Nashville memorial honors country singer Mindy McCready

Nashville memorial honors country singer Mindy McCready (Image 1)

Nashville's music community gathered Wednesday afternoon to remember Mindy McCready.

The intimate memorial service was held at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in downtown Nashville.

“We all know how Mindy's life ended, but we're not here to ponder that,” said Father Edward Steiner. “We're here to ponder not how she died, but how she lived. And there is so much good in her life.”

The service did not include a traditional mass. Instead, family and friends offered remembrances of the 37-year-old mother of two.

Born Melinda Gail McCready, but known to fans as Mindy, she moved to Nashville when she was 18.

“She possessed the look of 'old Hollywood' and extraordinary, award-winning talent,” said Kat Atwood, McCready's publicist.

The bright lights of Music City shined on McCready in the late 90's, but her personal life was much darker. She struggled with an abusive relationship, substance abuse and custody battles for years.

“Mindy saw many of her dreams comes true with number one records and fame,” said country music artist and friend Lorrie Morgan. “But, we all know fame and fortune do not ensure happiness.”

In recent years, she seemed to find peace with her boyfriend, David Wilson. The couple lived in Arkansas with their son, Zayne, and Zander, McCready's son from a previous relationship.

In January, Wilson was found shot to death on the couple's porch from an apparent suicide.

Shortly after, McCready's children were put into foster care and McCready was ordered to go to substance abuse rehabilitation. Eighteen days into her treatment, she left the facility.

One day later, the former country star died February 17 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at her home in Arkansas.

McCready's mother attended the service in Nashville, but did not speak.

McCready's father did not attend, but sent a letter, read by McCready's cousin Ashley Webb.

The letter read in part:

My daughter Mindy is gone, and our hearts are broken.

Mindy leaves behind a tabloid of endless stories; but this I know, she and David Wilson were deeply in love. Their deaths are a horrific tragedy. No one wants their child's life to end this way. Her children, my grandchildren, Zander and Zayne, were her intense love. Her talent was God-given, and her amazing voice brought enjoyment to many. And her heart was passionate, searching for love and acceptance.

Others also spoke of McCready's beauty, talent, and love for others.

“I think Mindy's legacy should be that we all should strive to love each other in spite of our flaws,” said Jimmy Nichols, McCready's former record producer.

“Mindy was a bright spot in our lives. But nothing that bright burns forever, not here, not on earth,” said Morgan.

“Mindy McCready, we will truly miss the sound of your voice and I will miss my friend,” said Atwood.

Morgan, Bryan White, and Bekka Bramlett were among those to perform at McCready's memorial.

McCready's own recordings were also played, including “I'll See You Yesterday.” Her voice rang through the Cathedral with the chorus, “I was your favorite song, but now I'm overplayed. And if tomorrow's gonna be the same, I'll see you yesterday.”

Wednesday's service comes more than a week after 200 mourners gathered for a private funeral and burial in McCready's hometown of Fort Myers, Florida, on February 26.

McCready leaves behind her two children, Zander, 6, and Zayne, 11 months. They remain in foster care. A fund is being set up for the boys by McCready's publicist Music City Media.

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