If there is one singer who has seamlessly intertwined the New Age sound with today’s contemporary world, it’s Enya. The Irish vocal goddess is known for her signature Celtic voice, often being akin to a one-woman Gregorian choir.
Born Enya Brennan, the now-50 year old singer has touched countless lives with her melodic hymns and soul-stirring voice. Often, her songs resound in the most tranquil places, where one can simply close the eyes and be whisked away by her ethereal overtones.
In a celebration of life, love and death, Enya’s majestic songs have found a special place among funerals the world over: Only Time, If I Could Be Where You Are, On My Way Home; and then there’s May it Be.
Many would recall this song as part of the blockbuster film, Lord of the Rings. As the movie is rooted in hope, sacrifice, mercy and fellowship, the hymn echoes that of a funeral theme. In the feat for solace, peace and closure, May It Be is a song that carries one home.
May it be an evening star / Shines down upon you / May it be when darkness falls / Your heart will be true
Death is one, if not the most uncertain aspect of life among the living. It is shrouded in mystery that when a beloved passes on, one can’t help but feel helpless and hopeful at the same time.
These lines from May It Be perfectly depicts this ailing sense of hope and helplessness; that we, who were left by our departed loved ones, can’t help but wish that they will be guided to the right place at the end of their journey. Just as a star has guided numerous sailors, nomads and even the three kings, we all pray that our departed makes it home — wherever paradise that may be.
You walk a lonely road / Oh! How far you are from home
We, the living, all fear the unknown. When the time comes a loved one passes on, we can’t help but think s/he has drifted away and is on a journey alone. After all, no one knows what life after death holds.
These two lines emanate a certain despair and longing we feel towards our departed. We wish they would have never left us all too soon.
Mornie utulie (Darkness has come)/ Believe and you will find your way / Mornie alantie (Darkness has fallen) / A promise lives within you now
Here, the song shifts from doubt to faith, like the living holding on to the belief that the departed is headed to a much better place. As darkness comes and falls, those who have passed on are bound to see the light.
These stirring lines leave a strong sense of anticipation and optimism. Now, that person is free from the harsh and unrelenting pain of this world and they are now in peace.
May it be the shadow’s call / Will fly away / May it be you journey on / To light the day / When the night is overcome / You may rise to find the sun
As our departed journeys on, we are overcome with grief, relief and acceptance all at the same time. We are mourning the loss. However, we are also celebrating the life our late loved one has lived and the life after death s/he is bound for.
Death is not easy to let go of, especially when everything happened all too suddenly. Yet, here lies a promising hymn that soothes the soul and cradles the restless heart and mind to sleep.
Perhaps the most powerful line from May It Be is “A promise lives within you now”. It can be interpreted in a million and one ways. In a tragic loss of a loved one, we hold on to a promise that s/he is now resting at peace; that we too, are promised of a better life in paradise someday.
Losing someone is never easy. We, who were left behind, are overwhelmed with all these thoughts and feelings that leave us heartbroken. At times, we are unable to function the way we did before this tragedy struck us.
It will repeatedly hurt and haunt us but Enya reminds serenely reminds us that a promise lives within you now.