Zactly de same…

Zactly de same…

I was listening to some auld guff from a fella yesterday, some shite about death, his plans for his funeral, picking out the plot, selecting his coffin and planning everything down to the last detail.  I thought ‘For the love o’ Jaysus, you’re a long way off dead yet, would you ever kop yourself on!’ In fairness I didn’t actually say it out of respect, he’s a bit closer to the tipping point than I am, (any surprises from my dodgy ticker notwithstanding) but it got me thinking about the whole thing.  You know my own eventual demise and what sort of a gig it might be.

My problem of course, is that you can’t really let me off on any old notion.  I’ll catch a tail wind and keep going and you know what? That’s exactly what I did…  I started planning my own funeral. For some reason, I went straight to the eulogy, I don’t know why. Perhaps I’m dying (pardon the pun) to hear what people say about me.   Nah!  I think because when I thought of it, I immediately considered writing my own (bit of a control freak).  You see the problem with eulogies is that the people who can best express what mark you have left on the world are those who are closest to you, for the only mark that really matters, is love.  Now the problem with them is that on the day, they’d be understandably in bits with the grief so there is usually a competent stand-in who is good with words and able to hold their sh*t together without bursting into tears. The trouble with the competent stand-in is that they tend to be just that, competent.  Me being me –I want something more.(for those developing a psychological profile – that’s control freak  AND egotistical perfectionist)

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not interested in leaving a legacy or making any grand funeral gestures. I have often quipped that as far as I’m concerned, you can toss my shell in a ditch when I’m gone but of course that probably won’t do now will it?  That being said, if someone is going to say something that’s relevant about me after I’m gone, then given that I think it would be too emotional for my nearest and dearest to do so, then perhaps those words should come from someone who knows me best – Me.  I am a writer after all.

At this stage in the thought process, I have run with it.   That’s me, I’ve even begun to organise flowers and pick out coffins in my head, so I had to stop myself before I started to write a graveside oration as well and compose a requiem mass for myself, complete with a musical interlude with Ukulele.  Did I mention in any of my previous blogs that my mind runs along even at its steadiest pace, at around a thousand revs per second ?

I had to stop myself, not because I might get carried away as I clearly already had, but I re-focused on the eulogy – as if that wasn’t bad enough.  It seems I had been drawn in to the type of contemplation that I had immediately dismissed as ’auld guff’ just a short time earlier?  So I ignored the temptation to plan the coffin and thought again about what should be said about me once I had departed as it were. Now that I had put myself in the place to write my own eulogy I struggled with what to say.

anf

Straight away there was the problem, of pride and vanity.  Leaving aside the fact that the act of doing this in itself was both proud and vain in my head (I forgave myself on the basis that this was purely an intellectual exercise to keep me sharp) I couldn’t say nice stuff about myself at all!  That’s quite an Irish thing in some ways.  It’s like the Penneys jumper. (Sweater to the non-Irish among you- and for the unfamiliar, Penneys is cheap and cheerful from a clothing point of view).  Someone will say “nice jumper.”  You answer  “€2.99 – Penneys” as if to say, God no I’m not one of those people who spend loads of money on myself, sure wouldn’t I be mortified if anyone was to think that I thought I was better than them.

Now in truth, I swing a little differently, neither understating nor overstating but in a very non-Irish way, I can take a compliment.  If someone says “I like your coat” I tend to say “thanks” as opposed to “What this old thing? It was a gift from a tramp – he bought it in Penneys.”

Still I couldn’t start because I couldn’t say anything nice about myself in my imagined homage to my future dead self – see it’s all perfectly logical.   There was this direction as an opener, although it is a bit of an oldie;

“A kind man, an honest man, a handsome man and a gentleman… all wanted to be here today but unfortunately they couldn’t make it.”

Nah, it had to be original.  I considered apologising;

“I’m sorry I can’t be here today…” again way too naff.  After a while – in my head a couple of nano seconds, I got into the rhythm of it.  I started off talking about loss and those that I had left behind. (This is my imagined future remember – bleak as it now sounds writing it) I was in that space between my ears, I was eloquent and very much spoke about what matters most in our time of grieving.  I was almost priestly, but with a touch of George Clooney about me and a sort of Irish sounding version of a cross between Anthony Hopkins and Alan Rickman. It was then I stopped myself.  I had gone way off track again.

dea

Now don’t get me wrong, It was good. But it was more like an opening chapter to one of my books than a draft of my eulogy.  In fairness it wasn’t bad and I might just expand on it and add to my works in progress. Apart from the meander that took over, there was a problem with inflection.  Now I know what you’re thinking. Inflection? Yes – inflection.  No matter what I came up with, it wouldn’t be me.  It wouldn’t be me because of the delivery.  My words would not ever be enough, to express what I might want to say to the beautiful people I might leave behind.  My words needed a voice. They would deserve more than some stand-in, reading my thought’s from a page.  I write like I speak.

As I type this I am adding each and every twist, the rise and fall of my voice in my head and…well… how hard is that to translate to someone else’s lips.  Then I thought, I could make a video to solve the rhythm and cadence problem, but really, would anyone want to be looking at my big old head on a screen after I’m gone at a service that let’s face it, after that – would be a tough act to follow.

But my head doesn’t stand still and by this stage of the thought process, I was working on the production quality, make –up, ensemble and content of the video in the back of my mind while at the front I was working on the music.  I had wandered off again but music is a strong force and for a few minutes, I indulged myself.

Now holy music is quite sombre, I do like Ave Maria but that sends everyone off into tears at funerals.  Fire Starter by the Prodigy would be good, but as I still hadn’t worked out the actual important stuff like burial or cremation – that could possibly be inappropriate.

Ideally of course from a vanity point of view, it should be something to send the room to their knees in grief, but I’m more of a keep ‘em laughing type of guy.  Stayin’ alive by the Bee Gees is too obvious and some might even take offence. There is always U2 The Sweetest Thing, but Bono always got on my wick so I couldn’t have that as an abiding memory for people who knew me.  Then it struck me. There is only one song – and you can’t steal this now – the idea is mine so if I end up at someone I know’s funeral and hear this – I’ll go mental – but it’s a lesser known Talking Heads song called Heaven.  I think it is quite appropriate and very lovely. Near the end there is a verse that always makes me think of the heartbreak of leaving my darling Joanna behind.  I get all lumpy throaty just saying the words so best not to linger for my melancholy heart doesn’t need any encouragement.

While I do harbour such thoughts , I rarely let them off the dock for they are dark thoughts indeed, but I remembered when I was close to death this song touched a chord and it seemed strange that I hadn’t thought of it straight away. The verse that hooks my heart every time is;

When this kiss is over It will start again

It will not be any different

It will be exactly the same

You have to hear it really. I guess the writer in me looks for the hook. In death, in parting, when I think of never ever seeing someone you love again, a kiss seems to be the thing that first comes to mind.  It is what I would focus on if I were to write the moment.  The parting kiss, the slow motion memory of lips parting never to touch again.  Yeah, I had to stop there. I got the whole planning of the funeral thing now – but it’s not for me, not just yet. Way too much livin’ to do – I certainly hope so.

It’s amazing how easily I get distracted.  I’m like the dog in the movie Up being distracted by a squirrel. What can I say? I confess I’ve a head that works the way it works.  I guess if it didn’t work that way, there’d be a whole different bunch of people at my (eventual) funeral and I like the ones I’ve got.   And just in case you’re one of them, if anyone suggest playing Eric Clapton on the big day – shut that down – tell them I said so.  It’s just not conducive to a good shindig or hooley…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet?  I think it’s time to pick one up.

Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy

You can find more details about Max Power’s books here : –

http://www.amazon.com/author/maxpower

https://maxpowerbooks.wordpress.com

fhttp://facebook.com/maxpowerbooks

twitter @maxpowerbooks1

IASD - globe 2

Universal book links

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood

http://getbook.at/Darkly-Wood-II

http://getbook.at/Little-Big-Boy

http://getbook.at/Larry-Flynn

http://getbook.at/Bad-Blood

all 5

 

16 thoughts on “Zactly de same…

  1. There must be some kinship between the irish and Yorkshire folk… even though we don’t have Penney’s. The only end of a eulogy I’ve not been on so far is the recieving end. The oddest was when I was not told until we were in the car, following the hearse, to the church, that I was supposed to be giving the eulogy…

    Go with the video… they’ll never read it right otherwise…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A superb piece of thought in print as always, Patrick. I confess the only eulogy I’ve had to deal with was my dad’s. When you only knew your father for his selfishness and heavy drinking from as far back as your fifth birthday, it makes it difficult to be ‘nice’ when you stand at the pulpit. Somehow the presence of my grieving mother kept me on track and I gave the crowd what they wanted to hear.
    One thing the end of your piece did was remind me about the final part of my five-part story, A Life of Choice.
    Why? My main character finds himself in the Saudi desert and the day before deployment before the start of the first Gulf War, he has the dubious opportunity to pen a final letter (from beyond the grave), to his wife and his eight-year-old son whom he may never see again. It was so real for me I even cried as I edited the section. Anyway, enough about my main character.
    You have an uncanny ability to get under the skin of readers with your books, and it’s no accident, because you do the same with your brilliant blog posts.
    Thank you once again for opening up and sharing yourself. Just in case the person in the future doesn’t say it, you ARE a gentleman.:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Tom.. I totally get your eulogy memory and what you wrote about your fine Life of Choice. Heaven only knows what my eulogy will .. maybe I should’ve focussed on my gravestone .. Ala Spike Milligan “I told them I was sick ” 🤔 appreciate your kind words glad you enjoyed it Tom 🎈☘️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, this was brilliant! I always envision my funeral with me wearing my kilt, toccata and fugue being played in the background, and a pub catering the whole thing with fish and chips, bangers and mash, and a good Shepard’s pie (no peas, I hate peas). And, of course, pints of Guinness. Then, at the appropriate time, we will launch into a discussion of the awesome things I did in my life (a few made up ones will be thrown in for good measure) and then a New Orleans funeral band will march in to accompany my dead-arse to the hearse which will take me off to the crematorium. My ashes will then be made into a cement block and added to the cemetery below the ocean as part of the memorial reef.

    I think artists think more about their own funerals than the rest of the population.

    -B

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ROFLMAO, this maybe my favorite post yet (though the one about Easter treats is a monument, too). My favorite bits here strangely have nothing to do with the overall “theme” (if such there is one) but then again maybe they do because, from one angle, this post is about being a writer, and as a writer I completely identified with the following sentiments, and would go so far as to say, these lines could only be thought/uttered by a writer:

    “I have often quipped that as far as I’m concerned, you can toss my shell in a ditch when I’m gone…”
    “Did I mention in any of my previous blogs that my mind runs along even at its steadiest pace, at around a thousand revs per second ?” [high five, bro!]
    “(Penneys is cheap and cheerful from a clothing point of view)”
    “I write like I speak.”
    “It’s amazing how easily I get distracted. I’m like the dog in the movie Up being distracted by a squirrel.”

    Great fun, and if by some doubtful chance, you have any detractors, make them pay by living forever!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s