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I recently read a New York Times article by Jon Karborn about making a deathbed playlist. The article suggested that as well as your Will, your Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) and Advance Statements, you should also make a deathbed playlist or “singing will” as the author calls his. Whereas people often consider what music they would like played at their funeral (in my opinion, it never seems to be loud enough – I want mine played LOUD!), they have not given thought to what they would like to be played as they die.
Lovely idea I thought, but how to choose…… it’s kind of like when people ask you what is your favourite song – so many, it’s impossible to say. Who knows what I may feel like listening to as I lie dying??? If I’m in pain, will I feel like hearing anything too loud or heavy? – this from the person who thinks about whether, if she has a car crash and is lying trapped and unable to reach the stereo, the music she has chosen for the journey may turn out to be really irritating.
Is it best just to ensure that those who are close to you know what music you like and hope they will choose the right thing? I had the privilege of being with my Dad as he was dying. I hope I made the right choice of music. I had already made some various CDs for him over the years because music was one of the few things he was still able to connect with and enjoy as his Alzheimer’s progressed. On one of the days I lay on the bed beside him and sang along to one of the home-made CDs – some of his favourites and some I hoped he would like, I remember in particular Minnie Driver’s “Everything I’ve Got in My Pocket” seemed to be pertinent and soothing and has become very precious to me now. Then Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu (something he had had on repeat a few years before) and Hayley Westenra, among others. It was a sad but very special time.
So, what to do…… Maybe I will make a few lists, keep my iPod close (iPod- is that a bit retro now?), and share my thoughts on the matter with those I love. There will definitely be some Frazey Ford – currently on repeat for me. I guess, as with a Will, you should review your playlist if you get married, divorced, experience something life-changing (or every five years in any event 😊) because, as we all know, these things can affect how you experience the music…
And I know I must get round to those LPAs soon!
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