So I helped pick out funeral readings for Grace's mother, a woman who died at 91 years; the last few of them she was missing a number of brain cells and became kinder and gentler. We should all be so lucky, really. Between the sexual orientation of most of Grace's friends and my increasing desire not to use what faith I have remaining to threaten or bully other people, and the natural desire of Christian (Roman Catholic) lectionary/liturgy pickers to promote their own relatively narrow Way, I found I had trouble finding any choices that suggested that God was not a respecter of labels or a cosmic person of very short temper.
I also haven't been to Mass in about six years because my parish collapsed a year or so before my marriage and the faith thing did not get me through either of them (now I suppose I could be inspired by the infinite sight of ways people can shoot the church they run in the foot, but I think they have run out of feet and are now working on destroying the rest of the body). So I had trouble suggesting any hymns because I have been resolutely shuttering that area of my mind.
The funeral liturgy was not actually as badly done as it might have been. If they read the instructions in the front of the sacramentary, most services would improve beyond recognition, but reading the manual is no more frequent in RC liturgy, at least in New England, than it in any other endeavor. Although the peroration on how living to old age is a sign of the Lord's favor was rather dubious when the length of days had killed off all of her own generation and she was about, with great reluctance by her daughter, to be consigned to the minimum security prison of an old folks home. Oh, don't get me started, I know they have a lot to do, but would it kill a priest to ask a few questions about the deceased before talking about how we (mostly lesbians or liberals) will want to go carry out her ideals and principles (mostly homophobic to an absurd extent, back when she had any)?
But I was still blind-sided when the over-amped (but I gotta say, on-pitch) tenor belted out "Be Not Afraid" and I was shaken with racking sobs. I think it may be because we're all going to die and whether I outlive you or you me, it is going to be tough on someone.
And I am also still sad about parts of my life which are as dead as Marley's ghost, if they were ever any more alive.