By Laura Kraynick, Junior at St. Columba's
Two days ago, after just returning from work camp, I got a text from Easton that read, "Hey! I need you tomorrow for the funeral. They want us to do Oceans and a couple other songs." When I told him my concerns, he simply replied with, "I'm counting on you!" Now, keep in mind, I had just been at camp with my best friends for the past 5 days. My voice was almost completely gone, I was beyond exhausted, and I was not in the mood to intrude on a funeral for someone that I didn't even know. Long story short, I did NOT want to go. At all.
When I woke up yesterday, I was tired and bitter and my voice was gone. When I say gone, I mean that absolutely no sound came out when I tried to speak. I am not ashamed to say that I cried several times. I was positive that I was going to make a fool out of myself in front of hundreds of people in mourning. I was in my bed for hours, wondering why I had been thrown into this situation. I eventually slipped into a dress and got into the car with my mom to head over to St. Columba’s. I didn’t smile, I didn’t speak; I just sat in the car thinking about how awful this was going to be.
If you know me, you know that I don’t tend to cry in public. Even when I see other people cry, I hold my emotions in and I push through. However, this funeral was a different story. I don’t think I’ve ever felt my heart physically break until yesterday. The person that we were gathered at the church for was a beautiful little 2-year old girl named Melissa who had passed away from cancer. The service was beautiful, and I kept it together for the most part, until Melissa’s dad went to the altar to speak. He had been crying through almost the entire funeral, and I expected for him to be a mess during his eulogy. Surprisingly though, he didn’t shed a single tear. He went on and on about how Melissa had been full of happiness since the day she was born, and he shared several stories about her strength and perseverance during chemo. The realization of her age seemed to hit me like a ton of bricks. She was literally a baby. She had only been on the earth for two years, and she went through more than I can even imagine. The tears started flowing, and it only got worse when a slideshow began to play on a screen at the front of the room. She was a beautiful little girl, with a contagious laugh, and a lack of fear in her eyes. She was the bravest little human that I had ever seen, and she lost her life after only 2 years of living. When it sunk in, I lost all composure.
I had been so bitter about being asked to sing at this funeral, and now I felt like an awful person. This family had just lost their baby girl. They went through months and months of pain, lost hope, and heartbreak; and I didn’t want to get out of bed because I was a little tired. Singing for the Depa family yesterday made me a new person. I didn’t realize how much it meant to them that I was singing at their daughter’s funeral until I was looking into their eyes. It’s insane how the smallest act of kindness can affect someone. A lot of the time, I take my voice for granted. I can’t help but live in the mindset that I’m just a kid with a mediocre voice. However, days like yesterday make me realize that I can actually do something meaningful with this gift that God gave me. Melissa may not be with us anymore, but she changed my life. My view on life completely turned around yesterday. Never take the little things in life for granted, because they may mean a lot more than you can imagine.