I know it sounds odd. But. If you were dying–and you knew it…and it wasn’t immediate–what music would you want in your ears when you left this earth?
It’s odd because I have a long list of funeral songs. But this is a different question.
I remember hearing about my friend’s brother, who listened almost exclusively to Michael Card’s music. He wanted it cranked up loud. His final breath was accompanied by soaring music that enveloped the room.
I think I would like to hear my loved ones singing to me. When my dad died my siblings and I crowded around his hospital bed and sang until we couldn’t remember any more hymns to sing. The first night we didn’t have hymnbooks and mixed and matched verses. There were false starts, dangling middles and strong familiar refrains. Laughter mingled with tears. The second night we had hymnbooks and it’s a funny thing: the time had a heavier quality to it. I liked it better singing what we had stored in our heads, mistakes and all.
Within my extended family, loved ones are keeping vigil with a grandmother everyone calls Honey. My brother walked past her room and heard his daughters singing to their grandma:
And praise Thee as long as thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
With its ability to reach down into the tiny tendrils of your consciousness, music is powerful.
I’m listening to an acoustic blues CD by Kelly Joe Phelps, Lead Me On. The tracks are one-take songs. He sings a Blind Willie Johnson song, Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed. I have yet to figure out what the song means, but it’s got a great title. Another track is a Blind Willie McTell song We Got to Meet Death One Day.
You’re going to glory after a while,
You’re gonna see death and smile,
So…when it’s your ready-or-not moment, what would you want to hear?