Songs for My Funeral

De mortuis nihil nisi bonum: “Of the dead, nothing unless good.”

As I grow older, I attend more and more funerals. This is common, I guess, as anyone gets older and has closer relationships with older people.

If my funeral isn't the most amazing you have ever attended, I don't even want one. Bury me at night with the pets out by the old cedar.
If my funeral isn’t the most amazing you have ever attended, I don’t even want one. Bury me at night with the pets out by the old cedar.

With every funeral I attend, they grow increasingly disappointing. They are usually prepared by funeral homes for people in their darkest hours, and because of grief and chaos around loved ones, it is necessary for these funeral homes to create these ceremonies using a formula. Typically it goes like this: awkward, irrelevant intro song; a few words spoken by a preacher or funeral home employee; an ill-prepared DVD slide show of snapshots of the deceased; a few meaningless but comforting quotes from the family’s favorite holy book; another song, usually a formerly popular song about life being a celebration, played for an awkwardly seated audience; and finally, a milling, slow-motion exit as friends and family walk past snapshots of the dead on easels at the front of the chapel.

I know a lot of people who find this comforting and useful. But hear me now: do not do this at my funeral.

Sure, there may be some sadness at my funeral, and I also don’t want it to be one of those stupid “celebrate life” funeral parties. I just want my funeral to be at least to some degree like me: creative.

With that, here is a list of songs to play at my funeral, followed by an important caveat:

  • Comfortably Numb

The caveat: only if you can get Pink Floyd to come and play it at rock concert volume levels, with the attendees holding up lighters and yelling for an encore. If you don’t know this song, find it and buy it on iTunes (or steal it from a torrent site if you prefer), put on your headphones and rock out.

“…when I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb…”

The ensuing guitar solo won’t so much bring everyone to tears as it will drive them to tears.

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3 Comments

  1. One of my favorite songs. Especially when I was actually Comfortably Numb most of the time.

    I’ve often said I didn’t want a funeral at all (it’s not required), but it’s an incredible waste of time and money.

    Do the cheapest thing allowed by law with my body (or the most environmentally responsible, if it’s not too expensive), and then spend the rest of your time and effort telling funny or sad or happy stories about my life — if you feel like it. Don’t feel forced to say something nice about me if you don’t feel it. Look at pictures or videos. Then move on.

    You’ve known since my birth that I was going to die. That’s a lot of time to prepare.

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  2. I don’t think that I will be able to attend your funeral. you live a healthier lifestyle than I do. the chances are that I will go first. although I do not care if I have a funeral, my son may want to have 1 for me. and if I do have a funeral, make sure that he knows that I want you to speak at my funeral.. or rather I mean I want you should speak at my funeral.

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