When A Funeral Sends You Running For Cover

John and Shirley Baker and Peter cropped

I remember where I was and what I was doing when Shirley called me and told me her bad news … she was dying.

I felt so awful …

But the rest of life and the universe just continued on as normal, as if Shirley was fine.

We kept on hanging out with John and Shirley as she continued down hill. Her spirits were high despite her ever decreasing health and comfort.

During one visit Shirley pounced on me with a question, “Will you sing for me at my funeral?”

Inside I wanted to run for cover …

I wanted to say “No!”

I wanted to tell her I wouldn’t be able to keep my voice from breaking down while trying to hold a tune.

I needed her to know that singing a song celebrating her life would be more than I could bear.

But if you knew Shirley you’d know I had to say “Yes.”

So together we played her favourite tunes and laughed like naughty little kids when she cheekily decided on an Elvis song … but John helped us to see some sense that it was a funeral after all. Elvis lost his #1 spot.

Shirley settled on “Reason Enough” as it was a song dear to her heart that celebrates trusting God despite our circumstances or troubles. She had known enough trouble but these months wrestling with death were beyond hard but as we listened the lyrics fitted like a glove “…so I won’t wait for signs and wonders to teach me how to trust, cos you’ve already proven Lord the depths of Your great love”.

I have to admit it’s a great song … but it’s a country song … what do you say to your dying friend when they ask you, a rock singer-songwriter, to sing a country song at their funeral … I nodded and I smiled.

The day of Shirley’s funeral came.

Shirley’s passion for enjoying life and trusting God was plainly evident at her funeral – the teal coloured casket she had chosen was a dead giveaway.

I sang my heart out for Shirley – for John, for her family, for her friends and for her memory. There was a bunch more vibrato in my rough rock voice than there ever is.

We remember you Shirley.

I’ll join you in heaven one day.

Till then I’ll remember your smile and your love for God.

I just wish you’d settled on that Elvis song and didn’t make me sing a country tune … we’re going to have a long talk about that when I catch up to you on the other side :p

Love ya

Pete


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