The parents of Asa Hill, a 7-year-old Buffalo, N.Y., boy who died following an auto accident on the Niagara Thruway last week, honored their son’s dying wish at his funeral Monday: They turned his burial ceremony into a wedding ceremony.
The scores of people who showed up to pay their last respects said they were pleasantly surprised to see that Amilcar Hill and Rahwa Ghirmatzion chose to wed at that particular time and place. The Rev. Joel Miller of The Unitarian Universalist Church of Elmwood told reporters that he was unsure at first when the idea of a wedding was proposed by the couple and their family.
"I asked twice, 'We're doing a wedding?' This was new for me. I never did a funeral service and a wedding ceremony at the same time, and normally wouldn't, but they have known each other since they were teens," Miller said. "And they had been providing for Asa, and they made a home together for all of Asa's life. ... It was clear they were following through on something they had been talking about for some time."
Hill and Ghirmatzion have been best friends since they were 15 and have been together for almost half of their lives. After Asa was born, marriage had always been something that they considered but, according to Hill, both felt that a wedding was "superficial and not necessary." Asa, however, was insistent that they make their union official.
"Asa really wanted us to do it, and every time he would ask us we would say, 'Yes, we'll get married,'" said Hill.