top of page
  • Writer's pictureKevin O'Keefe

Funeral Music

Updated: Jan 25, 2019

This morning I wondered about my funeral. Not in a morose way, just that I wish I could be there and that it might be fun. Not that I need to hear tributes or recollections but just that it would be fun to be a fly on the wall, in a Huck Finn kind of way, except I’d really be dead. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m kind of ready, at least I think I am, but I’m healthy and relatively young for death. I’m 60 or very close to I know this has to end, that I won’t be the exception to this rule, the way I made myself the exception to so many others.

This morning I was programming the music for my funeral. I think I’ll start with a trio of late Bob Dylan tunes. Maybe use them as a silent mediation.

How you ever noticed that when you are given the opportunity to silently mediate at someone’s funeral you think about your stomach growling, or why you said that stupid thing to the sister of the deceased or if you’re going to get a parking ticket. I have. That’s why I want everyone to listen to this song by Dylan and reflect on what message I may be trying to impart to them about my life or this life:

Only one thing I did wrong

Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

What happened that last day in Mississippi for this character? One thing I know about Dylan: never confuse him for the character he is writing about. That guy is as slippery as an egg on ice.

And maybe I should warn the people at my funeral to not confuse me with that character. I guess it would be natural for them to think, “What did Kevin do that he regrets? What is he trying to tell me?”

Dylan goes on:

So many things that we never will undo

I know you're sorry, I'm sorry too

That would be some efficient genius for apologizing for all the bullshit I put those close to me through. And in a blanket kind of non-specific way. A way that would allow me to have my funeral cake and eat it too. You see I could send the message of apology and forgiveness without ever really acknowledging the deep pain that I’ve been the giver or receiver of.

When I was twenty years old I went to see my first shrink. I was depressed and living in Binghamton NY during the greyest winter on earth. If you haven’t ever slogged through the doom of Binghamton in late January, spare yourself.

Then I had the misfortune to go to some shrink that the college health center turned me onto. Dude literally had a pipe, a sweater vest and a beard. The dude was a doctor! Doctor of what? Pain? I had to call him that Doctor.

I would sit in his office not talking, while the radiator clanged and clanked and hissed and burped. One time he asked me to do a visualization of my death and then my funeral. He took me through the process with lots of visual clues, I was impressionable and into fantasy so I took the trip. Then he hit me with a body blow at the end when he told me: “And no one came, Kevin. No one came to your funeral.” I had some suicidal ideation at the time and I guess he hoped to cure me of it that way. I’m really not sure, even today, what the dude’s intention was. Then he leaned back in his chair and asked me how I felt, how it felt that no one came to my funeral? "It felt like shit," I said. I was depressed when I went into the dude’s office and worse when I came out.

It still feels like shit.

Dylan says it best:

Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast

I'm drownin' in the poison, got no future, got no past

But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free

I've got nothin' but affection for all those who've sailed with me

I wonder if I could get Dylan to sing it live?

Talk about having the last word.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page