Wednesday, 21 November 2012

They can play 'Happy Days Are Here Again'

We have a friend who has her funeral organized to the last detail - and has had for years. She has written down exactly what she wants to happen and exactly what bits of music she wants to be sung/played when. For all I know, she has probably written out the menu for the post-funeral meal. Perhaps less extreme, at the moment there is a Co Op Funeral Service ad on the TV (am I the only one who thinks this isn't an ideal subject for TV advertising? - if you think differently, you can enjoy some of their funeral ads here) where someone tells us 'My song? It's got to be "I Did It My Way"', referring, of course, to what he wants played at his funeral. I listen to this kind of thing with an eyebrow dramatically raised. Frankly I don't get it.

At my funeral, if those present want to, they can sing Happy Days Are Here Again while hopping round on their left legs playing the ukelele banjo. Or sit in complete silence. Whatever works for them. Surely this is the point. I really won't care myself. Whether you are religious or not, we can surely agree on one thing. I won't be there. So what does it matter to me? It's the people who are left behind who will be struggling to cope, and it's their feelings that will be important.

As long as they are comfortable with whatever happens, as long as it helps them, it will be right thing. I love Tudor and Elizabethan church music. If I were going to a funeral, I would squirm in my seat if I had to listen to a boombox belting out Frank Sinatra - but some tudorbethan music would really help me. But for my own funeral I truly hope that, if there is any music, they use whatever works for them.

So do me a favour. If you are thinking of having your funeral soon and inviting me, forget 'My Way'. Make it something like this. I'd even sing along:

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