Many people fear death. When a baby, a person in their prime or a parent with young children die, people express sadness about the loss of those lives. But not all death is bad. Death is the inevitable end of everyone, and for those who are ailing, it is a sweet release.
Fr Emmanuel Pierre made these observations in his homily at Cecil Anthony Medina’s funeral at St Mary’s Church, St James on Wednesday.
Medina died on December 17 from prostate cancer. He was 75. A hairdresser by trade, he was also a well-respected performer, known for his gender-illusion acts. He was one of the early lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT+) activists in TT and was a mentor in that community.
Pierre said many people carry a fear of dying, but death is the only way people can access a true connection with God.
As someone ages, their body degrades, and they are in pain. The urge to soothe the suffering of loved ones is strong, especially while they are sick. However, Pierre said only God can truly soothe anyone’s pain.
There is an urge to feel not enough was done to take away the pain of a loved one. That is a false sense of grief. Only God, he said, could truly take away suffering.
“We need to learn to just be and not do.”
Medina’s niece Jeannette Mack believes he must be getting ready to put on a show in heaven. Mack’s eulogy was read by Lucille Nathu.
“Cecil Anthony Medina was a once-in-a-lifetime gift who gave of every aspect of himself for the benefit of others, wholly and freely. Uncle Anthony, like stars over the ocean, was a guide to so many who needed to find a path towards a more promising destination.”
He had an infectious love of life.
“His smile held the promise of a little bit of mischief, a lot of old talk and wise counsel…He did nothing halfway. He was 100 per cent of himself, 120 per cent of the time.”
Denyse Plummer sang Amazing Grace. Photographer Maria Nunes, Medina's landlady, and Pride TT founder and Medina's former partner Rudolph Hanamji were among the mourners.