Ways to Go

57 Responses

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  • Russell Brown,

    I'd rather not be embalmed, just let the worms etc get stuck in. My only concrete request at this stage is that they play You're Gonna Miss Me as they carry me out of the place where the service is held

    Oooh. That gives me an idea for the disco part of the proceedings: Turntable Orchestra's 'You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone'. Perfect ...

    A heartbreaking moment:

    We recently buried my 2 year-old nephew. After tea and sandwiches at his grandmother's house, my son asked who was going to go and collect Pressie, cos he'll be lonely and scared in the hole we'd put him in.

    Phew ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Paul Wood,

    Oooh, I love this game - it's like planning my civil union.
    I intend a full Catholic high requiem mass at the Sacred Hear Basilica in Timaru. Lillies and roses, purple and pall. Music: Weiss' tombeau comte de logy, Barber's Agnus Dei (which is just a choral version of the Adaggio) and (just cos I'm tacky) the Lloyd Webber Pie Jesu.

    Although, if I ws going to be silly, my black crepe draped coffin will be born aloft by six bodybuilders painted gold while a couple of page boys drop rose petals before, to the Imperial March from Star Wars. Then I'll be put in the ground to "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" from the Wizard of Oz, until the hidden bomb detonates taking out all the people who have just come to make sure I'm dead.

    Christchurch • Since Jan 2007 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    cos he'll be lonely and scared in the hole we'd put him in.

    Awwww.... I have numerous heartbreaking moments involving my nephews. Like being shown their mum's body shortly after her death. It was in the wee hours for sure, and they were exhausted, but the younger didn't grasp that his mum's unresponsive state was any different from the way she'd often been over the last few months.

    Some hours later the penny dropped & he destroyed the composure of a room full of grieving adults by asking tentatively "Is mum dead?"

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Some hours later the penny dropped & he destroyed the composure of a room full of grieving adults by asking tentatively "Is mum dead?"

    Andrew, you'll have me crying at work.

    Having been to all of three funerals in my life. That was hard.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • samuel walker,

    Paul, Andrew,

    cutting stuff, eloquently put.

    Since Nov 2006 • 203 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    Sign me up for rotting under a tree - preferably with a sea view. Funeral music to include David Bowie's Rock and Roll Suicide.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Pauline Dawson,

    APW - you are hilarious.

    Funeral music. CRash test Dummies "Funeral Song" or Lyle LOvett "Since the Last Time"

    Mosgiel • Since Feb 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Pauline Dawson,

    Ooops I mean Lyle Lovett "Family Reserve"

    Mosgiel • Since Feb 2008 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    About 10 years ago, I wrote a thing on my website (you know, before blogs were around) about what I'd like my funeral to be. My ideas are still about the same - perhaps I should revisit it.

    My dad recently told me about a funeral he attended where the celebrant forgot the name of the deceased and seemed to be working off an "insert dead person's name here" template for the proceedings. So Dad declared that when it came time for his funeral, we were to get a local to conduct it - someone who knew him.

    It's interesting that funerals seem to be a lot about music. You see these top 10 lists of funeral songs - usually ones that proclaim the subject of the song to be an angel in heaven - but these songs seem to be more for the benefit of the mourners, rather than the deceased.

    I've been to funerals that have had fun party bits to them, but there's also a lot of sadness and pain, and it seems to me that it's hard to have fun at a party when you're torn up on the inside, wondering how you're going to survive without the dead person.

    I suppose it all depends on the death. We probably would like to think that we'll all live to a ripe old age and that our funerals will be filled with people celebrating our life. But there's always the hit-by-a-bus scenario, when things get horrible.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    It's interesting that funerals seem to be a lot about music. You see these top 10 lists of funeral songs - usually ones that proclaim the subject of the song to be an angel in heaven - but these songs seem to be more for the benefit of the mourners, rather than the deceased.

    Just after I left for uni, a friend of ours from high school died. We (ie his mates) knew he wanted 'Another One Bites the Dust' played at his funeral, but his family just couldn't hack it. It was kind of uncomfortable for everyone.

    As a compromise, they had 'any way the wind blows' carved on his headstone.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    I'd have the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" played on the big day.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    My own pick for my funeral song is John Hiatt's 'Listening To Old Voices' which s pretty obscure but if you know it is kind of apt...In my early 20s I remember telling some mates that if I bought it I wanted to go out to Hello Sailor's 'When Your Lights Are Out."

    Worst funeral I went to was a friend of friends who had committed suicide. The whole ritual was kind of bizarre, with the family still in utter denial and the friends, all in early-mid 20s, still in shock.

    The minister did one of those off-the-peg sermons, rather apologetically, with each reading starting off "W++++ wasn't all that Christian, but here's a bit from the Bible". Since the deceased wasn't all that Christian in the way vapour is not all that solid, it was kind of aggravating.

    A wee while ago I read some story in a British paper about funeral music: the trend started when comedy actor Peter Sellers died and they played 'In the Mood' at the funeral. It was some reference to an early Goon Show joke - in fact he'd hated the tune. The story surveyed funeral directors. from memory, and it reported the most popular song was 'My Way' which is added to my personal 'Reasons You Know the World is F+++++" File.

    On a happier not of music and rituals: a friend of mine went to a wedding where the bride came in to 'You Sexy Thing'. Which shows a certain chutzpah.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I've been to funerals that have had fun party bits to them, but there's also a lot of sadness and pain, and it seems to me that it's hard to have fun at a party when you're torn up on the inside, wondering how you're going to survive without the dead person.I suppose it all depends on the death. We probably would like to think that we'll all live to a ripe old age and that our funerals will be filled with people celebrating our life. But there's always the hit-by-a-bus scenario, when things get horrible.

    I agree entirely, Robyn. And I would add that music at funerals does add value, as long as it's meaningful not only to the person who has died, but the bereaved. At my dad's funeral we played a song of my brother's that Dad loved as we carried his coffin in. There we were, walking behind the coffin, singing this song, the words of which really fit our feelings,tears running down our faces. It was good to have that to focus on as we followed Dad. And then, as he was being carried out, my sisters in law, who Dad adored, and who all sing like angels, sang him a waiata. Just beautiful. My brother also made a DVD of Dad's life to play as people were coming into the cathedral, and he'd set it to the Four Seasons, which my Dad loved, and which happened to have been the music playing in the ICU when we were waiting for him to get better. At my sister in law's tangi, just recently, the whole thing was about the music. But then, she was a musician. So yes, as long as it's meaningful to all involved, music is a great part of your goodbyes.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    And then, as he was being carried out, my sisters in law, who Dad adored, and who all sing like angels, sang him a waiata.

    To me waiata and haka are beautifully NZ things about funerals.

    I happened to be sick the day of Edmund Hillary's funeral, and I didn't find it at all emotional until they took the casket out the the pupils from the high school began a haka.

    And the poem that they say for war veterans. My Gran had that for her service.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    And the poem that they say for war veterans. My Gran had that for her service.

    I haven't been to an old soldier's funeral for a while, but the last post always gets me.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I could always go with The Jam- Thats entertainment or/and the Waterboys The whole of the moon. So avo to evening would be fine.My dog would be helpful but other than that, whatever my man wants is fine.I suspect there would be more music and drinking and I hope it is a celebration of my life not a celebration of my death.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Common,

    I was at a very good friends funeral last year, she died in her 30's (there was an article in the dominion recently about her son accepting her degree on her behalf). It was a lovely service, and I spoke at it - no religous overtones and plenty of unexpected music.

    Reflecting on that side of things I changed my mind about my funeral - I want to leave it mostly up to those I love (and love me) to remember and honor me in the way that they feel is most appropriate.

    There will certainly be music (mostly NZ) as it's a huge part of my life - and I have a few tracks in mind, but really a funeral is a chance for those people who love you to pay honor and farewell you and I think that it would be rude of me to ask them to do it in any way except how they want too.

    Having said that I'm almost certain there would be lots of drinking (and other) and plenty of loud music - and I trust my friends and family to do it in a way that I know I would appreciate.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    But the idea of becoming tree-food is a nice one.

    <chuckles> In my case the tree might have cause for complaint.......

    I was always quite profoundly affected by my fathers funeral. The rotten bugger drank himself to death denying all the time that there was anything wrong. My mother and I were both quite bitter about it at the time. It made the funeral something of an ugly farce. We stood there surrounded by people saying nice things about him that in many cases they believed. Meanwhile we continued to ignore the elephant in the room, which was that he had in so many ways cheated those closest to him.

    I guess there aren't that many good uses for web anonymity but I quite like the idea of people making anonymous comments about me after my demise. Indeed, (warming to the idea) I quite fancy a sort of room 101 debate over my body. Should the good guys win I get sent to the Med students (as per my wishes). Otherwise some annoying alternative should be applied like being cremated and then washed down the waste disposal or perhaps being buried and someone putting an IPod on me playing a loop of really annoying music.

    My point (just about) is that I haven't been good to all people even some of the time and I think it only fair that people people get to call me a bastard where appropriate.

    As for music...Wilson Pickett - I found a Love for the hearse and for the burial the theme from the banana splits.

    In the event of an afterlife what could be better than have John Cleese leaning over the pulpit looking down at me....__non-believer are we....__ meanwhile have the rest of the crew shout non-believer in that Life of Brian style.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    The thought has just struck me....simply because its on the CD player this arvo as I browse the blogs...
    ...that Tall Dwarfs' 'Brain that Wouldn't Die' would be a damn fine tune to go out on. Also a good joke for those who know the title.

    PS: anyone else ever tried Caol Ila? Just discovered it this arvo on the recommendation of a bloke at Welly Regional Wines and Spirits and it's marvellous stuff.

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    The thought has just struck me....simply because its on the CD player this arvo as I browse the blogs...

    I was doing the same in my little corner of the universe, listening to the
    Gram Parsons Anthology after being led there by a lovely version of
    Return of the Grievous Angel by Lucinda Williams and David Crosby, on a Parsons tribute album.

    I knew Parsons had died young but not the circumstances.

    In the late 1960s, Parsons became enamoured with Joshua Tree National Monument. Alone or with friends, he would disappear in the desert for days, searching for UFOs while under the influence of psilocybin or LSD…

    He died there in 1973 at the age of 26 from a lethal combination, purportedly of morphine and alcohol.

    Parsons' body disappeared from the Los Angeles International Airport, where it was being readied to be shipped to Louisiana for burial. At the funeral of musician Clarence White earlier that year, a drunken and distraught Parsons had stated that when he died he wanted his body cremated at Joshua Tree and his ashes spread over Cap Rock, a prominent natural feature there. However, Parson's stepfather arranged for a private ceremony back in New Orleans and neglected to invite any of his friends from the music industry.

    Maintaining his alleged promise, road manager Phil Kaufman and a friend managed to steal Parsons' body from the airport and, in a borrowed hearse, drove the body to Joshua Tree where they attempted to cremate it, by pouring five gallons of gasoline into the open coffin, and throwing a lit match inside.

    What resulted was an enormous fireball. Police chased them, but, according to one account, they (the Police) "were encumbered by sobriety". The two were arrested several days later, but since there was no law against stealing a dead body, were only fined $750 for stealing the coffin. The burned remains were eventually returned to Parsons' stepfather and interred in New Orleans.

    The site of the cremation was marked by a small concrete slab and is presided over by a large rock flake known to rock climbers as 'The Gram Parsons memorial hand traverse'. The slab has since been removed by the U.S. National Park Service and was relocated to the Joshua Tree Inn, which was where he was staying at the time of his death. At the site of the original memorial now are simple rock structures and writings on the rock which the park service sand blasts to remove from time to time.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    I knew Parsons had died young but not the circumstances.

    There's also a film, of dubious quality (got the soundtrack, not seen the film. Recommend the version of__A Song for You__ by Whiskeytown): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Theft_Parsons

    Meditating on this, I would include a reading from the book of John & Paul (maybe Mother Nature's Son, or Child of Nature) and the singing of a hymn, either Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds or Farther Along, by the Flying Burrito Brothers.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    Thanks Paul. Looks like the film is available at local Christchurch treasure Alice in Videoland so will get it out.

    For myself I would just hope that after the initial formalities are over no-one at my funeral would be 'encumbered by sobriety'.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    The Beeb also did a couple of documentaries about five years ago. One on GP and one on Emmylou Harris, which are wll worth finding. I think the GP one was shown at the Auckland Film Festival in 2005, but it might be different. A fair few interviews with Phil Kaufman, Chris Hillman, Emmylou, that guy from the Eagles whose name escapes me.

    That's a great phrase :)

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    Yes - Alice in Videoland has the BBC doco Gram Parsons - Fallen Angel. So have ordered that too, thanks very much.

    It appears GP lead a sing along of__Farther Along__ at Clarence White’s funeral



    One of my favourite versions of it is on the Ralph Stanley album Clinch Mountain Sweethearts where he duets with the great Lucinda Williams.

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Clarence White was a phenomenal guitar picker, idolised by Hendrix no less. He introduced the Byrds to a bunch of traditional country songs - he's far more important to the Byrds than GP! My fave late Byrds record is The Ballad of Easy Rider, way better than Sweetheart of the Rodeo, IMHO.

    I'll check out the Ralph Stanley version if I can track it down. There's a Clarence White album on eMusic called White Lightning (?), which is apparently very good.

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

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