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Family, friends and fans gathered in Nashville today (March 6) to remember the talent and tragic life of singer Mindy McCready, who passed away Feb. 17 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Reverend Edward F. Steiner urged congregants at Cathedral of the Incarnation not to focus on the troubles Mindy endured, but the love she created while she was alive. "It's not her troubles that define her. What defines her is in this church," he said. "She has been loved in life."
Mindy's publicist Kat Atwood thought of Mindy as a friend and confidant, and often listened to her struggles. "Mindy cried to be heard, but her cries were silenced by non-believers," she said tearfully. "So music became her voice."
Cousins Tristan White and Ashley Webb shared family memories of Mindy growing up, noting that she was a star from the beginning. "She was the life of the party," recalled Ashley. "She stole the show." Ashley also read a letter from Mindy's father, Tim, who was not present. "'How do you accept the death of your child?'" she began. "'It's not supposed to be this way.'" Tristan hoped Mindy's passing would help shed some light on depression. "Mindy, we will use your life to bring the healing you always wanted to other people," she said.
Producer Jimmy Nichols quoted Mindy's song "Ten Thousand Angels," expounding on her natural vocal talents and the troubles that never seemed to leave her side. "Mindy needed to control everything around her; she needed to be strong," he said. "But who was strong for her?" He urged members of the music community to judge less and support more.
Singer Lorrie Morgan was on the same label with Mindy during her peak and considered her a little sister, but they both felt overwhelmed with the music business. "We had so much in common and I wanted to take care of her, but that would have been like the blind leading the blind," noted Lorrie with sadness. "Mindy was a bright spot in our lives, but nothing that bright burns forever."
Lorrie also sang a powerful "Ave Maria," Bryan White performed "What I Already Know" and Bekka Bramlett delivered a chill-bump-inducing a cappella rendition of "How Great Thou Art."
Mindy's sons, Zander and Zayne, were not present for the gathering, but the family is currently organizing a collection for their futures.