Submitted by Steven Lourakis
Steeped in traditions, the Greek people place great emphasis on four key elements to their life: A deep commitment to family, a steadfast faith in their religion, a robust love of food, and last but not least their passion for music. Each element plays an integral part in their everyday life. Steven had the privilege of growing up with such a rich heritage that had been handed down generation to generation.
Aside from the support and encouragement his parents had always provided, Steven was blessed to have his grandmother near. He lovingly referred to her as Yia-Yia (Yah-Yah) which is the Greek word for grandmother. Many a night he would sit and play the guitar for her. She would quietly listen, tapping her foot to the melodic sounds as his hand strummed across the strings. As each song came to an end, with love shining in her eyes, she would proudly exclaim, “Bravo Stavros.” Yia-Yia always called him by his Greek name. Steven cherished the time he was able to spend with her.
When Yia-Yia passed away Steven’s heart was saddened. He would miss her terribly but at the same time he was relieved to know that she would no longer be suffering. On the same evening that she passed, he sat in the living room pondering her life and reflecting on all the love she had shown him and how important those memories were.
Suddenly Steven heard a soft yet very distinctive voice that he recognized immediately. It was Yia-Yia and to his amazement she was singing a song to him. In all the times he had played the guitar and sang for her she had never joined in, so he listened intently to every word.
“In death you will not find me for I’m in my Father’s house,
Please look past my body and see his light throughout,
I’m here with you in spirit, accept my gift of love,
Rejoice I am in heaven with our Father above.
Life is a journey filled with earthly tasks,
Remember when you need me you only have to ask.
I’m here with you in spirit and with our Father too,
Joyously in heaven eternally with you!”
Steven ran over and immediately flipped on his tape recorder and sang the song just as Yia-Yia had sung it to him. He then gave his mother a copy of the tape. In keeping with Greek tradition there is a visitation time, or gathering, prior to the funeral. They then have a dinner after the burial. His mother was so touched by the song that she played it for everyone in attendance. You could hear a pin drop as each person focused on the words and everyone agreed it was a meaningful and beautiful message. Their shared belief on what happens to our soul after this earthly departure was reinforced through the heartfelt message from a soul filled with peace and joy.
Steven had the presence of mind to have those words copy written and to this day shares his heavenly message with others during their time of loss so that they too will find comfort in what is to come. He respectfully thanks his Yia-Yia for sharing her song of love.