drove to the Huntsville cemetery where three Ben Lomond Bagpipers played before Kurt Gibson dedicated the grave. Respect. Tribute. Twist. Perfect.
Love flowed, connections forged and strengthened. Gathering. It happened at the funeral, at the graveside service, and again at the family dinner, a “catered” by Javier’s, Linda’s favorite restaurant. I put “catered” in quotes because the family tried to cater it. Javier’s insisted on donating it. The love flows…. And will continue to flow for generations.
Thank you Aunt Linda.