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Friday, July 6, 2007

When I Get Where I'm Goin'

This is going to be a long one... as I don't always handle death well... and I think writing and getting stuff out of my head and my heart and "on paper" is a healthy outlet for me... so I went to a funeral this morning for my step-grandmother (ok... if I must be "literal" it's my EX step-dad's step mom.... but a) she was in my life longer than she was not.... b) she was the only mom he really ever knew and c) it's easier to explain this way)... and they played this song as part of the graveside services...

When I Get Where I'm Going
by Brad Paisley from his Time Well Wasted album

When I get where I'm going
On the far side of the sky
The first thing that I'm gonna do
Is spread my wings and fly.

I'm gonna land beside a lion
And run my fingers through his mane
Or I might find out what it's like
To ride a drop of rain.

Chorus:
Yeah, when I get where I'm goin'
There'll be only happy tears
I'll shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years

And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear
Yeah when I get where I'm goin'
Don't cry for me down here.

I'm gonna walk with my grand daddy
And he'll match me step for step
And I'll tell him how I missed him
Every minute since he left
And then I'll hug his neck.

Yeah, when I get where I'm goin'
There'll be only happy tears
I'll shed the sins and struggles
I have carried all these years
And I'll leave my heart wide open
I will love and have no fear

Yeah, when I get where I'm goin'
Don't cry for me down here.

So much pain and so much darkness
In this world we stumble through
All these questions I can't answer
So much work to do.

But when I get where I'm goin'
And I see my maker's face
I'll stand forever in the light
Of his amazing grace

Yeah, when I get where I'm goin'
Oh, when I get where I'm goin'
There'll be only happy tears
Hallelujah
I will love and have no fear
When I get where I'm goin'
Yeah, when I get where I'm goin'...

Its only times like THIS in life that it makes you realize the true fragility of life itself. Must we REALLY wait for times like this to fully appreciate all the gifts and blessing we currently have... is it not NOW that we should learn to bury the hatchet, raise our chins and be proud of who we are, what we have accomplished instead of spending lives reaching for something we'll never attain... I'm not saying not to live and work towards hopes and dreams and goals, but don't lose sight of your life today and all that is happening in the here and now...

The HERE and NOW is what you have control over (if you want to even put it that way -- I mean, do WE REALLY have control over anything in our lives?)... isn't it all just a perpetual orchestrated chain of events? I think so too... it's what you can make a difference in. Just don't spend so much of your life planning for the future that you lose sight of the present.

I got to see my step-dad Johnny and his wife, Kim. I saw Uncle Wylie and his wife Sira. Uncle Wylie's son Mark and his wife, Susan. I saw Johnny's son, Rodney and his wife... I don't know how to spell her name. :) I saw Johnny's oldest friend, Doug Price... and the rest were strangers (to me) there gathered to celebrate a life of someone... a mother to some, a friend to others, a sister to others... so sad that it takes things like this to get people together to appreciate "family" and what it really means.

The service was nice... brief... there was no rain which was a blessing in itself since it's pretty much done nothing BUT rain for the last month.

When you are surrounded by the ominous cloud of death... it's times like this when I, too, have wondered how my service would be... what would I want there.. what wouldn't I want. I don't want a "funeral"... and a big box... I don't want to be stuck in the ground or have my family ride in a hearse behind me... though I do like the idea of a permanent "home" for remains... I'd honestly rather be cremated and have my ashes sprinkled on Aspen Mountain in Colorado. I like the thought, though, that should someone ever want/need to come visit me...that there is a permanent "home" for me. I don't know... I know if it were one of my children... I'd be very torn... but I'd want them to be with me... and not some place all by themselves... though, again, having a final "home" or resting place would seem the right thing to do. Not thinking in a morbid sense... but ...well, there's a little boy that recently earned his wings after a courageous battle with cancer and since his family is military they chose to have him cremated since they don't know where their final home will be... so, that makes perfect sense to me, as a mother.

But... how many people are just buried and forgotten about? What a waste of land. I think I'll stick to the whole ashes to ashes / dust to dust thing... and just go "home" to Colorado. At least when my children would want to visit me... they could look up at those majestic mountains and have a "God" moment.

The song choices are also important... I wouldn't want someone arbitrarily throwing something together... I think music is a big part of my life. At certain times in my life, the power of the lyrics of certain songs has been my only saving grace. At my grandmother's funeral service, we played Elvis gospel music -- that was her hunka hunka burnin love! :) She got ME turned on to Elvis. He was the king baby! As my two cents, I chose Angels Among Us as my song for her at her service...because I always felt that way about her. I truly believe she was an angel on earth.
What songs would people pick for me? I would certainly HOPE Amazing Grace would NOT be played... I don't know why but since they seem to play that at every funeral I've ever attended -- it just gives me bad feelings. I don't dislike the song, but it's just so depressing. I love the song Blessed by Elton John... that's a fantastic song that would be great... I don't really like the super depressing songs the ones that would make you just... want to burst into tears... I think the songs should send a message and be a celebration of life... evoke a memory... something positive that touches you. I definitely think mine would have to have a country edge do it because frankly, I'm a country girl... Something like "Life Ain't Always Beautiful" by Gary Alan -- aww... love his voice!

songs like.... Believe by Brooks & Dunn.... the lyrics are just moving ---

I raise my hands, bow my head
I'm finding more and more truth in the words written in red
They tell me that there's more to life than just what i can see

I can't quote the book
The chapter or the verse
You can't tell me it all ends
In a slow ride in a hearse
You know I'm more and more convinced
The longer that i live
Yeah, this can't be
No, this can't be
No, this can't be all there is
--------------------------------------- good song

Another one... You'll Be There by the king of country music -- George Strait.

At my uncle Randy's funeral, they had an open casket (no WAY man, I don't do dead bodies) but they played a great song -- by Mercy Me... I Can Only Imagine... great song... so true.... River of Time by the Judds was played at a friend's funeral... I really like the lyrics of that one... or the one... it's from a Disney movie -- Phil Collins sings it... You'll Be In My Heart. I think every Texan should have something played by Merle or Willie! :) Silver Wings... the duet that Merle did with Jewel... that's a beautiful song.

At Don's memorial service... they had the opportunity for those wanting to eulogize him to come up... and I had written and prepared a tribute to him... and I think that allowing people to come forward and attest to someone's journey in life and how they'd been an impact to them.... that it's just an important piece of closure that everyone needs to have. They had Don's uncle at his memorial service and he played an acoustic guitar... played a song called Life By The Drop by Stevie Ray.... you know, I'll never again hear that song without thinking of Don. And it's not a bad thing... music is a great association and coping tool.

Do I live the kind of life worthy of someone's time... of someone's thoughts... do I give enough of myself... do I make people my interest and let them know I care? I hope to live the kind of life that is worthy of heaven.

2 comments:

PhotosbyGK said...

Funerals do you make you think, don't they. LOL

Bill and Christi said...

Wow, April. . .(drying my eyes). . .you left ME with a lot to think about.

"I an Only Imagine" was played at my uncle's funeral as well -- wonderful, thought-provoking song!