Sunday 6 May 2012

My Final Song

A Piece of Fiction.

 My name is Victoria. I have the same plans and dreams as you, but unfortunately I won't get to make them a reality, for my time on this earth is running out. I won't bore you with any more than the essential details. Those details are: the cancer has eaten away at me for a very long time, and my journey is sadly coming to an end.

It's the weirdest situation to be in. I can still close my eyes and dream of trekking my way across India, but I'll never get to do it again. Never get to hold Bradley's hand on top of a mountain, nor will I get to see Ben Folds in concert any time soon. The options have decreased faster than I ever imagined.

But I have one huge decision left to make, and I only have days to make it. I'll tell you the decision I've been pondering: what should be the last song I ever listen to?

I made the mistake of asking this question to my family, who all handled it in different ways. My Mother asked how I could worry about such insignificant things. My father told me not to be so morbid, before forcing his Black Sabbath CDs on me.

Bradley made me a beautiful CD. He was caught between poignant ballads and cheesily uplifting songs. I don't blame him. What songs do you play to a dying girl? Don't tell him this but the second half of the CD bored me. Too many piano ballads. I know I'm on my death bed but a girl still needs to rock out sometimes.

The last song on his mix was Warren Zevon's "Keep Me In Your Heart", which is one of the most beautiful songs ever written about death and love. I cried for six minutes straight (despite the song only being 3.18). It was a perfect last song, at least it would have been, but it didn't quite nail how I was feeling.

Bradley was always great at picking the music, he just wasn't very good at loving me. His attempt at making up for this with a perfect last song was a nice idea, but doesn't quite make up for the emotional distance he kept from me over the last two years.

And Black Sabbath wouldn't cut it either.

I woke up on a Tuesday morning in a hospice, with a nurse in front of me who looked like she'd seen a ghost. Then I turned my weary head to the left and saw Aunt Geraldine. She hadn't been seen around the family since 1996. The bad news is that her arrival certainly meant I was close to dead. The good news? Geraldine introduced me to Joni Mitchell. There was hope yet that I would find the perfect song for my end credits. 

Puff Daddy's 'I'll Be Missing You' came on the radio, yuck. I asked the nurse to turn it off. She nodded 'yes' and immediately tried to scoop some ice cream into my mouth. I said "No, the radio", and she again tried feeding me. 

Five minutes or maybe five days later and everyone I'd ever loved crowded over me. It was a beautifully touching moment, the perfect ending to a life where I have fallen in love four times and been stung by a wasp eleven times.

But it wasn't complete. Sure, you're thinking, 'she deserves another fifty years', but that's not it. We get what we get then someone else gets to roll the dice. That I'm okay with, I just desperately wanted to hear something exceptionally beautiful one last time.

'Ave Maria' began playing from my iPad, which my sister was holding. I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, this is my favourite piece of music, which I've sung either out loud or in my head every day of my life. On the other hand, what on earth makes Jessica think she can use my iPad? I had no energy to complain, and conceded that I'd have very little use for Apple products in the afterlife.

I closed my eyes and indulged in the aching beauty of Leontyne Price's voice, and came to the conclusion that everybody in the world is absolutely beautiful. 

Apart from Jessica. Why does she have my iPad? 

She handed me the device. "Maybe you should pick a song," she said. I looked at her and smiled. I turned to Bradley. He was here, he'd tried. I realised how hard it is for a guy like him. These thoughts filled me with an unexpected peace.

I drearily looked at the screen in front of me. I fumbled my way through my mp3's. And then I found it, the piece of perfectness I'd been searching for. 

I hit play and listened to my final song.

Care to share?


  1. I like it! It's such a refreshing idea, the last song. And you do a very good job of making sure it doesn't become sentimental. A lot of the lines are really unique and stick out; I like the section about the ipad. It was a lovely piece, with a matching tone. Your narrator was clearly defined and pretty likable. Great job!

    1. Thanks so much -- wrote this on a whim, and felt unsure about it -- so your first comment was very reassuring!

  2. This is lovely! I like the ipad and wasp parts, and very much that you don't tell us what your song is...nice work! ~Kate

  3. I've often thought about the music I'd like played at for my funeral and the mix tape/spotify list I'll sort out for my wake but I've not thought about knowing when my final song might be. For some reason I've never imagined that I will know when that will be. I really liked the concept of your post and how you delivered it.

  4. Loved this story. Sad and funny at the same time. GREAT ending.

  5. Just beautiful. specially the ipad bit