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?