My mom’s memorial service was streamed and recorded on Zoom. I don’t exactly know why I wanted it recorded, but I’m glad it was. On the four month anniversary last Thursday, I rewatched parts of the service, including the eulogy I gave. I remember writing it the day before the service. I was overwhelmed with the funeral arrangements and trying to keep it together as much as I could. I had so many things I wanted to say and convey about her. The majority of the people at the burial and memorial never met my mom, so it was important to show them who she was. I also didn’t want to sugarcoat or gloss over the hard parts of her life, so I tried to balance the happy memories by talking about how closed off she was because of what she went through. I think I did a decent job of doing that.
A dear friend, who also happens to be the cantorial intern, sang a beautiful mash-up of “Alabanza” from In The Heights and El Malei Rachamim, the prayer for the soul of a person who has died. When I first watched the In The Heights movie, the spoken part of “Alabanza” hit me hard and I knew I would want it incorporated into any memorial I had for Mom.
Alabanza means to raise this thing to God’s face and to sing“Alabanza,” In The Heights
Quite literally, praise to this
When she was here, the path was clear
And she was just here
She was just here
My mom hated any kind of attention or getting any kind of compliment, so this was my way of giving her the praise she deserved.
I know the grief will continue to come in waves. I went out of town this weekend and we took the same route that Mom and I took whenever I came in for a visit during college and grad school. Remembering that, when combined with the anxiety I had at the time, hurt deeply and I just wanted to cry. Life is changing and that’s good, but it means that Mom isn’t part of that anymore. All the milestones I’ve had and those to come will always have that undercurrent of sadness because I can’t share those moments with her. It won’t stop me from living my life or being happy, but I think it’s important that I acknowledge that.