At my grandpa’s funeral procession many, many years ago, the scratchy strains of “Theme from The Godfather” blared from the funeral car. I was too young to question why Lolo, a respected town judge, would make the final journey with something decidedly mafia-ish, but for years I couldn’t bear to listen to that song.
It was the same when an uncle’s friend died. His “farewell music” was “Don’t Forget to Remember Me.” This was the ‘70s, and the BeeGees was really big. Call it phobia, but I would get really scared whenever the song played on. I was young, and death was something I could not fathom. Death was, in fact, along the lines of ghosts and the horror stories fed to me by the yaya who lived for “Gabi ng Lagim” on AM radio.
As I grew older and got used to making that somber procession past Eternidad Street, the fear of funeral music eventually waned. It could also be that the funerals I went to had “predictable” music. From “Oh My Papa/Oh My Mama” to “I Believe” to “Lupa” to “Hindi Kita Malilimutan.” Tearduct-stimulating music, according to a funeral-march veteran. (Incidentally, my post-partum depression was triggered by canned music from the funeral car that passed by my street. A few notes, and suddenly I was sobbing like crazy, fast-forwarding to the day when my then two-day old daughter would trade me for marriage. :p But I digress, hehehe.)
In any case, my OC tendency for lumping music into imagined genres (e.g. funereal, ho-hum, ewww, ear-splitting, etc.) hit a blank wall when, at the funeral of a first-generation Chinese immigrant, they played a song that I'm sure rivals "My Way" in terms of popularity with the videoke crowd.
And as Marco Sison's trite "It's Just a Make-Believe" blared from the caro--the chorus reinforced by bystanders who couldn't help singing along--I remembered a groovy uncle who has since passed on. Maybe we should have honored his wishes. But then again, "My Sharona" is not exactly appropriately funereal, is it?