Celebrating Life: a wedding, a funeral and a baby

I am back stateside and it’s been a different kind of visit.  My “holiday” is never quite a vacation when I am home.  It’s usually full of running around to markets and doctors and whatnot.  But I’m fine with that. That’s what it means to be home for me.  Yet I always manage to get visits in and have some fun.

This time is a bit different.  My nephew married on Friday evening.  It was a BEA-U-TI-FUL  night!  The bride, of course, was simply stunning in her gown and her bright orange heels, her favorite color.  The setting was Historic Yellow Springs Inn.  I had never been there and was excited to go.

The Covered Porch

The Covered Porch

It’s a country place with a covered porch-like structure wrapping around the building.  I am sure Rich and Jacqueline did not consider me personally when planning their wedding – but it was exactly what I needed.  Good food.  Good drink.  Dancing.  And hanging out in the country!  Wishing them both the best of life!

The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple

Early the next morning was the funeral service of our young neighbor. She battled cancer bravely and passed peacefully with her family at her side.

The service was different for me, mostly in her native language, Tigrinya.  I reflected on Selam and her life during the ceremony.  The one thing that kept resurfacing is how she always wore a big smile.  She was one of the most positive and happy people I ever knew.

The prayers during the service reminded me of the charismatic prayer meetings I attended as a child.  The rising harmony sounded much like praying in tongues.

The women were wrapped in white, and wailed in unison, seemingly when appropriate.  This also felt like song to me, although obviously quite sorrowful.

I remember at one point thinking that I wish we all spoke our own languages, but had the ability to fully understand the languages of others. (I have never thought it a good idea that the world speak one language). Immediately following that thought, it occurred to me that I would have missed some of the most exciting experiences of life if I were able to understand all.  I love the learning of languages, the jokes family have played on me because I couldn’t understand, and honestly, I love when others laugh at my language mistakes.

Selam will be sorely missed, but she was such a bright light, that her smile will continue to lead us through life.

Last night, I was out sweeping our sidewalk, something I love to do when I come home.  Selam’s brother came walking up to the house and announced that his son was born.  Wow!  What a way to honor the family and the memory of Selam, with the birth of another child. Congratulations to to them!

When I started to think about this post, it was going to be about how Americans celebrate weddings compared to Turks and how Eritreans celebrate life compared to both Turks and Americans.  I apologize for not doing that, but there’s not much time while I am on “holiday”, as you can see.  Let it suffice to say, that Eritreans really know how to celebrate and honor each other.  Turks and Americans do too.

It’s all good!

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