Marie’s Funeral (Part 2)

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by Anna Huckabee Tull

Each month, for the first twelve months after Marie Pechet’s passing, I will carry her Blog forward, sharing about Marie in ways that I hope you will find meaningful, connective, and honoring of our shared friend.

Here we are, two months after Marie’s passing, and I find myself looking out at the snow outside my window this evening and remembering what turned out to be my favorite part of her memorial service this past December: the way it ended. So I want to tell you about that.

I shared last month that eight years ago, when she first got her diagnosis, Marie had worked with me to write two songs. The first was From the Inside. It came out as a deep and soulful journey of a song, tracking Marie’s shift from feeling “all alone” to feeling “all one” as she grappled with her diagnosis and, on an even deeper level, her fundamental wellness.

But there was also a second song. It didn’t “show up from out of nowhere” like From the Inside did. It was rather specifically conjured and requested by Marie. “I want something that sounds like me, feels like me, but helps me feel more alive right now,” she had said.

The song The Days of Your Opening practically wrote itself. I came flying over to Marie’s house when it was “hot off the press” to play it for her on my guitar. Her face lit up. She didn’t want to change a word of it. Neither did I.

Marie shared with me that while she reserved listening to From the Inside for sacred, special moments, she played her recording of The Days of Your Opening in her car all the time. I laughed and confessed I was driving around doing the same thing–top volume, singing happily along.

That song took on a life of its own, as did so many things Marie had her hand in. I performed it often in concert, invited Marie to attend whenever I did, and whenever she was healthy enough, there she was, sitting in the front row of the audience, beaming up at me. In the early days, I avoided looking at her when I performed it, afraid I might burst into tears if I did. But in the later years, I found my footing and made my peace with the fact that Marie’s time here was temporary. The last time I performed it in concert with her in the audience, I looked her right in the eye and sang from deep within my heart. Neither of us cried. We just enjoyed how good it felt, I think, to be able to celebrate and resonate with the words of her song.

The very last time I ever played it for Marie, though, was on the last day I ever saw her–the last day she was up and about. I had performed it many times now from a centered place, so I was surprised to find, as I played it one last time in her presence, that this time I was so completely overcome with emotion that I could only whisperingly choke out the final words while tears streamed down my face. I would never play this song for her again, and I knew it.

And yet, a few short weeks later, there I was, in front of hundreds of you, talking into the microphone and closing out the event of her memorial service by saying, “This is the song Marie created that she wants to leave you with. These are her final words, to you.”

Then I took a deep breath, and sang.

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The Days of Your Opening
Marie Pechet and Anna Huckabee Tull

These are the days of your opening
These are the days of your opening
Farther and wilder and deeper and wider
And over and over and over and over ‘cause

These are the days of your opening
These are the days of your opening
Farther and wilder and deeper and wider
Past all of the aching parts far down inside you and

Widen who you are to encompass all the pain
Widen who you are to hold that little girl again
Widen past the borders to the brilliance of the sky
Widen to the window and then stand up
And fly

These are the days of your opening
These are the days of your opening
Farther and wilder and deeper and wider
And opening sweeter and opening brighter and

These are the days of your opening
These are the days of your opening
Burn it and clean it and break it and feel it
And watch yourself falling and feeling and meaning it

Widen who you are to see the love that surrounds you
Widen who you are until the love in you astounds you
Open to the sweetness of the feeling all around you
Drop into the depth of it; wide open
And then fly
Speak from where you are
And you can fly

This is extremely unconventional, on many levels. Singing a song written by the recently departed, chosen by her to be shared in such a way, at funeral, is rare indeed. But the fact that it was used as a recessional piece, and that it was such an upbeat song was…well…how to say this? It just seemed to be so, so…Marie. There was no way to exit that room without feeling a little lighter, it seemed to me. This was her wish, I think, for all of us, all along: that we embrace the opportunities calling to us, all around us, to feel lighter.

I loved the feeling of standing up there at the front of the church, belting my heart out, feeling not my sadness but my strength, and my love for Marie, watching people filing out of the church, seeing that somehow Marie had done it: she had brought the entire event to a close with an upswing.

I am so grateful to Marie for all that she brought to the world. Kindness. Attunement. Connection. A clear, resonant, far-reaching voice. But most of all, on this snow-filled night, I am thinking of the light. The light that she brought, and gave of freely, from the first moment I met her to the very, very end. Shine on, Marie. You are missed.

~Anna Huckabee Tull

* * * * *

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P.S. Just a few days ago I released a new collection of songs. The album, also entitled The Days of Your Opening, is dedicated to our shared friend Marie, and includes both of her songs. Those who are interested can find it at cdbaby.com/cd/annahuckabeetull.

19 thoughts on “Marie’s Funeral (Part 2)

  1. What a bright spirit she was. So glad to have crossed paths with her. Prayers for her sons, husband and other loved ones.

  2. Beautiful. Thanks Anna.

    One of the things I used to do with Marie was to go to Kripalu. We would go every year or two with six friends for almost 20 years. It was a great way of staying in each other’s lives. I just booked the group for a weekend in October at Kripalu in memory of Marie. We will miss her, but for us, it’s the best way to remember her.

  3. Marie shared so many gifts with us and this song is among them. It is her parting gift to us to help lift our spirits. She always thought of others. Thank you, Anna.

  4. Dear Anne

    thank you so much for this beautiful post. It is so fitting that on this snowy day , we remember all that Marie gave us and all that nature bring us . I am beyond grateful for this new memory and for all you and Marie did for each other and all of us. She would so appreciate the snow bounty of today and natures grace and beauty. The song is so Marie and you did an amazing job at her service. It was so fitting to end with it on a happy note. She always filled us up with light and wisdom and saw the good in everything .

    Look forward to staying connected!

    Stephanie Coughlan

    • I think that’s just what Marie wanted!!! In case you are interested, I just put out an album dedicated to Marie – it features this song and includes another one she wrote for her funeral as well – more info at the bottom of this month’s post. In any event, thanks so much for writing in! Marie was such bright light and I continue to be amazed at how many people she touched, in a deep way!

  5. My god. I just listened to this twice and looked outside at the snow ~ and cried. Cried because this song is so intensely beautiful and so joyous. It’s wonderful t to feel the essence of a brave wonderful spirit. This song holds so much . Thank you. ❤❤❤

    • So glad this touched you as it did. I think that was her hope! If you have not heard it you might like the song from last month’s blog as well, though it is very different! (Also you might be interested to get the album that I just put both of Marie’s songs on – at the bottom of the blog page. The album is dedicated to her!
      Thanks for writing in and tracking along! It means a lot.

  6. Hello Anna. Thank you so much for honoring Marie, her life, her amazing strength, beauty and spirit . . . for being her friend and her messenger to all of us. I do not share the eloquence in writing, or the ability to paint a picture in words, or emotion . . or song . . . like my sister could. I can tell you this however, she was not nearly as eloquent as a teenager when I would impose my role as the intrusive little brother! HAHAHA. But she was always generous and full of life, curiosity and an energy which would just draw others her way. I never contributed to her blog; merely reading her inspirational stories and absorbing all the warmth from everyone out there. But today, I just felt a odd compulsion to join the group, if only to say thank you. Seems so insignificant for all that you have been to her, yet nothing fits the moment better. Thank you . . . . all.

    Tony

    • Tony–it’s so wonderful to have you join the conversation!!! I love that you have spoken up. I also fondly remember meeting you at the memorial service. I invite you to continue sharing with this community one more Marie memory each month, if you want to. You have such a unique early perspective!

  7. Thank you for the blessing of this beautiful song. I’ve been putting off listening. I wanted to be able to give it my full attention and open my heart to it. It’s lovely and exactly right for where I am at this moment. So grateful for how Marie touched our lives and how you honored her life. God bless.

  8. Judy, thank you so much for writing. I know just what you mean about waiting and finding the right moment to really be able to hear a song as meaningful and personal as this one. I am so glad it touched you. I wanted to encourage you to explore the album I just put out, as it is dedicated to Marie. It contains both of her songs and several others that might really speak to you if this one did – most of them are quite uplifting, and those that aren’t are meant to be meditative. It is here, in case you are inserted. https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/annahuckabeetull In any event, thank you so ,such for reading along and writing in. – Anna

  9. Pingback: My final hours with Marie | Adventures in Spiritual Living

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