The Story of Eric’s Memorial Plus A Photo Video Tribute
The Memorial Service on April 29 for my partner of 17 years, Eric Russ, was a beautiful tribute to him. I am so happy with that day from beginning to end. Thank you for being there in thought, in spirit or in person.
I’ll include the link (below) to the 5-1/2 minute video we made about his life. It’s a labor of love to put something like that together, and I thank Chris Walsh and Donna Brickey for their individual and collective genius and complete dedication.
At the memorial, we moved through a rainbow of emotions, thanks to a wonderful cast of story-telling characters. Here are some highlights of April 29.
Music opened the journey. About 34 of the 75 members of Womansong (my Asheville choir) sang “Ocean of Love” from the back of the room which washed through our hearts and minds like a cleansing wave.
Later in the program, “I Will Carry You,” written and performed by Lyte Henrickson, was also accompanied by Womansong. Kat Williams sang “Blue Skies” (yes, the Irving Berlin song) and “Oh Happy Day.” Guitarist Dave de la Rosa gave us “Tears in Heaven.”
The speakers unwrapped the story of Eric’s life and friendships in a way that people who did not know him well left the room feeling as if they did. Fred Hodgins, who has been Eric’s best friend and business partner since 2009, made us cry. Eric’s urologist, Dr. Scott Donaldson, made us laugh uproariously. My daughter, MacKenzie Joy, made us do it all (and do it all at once) ’cause she’s the queen of simultaneous. Diane Tower-Jones was “my voice” for the service. She read a story I wrote about Eric’s journey, which helped everyone understand the last few years of his life. She was so good, it was like having Meryl Streep play me — live and in person. My nephew, Jon, continued his tradition of writing a poem for every family event, and this was no exception. He sent a poem about Eric on video.
Rev. Darlene held the entire event in prayer long before the actual day, and I could feel her presence throughout the service. Her words were just right and her presence calmed, soothed, and held us steady even when emotions were high.
Everything that wanted or needed to happen, did.
p.s. Sweetheart, I hope we did you proud. I know you were there… I miss you. I wish we could sit on the couch again and talk. I have questions…
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