Because I could not stop for Death,He kindly stopped for me;The carriage held but just ourselvesAnd Immortality.--Emily Dickinson
Yesterday we buried Mummy. Or to be more precise, we held a memorial for her and then interred her ashes in my father's grave, as she always wanted. She was cradled in a box, an urn, which was made by her niece Margot, out of cured coconut wood from Indonesia. Fitting, I thought, as Mummy's name -- Keva -- was chosen for her by my grandmother, who had met the daughters of Governor Allardyce, who were named Viti and Keva, names the Governor had come across when he served in the far east.The service was bouyed up by music sung by the Nassau Renaissance Singers and the Highgrove Singers, both of whom are keeping the Bahamian tradition of classical choral music lovingly alive. They sang pieces by John Ruttter, music that we played for Mummy in the ICU when we visited her, and pieces set to music especially for her, and pieces we gathered up in her memory. They sang my father's other song -- not "When the Road Seems Rough", which we sang at his funeral 24 years ago and which has since slipped into the Bahamian vernacular to such an extent that my mother grew very tired of it, grew tired of the emotional upwelling that always accompanied it, but "Praise". Her students sang for her and played for her -- Sparkman Ferguson and JoAnn Callender and Cleophas Adderley. Many people paid verbal tribute to her. We sang her favourite hymn, the hymn sung at her wedding, "Immortal, Invisible", and a Good Friday hymn (Mummy loved the Holy Week services) and an Easter hymn. We sang our grief to the rafters, and afterward we went to her house and we ate and drank in her memory.I have no idea whether it was as she would have wanted it, but I think she would have been pleased nevertheless. There was more drama surrounding her death than she would have liked, and more pomp surrounding her memorial than she would have chosen, but her public service made her a public figure and both came with the territory.So here's to Keva. Here's to Keva. Here's to Keva Marie.