As Uplifting as Funeral Music Can Be
In honor of my cousin Cari talking about her funeral music HERE and because I’m a hack with no original ideas, I’m resurrecting my blog on my choice of funeral music as my retro blog of the weekend even though the weekend is almost over. I’d like to tell you I worked all day yesterday on getting Sunshine ready for prom, but I didn’t do anything but tape her backless bra on her, she had someone else do her hair and makeup. Moms only get to do the fun stuff apparently.
I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot. When Sunshine was four he took her to the Aquarium and she had the best time. She talked about it for weeks. Her prom was at the Aquarium. He’s missing so much. And then I think about my grandpa who died when I was in the 8th grade and how much of my life he missed, but more of how much I missed having him in my life.
But when I get sad about not having family here, except my awesome cousin Cindi, and I start feeling sorry for myself, I look around my living room at the people who came over to see Sunshine before prom and I realize I have the best family anyone’s ever made right there, and I’m thankful every day. So get ready for a downer.
I Can Imagine. How About You?
We started going to church about four years ago. I was looking for a church for my family and my cousin Cindi was so nice to go church shopping with us. After the first church of “blue-hairs” (Cindi’s words, not mine), I went with her to the church by her house and loved it. It was a change for us, and Tenderheart cried every week except the one week a month that Cindi worked in the kindergarten. I knew we’d turned a corner when she cried because we didn’t go.
Shortly after, Cindi gave me a CD of Christian music and it had I Can Only Imagine. I’m embarrassed to say I think it was my first time to hear it. I explained to the girls what it’s about, and we had a great conversation about what we would do when we found ourselves in front of Jesus. I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you why it’s such a great song.
One day we were on our way home from church and we were listening to I Can Only Imagine and I said I wanted that song played at my funeral. (I know I’m not original) So here’s the exchange that followed:
Me: I want this to be my funeral song.
Sunshine: long pause……. Can I sing it?
Me: um……Won’t you be too sad to sing at my funeral?
Sunshine: short pause.. No, I don’t think so.
Moonshine: Can I play the drums?
Tenderheart: Can I play piano?
Me: long pause…… This is my funeral, not American Idol. And now you guys have a band?
Then my dad died, and guess who had a video montage to I Can Only Imagine? I don’t have to guess because I made it, and I heard that song probably a hundred times. At first I had to turn it down and just watch the pictures go, but I’ll never forget sitting in an empty church with my sister as they played the full montage on the big screen. It was a “dress rehearsal” because we’d heard a horror story about someone’s slide show that didn’t play the music. Afterwards people came up and said it was the best memorial service ever, which made me wonder what the other ones were like. I’m sure if Sherri and I wanted to move to Arizona we could have gone into the funeral video-making business right there on the spot in Goodyear. Thanks, but no thanks.
My dad lived in Colorado for over 20 years so on his birthday we had another memorial service for him in Colorado. My girls were in Michigan with my mom when he passed, but they were able to go to the second service. They each got up and said something, it was both the sweetest and most heart-wrenching thing I’ve ever experienced. Tenderheart broke down halfway through and started crying. Afterwards Sunshine said she wasn’t singing at my funeral anymore. Moonshine said, “I’ll do it.”, and Tenderheart said, “Can I still play the piano?”. I love those kids.
When we hear it on the radio, I’ve finally gotten to where I don’t start crying on the first three notes, but Sunshine turns it every time and Tenderheart goes to another room when they sing it at Sunday school. We have the same problem with Chris Tomlin’s Amazing Grace. Yeah, we had two musical montages because we’re ambitious like that. We actually had three because we had a montage of pictures he took for when people came into the church and afterwards during the lunch. Don’t be a hater.