I get some strange calls at times and do end up wondering, ‘why me!’
My girlfriend, who shall remain nameless rang me with an unusual request.
Girlfriend: (without preamble) I want you to ensure they play Jerusalem (aka The Holy City) at my funeral.
Me: Oh! That’s one of my favourites as well but what brought this on?
G: J and I heard it at a concert on Saturday and I decided I want it played at my funeral (begins humming the tune).
Me: But what makes you think you’ll die before me and what about J? Couldn’t you entrust him with this important wish?
G: He won’t remember and it’s not really his thing. And anyway, I’m older than you so I’ll probably go before you. I know you’ll remember this.
Me: (feeling uncertain) I guess I can do that. Just remember though – this becomes null and void if I die before you. I don’t want you haunting me after.
Here is another strange request!
Right out of the blue one day, my sister made a request. We were reminiscing recently on the fact that she had actually stood in line for the viewing of her friend’s grandmother’s body, when she was merely seven years old. I had refused to join her but it had not deterred her in the least bit.
So here we were years later, discussing that long ago episode.
Me: What did she look like?
Sis: Oh, the same as normal – like she was asleep! I peered to see if she was breathing but she wasn’t. I was tempted to touch her but decided against it.
Me: Oh no! I couldn’t do that.
Sis: I want you to pinch me HARD or poke me with a sharp pin when I die.
Me: (blanching) Whatttt? You’re joking of course.
Sis: No, I’m serious! I’ve heard of people getting buried or cremated when they’re actually alive. So I want you to promise me you’ll make sure I’m really dead before they bury me.
Me: I can’t pinch you. What will people think?
Sis: Well – just make sure you’re alone with my body and then do it. I’ve had nightmares of being buried alive so I want you to make sure I’m well and truly dead before they put me in the coffin. Okay?
Me: But, but … What if I die before you (I ask hopefully)?
Sis: I’ll die before you (she declares emphatically).
Me: How do you know and anyway, why are we having this conversation?
Me: I drawn the line at poking you with a pin – what would I say if I got caught? (Visions of being hauled before a judge who looks down his long, aristocratic nose at me and states, ‘You desecrated your sister’s body by poking her with a pin? What were you thinking of?’ fill my mind. My response of, ‘She made me promise to do so,’ sounds lame even in my mind).
My sister is waiting and continues to look at me intently.
Me: Oh, alright! But with one stipulation – you have to write a note to say that you asked me to pinch you and poke you.
What is with these people talking about death and making these strange and bizarre requests? And why me?
I then began to ponder on the hymns I would like played at my funeral. Hmmm … Perhaps ‘You Raise Me Up’ and ‘Nearer My God To Thee.’ Or, ‘Allelujah.’
I approach a relative to suggest he remember to put them in the Order of Service for my funeral.
His flat response: No, I don’t do those things.
Huh! Just like that! A firm and dismissive statement?
Why do I feel I have to keep my word when I have been coerced into making bizarre promises?
I show this post to a friend and she suddenly looks at me with a gleam in her eye and begins with, ‘Could you make sure they play…..
I quickly pipe in with, ‘I don’t do those things anymore!’
(C) Wendy Robinson March 2016
Postscript: What would you say in these circumstances? Would you grant your family or friend’s odd requests or would you airily dismiss them? I’m dying to know.
Disclaimer: All photos used are courtesy of the net.
When something is important enough you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. ~ Elon Musk