11 February 2012

The songs they'd play when I've gone

When I tell people we had The Chicken Dance at my grandmother's funeral they laugh awkwardly and think it's a bit disrespectful. But it fit my Nanny to a tee. She liked that silly kitsch stuff - the stuff I cringed at - making us wear feather boas and hats for photos, and doing the chicken dance.

It was her escape from the world I guess. She led a tough life, and when I think about it now, I should have tried to understand her more. Mental illness is difficult to understand when you don't know how to relate.

I remember when Nanny was well, she'd make comments of how depressing it was to get old and trips to funerals become your social life. I saw it at her funeral - a busload of elderly people came to farewell Nanny. I wondered what it'd be like to know a reality is that that your neighbours would be seeing you off next.

We played a song from My Fair Lady too. I Could Have Danced All Night. I imagined Nanny drawing ballgowns that she could only dream of wearing, thinking of the way the fabric would swish with every piece of pastel light and shade she drew.

The Chicken Dance was played as we walked out of the chapel. When we met with the funeral home staff, they asked us what songs define Nanny, and both Mum and I agreed on The Chicken Dance. We ran it past Dad and my Aunty, and bought the CD from the bargain bin at the record store that's now shut down. The Macarena was the song after The Chicken Dance. I joked to mum that what if the Macarena played accidentally I'd break into moves just like I did on the dancefloor at Eddies tavern after uni. Anyway, The Macarena did not play - but what amusement it'd bring if it did play.

The Chicken Dance lightened the mood. We were leading the way out of the chapel but I looked behind and saw eyes lit up and smiles on faces.We even did a few of the actions. It was a nice moment.

I want music to feature at my funeral. It's a huge part of my life so why shouldn't it carry on after I've gone? I want a feast too. None of this assorted creams biscuit trays. I want cheese and cakes and fruit and canapes. I want people to dress up for the occasion too. I want people to remember me by what I loved.

When I die, I would like something from Darren Hayes playing. Maybe he could even sing in person! Darren If you're reading this...

One song I always think of playing St my funeral is Matchbox Twenty's Could I Be You? I love the line of laughing out loud at the thought of being alive, and I think that sums up my life.

"Well now, you're laughing out loud
At just the thought of being alive
And I was wondering
Could I just be you tonight"

For dramatic effect, Sia's I Go To Sleep is a nice song. 

And finally, I'd have Last Day On Earth by Kate Miller-Heidke - it is such a beautifully sad song. I tweeted her a few weeks ago telling her this.

I think it's so important that funerals are celebrations of life, and they truly reflect the person's interests when they're alive.

This post is for Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade meme. What songs would you like played at your funeral?

Edenland's Fresh Horses Brigade


  1. that matchbox twenty song is just lovely and this line - 'i want people to remember me by what i loved' so true hey, and your nan's story beautifully illustrates that.

  2. I have always loved the knowledge that Jeff Buckley had Satisfied Mind playing at his, and thus I think fitting....love the sentiment in that song, and hope it fits when I die!

  3. I love that you played the chicken dance at your Nan's funeral. Songs need to be what the person loved.
    You're so right, funerals should be a celebration and a reflection of the person.

  4. I'm not having a funeral, my body is going to the medical teaching dept at Uni. But if my kids want to farewell me at all, I'd like them to party as if it were a wedding. They can play whatever songs they choose as long as they're happy songs and include a few of my favourites.

  5. I love your grandma's story, I think funerals are meant to be personal. I've heard the Richmond Football club song and someone sing Hallelujah Jeff Buckley style and both were so memorable

  6. How gorgeous, I will never hear the Chicken Dance now without thinking of that.

  7. What a lovely story, I'm glad her life was celebrated x

    No idea on my own songs, would have to include some Jewel since she is my favourite artist. Don't really want to think about it much I have to admit. Too much life to still live.

  8. Carly, you're so right - when music is a huge part of your life, why not have it feature at your funeral? I love your story about the songs at your Nan's funeral. You described it so beautifully.

  9. What a fab way to remember your Nan - I like it :) Kate Miller-Heidke is a brilliant musician and I love her voice. When I heard that song she wrote about saying sorry to the friend who got bullied in school, it made me cry. It was honest and I could see it play out in my head as she sang.
    Brilliant choices :) x

  10. Oh I love this Carly, thank you so much for linking up. You have EXCEPTIONAL taste in music, if I do say so myself!

    Love Sia, loads. And the Chicken Dance. XX

  11. Carly, such an awesome thing to do, playing a song that your Nan would love! Music plays a major part in most of our lives, some more than others (I am guilty as charged) You have prompted me to create my own list, so my loved ones don't have to pour through my itunes. :-)

    I am really enjoying your posts after discovering your blog!

  12. The Chicken Dance sounds like a joyous song choice!

  13. Let it Be - Joe Cocker's version for me. And I totally agree about food. We did awesome food and heaps of grog at my grandparent's funerals. According to their friends they were very excellent funerals - and you are right, I think the older you are the more of a connoisseur of funerals you become, so we took it as a great compliment.

  14. "Disco Inferno" by the tramps. Lyrics indicative of where I'd likely be headed.

  15. How have I never read your blog before! I need to go searching for 80's pop groups on Twitter more often!

    Would you believe I blogged about this very thing last year? http://diaryofa30somethingwednesdayschild.com/tempting-fate/

    I must say - I went for Queen and Peter Gabriel. But after the sad part is out of the way - there is to be drinking and Bon Jovi around a piano. :)

    Great to meet you tonight. :) xo


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