Wednesday 20 November 2019

Death at one's elbow

I was going to write about the funeral I went to earlier this week; about what it is to have a "good" death, and the not so good; about seeing distant relatives for the first time in a very long time; about fragility and mortality; about how many people might be at my funeral if I live as long as the deceased did (spoiler alert: not very many); and mainly about how I have never really faced death, not really. I am lucky, I know that - I'm in my (very) late forties and have got this far without anyone very close to me dying. The nearest I have been to grief is when my dog died - I was 15, and had a day off school. I have grieved for a lost friendship, but that's a very different thing (from seeing them every day to them being 3,000 miles away, since you ask). Bottom line - I will face it at some point, inevitably, and I don't think I will handle it very well.

I was also going to write about eulogies, who I'd want to read mine, and maybe whether I'd write my own, in advance.

And finally, because this blog itself would probably die without embedded music videos, I was going to write about what music I might want played at my funeral. I used to joke with The Man Of Cheese that I'd like The Last of the Famous International Playboys - how we chuckled. But really, what might I have? Maybe this...

Maybe this, or the more traditional version of it, as a parting message?

Or maybe this, even if it is a funeral cliché...

If there was anyone in attendance, I could bring them down with this:

Although if I chose any Bowie, it would probably be this, for the lyrical conceits of a hand reaching down for me, and the nightmares coming today...

So many songs, so many choices. Hopefully I've got a while yet to work it out. Or I could just say sod it, and plump for this:

If it's not too maudlin, got any thoughts on your funeral tunes?


  1. It's an interesting question and one which will probably get different answers over the years - now there's a reason to keep our loved ones updated regularly or they'll be playing all sorts ;-) Some great choices here though.
    (I wrote about the subject here too, if you're interested )

    I do think that death is something we should all talk about a bit more to be honest, and all the points you express at the start of your post are ones I'd be interested in reading about, (does that make me weird?!) I lost my mum when I was 35 and although it's not that young, it made me feel so young, so inexperienced, it seemed so huge that I felt somewhat bludgeoned by its effects. When I look back now I realise how much more familiar and therefore 'accustomed' to grief and loss I have become in all the years since, sadly for obvious reasons. That sounds a bit clumsy but I just mean that I at least *understand* how awful it feels to know you'll never see someone you love again, and also that it really does become easier to bear over time.

    1. Great post (as ever) on this your at your place, C. I especially like one of Mr SDS's choices.

      It doesn't make you weird, and maybe I'll write more about some of these themes some time, maybe when I feel a bit brighter. I can't conceive of losing my mum at any age, let alone at 35. Bludgeoned sounds like it might be an apt description.

  2. The Man Of Cheese20 November 2019 at 23:00

    Firstly,I shall be there,assuming I haven't checked out first. I shall have to insist on a wake in an establishment serving a fine real ale with which to toast you.
    I too haven't experienced close loss but it is inevitable and frankly scares me.
    As for the funeral song I think I might plump for classic REM with Its The End Of The World As We Know It..... for a touch of irony.

    1. And likewise, mate, I'll be at yours, unless I've shuffled off first. Maybe we should shuffle off simultaneously, perhaps as a couple of old choughs in a dingy pub, pints in aged hands...

      Am liking the ironic choice of tune though, mate. Good call.

  3. Three definites...




    The most upbeat song about death I've ever heard.


    Not a dry eye in the house.

    I used to think There Is A Light That Never Goes Out would feature too, but I'm rapidly going off that idea.

  4. Bit late to this one, but seeing The Irishman reminded me of this little slice of musical perfection:

    1. Mark's excellent link, clickable:

      Brilliant choice, would make good "filing out" music.