Welcome to the Sound and Light Show

Sort of a diary for myself ... but you can read it too.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Songs at Funerals

My family still finds ways to crack me up.

I just got back into town after spending the last 2 days with my parents and extended family in Altoona, Pa attending my Uncle's funeral ...

Uncle 'Chick' passed away on Friday ... aka Charles 'Lotto' Lovette. (Everyone in my family has a nickname)

Back story: I come from a somewhat large extended family (Italian and Polish) and there seems to be a death in my family every few months ... I'm always going to funerals. Ask my friends ... it's ridiculous sometimes. I once had 3 funerals within 3 months all from the same side of the family, all at the same funeral home. I swear ... we were about to ask the home if they had some sort of frequent shopper plan, you know, buy 3 funerals get the 4th one free or something like that.

But anyway ... because of the frequency of the funerals, my family usually makes light of the situation, creating a cheerful atmosphere full of memories and laughter and not one that is drowned in sorrow and grief.

This funeral was no exception. Yesterday at the viewing, as the day went on, we kept adding things to the casket to be buried with my Uncle ... a ritual that might not seem so unusual to some but I'm sure not every family follows. So along with the regular items such as photos and old army medals, we placed items that we know he would enjoy ... some scratch off lottery tickets, liquor (my Dad and I provided two airplane bottles of Maker's Mark whiskey, go figure) and his Philly Eagles jacket among other things ...

But today was the kicker ... it felt like something out of a surreal HBO original series such as '6 Feet Under' or something ... Today, during the funeral ceremony at the cemetery, it was arranged that the song 'Somewhere over the Rainbow' by Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole be played over a PA system while my Uncle was being lowered into the ground ... and while this was going on, we were all given balloons to let go into the air. What an awesome moment. Everyone was smiling, walking around getting dizzy trying to follow the trail of multicolored balloons as they disappeared up into the sky ...

It was a beautiful, surreal sound and light show ... especially for a grave site.

... and it's very ironic that my friend 'Evil Genius' over at What I Like About the Universe posted a blog today regarding what songs he would have played at his funeral. He had no idea that I was at a funeral today ... and that a song was played ... and that I planned on blogging about it tonight when I got home.

Synchronicity indeed.


Evil Genius said...

That is kind of freaky. Sorry to hear about Uncle Chick. But that sounds like a great service. That is the kind of thing I want to do. That is why I want you passing out CDs. Maybe even gift bags. BUt the posts are very serendipitous.

mark said...

sorry to hear about your uncle, J.

are Uncle Chick's roots in Beaver County, too? i find that folks from Aliquippa and Midland have a much greater likelihood of having a nickname than the average person.

in my extended family, i have: Poobie, Digger, TaTa, ChaCha, Beans, and Ishky. And that's just my parents' generation. Haven't even scratched my granparents' and beyond.

also...man, you have no idea how long I've been wondering who sings that particular version of "rainbow". thanks for the info. sounds like it was a beautiful scene.

that's how i want to go. with people smiling and remembering the good times. not weeping and mourning.