I was driving home one day last week and was sick of flipping through radio stations playing either shit songs or obnoxious advertisements, so I switched over to the CD in the car's player. It was a Ben Harper CD, and track 14 was just starting. The track's title is She's Only Happy In The Sun; it's the last track on the CD, and one of the best.
I thought to myself, yep, here's the tune I want played at my funeral, if, in fact, my funeral is going to be anytime soon.
Because, you see, these songs do change over time.
Is that strange? morbid? Do any of you have you own death march already picked out? I've always had one, at least as far back as junior high. I think that was probably the beginning, the age at which I first realize that I, yes ME my very self, could actually die, that youth doesn't protect you from the grave (or flame, as the case may be).
There were a few tragic car accidents in my hometown while I was in high school, accidents in which healthy, happy kids my age were killed. The funerals of these kids drew very large crowds, because, well, they had lots of friends, and teachers and coaches, and parents, and their friends, and well, they had their whole lives ahead of them. People come out for those types of funerals. They just do.
My funeral song at that point in my life, at the dawning of my death consciousness, was Open Door by Genesis. When I started reflecting on this whole requiem idea last week, I could not for the life of me remember the tune to Open Door, or the lyrics, for that matter, but I remembered the name right away, and the fact that I thought, for many years, that it was the perfect song for my memorial service.
I listened to it a few times today, for the first time in decades. It's a pretty song, but sad. Too sad for a kid's memorial service I think now, but I dug the drama of it all those years ago.
I loved the buildup to this stanza:
Stand in the sun
Shut your eyes and feel the world
It's changing every day
I'm not exactly sure what about She's Only Happy in the Sun makes me feel it's a proper funeral dirge. I guess simply that it's true. Well, I'm not only happy in the sun, but it sure does make it a whole lot easier for me to be happy when the sun is shining, and getting my fair share of the sun's golden goodness is somewhat of a priority for me.
So maybe it's these words:
But if the sun sets you free, sets you free
You'll be free indeed, Indeed.
that I like so much, because you know, once I'm gone, I'm hoping that there's going to be a lot of light, and well, a lot of freedom too.
I'm curious to see if anyone else who reads this has these songs in their heads -- songs they've picked out that they'd like to be sent off with. Because you know, you never know which day is your last. There are no 'life' guarantees. In fact, I got an email today from my daughter's preschool informing me, along with all the other preschool parents, that two kids in the school, a brother and sister, lost their dad on Friday afternoon. They lost their healthy, middle-age dad in a complete freak accident. They likely kissed him goodbye that very morning, waved at him and shouted out an "I love you Daddy!" as they loaded into the car, never imagining it'd be the last time they'd ever see him.
So maybe, maybe a death march is not all that morbid, maybe it's just good planning.