What’s on your deathbed playlist?

What if being dead includes hearing the last song forever? Like that song lingers in your ear… The one you can’t get rid of… Remember when you got a tune stuck in your head… Looping endlessly in your music mind, playing over and over and over again. Call it a catchy tune. Like the music in the elevator, and you spent the rest of the day humming “Amazing Grace” as played by the Hollyridge Strings or Montovani’s Orchestra. You can’t shake that tune. You’re stuck with it until some other tune catches you and you hum that one until another… Sometimes it’s embarrassing. You catch yourself humming a really stupid song that slipped through your defenses. There you are with “It’s a Small Small World” stuck in your music mind loop.

What if being dead means hearing that last tune forever. As if your eternal spirit carries that last bit of music into the hereafter and it lingers there.  Better hope you got a good one.  Eternity is a long time.  If you’re going to listen forever it really matters what you’re hearing at the end. People who are expert in Hospice care tell us that dying people continue to hear what’s going on around them unto the very last moments. That’s why it makes sense if you visit someone in a Hospice to talk about the fun things you did together. Even if they seem far gone.  They can barely squeeze your hand or bat an eyelash, yet they still hear everything.  Be sure to talk about your fondest memories. Talk about music that you both loved. Why not play that piece of music?  Heaven forbid the last thing you hear is somebody stupid ringtone and you spend all of eternity humming that marimba song.

So what is on your deathbed playlist? You do want to choose your deathbed music, don’t you? The sounds around Hospice always seem to be hushed up, as if everybody is trying to be so quiet. What if there was something really upbeat. Or a special song like “Our Song” whatever it is. I sure want to pick the last song I’m gonna hum for the rest of eternity.

What made me even think of this? I was listening to a wonderful band called the Chivalrous Crickets. They play Irish and Celtic stuff with a lot of tin whistle, fiddle and pipes. Some of their stuff is just rips!  A lot of Irish tunes come as a medley with a slow start, something medium in the middle and the third part comes at a frantic pace, rollicking, riotous, rip-roaring, rowdy, and raucous. I was listening to their version of the Bonnie Prince Charlie March, tapping my foot, slapping my thigh.  I thought, “this is exactly what I want to be able to hear for the rest of eternity.” That started me thinking about my deathbed playlist.

I imagine myself in Hospice. I’m checking out. Last call. But Hospice background music is all quiet, mellow, and serene… I want to romp into eternity with raucous stuff that elevates my spirit, not elevator music.

I want music that makes me want to dance and slap my thigh. If I am lingering at the edge of death, I may just bat my eyelids in time with the music. But if rollicking music can’t arouse me, then I’m gone. That’s what I want to hear as I exit this life. Let me go to eternity whistling a tune that elevates my spirit. 

Everyone has music that makes you feel great. Make a list.  If you get run over by a truck it was a waste of time, but if you are going to linger on a deathbed, then play your list.  Pick your tunes now.  At the very least, make a playlist on Spotify.  Call it the Deathbed Playlist.

I want to strike a deal with that band. I want to pay them a fee now and when I get to hospice, they come and play music that just rips. Play Bonnie Prince Charlie March. Pull out all the stops. Play it through and then do it double time.  If I don’t slap my thigh or tap my foot or wiggle a toe… I’m dead. Tell the doctors. 


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