On the way to your funeral, I wondered if there was more I could have done? We’d talked and had some nice moments these last few years but the adrenal cancer took you quickly. Did I do enough these final weeks? Were you in pain with that labored breathing? I was thinking too much as I drove. I turned on the radio to quiet my thoughts and help let you go.
A song started that I’d never heard before that moment. Kenny Chesney explained with Better Boat. I felt like I had some answers and started to cry.
I don’t even listen to country music though; why was my radio on that station?
I changed the setting back to soft rock and continued driving West. I smiled into my rear view as I listened to the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven. “There walks a lady who shines white light.” It did make me wonder…
Of course you bought your way to heaven. You were a sweet, compassionate woman. I knew you were headed to the pearly gates, despite any of those feisty teenage stories you shared. These were my thoughts as I recognized the new song. The Man, Portugal, was singing and I laughed out loud when I remembered you were a teenager in 1966. Feel It Still explained you were a “rebel just for kicks”. You and I sang our way into the Funeral Home parking lot.
Your sense of humor was alive and well as I went in to say goodbye.
Your brother and his family were all there. Your cousins were by your side, Diane greeted us and your co-workers lined the room, spanning your years of service. The priest spoke about the volunteering you did in your retirement. The service was sweet and full of camaraderie.
But I guess you knew all that, since you were there.
We went to our cars to await the drive to the cathedral and cemetery. I settled into my vehicle and turned the radio back on. Pretty Mama was the celebratory song while waiting in the line of cars. I hoped you would dance with your Daddy. God would take your hand now.
Enough was enough though. They carried you out and you were now in the vehicle in front of us. There was no DJ with a response to that.
I shut off the radio and pushed in one of my own CD’s to drown out where we were headed. I’d forgotten that my car CD was Rock-and-Roll – my KISS CD. Thinking it may not be appropriate, I almost pushed it back out. Almost. It was a very fitting solo. Paul Stanley sang Goodbye all the way to your final mass.
You were there, in your old neighborhood, that whole morning. I believe it. God speaks to us in so many ways.
I know now that there wasn’t more I could have done. I’d listened. That was enough. Thank you for letting me hear your final play list.