We Will Always Love You

by Kathy on February 18, 2012 · 2 comments

in Bereavement, Faith, Family, Friends, Inspiration, Loss, Love, Memories, Song Lyrics

It was a beautiful and sunny day here in Chicago and if it weren’t for my fighting a bad cold, I likely would not have spent most of it resting on the couch in front of our TV. I had intended to record Whitney Houston’s funeral service on DVR, but ended up watching about half of the close to four hour event live on CNN.

As I have shared here before, there is something about the way our society says goodbye to loved ones (whether or not they were in the public eye) that has always intrigued and often moved me. In may be in my genes being the granddaughter of a funeral director and the daughter of a man who spent some of his childhood living on the second floor of a funeral home.

There were many parts of Whitney’s funeral service today that moved me. As a life long practicing Catholic, who enjoys but rarely gets to participate in very charismatic masses, I also found it interesting to see what a somewhat typical African American Baptist memorial service was like.

I get that Whitney Houston was not a typical African American woman because of her fame, however I respect that her family and close friends tried to find balance with her memorial between what their culture and faith is used to and allowing Whitney’s many fans and other genuinely curious people to witness/get a taste of how they do things when a loved one dies.

It struck me that it seemed just about anyone who wanted to speak or pay tribute to Whitney in song from Stevie Wonder to Alicia Keys, Clive Davis, Tyler Perry and even Kevin Costner were given the opportunity and time to do so, hence the long length of the event. I found comfort, inspiration and peace in listening to their words and music today.

Some of the commentators on CNN that I watched after the service was over talked about how it is likely and possible that viewers of Whitney’s funeral service today may have experienced a spiritual awakening that could have sparked or reignited their faith. Though it was very long, something I am not used to when it comes to funeral services, Marvin Winans’s eulogy covered a lot more than his love for and personal relationship with Whitney and her family. I can see how this preacher’s words, along with so many others who loved and cared for Whitney, could have moved others to find or return to God.

For me the most powerful part of Whitney’s funeral was as the service was ending. The exit song they chose was a recording of Whitney herself singing “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton. It was played as the pallbearers carried her casket out on their shoulders and her loved ones followed processing out of the church Whitney attended during her childhood where the memorial was held. That version of “I Will Always Love You” has always been my favorite of Whitney’s ballads and hearing the beginning, which she recorded a capella, gave me chills and brought me to tears.

I will leave you with the lyrics and music video from the movie The Bodygaurd, both of which I find extremely moving and dedicate them to Whitney Houston, a beautiful woman and singer whose voice holds a special place in my heart and childhood memories. I also dedicate this song to all the family members and friends that I have lost and any of your loved ones that have died whom you may call to mind as you read this.

We will always love them and they will be in our hearts forever.  

I Will Always Love You

If I
Should stay
I would only be in your way
So I’ll go
But I know
I’ll think of you every step of
the way

And I…
Will always
Love you, oohh
Will always
Love you
My darling you

That is all I’m taking with me
So good-bye
Please don’t cry
We both know I’m not what you
You need

And I…
Will always love you
Will always love you
You, ooh

[Instrumental/Sax solo]

I hope
life treats you kind
And I hope
you have all you’ve dreamed of
And I wish you joy
and happiness
But above all this
I wish you love

And I…
Will always love you
Will always love you

I, I will always love
Darling I love you
I’ll always
I’ll always

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristin February 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm

What a beautiful post.


2 loribeth February 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I also watched parts of the funeral. It was quite a different service from what I’m used to, but I thought the eulogies & (especially) the music were just amazing. I am glad the family chose to have it in the church Whitney attended growing up, and I hope the day gave them some comfort. Great post (as always), Kathy. : )


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