Wednesday, April 27, 2011
We were able to make the tight connections and arrived in LosAngeles an hour and a half before Cheyenne's "Homegoing" celebration. It was beautiful. Traditional in many ways and extraordinary in so many others. The services were held at the only Black Lutheran church I've ever heard of (I'm thinking Garrison Keillor needs to know about this place). It's a church full of wonderful people who had supported the family throughout Cheyenne's illness. The youth choir sang and were beautiful. They even called for help on one song...invited adult choir members to join them...so Marvin and I did, along with about 25 others. It felt so good to sing in a choir again. "How Excellent" was the perfect choice and we belted our tenor part with all the fervor in us. The church was packed and well-wishers were standing outside. Family wore purple, Cheyenne's favorite color. Rev. Lobdell gave a truthful and powerful eulogy. He told about Cheyenne's demand that her Daddy, and all those around her, "pray out loud" so she could hear their prayers. The procession to the cemetery was over 100 cars. Friends and family held a lovely service at the grave site and stayed until the casket was lowered into the ground, the hole filled and sod covered. Then a repast at the Jamaican club where Charlie and his musician friends perform. There was food and music and dancing and talking and a celebration of the life of Cheyenne. All through the day Cheyenne's powerful directing personality was present. "Cheyenne would have wanted it this way" was declared repeatedly. Now Tenika, Charlie, Altha, Ben, Chelsea, Caemora, Chad and the rest of the family, settle in to life without Cheyenne. We know her pain is gone and she is safe in the arms of Jesus. Tears will still be shed.