Cindy Lou Harrington (1953-2021)

Friends, I am sad to have learned of the passing of our dear friend Cindy Lou Harrington. If you have read Eternal Heart you met Cindy Lou on page 59. She was my daughter Rhiannon’s teacher for many years, but in addition to her work as a special educator she also had a career as a singer-songwriter; she released several albums and was a regular in the Atlanta country music scene for many years. Several of her songs were written out of her experience working with kids with special needs, including “Let Me Win” which became a theme song for the Georgia Special Olympics, and “Language of the Heart,” the title song of one of her albums, which is the song I mention in my book.

Many of Cindy Lou’s songs were deeply spiritual, and she often sang at Unity Churches in Atlanta and beyond (indeed, Cindy Lou helped to arrange for me to speak at Unity North Atlanta a few years back, with her providing the music at that service of course).

Rhiannon and Cindy Lou at a banquet where she sang — and Rhiannon joined her on stage to sing with her.

Cindy Lou and Rhiannon were dear friends, and Rhiannon sang on stage with Cindy Lou on more than one occasion. Watch this video to get a glimpse of Rhiannon and Cindy Lou in action.

 

I especially love this picture from the fall of 2013. Cindy Lou looks pretty saucy in this pose, jauntily balancing herself on her high heel as she leans into Rhiannon’s chair!

Cindy Lou and Rhiannon, October 2013

Rhiannon lived for 29 years with polycystic kidney disease, which meant she had many hospital stays over the years; sometimes when Rhiannon was in the hospital, Cindy Lou would show up with her guitar and the two of them would get to singing. But after Rhiannon went into hospice in early 2014, Cindy Lou stopped by our house one day to give Rhiannon a special “hugs and kisses” necklace; here’s a video of that sweet moment.

@carlmccolman

Remembering our dear friend Cindy Lou, who passed away today. She was a special friend of Rhiannon—here’s a sweet moment from 2014.

♬ original sound – carlmccolman

 

When Rhiannon died in 2014, Cindy Lou sang at both her wake and her funeral. Her rousing rendition of “I’ll Fly Away” got everyone clapping at Rhiannon’s celebration.

Cindy Lou had been battling an illness for the past several years, and in September she entered hospice. When my wife Fran reached out to her daughter Brittany to express our love and prayers for both Cindy Lou and her family, Brittany replied that her mother had just that day spoken of seeing Rhiannon when waking up from a nap. Fran and I love to think that Rhiannon was watching over one of her favorite teachers during her final days on earth, and that today Rhiannon was there to greet Cindy Lou as she made her transition into the mystery of eternity. They are singing and dancing together, I have no doubt.

Rest in peace, Cindy Lou. Give Rhiannon our love!

Fran took this photo of Cindy Lou with her daughters Brittany and Taylor. (Photo by Fran McColman)
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