Funerals are a strange combination of a celebration of life and the grieving process of loosing a loved one. A piper serves to assist in both processes. I often gets compliments from people with tears in their eyes, thanking me profusely for providing such a warm tribute to someone’s life. Sometimes I wonder whether the tears are tears of joy or tears of sadness. Saturday was no different.
The funeral was for a piper in Tigard OR. Just off Hwy 99 is Young’s Funeral Home in Tigard OR. I arrived 25 minutes prior to the funeral to meet the family and the funeral director, orientate myself with the layout and confirm all the details. Because I have been a piper in Portland and have performed for over 100 funerals the passed three years (see my Oregon Piper Blog, I try to approach every funeral the same way; on time and prepared.
I processed in with Amazing Grace and continued playing it three times through. Once the family was seated, I cut my pipes. At the conclusion of the ceremony, I reappeared in the same place I bagpiped previously. This time I piped Scotland the Brave, processing the family out into the foyer.
Although I preside in Portland and call myself the Portland Piper, I travel quite frequently, from Mt. Hood to the Beach, from Seattle to Bend. Tigard OR Piper was no different. I love to perform and anytime I can assist with the grieving process, I feel I am doing my part to help the family during difficult times.