Today was my uncle's memorial service at St. Malachy's Church, in the heart of the theater district. The service was a celebration of his life. So many people came out to support my aunt and my uncle's kids and to pay their respects.
Last year, my uncle was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. It was difficult to watch as he became sick, went through chemo and surgery and then to think he was getting better just to watch the end come so quickly in the last few weeks. I always knew that if I ever needed him, he would be there for me. The same was true for many people who knew him. He would drop everything he was doing at a moment's notice to come and help. He was my big, strong protector and handy man. I loved him and I can't even imagine what my aunt or his kids are going through. It is such a comfort to me that he is at peace and being reunited with his past loved ones and no longer in pain.
The church was beautiful; it was Roman Catholic and one of the most beautiful churches I have ever been in, and also the stage hand union was present.
S came to support me and pay her respects. I am so happy that she did because I must say I teared up more than once and it was good to know that she was there.
Many different casts from Broadway shows came to pay their respects; the Inspirational Voices, the woman who plays Rafikki in Lion King, the cast of Mary Poppins, and the cast of Sister Act all performed songs in honor my uncle Eddie. My aunt also performed a solo and it was the most beautiful and affectionate piece I ever heard - it truly came from her heart.
The service ended with a communal sing-along of Lean on Me and it was so hard to sing while holding back tears, but it was so moving to see all the stage hands that came to show their support for Uncle Eddie as well as hear the church filled with such beautiful music.
I will be praying for my aunt and the Ackerman children.