I attended a funeral today. A friend lost her valiant, last battle against breast cancer.
Jewish funerals are usually pretty cut and dry. The rabbi may say a few words, but for the most part, they follow a certain rhythm of traditional prayers and solemnity. Family members rarely speak.
Today was different.
Her son sang a psalm to honor his mother that I shall not soon forget.
Alberta was a woman with a voice. The kind of voice that brings to mind Ethel Merman. It was unmistakable.
Alex recalled his mother’s love of singing with that voice. But unlike her grandfather, a professional opera singer, Alberta was not bestowed with so much melodic talent. Nor was she the best at remembering the words to what she sang, be it prayers in service or popular music to her children.
She sang for the joy it brought to her soul. If she could not recall the words, she filled in with la-la’s. She just kept singing.
Alex said he tried to find the perfect song that would summarize his mother. And like with many things, inspiration and revelation come from unexpected sources. Alex found his mother’s song playing in his car by random shuffle.
From Wicked – Defying Gravity:
So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
“Ev’ryone deserves the chance to fly!”
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who’d ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am
I’m flying high
And soon I’ll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!
For all the struggles Alberta faced in her life, this truly was her anthem. She was a woman who loved her family, community, friends and life. And she kept on singing.
It would do us all good if we just kept singing.
Keep belting them out Alberta. Nothing can bring you down now. Fly free.