Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sweet, Sweet, Music

My mom died in 1999, so why am I thinking about her funeral today? 

Yesterday my friend Ed e-mailed me a joke about a bagpiper. Of course I laughed, because bagpipes are funny. Why?  I don't know; they just are.  That got me thinking about my own bagpipe story, which got me thinking about Mom.
Picture provided by my littlest sister

Before she died, Mom expressed a wish for a bagpiper to play at her funeral. Who EVEN KNOWS a bagpiper? Seriously.  Not me, that's for sure.  I thought she was joking but apparently after I left home the family started attending Highland games and my mother developed a love of the instrument.  So that was that.

Nobody wants to deny their dearly departed mother her dying wish and, miraculously, my sister found someone from a nearby town and hired him. But he got lost on the way.  That really sounds like a set up for a joke but that's what happened.  The funeral went on … no bagpiper.  What are you gonna do, right?

Just as the minister was wrapping up, out of the clear blue sky came the loudest, most horrible squawk I'd ever heard in my life!  It startled me so much that I jumped sky high.  Then I burst out laughing. Because of the noise nobody - except Jerry - heard me.  My shoulders were shaking but Jerry was patting my back, so it looked like I was crying uncontrollably.  The "uncontrollable" part is accurate.  It just wasn't tears. 

At the burial site, the bagpiper stood on a nearby hill and played "Amazing Grace" as they lowered the casket into the earth.  It was haunting.  There wasn't a dry eye among us. 

I still miss my mom and don't think that I would have needed this experience to think of her.  Every time I see a bagpipe though, I re-live her funeral. And, to this very day,  - fifteen years later - I vividly remember that first note. It still sounds like someone choking a very big, very angry bird.

That is why I decided to learn to play the ukulele.


Anonymous said...

This could also be the reason I am the daughter who got the bagpipes :)

Anonymous said...

By the way... If you haven't heard Amazing Grace as performed by The Dropkick Murphy's you should utube it and listen!