Who sits at the computer listening to Tracy Chapman, smoking, eating banana pudding ice cream and reading liner notes? I do. Hey, don’t judge me. Anyway, I’m back home again. I spent most of the week with my sister and nephew. My mom, sister and I went to the funeral on Tuesday. It was a beautiful service. HW‘s family is part Native American and her brother that passed away, Free Bird, was really into their culture and spiritual beliefs. There was Native American music playing in the viewing room while everyone gathered and talked. Before going into the chapel for the service, a prayer was said and the family made one last pass by the coffin. It was so sad to see HW and her mother looking down at him one last time. HW and her mother have been like members of my family for the last few years and it was especially difficult seeing HW’s mother mourning the loss of her son.
After the prayer we moved into the chapel for the service. The chapel was full of family, friends and coworkers. One of his close friends read something she had written about him, and the minister talked about Free Bird and his love of rock music, nature, and animals. Like HW, Free Bird also had many horses and other animals that lived on his land with him. They are a family that shares not only a love of animals, but a gift of being able to relate to and care for them as well.
When we got to the burial site, which was on Free Bird’s land, there was another small service. This service was led by a tribal elder and the kind words that he said and the stories he shared were beautiful. The tribal elder’s wife, HW, and another lady sang Amazing Grace in Cherokee. It brought tears to my eyes. I could feel the love and the pain shared by everyone there. Free Bird was truly an amazing person who may not have said much, but he definitely made a good impression on all of those who knew him.
The saddest and most touching moment was later when we were all sitting around talking in front of Free Bird’s house. HW brought out his guitar and started playing and singing Blackbird. She said it was the first song that Free Bird taught her to play. This one’s for you Free Bird. You will be missed.