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. :)