I hate funerals. No offense to the dearly departed. They are amazingly sad, and despite the closure they bring to the loved ones left behind, and that they can be a fantastic tribute to the person who has left this life, including gathering people from all aspects of their life in one place for maybe only the first or second time ever, I struggle every time I attend one, as they make me confront my own mortality.
Today was Stephen Namie's memorial service. There were a lot of people in attendance, probably more than at any funeral I've ever attended, including my wife's. Steve touched a lot of lives. That alone is a tribute to him and the type of person he was. He loved the Lord, and he loved the people in his life. He was an amazing talent, as a singer, musician, and actor. And he was greatly loved, by his family and his friends. I wish I had known him better than I did.
The service was beautiful, as most funerals tend to be. There was a huge choir singing many of the songs he himself sang at many services at Grace. In fact, I felt like I was seeing and hearing and all-star gathering of Grace singers. I didn't sing any of the songs, as I preferred to just listen to the beautiful sounds of the choir. There were many speakers. Aside from the wonderful tribute by Mark Norman, Grace's lead pastor and one of Steve's many close friends, there were tributes from his brothers and sisters, his father, and a friend. It was a nice service.
Tracy, Steve's wife, also spoke. In fact, she was charming and funny. I was amazed. When I think back on my wife, Teresa's, funeral, there was no way I could have stood up and said anything. I was just too emotional. Tracy also did something I wish I had been able to do: She brought up her daughter, Jordan, to the stage so that she could see all the people whose lives her father touched. I though that was so great. Melody, my daughter, was only 5 months old when Teresa died, so I didn't have that option. But it was pretty cool.
The service ended on a sad note, as reality came back and the reality of Steve's passing hit home. I kept thinking about the days ahead. Tracy is going to need so much support. It appears as if her family and her church family will be able to provide that support. Steve will be missed by so many, but especially for his family. Lord, please be with her and Steve's whole family, as well as his friends. Thank you, Lord!