Thank you all for following my last wishes, and avoiding a chapel or church for a funeral. We’re having a full twenty-four hour wake, instead. There should be Guinness galore in the kegs, and good single-malt Irish at the bar, and other choices readily at hand – if not, just ask.
Lying here at home the last day has let me see and hear just who counts me and my family as friends. I’ve had a few surprises to see who else has turned up. I’m tickled pink to see former pastor David Cole here. David, if you want to cut me short and take over the eulogy, then feel free – you’re the only pastor I’d have do it.
My Dad and I used to wind up Mum by talking about what was wanted for the body disposal. We’d joke – “One rubbish sack pulled down over the head, another pulled up over the legs, and staples where they meet in the middle.” She’d go mad, but Dad and me, we’d laugh – ‘cos we know.
That body you’ve looked at in the other room – you haven’t? Don’t be a woose, come and see me – it’s only a lump of meat. It’s not me any more. And I’m off to either a barbecue, or a garden, so this is it – our last time together.
If you’re looking for me, look to the thousand-near children I’ve taught. Look to my collection of music, my books. More especially, look to the native trees and plants I’ve grown and given, to attract, feed and shelter our native birds. Look to how each time I got ill, I tried to bounce back.
Don’t look at the remnants of too many arty-crafty hobbies I’ve tried; forget the times I pulled a prank on you; quit fussing about my use of “bad language” when I got angry or depressed.
In a moment we’re breaking out the song and the dance and the bar. I’ve chosen my favourites, most of which you’ll have heard.
- I’m Going Home from Arlo Guthrie
- For memory of my late Dad, Wonderful World from Louis Armstrong (see you soon, Dad)
- Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door from Bob Dylan
- From a Distance from Bette Midler
- Full Force Gale from van Morrison
- Whenever God Shines the Light from van Morrison & Cliff Richard
- Spirit in the Sky from Norman Greenbaum
- Body of an American from The Pogues
- Shine on You Crazy Diamond from Pink Floyd
- Stairway to Heaven from Led Zeppelin
- to annoy me sister, Tub Thumping from Chumbawumba (because you never know, this may be my ultimate “get up again”)
- for me daughter, Thunderstruck from AC/DC (I’ll miss your party-time phone calls, sweety)
- and for me son, a fan of Slash (if not Guns ‘n’ Roses), Sweet Child Of Mine
Enough with the blathering – Cry! Laugh! Drink!
To the Corrs, U2, The Pogues, The Dubliners, Chris Rea, et al. Let’s Sing! Dance! Rock!
Now hit that Play button …