What do you sing at a friend’s wake?
It shouldn’t be a sad song – do you really want to add dark clouds when the loss, especially like this one, is already so sad?
My buddy was 48 and a regular tennis player … and he collapsed on the court from a massive heart attack.
He also happened to be a songwriter (actual, professional) and a well-known emcee of open-mic shows in Southern California. So, last night, his widow organized a final open-mic night at the funeral home … to send him off.
The room was packed — just seeing all those people was a tribute to the many lives he touched.
And there were acoustic guitars everywhere … a PA system had been set up … and each of us took a turn and played for John one last time. When it was my turn, there were still many people who wanted to play for him.
“Can you give us just one short song?” the emcee asked me.
Just one … I thought I’d have time for two. What was I going to do? As the emcee prepped my microphone, I realized there was only one song right for the moment.
“Give Me Love” by George Harrison. It offers something to the living and the dead:
Give me hope
Help me cope, with this heavy load
Trying to touch and reach you with
heart and soul
It’s all there — yearning, longing, pleading, humility, faith, determination, sincerity, optimism, and love … And a simple chord progression that manages to dodge sounding melodramatic.
I was glad to have those words coming out of my mouth. They’re reminders to all of us, my beloved friends. Keep yearning and believing.