I got to the organ loft before the funeral to find a mystery singer. This isn’t unheard of, but it’s kind of annoying, as Super Funeral Organist, to not have heard about this until, say, I get to church. Now, I do not mind mystery singers, as long as I know about them ahead of time.
I do mind them when they’re just announcing their presence half an hour before the funeral, however. But as a pro, I realize these things happen, and it’s probably not the fault of the mystery singer. Still, grumble. But wait! There’s more. A mystery organist would be showing up, just to play the last song.
OK, this was getting annoying. Look, funerals suck for everyone, I get that. Nonetheless, someone needs to be in charge and make sure all these things get communicated to Super Funeral Organist.
But, fine. The funeral started and everything was off as normal. The deceased was only 39, I had noticed. I wondered what happened, as we all should when someone that young dies.
I noticed there was no casket, just an urn. And during the homily, the priest talked about her troubled life. And her troubled, surprise death.
At that point, I could put two and two together. Though no one said it explicitly, the deceased had perished either from an OD or a suicide, neither of which bode well for an open casket. The pain of the family was quite palpable, and the apparent cause of death was a big factor.
At that point, Super Funeral Organist’s irritations? Well, they don’t matter as much, do they?
That’s the thing about funerals, versus weddings. Weddings are (supposed to be) happy days. They’re long planned. We try very hard to avoid surprises.
But funerals? Even with preplanning, they’re not fully planned, or timed, or convenient. Things happen, and many of these things are bad, but they likely pale in comparison to the fact that someone beloved has died.
So yes, there are irritations. But even with all of those, the role Super Funeral Organist plays, offering music that hopefully brings comfort, is well worth it. It never hurts to remember that.
Please pray for this family, and for all those who must deal with tragic deaths.