Truth Time: I'm considered pretty odd by some people -- mostly by the members of my own family -- and not just for my death-positive attitude. I wear mismatched socks, go barefoot on the golf course, and have a lanyard of Froot Loops hanging from my car's rear view mirror as the consummate reminder to be a Froot Loop in a world of Cheerios. (Aside: Microsoft Word recognises Cheerios but not Froot. Huh.)
What, then, you might ask, have I chosen as my funeral songs? Firstly, let me say that I do not want a staid and somber funeral, but I would like a small service at Hillhurst United Church. "Whoever you are, wherever you're at, join us on the journey." I want them to send me off from this here journey, the first song being Always Look on the Bright Side of Life from Monty Python's Spamalot. I want clapping and singing and general merriment. That song has become my anthem -- one of them, anyway -- and I want to leave it as my legacy.
Since I was in grade eleven, I think, I have wanted The Alan Parsons Project's Old and Wise as a funeral song, my way of saying goodbye and letting my people know how much they meant to and impacted me. Check this out, if you’re unfamiliar with the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4HI1_LTWIk I would love to do exactly that, a photo montage of my life. Then, once everyone is all good and sobbing, I want to switch to Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun and I want people to dance and to sing as loudly as they are able.
There are a couple more I've chosen. The first is my alma mater's School Hymn, God Be in My Head. It has stuck with me all these years. Short and sweet, here are the lyrics: "God be in my head and in my understanding. God be in mine eyes and in my looking. God be in my mouth and in my speaking. God be in my heart and in my thinking. God be at mine end and at my departing." Now, in spite of the fact that I go to church, I'm not especially religious, but that's gold right there! And the last (as of my writing) is Paul Rumboldt's, How Well Did You Live?, the last line of which is, "How well did you live, how well did you love, and learn to let go?" So, yeah, those are my reminders to look for the joys in life, keep love in your heart, and live the Golden Rule.
Let's be frank; once you're dead there's really not much time left to express yourself. Most of us have never even heard of, let alone prepared, an ethical will, so our choice of funeral music can serve as a last glimpse into who you are, what you’ve learned in your life, and, ultimately, what’s important to you.
Have you thought about your own funeral songs? What would you like them to be?
Don't hesitate to call if you would like to learn more about writing an ethical will, 403-616-6108.