Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bobrobert's Memorial Service

When I woke up the day after BR's death, I put iTunes on shuffle and hit play, figuring that if I didn't like the song, I could always skip it. The first song it played was Barry Manilow's One Voice. BR often told me how much he loved this song. I tried to sing along, but kept falling apart with tears. I promised myself I would find a way to work it into the memorial service.

A few days later, I decided on two additional pre-recorded songs. The first was Sandi Patty singing Upon This Rock. One of BR's secret guilty pleasures was inspirational religious music, and Sandi Patty was one of his favorite artists.

If in a simple carpenter
You see the Son of God
If you would choose to lose
When you could win
If you would give your life away
For nothing in return
Then you are where
My kingdom will begin.
The second song was To Me, a duet by Lee Greenwood and Barbara Mandrell. I know, not the Barbra most of you were expecting. BR's friend Fran Kinman introduced him to this song long before I met him. While we were dating, it became clear that this was the kind of love he was looking for, and wasn't going to settle for less.
To me
You are the hand that I reach for
When I've lost my way

To me
You are the first star of evening
The sun that warms my day

Just as sure as
I'm sure there's a Heaven
This was meant to be

No road is too long
As long as you belong to me

To me
You are the truth I've been living
Girl, I believe in you

To me
You are the love I have looked for
My whole life through

Just as sure as
I'm sure there's a Heaven
This was meant to be

No road is too long
As long as you belong to me

Just as sure as
I'm sure there's a Heaven
This was meant to be

No road is too long
As long as you belong to me
Reverend Emile was lined up to do the service and scripture readings, and Gail and Mary Katherine to play the prelude and postlude organ and piano. And as the day of the service neared, I realized that I needed to deliver BR's eulogy myself. But no matter how hard I tried, the things I wrote just didn't do justice to the life we shared together. I decided to focus on how he was always able to build and maintain a circle of friends no matter where he was, and on how much he loved those friends. With my sister Cindy by my side for support, I spoke of the dinner parties on Martel Avenue, the ex-boyfriends, and the neighbors -- many of whom were present in the Gilliam United Methodist Church that Saturday.
If I had to pick a message to highlight from Bobrobert's life, it would be to hold the ones you love close and tight, and to never stop looking for people to love.
The service closed with One Voice. I sang the first verse solo.
Just one voice, singing in the darkness
All it takes is one voice
Singing so they hear what's on your mind
And when you look around you'll find
My family joined me for the second verse and bridge.
There's more than one voice
Singing in the darkness
Joining with your one voice
Each and every note another octave
Hands are joined and fears unlocked

If only one voice would start it on its own
We need just one voice, facing the unknown
And then that one voice would never be alone
It takes that one voice
Then we moved out into the congregation, hugging anyone who would have it. Standing in the aisles, we finished the song.
It takes that one voice
Just one voice, singing in the darkness
All it takes is one voice
Shout it out and let it ring
Just one voice, it takes that one voice
And everyone will sing


zoomdoggies said...

A beautiful celebration of an amazing life. Just beautiful.

Webster said...

I can't imagine having to plan my husband's memorial service. I can't imagine writing and giving the eulogy or standing in front of everyone and singing without falling apart. Kudos to you (and to Bobrobert) for building such a wonderful supportive group of friends to help you through such tough times as this one - as well as all the good times you shared together.

Thank you for letting me share this time with you. I'm sorry I didn't know of you both sooner.

Be well.

Travelogue for the Universe said...

This is very beautiful. Wishing you the best.

Anonymous said...

Just the way it was. Perfect. I love you bunches, Dede

Herrad said...

Hi Steve,
Thinking of you.

mortonlake said...

lovely take care,mort

Cranky said...

Steve - like Webster, I can't imagine writing and then giving Skip's eulogy. Amazing strength. Thanks for letting us know what was in the service and your thought processes behind it.

steve said...

The decision to deliver the eulogy was actually a self-realization. It may have been the control freak in me, but given my struggles trying to do his life justice in writing the words, I couldn't let anyone else deliver them.

"One Voice" could also be taken as a blogging anthem. Thank you to everyone who has been joining BR's and my collective voice these past two years.

Richie said...

Love the sentiments; hate the sound track! :)
I hope the day left you one more beautiful memory of the boy.
Love R