Gavin worked in the music industry for a long time – so music has a special significance to him – and he knew it did for his mother-in-law Dorothy, who as a young woman had strong connections with the theatre.
But unfortunately, the family didn’t get the chance to talk to Dorothy about her choices in music for her funeral.
It’s something he now urges people to do.
“For me as a person who’s heavily involved with music, I saw it as a major responsibility to be the musical producer. But I was trying to second guess how she’d want to be portrayed. Dot was in to music, it meant a lot to her. So it would have been good to have that conversation,” Gav said.
“Have a chat with your family – especially elderly parents. Get around to talking to them about the music they’d like to have at their funeral.
“We could work it out and it all came together in the end and we chose great songs but possibly not the ones she would have chosen,” he said.
For Dot’s funeral the family chose an aria from La Boheme, which they knew was a favourite of hers, Tiny Dancer by Elton John, Roxy Music’s Avalon – because she spent a lot of time there and George McRae’s Rock Ya Baby.
“We found that because we didn’t know what Dot wanted, it meant that suddenly we found ourselves accommodating all our family’s wishes – you sort of fall into the default position where you’re thinking about the siblings feelings and whether their needs are being met through the music.
“The more information you have from the source – the person themselves – the more it allows every one to step back and be impartial – and that in turn takes the pressure off the people left behind.
“But one good thing – we didn’t have any doubt that it was important to give her a good wake.”
Have you ever asked someone what songs they would like played at their funeral?
Doug, from Aberdeen in Scotland did when he asked Nick Cave which songs he would like played at his funeral. Read Nick’s surprising answer at The Red Hand Files.