Shop Girl: The Musical*

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This may sound a bit morbid, but I’ve been thinking a lot about funerals lately.

A member of my extended family passed away last week and I’ll admit, it has dwelt on my thoughts quite a bit. I suppose I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve had to attend only a few funerals in my lifetime. As the person who passed away last week had been very close with my family and actually married the Hubster and I five years ago, I really felt like we needed to be there. So, the Hubster and I braved traffic across the city to attend his memorial service.

It was a beautiful, albeit long, service. It opened with a celebration of his life, and I learned things I had never known (or ever expected to learn) about him. The speaker had us all laughing in stitches as she recounted adventures of his youth and I thought, “Now this is how a funeral should be.” She was followed by another close friend who told a story of a week-long kayaking adventure that was so unbelievable it too had the whole room laughing.

Now that kind of laughter may seem a little inappropriate to some, but instead of focusing the sadness of his death, it was a celebration of his life. And it felt good to laugh and remember the vibrant, energetic man that he was.

…then it became sad. The whole service lasted nearly two hours and by the end I was emotionally exhausted. It was a lot of listening once the laughter and stories stopped.

As I quietly sat I couldn’t help but think, “What if this was me?”

I know I wrote about this a long, long time ago, but it all came rushing back on Friday and I made a decision. There will be absolutely no crying at my funeral. Want to know why?

I want my funeral to be a musical.

Before you throw things at me and tell me I’m completely irreverent, hear me out.

I love music. I don’t just like it, I love it. I love it to the point that I often dream about what my life would be like if I lived in a musical (bows head in shame). I could totally be down with spontaneously breaking into song and dance about doing the dishes or singing while I dreamily stare out the window. Music fills my whole day. I listen to it when I wake up, when I do chores, when I’m at the gym, while I write my blog–basically if I am home, there is music coming from somewhere.

See? Music = love.

One of the most beautiful moments at the service we attended was a song performed by a very talented soloist. It was one of those “ah!” moments where you realize that you’ve been holding your breath throughout almost the entire song because it was that good and then all your breath comes out in a whoooooosh when it’s all over. The song itself is beautiful and haunting, and I’ve included a version by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir if you’d like to hear it. I think it’s one of my new favourites.

After she was finished singing I couldn’t help but wish that there had been more music throughout the service, and thus the idea of “Shop Girl: The Musical” was born. While the music selected was appropriate and beautiful, it was also sad. I made it through the entire service without crying until the third verse of the closing hymn. As I began singing I couldn’t help but reflect how we had sung the same song at my grandfather’s funeral nearly eight years ago and I was absolutely overcome with emotion.The lyrics to the verse are as follows:

When such a friend from us departs,
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory,
Bringing us nearer, Lord, to thee.

…and I bawled. We’re talking chest-heaving, unattractive, full water works crying. For one brief second it felt like losing my own grandfather all over again and without a word my mother gripped my hand, nodded, and I knew she was thinking the same things I was.

And I decided then and there– there will be no crying at my funeral.

I want the last moments my family and friends spend with “me” to be full of life and laughter. I hope that my siblings get up and tell all those stories that sometimes mortify me  / having us laughing so hard we can’t breathe. I hope the Hubster get us and tells stories about our adventures as the Hubster & Wifester (as I’ve decided that I’m going first. ha). I hope the focus is not on my death, but rather on the life that I lived.

…and I hope it’s all done in song, because really, music is… me. :)

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5 Comments

  • Faith

    I've felt the same at times.. but know this: When you die, people will cry. They will need to grieve and mourn your loss, as they will miss you very much. Funerals are a great way for your friends and family to do the necessary mourning, and get comfort from each other in the process. So while it would be nice to hope that everyone could do nothing but laugh and smile at your memory, there is sadness in grief, and whether or not it happens all together at your funeral, or all alone in their own homes, people will cry.

  • Shop Girl*

    *sigh* I know, and I realize this… it just makes me so sad to think that I could be the source of tears for someone someday. I just hope that my funeral won't focus on that grief–I hope it some how alleviates it in some way, you know?

    It probably just sounds naive or like wishful thinking, but I just hate when people are sad.

  • Shop Girl*

    Also, didn't mean to offend and I hope I didn't. The whole bit just isn't.. me. And while I realize that funerals are really for the people you leave behind and this whole idea may seem selfish, I can't bear the thought of an a service that doesn't lift spirits as much as possible… hence the silly musical idea. :)

  • Cheeseboy

    (Not sure if I can be referred to as a “lovely”. In fact, I feel very odd commenting as a man. Hope I don't lose my man card over this)

    I've always said that any funeral over an hour is a waste. If a funeral goes over an hour – I leave. Unless it's mine of course, and then I am kinda obligated to stay.

    Funny site, btw. I am glad I stumbled upon it.

  • Faith

    well I certainly wasn't offended, and I don't think the idea is offensive in any way. Like I said, I've thought of this myself more than a few times, and I think there are even businesses out there who throw funeral parties, meant to be like wedding receptions with dancing and music and even drinking, but they're funerals. It certainly would be fun to attend one of those if I didn't know the person who had passed very well, but I had to think about it from the perspective of, what if it was my husband who had died? Could I really imagine not crying? And if the whole event was meant to be happy and lighthearted, what would I do with the grief that would still be there after it was over?

    I think maybe in that case it would depend on a lot of elements. How does your family typically deal with death? Were you old when you died, or were you young and was it shocking and unexpected? Is your family close and can help themselves deal well after the funeral is over, or is this their one time to get together and support each other?

    All of these are hypotheticals of course, but I think you get the idea. In your case, a musical might just be what your family needs, especially if you've lived a long and happy life!

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