Mortality - Taken Lightly - and Thoughts About Your Own Service

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Mortality - Taken Lightly - and Thoughts About Your Own Service

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Modificato: Set 20, 2013, 3:37pm

In the spirit of livening things up in the group and certainly in the spirit of cemeteries and gravestones...

Okay, this is going to be cheerful! I just read a couple of articles on planning your own funeral or some kind of "I'm deceased" service. You could, too. You never know (actually, you do know) and it appeals to me.

The media part of it fascinates me.

Here is one book that I love and represents me burning away gas on the Grand Back Roads Wandering Tours; Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon. I've wandered back roads since the day I got my driver's license. This book is a must include.

Music; my classical fav, J S Bach's Goldberg Variations, first (the link actually isn't the first recording in 1955) recording by Glenn Gould. One of the British classical music mags ran a series of short interviews with classical music people that appeared on the last page called "Ten Recordings for a Desert Island," or something like that. This recording was named in probably 75% of the answers and I personally love his first recording. And, I heard him do it live in at old Orchestra Hall in Chicago around 1960. An epiphany!

For pop music, maybe Hot Rod Heart by John Fogerty (the swamp pop guy wasn't from Louisiana, he was from California). Music kinda fits with Blue Highways theme wise and I like the piece and the pace of it. Here I am in my intimidating, flame blasting hot rod (Note: This is a fib) for touring.

As for movies, and in keeping with the theme above, I lean toward American Graffiti. A classic "coming of age" movie and, more or less, the right era.

Well, that's as far as I have gotten in my thoughts so far. What about you and your after mortality act plans?

Giu 12, 2013, 12:48pm

Couldn't agree with you more about the virtue -- also the fun -- of making these plans. Indeed I had something of that in mind when I wrote one of the big scenes in my own Harmony Junction. While I won't be so presumptuous as to lay down the law for those who will have to plant me, I must recommend, as texts to be read or distributed, two relatively unfamiliar bits. First, the spirit of Truth's big speech to Guercoeur in the last Act of the 'tragedie en musique" Guercoeur by Alberic Magnard. Second, the poem "These things shall be" by John Addington Symonds. Incidentally, the latter was set to music beautifully by John Ireland for the coronation of George VI. As long as we're making it a multi-media extravaganza, I wouldn't mind having the original Flash Gordon serial shown @ a reception. Problem with that is I might return from the dead to get one more look at the yummylicious Priscilla Lawson as Princess Aura.

Giu 12, 2013, 1:26pm

Brother Munn, and others, let me add a couple of thoughts. First, the ancients knew, as we should, that the art of living well includes the art of dying well. Post-mortem planning is surely part of that package. Second, those of you who are conventionally religious might be interested to study your various prayer books, missals, siddurim, and such in search of the terminology appropriate to your tradition. After sixty-some years in the Anglican Communion I was startled to realize that nowhere is "funeral" mentioned: with us it's BURIAL, no matter what the form of what's buried.

And a quick message from the sponsor: the 1982 Hymnal will blow away anybody unfamiliar with it. Quite aside from the good grey melodists and poets of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, one finds poets like Christopher Smart, Richard Wilbur, and WH Auden, and a few tunesmiths named Palestrina, Purcell, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Beethoven, Parry, Holst, and Vaughan Williams. Under those circs, an Episcopal burial must considered a failure if the papers don't report that a good time was had by all. See you there!

Giu 13, 2013, 5:13pm

Kipling was way ahead of you in terms of pre-mortem planning, Goddard:

I keep changing my mind about what I would like. At the moment the two pieces of music at the top of my list of "they should play this at my funeral" pieces are "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen" from Mahler's Rückert-Lieder and Janaček's "On an overgrown path". Neither very cheerful, though.
It would be very tempting to ask for Britten's setting of Hardy's "Choirmaster's burial", as a way of injecting a touch of comedy. Twenty years ago I would have had Auden's "Funeral blues" on my list, but that's sadly been turned into a cliché by the films...

Giu 13, 2013, 5:19pm

In re #4. Whoa, Mark! I didn't start this. Anyway, I don't think I could have anything with the hateful word "Babu" read over me. Since you are one of the few people here likely to know it, let me put in a good word from Strauss' "Beim Schlaffengehen" and "Im Abendroth", in mine 'umble -- ha! -- opinion the greatest music written in my lifetime.

Giu 22, 2013, 12:30pm

I've been picking out music for years. "The Holy City" is a must-have, preferably live but if they can't find anyone to sing it they can use a recording of George Beverly Shea. Since I love hearing music in different languages, although I'm not sure how my friends and family would feel about it, I have a couple of faves as far as recorded music in that area: "Amazing Grace" in Cherokee by Walela and "Avvon d’Bishmaiya," a different version of the Lord's prayer translated into Aramaic at some point and then more recently translated back to English, by Epiphany Project. Ollabelle has a cute one that would also be optional, "One Last Melody." I need to write these down so the kids will have them -- hopefully I have 30+ more years to pick out more....

My husband recently passed away unexpectedly, and his one request in the music area had always been "Will the Circle be Unbroken." I didn't know until after the service, while talking with one of his sisters, that this had been sung by several hundred campers at a time around the fire at the church camp he went to growing up. Anyway, we have been members for a long time of a church that favors more formal music, and the solo was lovely but it's always interesting to hear a classically trained musician sing a folk song!

Funny example of funeral music -- I was in a store one day and overheard a conversation about a woman who had always given her dad a really hard time about his choice of music. As a way to make up for that, she had ZZ Top's "Sharp Dressed Man" played at the start of the funeral service. I expect she startled quite a few people with that one!

Giu 22, 2013, 3:04pm

For all I'm going to know about it, you can put me out with the rubbish for the bin men to collect.

Last burial I went to I found myself wondering if someone was going to jump into the grave after we'd left and collect the rather nice brassware off the coffin - struck me as a terrible waste of resources.

yes, I know, this probably says more about me and the odd way I deal with loss than anything else.

Ott 31, 2013, 9:36pm

Traditional funerals are a complete waste of money/resources. In my experience, funerals only provide a place for people to congregate and do small talk. In no way does this help the family only the funeral industry. I have already done my pre-needs cremation policy and have specific instructions that no formal funeral will be conducted.