Can You Play This at My Funeral?

I have a playlist on Spotify called “A Celtic Gathering” and it’s all my favorite traditional Irish and Scottish songs, and it’s over 25 hours of music. It’s my pride and joy.

And I want it played at my funeral.

I know SUPER macabre for this blog, but I want my wishes known. As the daughter of a line of cemetery employees, I’ve come to be in favor of the “Good Death.”

If you don’t know Caitlin Doughty, she’s the purveyor of the Order of the Good Death, and I love everything she stands for. I mean, by purveyor, she encourages people to have Good Deaths, she isĀ not a murderer.

And what do I mean about a “Good Death”? I mean, everyone in your family (and your friends too) know what you want at your funeral so there isn’t any questioning or wondering about whether she would have wanted/liked dot dot dot. It’s just there, already known. Do you want to be cremated? Got it. Do you want to be buried with a tree? Cool. Do you want to be blast out of a cannon with glitter? Go for it! But tell someone first!

So, get to planning. And as blog as my witness, I will have “A Celtic Gathering” played at my funeral. But hopefully not before I get to listen to it a few more times.

 

 

My Favorite (St. Patrick’s Day) Things

I could easily make the argument that St. Patrick’s day is the best holiday of all the holidays. 

Instead of making the argument though, I’ll just make a list:

  1. There is a really easy dress code to follow. 

-Yup. You just wear green, white, and orange together and you’ll look like you’re the most patriotic Irish person on the planet. I mean, really, all you have to do is wear something that looks vaguely Irish and you’re in.

   2. Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s day. 

It’s true. Even if you don’t have a drop of Irish heritage in you, you can still totally join in on the festivities. Don’t believe me? See #1. 

3. It’s all about drinking good beer with good friends. 

-No gifts required. And it’s not like Christmas where you’re just drinking to make your family more tolerable. You’re drinking to feel warm and fuzzy and have a good time with friends. Shouldn’t that be every holiday?

4. It’s always on March 17. 

You don’t have to check a calendar or count back to the third Thursday after a blood moon or whatever. You can just expect it every March. Like an old friend. 

5. You feel connected to your ancestors but also the Irish people. 

Believe me. The Irish people definitely celebrate St. Patrick’s day. And they’re proud of that. But Guinness and shamrocks aren’t their entire culture. Which is why St. Patrick’s day is the perfect time to learn more about Ireland if you don’t know much. You might discover something about yourself too. 

Cheers! Slainte! Enjoy! 

And most importantly, have a pint for me! 

Say Your Goodbyes

Fun fact time!

“The Parting Glass” is an old Scottish and Irish song that was traditionally sung at the end of a party, gathering, or regular hootenanny. In fact, it was so popular in Scotland that only “Auld Lang Syne” could trump it. It survives today through traditional Celtic bands and singers like Loreena McKennitt and The Wailin’ Jennys. And, of course, through yours truly.

Here’s the text of the song:

Of all the money e’er I had,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm e’er I’ve done,
Alas! it was to none but me.
And all I’ve done for want of wit
To mem’ry now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all.

If I had money enough to spend,
And leisure time to sit awhile,
There is a fair maid in this town,
That sorely has my heart beguiled.
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips,
I own she has my heart in thrall,
Then fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.

Oh, all the comrades e’er I had,
They’re sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts e’er I had,
They’d wish me one more day to stay,
But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be with you all.

For whatever reason, I am completely besotted with this song. I love the melody, the meaning. (And now that I know the lyrics, I can stop picturing this metaphorical closing glass door when I hear the title.)

But what I think I’m attracted to most about this song is the idea of letting everyone know your intention and how you feel about them. You have to go, but one more glass, one more song will give you the time to say goodbye. None of the “this isn’t goodbye. It’s see you later.” None of the drifting away through unanswered text messages. None of the missed phone calls that get lost in translation, anyway. A goodbye that says if I see you again, that would be great, but if I don’t, joy be with you.

Maybe I have some deep-seated anxiety about people leaving, but the idea of being firm and final with every goodbye actually eases me. “I’ll talk to you later” leaves, literally, so much unsaid. But when you’re forced to say goodbye, you can tell them exactly what you feel and ensure that the person in question knows exactly where you stand. That’s a priceless gift when tomorrow is never promised, when we never know when a goodbye will be our last.

So, say goodbye whenever you leave and actually mean it. (You don’t have to sing “The Parting Glass,” but it would be nice if you are in my presence.) Just never leave people hanging on a word that won’t come. Say goodbye as if you will never see them again, and hope against hope, that someday, you will.