Saying good-bye

Good-byes are never easy. Sometimes they’re not as difficult because you know you’ll see the person again, even if it’s not going to be right away.

But some are much harder. The final “good-bye” is the hardest of all.

Even some of them are less difficult…especially if the person has lived a long, full life and is at the point of being ready. My parents were both like that. My father was alert and cogent right up to the day before he died. My mother was less so–she struggled with dementia, but again, was still able to have fairly cogent conversations until close to her death.

But this morning I took part in one of those difficult good-byes. Velma Tyson was four years younger than I am. I know that I’m entering into the older years of life–but to see someone I know die at the age of 62 is a rather vivid reminder!

Velma was an extremely gifted musician…a piano teacher…accompanist for the Independence Messiah Choir for 30+ years…accompanist for the Jacomo Chorale…and involved with many other music groups that I’m not aware of. While I didn’t know her well, we had a friendly relationship, and I always appreciated her smile and warm greetings.

About 18 months ago, she was diagnosed with cancer. She fought it–and was apparently beating it surgically. But–as is often the case–chemo and radiation were recommended as follow-up treatment to ensure no stray cells…and it seems that she had issues with those treatments that caused her to die far too soon.

Her funeral this morning was a celebration of life–hers, but even more important, her relationship with the One who created her. Everything she did was an extension of her faith…and her trust in the goodness of the Creator. There were lots of stories…tears and laughter…

And at the end, there was a sending forth in praise. I had been asked to play for however many members of the Independence Messiah Choir and Jacomo Chorale who could be there to send us out with a rousing performance of Handel’s wonderful “Hallelujah Chorus.” With her service being on a work day, we didn’t know how many people would be there…but about 50 were able to join in that performance. And yes, it was a performance…but also a testimony on behalf of Velma.

Hallelujah!…and good-bye to a life well lived.