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Songs for my funeral?

(26 Posts)
Kia Thu 07-Jun-01 21:21:22

This is not meant to be morbid or anything, just something which has occurred to me since I went to a funeral this week and they had a mix of ancient and modern song-wise and to be honest I'm not sure that it worked that well. Quite apart from the lurve songs in the crem when I had to mentally do the lalalalaIcanthearyou in my mind to stop blubbing, I wondered what ideas you might have on the subject? As part of my will I've decided to do a letter to my tribe about love and stuff, but also the solicitor advised me to have it kept separate from the will, because the will is not usually read till after the funeral and it's a bit late then to find out that eveyone was to wear green and you wanted Trex to give you a big send off at a humanist ceremony for example! I had thought about something calm from enya and barry white for the big finale exit stage left etc, but after this week's experience I'm not so sure!

Emmam Fri 08-Jun-01 07:45:26

I like the idea of poems, I saw a nice one recently by Christina Rossetti, but I can't remember what it was called now, but something about not forgetting me when I am gone.

Putting something in your will, or letter of intent that states you want a certain song is OK if its a classic, but if its a more modern song, you may feel you want to update it regularly. Going off to Barry White might seem OK now, but what if you die at the ripe old age of 107 in another 80 years? Would any one even be able to get hold of a copy then?

Why don't you drop in to your local undertakers and have a chat with them about what works and what doesn't? I don't see any harm in planning for the funeral you want. It will make the process easier for your family too, knowing your exact wishes are being carried out and a comfort too. When my dad died it seemed surreal to be discussing what kind of box to carry him off in and what outfit did we want him dressed him, when we were still battling with our grief.

I think its an excellent idea - good luck to you. But I sincerely hope you won't need to put the arrangements into practice for a very, very long time!!

Bloss Fri 08-Jun-01 08:19:48

Message withdrawn

Bron Fri 08-Jun-01 08:32:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Emmagee Fri 08-Jun-01 09:07:53

Elgar's Enigma Variation 10 - Nimrod, I came into it at my wedding, it's very moving and emotional and every time I hear it I stand still.

Tigger Fri 08-Jun-01 10:09:40

The Lord is my Shepherd is a Hymn widely used here in Scotland, is it used in England?. I find it a very moving hymn and I had this hymn played at my fathers funeral, many farmers who have died have this at their funerals. I was once at a cremmation where the song that was played was Cat Stevens, Morning Has Broken. Also been at one that had the dreadful screeching of a very out of tune organ!, sitting there not knowing how to compose myself the woman burst out laughing, and asked the organist to stop playing and said that her husband had always loathed organ music!

Emmam Fri 08-Jun-01 10:14:13

Oooh, Emmagee, I know the one you mean. It always makes the hairs on the back on my neck stand on end when I hear it. Very emotional.

Tusky Fri 08-Jun-01 16:32:36

The Christina Rossetti poem is v nice - can't remember it's name though. My dad read one that is quite similar in feeling at his brother's funeral - it's by Canon Henry Scott Holland...
also,at the graveside my uncle's best friend said this Gaelic Blessing - which was very moving (it was a very dramatic graveside ceremony as my uncle had been in the Army air corps and they had the last post played by a bugler followed by a helicopter fly past in formation,with a space left empty in the formation for my uncle's helicopter - my dad and I were in floods !)
anyway- May the road rise with you;
May the wind be always on your back;
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rain fall soft upon your fields
And,until we meet again,
May God keep you in the hollow of his
hand.

Janh Fri 08-Jun-01 17:57:22

emmam - is the rosetti poem the one that ends "better by far you should forget and smile, than that you should remember and be sad"?

someone i knew who died quite young quite recently had a pianist friend play the theme from titanic...it was tough for him to do it but it was what she wanted.

Kia Fri 08-Jun-01 20:07:40

Many of the funerals I've been to recently have been for older people and I should have a medal for the amount of times I've sung 'abide with me' and 'the old rugged cross'! Definitely off my list! And 'morning has broken' has to go too. I hate the bit at the crem where the cutains slide shut, awful beyond words. A colleague went to one where the coffin started to sink downwards as the curtains closed and the widow threw herself through the gap. At my father's funeral a relative made an impromptu address saying that poem about I am not dead but in the next room etc etc; well my brother and I couldn't look at one another because we knew Dad thought that particular one to be a load of balls! The vicar thought we were distraught with grief and was very impressed at our control! Dad would have appreciated it though.

Candy Fri 08-Jun-01 20:49:15

There's a really lovely poem called "Do not stand at my grave and weep" by an anonymous poet. I gave it in a card to freinds whose baby daughter just died (does this prove there is NOT such a thing as a benevolent god?). But for mine: "Asleep" by The Smiths, which is just a really gorgeous song - or "Deliverance" by The Mission - "Darklands" by The Jesus And Mary Chain - I'm still just an 80s indie kid at heart!

Suew Fri 08-Jun-01 22:54:14

My mother-in-law died last year and she had very specific ideas about her funeral which we spent some time discussing with her during her illness(well, I did - hubby and her other children weren't keen on it but she wanted to talk so we did).

She lived in New Zealand so some of the ideas might not be allowed in the UK but this is what she requested:

the service be held in local public gardens (wet venue we couldn't decide on but weather was good and council were obliging so it went ahead)

- should be a celebration of her life, not morbid. She envisaged people drinking coffee, wine, soft drinks whilst they listened to the ?eulogy from a good friend

- her grandchildren should be there, if they wished. Her eldest grandson actually wanted to tkae part but didn't think he would be up to it on the day so her son-in-law cut a CD (he is a sound engineer)of grandson's reading his own written piece

- Foster and Allen song

- no religious music or content. She was v religious when younger but rejected it. She did want a moment's silence though for people to say goodbye in their own way, whether it be prayer or whatever.

- the service sheet should include a crossword as she had left instructions she should be five minutes late. She was known for her tardiness and her love of cryptic crosswords

AFAIK, all of the above were implemented. Sadly she died 2 weeks after we returned to the UK and we didn't return for the funeral. We were told it would be videod but haven't seen a tape yet.

I know that sounds bizarre but we would actually like to see what went on.

She also wanted a cardboard coffin but apparently that couldn't be arranged. She was determined that good wood shouldn't be burned.

Talking to her gave me a lot of confidence about making my own plans, if i ever have any, clear. But in the end, it's up to the people you have left behind and they will do what they want, no matter what your wishes are.

Jodee Sat 09-Jun-01 12:04:49

Candy, I'm still stuck in the 80s, just into the Smiths though. 'Asleep' is such a moving song, and I would also go for 'There is a Light that Never Goes Out' (aka the Double Decker Bus Song in our house!). Not a very tactful one to pick after a traffic accident though!

What are the words to 'Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep'?

Candy Sat 09-Jun-01 19:29:34

I can't remember the whole poem off hand but if you put "Funeral poems" into a search engine, it should come up. It's just a lovely poem about a soul continuing even after the body is dead - I'm not at all religious but it has a sort of peaceful sense of continuity about it: the final lines are: "Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there, I did not die"

Jodee Sat 09-Jun-01 19:57:40

Thanks Candy - I found the words to the poem; you are right, they are lovely, and thought everyone would appreciate it too:

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond glints on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the mornings hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there
I did not die.

Author - Mary Frye (formerly attributed to Native American sources).

Cl Sat 09-Jun-01 20:51:46

Good idea. I've told my lot I want the Goodbye song from the Sound of Music as my grand finale - my fav film (sad perhaps but true), my late mum's fav film and currently a hit with my two and a half yr old daughter. Incidentally - I've always hated the bit at the crem where they close the curtains and the coffin trundles away - all those images of burning and yuk mixed up with a surreal Generation Game scenario. At my mum's funeral (she died pretty young - only 50) we asked if the coffin could be left as it was until we'd all gone and it helped a bit. Still thought I was going to spntaneously combust with grief, but it was better than watching it go. 10 days later we had a huge celebration of her life in church with 500 attending including lots of kids she'd taught (she was a primary teacher) and everyone in red. I'd thorouhly recommend asking for a seperate 'do' from the one at the crem - you kind of get the burying over and then can focus on trying to celebrate a life. We taped the service and I played it over and over again - so I don't think you're weird Suew for wanting to see a video and I agree with whoever said that it's great if there are some intructions as it takes some of the pressure off the bereaved at a crucial time. Oh two last things - the afternoon after the 'celebration' we took everyone who fancied it - and a lot did - to Blackpool pleasure beach (about 5 miles away) - which again I'd recommend. And then we had a memorial card made - a pic, her fav hym and verse hymn (she was very into the church)the I am with you always verse - which made sense to us, but I can see won't appeal to all - and a list of her favourite things. We sent about 500 out with the Xmas cards that year and it's lovely now when you go to people's houses, almost 10 ears on and she's there smiling down from a bookshelf. Sorry I've gone on.... but I applaud you for thinking of it now Kia - we found once someone's ill, and fighting to get better against all odds, you just don't feel like discussing it.

Kia Sat 09-Jun-01 21:29:34

Cl you're right, you don't think about it, or it's too painful when someone is really sick and the outlook is very bad. Like most people in my early 20s I had no experience of death close to me and then suddenly for 10 years or so it seemed I could hardly turn round for funerals. Currently I am the oldest of 3 left in my family and my beloved husband is just one of 2. It makes us appear quite harsh to people who are 'first-timers' if I can put it that way, because we now know the questions to ask, and what to do and all that kind of stuff, and tend to stay on an even keel even when things are quite tragic. Our motto has been 'life is too short' for many years now! My personal belief is that when someone dies the body is like a car when the driver has got out and I don't do the visiting the chapel of rest to say goodbye bit, although I know many people who do and take their children with them as well. I like the idea of a celebration of life and I think thats what I'd like if I get the chance to plan it in time. I have tried to do the letter on a number of occasions and just blubbed so much I had to set it aside! Poor old dear!

Mel Sun 10-Jun-01 19:07:00

Haven't really thought about it for myself, probably because I've been positively phobic about dying since my children were born, but I did have a friend at college who was determined to be cremated and have his coffin disappear to the Doors singing "C'mon Baby Light My Fire". Was never too sure if this was a good idea or not! It was SO him though!

Adelaide Sun 10-Jun-01 20:14:37

Days - the Kirsty McColl version. Jerusalem - I just can't hear it without crying and possibly also I vow to thee my country. Big finale? Teenage Kicks should raise a few smiles.

Emmam Mon 11-Jun-01 11:59:57

Janh - yeah, that's the one, something about do not forget me when I'm gone and then the bit you said about better to forget and smile then remember and be sad. Lovely.

Tusky - military funerals I always find so emotional. The missing man fly-past formation is just so poignant. Brings a lump to my throat just thinking about it.

Janh Mon 11-Jun-01 14:41:50

emmam - if you type in "remember me when i am gone away" on ask jeeves it will offer you both the whole poem, and a book called "remember" with lots of similar stuff...i thought i might copy it out but it's a sonnet and a bit complicated!

Cam Tue 12-Jun-01 14:00:54

I tell everyone that I want "Try a little Tenderness" by Otis Redding at my funeral, as it is my favourite song of all time.

Midge Sun 17-Jun-01 20:54:51

I think I would like "Heroes" by David Bowie, just because it's my all time favourite song.

My late father in law was a very single minded and determined chap with a dislike for conformity. We sent him off with a very loud "One Vision" by Queen as it seemed to sum him up quite nicely and we knew he would have a laugh at this tiny little village church being drowned out by a piece of rock music.

Ems Mon 18-Jun-01 12:52:46

Eva Cassidy singing Over the Rainbow is gorgeous, thats what I would like, and definitely no closing of the curtains thankyou!

Kia Mon 18-Jun-01 21:07:28

Do you think it makes any difference if you have rock'n'roll in your ancient norman church or in the modern glass and light church buildings? After all, I wont be there if you get my drift! Funerals are really for the people who are left behind, so perhaps a little dignity might be called for, mind you it would probably be a first for me! I went to one funeral where the coffin had to be manhandled up and down a flight of stairs which would have been narrow in a 3bed semi. My job that day was to look after the widow's elderly mother who had alzheimers(?) and she kept asking in a loud voice 'who's in the box?' Is there truth in the sayings about being very bad in a previous life?! And what about afterwards? Champers all round I think! Oh and not forgetting a yorkshire ham!

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