Spoiler! This is not a morbid post despite the following title: I went to my own funeral and Madonna


I can’t be the only one who’s planned their own funeral. I’m hoping it’s not an imminent event, but not one of us knows when we’ll say our last word or breathe our last breath.

I don’t personally consider thinking or talking about death and mortality as something morbid or taboo. Others may disagree. I’d rather not die anytime soon but I realised some time ago that the sooner I accepted it as a reality, the more I would make of my life. Now I think, when I do finally check out, what do I want people to say about me? What do I want my legacy to be? What would my obituary say? Just something to think about as it might be the only thing that is ever written about any of us. I’d rather just write my own and be done with it.

We now live in an era of predictability of death when terminal illnesses are common and predicted with an estimated timeline so that families, friends and the person themselves can prepare for the end. Talking about death is now less of a taboo – increasingly evident in the huge following of certain blogs written by people, many young, who are dying.

Our lives can change at the flick of a switch – an unexpected death, a terminal diagnosis or a lengthy spell in hospital for something unexpected. I’ve known all three to happen to friends this year. No one is immune from it and, no doubt, we secretly hope that it’s not us, despite statistics telling us that half of us will have cancer in our lifetime.

This post is about life, not death. About not wasting it or waiting for an illness (or death of a loved one) to wake us up and make the most of it. When I do eventually take the express elevator to who knows where (if it is a ‘where’), I’d rather my funeral was something I wanted it to be – ‘Paddy’s last hurrah!’ If you're lucky enough to receive an invitation (yes, there will be invitations), you're in for a memorable afternoon, and Madonna is in the programme.

My older brother introduced me to the Queen of Pop. He bought the ‘Like a Virgin’ 7” single (remember those?) which we played on rotation on our little family record player. He lost interest after that but I became a life long fan of the gay icon and creator of the perfect pop tune. In my opinion, she hasn't made a great one since the ‘Confessions’ era but her early songs still manage to make my hair stand on end. Whatever you think of her, she will have one hell of a legacy to leave behind. She may not be destined to sing live at my funeral, but as she’s played a significant part in the soundtrack to my life, she’s got to be there in the soundtrack to my farewell.