Sunday, February 19, 2012

sweetness remains.

yesterday was a draining day. more than expected.

i attended a memorial service yesterday morning. yes, it was the
same day as Whitney Houston's funeral. i'll speak on that in a
bit. it was for my Aunt Nan, who was my mom's dear friend and
co-worker. they were very, very close. and when she left this
world last year suddenly, it really shook everyone. yesterday
marked the anniversary of her passing. and so, mom and i went
to the temple to pay our respects. yes, i said, 'temple' 'cause
Aunt Nan was from Guyana, and she was of the Hindu faith.

entering the temple, nestled off the hectic strip of Jamaica
Avenue, you got this overwhelming sense of peace. after removing
our shoes, we got to sit and hear the family and friends talk
about Aunt Nan and how much she meant to them. and in between
there were devotional songs like the one above and love songs;
one of which was sung by her husband. at moments, you could feel
the tears tug at the bottom of your eyes. but then someone would
tell a funny story and the whole room would burst into laughter.
it was good to feel that love. it seemed as if with each memory,
each laugh, the sun pumped itself up to match the energy as it
streamed through the windows. we made our way downstairs and
were served a great meal of dhal puri, curried potatoes, chickpeas
and spiced pumpkin. and my mind went back to whenever they had a
family gathering or temple function and how Aunt Nan made sure
that we got heaping plates and trays of food. love, laughter and
life. that's who she was. you could hear all of that in her
voice whenever she called, feel it in the hugs she gave. as a
parting gift, we were given a bag of homemade sweets with her
picture on it and a poem from Rabindranath Tagore, the famous
Bengali writer. it was so fitting.

so we wound up getting home just in time to catch Marvin Winans'
sermon at Whitney Houston's funeral and the end of the proceedings.
and whatever energy i had in me, evaporated. but in catching up
on the ceremony, i saw the same recurring theme: love, laughter,
life. someone on FB said that this was the first time a good deal
of America bore witness to praise and worship in a Black Baptist
Church. i'm sure it opened a lot of eyes. and what i hope they
saw is, at the end, when it is the final tally, you want your
legacy to leave a good taste on people's palate. yes, Whitney
had her issues. there were one or two people who wondered why
no mention was made of it. but there's nothing wrong with choosing
to focus on the good moments overall. and if her family chose
to do so, more power to them. i couldn't help but notice the
similarities between the two services(i wound up getting a chance
to see the rest of the funeral later)and one dominant theme.
that there will be a great deal of sadness when people we love
and cherish leave, and that's natural. but if you hold onto all
they've taught you, and all of those good memories, the sweetness
of their lives always lives on. that's a legacy worth having.

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