14 Songs: My Final Mixtape

Morbid much? Actually, no. I’m actually so optimistic I don’t even have a will, despite having a book about “how to write your will” sitting in my living room for almost a year now. It’s too bad I can’t just blog out my will, or it would have been done months ago.

That being said–and being of sound mind and body (both debatable)–here are my wishes for my funeral. Be warned–it might seem like I’m kidding, but I’m not. My entire life has been a contrast of “took the road less-taken” and “really never left Fargo,” so why not change the rules on my final day here?

In lieu of flowers, buy roses and give them to each other. 

Pets Welcome. 

And will someone please return the “How To Write Your Will” book to my sister, Tari? It’s sitting in my living room.

Funeral Start Time: 4:00pm 

Location: The Sanctuary. Duh. 

Why 4pm? Because it’s Happy Hour. No long sermons. No sad stories. I thought a Taco Bar would be appropriate but blasphemous–and now is not the time to laugh at God, unless you’re Regina Spektor.

4:00-4:05 “My Town” by Montgomery Gentry

Where I was born, where I was raised, where I keep all my yesterdays…

Quite possibly my lasting legacy to the advertising world. This was the theme song to a commercial for the RedHawks that literally came to me in my sleep, brought to life by Dr. Jim Heilman and the good folks at Sundog.

It still lives on here: My Town RedHawks Commercial

4:05-4:09 “Love, Me” by Collin Raye

If you get there before I do, don’t give up on me.
I’ll meet you when my chores are through;
I don’t know how long I’ll be.
But I’m not gonna let you down, darling wait and see.
And between now and then, till I see you again,
I’ll be loving you. Love, me.

I want this to be the happiest of gatherings, but if you get through this song without shedding a tear, you’re a better man than I am. Many of these songs are simply great life lessons, and reminders to love each other.

4:09-4:13 “Just The Two Of Us” by Will Smith

‘Cause I know I loved you more than life itself
Then to my knees, and I begged the Lord please
Let me be a good daddy, all he needs
Love, knowledge, discipline too
I pledge my life to you

Thus starts the four-song tribute to my kids, packed full of wisdom I hope they never forget, and pass onto their own families.

4:13-4:17 “Bella” by Angus & Julia Stone

So you took her hand and she gave a look
That sent you to the moon
And there you spoke the words of a gentleman
Can I have this dance with you?
Can I share this dance with you?
For most of her life, she’s been my only dance partner. And to quote another tune, “If I had known that would be our last dance, I’d have asked the band to play on and on and on…”
4:17-4:22 “Every Time I Think Of You” by The Babys
Every time I think of you
It always turns out good
Every time I’ve held you
I thought you understood
People say a love like ours
Will surely pass
But I know a love like ours
Will last and last
I know most parents sing lullabies to their children about things like cradles and sheep and stars, but this was the song I sang to Hunter and Bella–pretty much every night for two years–including the backup vocals. Every. Single. Time.
4:22-4:25 “Love Without End, Amen” by George Strait
Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us.
He said, “Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then…
It’s a love without end, amen. It’s a love without end, amen.”
Life lessons from a guy who married his high school sweetheart, Norma, back in 1971.
4:25-4:29 “The Walk” by Sawyer Brown
Daddy took me by the hand
He said, “I know where we’re going, and I understand…
Don’t worry, boy–it’ll be all right”
There should be more songs about having amazing parents. I owe them more than I could possibly repay–except by passing what they taught me on to my own kids.
Legacies are the greatest gifts of all.
4:29-4:34 “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová
You have suffered enough
And warred with yourself
It’s time that you won
This one’s for my closest friends, especially those who have helped me through my struggle and whom I hopefully was lucky enough to help through theirs. That lyric gets me every time. Rooting for you all, always.
4:34-4:38 “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” by Alicia Keys 
I don’t wanna forget the present is a gift
And I don’t wanna take for granted the time you may have here with me
‘Cause Lord only knows another day is not really guaranteed
So every time you hold me
Hold me like this is the last time
Every time you kiss me
Kiss me like you’ll never see me again
I’ve failed at so many things. Thousands. But I think I’ve succeeded in making the most of every day. Some songs are great reminders to take nothing for granted.
4:38-4:42 “Say” by John Mayer 
Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open
Say what you need to say.
I will leave this world with everyone I care about knowing exactly how I feel about them…because I lived by this song. Say what you need to say.
And don’t wait to say it tomorrow, because…
4:42-4:46 “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks
‘Cause if tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she’s my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face this world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes?
I’ve said before, “I think the world would be a better place if we all had to attend one funeral a week.” I also think the world would be a better place if we all listened to this song every morning.
Perspective is a wonderful thing.
4:46-4:50 “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong
I see friends shaking hands.
Saying, “How do you do?”
They’re really saying,
“I love you.”
Every great concert has that one song everyone sings along to–at my funeral, let it be this one. A) It’s a great song with so much appreciation for life, and B) How much fun would it be to hear everyone trying to sing like Louis Armstrong?
4:50-4:55 “Keep Me In Your Heart” by Warren Zevon
Shadows are falling and I’m running out of breath
Keep me in your heart for a while
If I leave you it doesn’t mean I love you any less
Keep me in your heart for a while.
I thought this song was about lovers being temporarily apart, but the more I listened to it I realized it was a forever-farewell. And it’s Warren Zevon.
4:55-5:00 “Peace” by O.A.R. 
I just wanna make you laugh
I just wanna see that smile
Babe, we’re only here, oh…for a little while
I just wanna hold you till we fall asleep…
I want love, I want us, I want you, I want me, I want peace.
We finish with my favorite word.
My favorite salutation.
Sung by my favorite band.
And then everyone (including me) leaves, smiling.
With 60 minutes of Happy Hour to be continued somewhere close by.
And peace.