|a homegoing celebration|
I feel like going on
I feel like going on
Though trials may come
on every hand. . .
I feel like going on.
"Homegoing celebration" is the term my people often use to describe what most refer to as a funeral service or a memorial. Instead of the traditional heavy, dark clouds of grief and muffled sobs that funerals usually bring to mind, it's a bit different than that. It's often hopeful. . . uplifting. . .and though painful, yes. . . .almost always celebratory. The shouts are audacious and when the tears do come, they are often so unrestrained that to someone less familiar with black culture, it could be a lot.
I always liked the term "homegoing" instead of funeral.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to be there for her homegoing, but my heart was on the front pew. I know that if she touched me like she did in that brief period then her service was packed from wall to wall with more people than anyone can count. I just know it. So yes, in my heart I was there.
Last night, I went by the funeral home to pay respects at the viewing of her body. My fellow Grady doctor, Neil W., met me there and together we signed the book and reflected on this remarkable human being. We read her life story and felt the energy and the love in that place. Three of her family friends were there, too, and they asked us who we were. When we shared that we were Grady doctors who had the honor to care for her, they cried and nodded.
"Of course her doctors are here. Because she was the kind of person that would make you want to be here," one woman said. And we all nodded, too.
We stood there in a circle. . .sharing and reflecting and remembering and celebrating. Neil told one of the sisters from her church that he has never met a more peaceful human being. I shared that I'd known her for only a brief time, but it felt like an eternity. Another lady said that she always made her feel like she was better than she gave herself credit for--but eventually she started to believe thanks to Mrs. Z. It was awesome. Four black women and one Jewish guy from Long Island holding hands and touching and agreeing--- all in the context of love. We all hugged each other tight and it felt good.
Yes, Mrs. Zebedee. You were right. You were so very right.
Thank you for everything. . . .
Now . . . you go ahead and get some rest. It's okay. Go on home.
I am hearing this on my mental iPod today. . .feeling your peace in my heart and celebrating your homegoing. I love the joy and peace in his voice that reminds me so much of you. . . .
I know you loved this song. Today, I'm playing it for you.