Dragonfly’s Eye: Instructions for my Funeral

Marie Eaton

I have often thought that after death, we just become part of the larger great spirit, and there have been moments in my life where it seems the fabric between here and the beyond rips open, and we are given a glimpse. One such time led me to think about what might happen to my remains.

I spend a week each summer at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop – a chance to make music from morning to morning with other committed musicians.  The camp is at Pilgrim Firs on the Kitsap Peninsula, a little oasis of wooded land in the midst of an increasingly urbanized landscape. Right in the heart of camp is lovely Lake Flora, a long thin body of water that warms enough in the summer sun to welcome any swimmer.  There’s no lifeguard, so camp ‘rules’ specify that you’re supposed to swim with a buddy, but I love the quietness and calm when I’m out there by myself, so from time to time, I skip a class session and make my way down the hill to slip into the water and swim the length and back.

The day was perfect!  Northwest summer blue sky with just a hint of clouds and a soft warm breeze.  I walked the dirt path down to the roped off swimming area and kicked off my sandals, and hung my towel over the back of a plastic chair wedged in the sandy shore. The water was cool, making me catch my breath at first, but soon it was just me and the water as I got my rhythm with the breast stroke and headed to the far end of the lake.

And then there they were! A host of small blue dragonflies flying just above the surface of the water right near me. I stopped to watch them, and they stopped as well, hovering just out of reach. The sun glinted off their bright bodies and they were close enough that I could see their multi-faceted blue eyes.  As I began to swim again toward the end of the lake, the dragonflies followed, darting up and down just beyond the reach of my arms.  They flew all the way to the end of the lake with me, and then, as I turned, flew all the way back down the lake, leaving only after I stepped back on the shore.

I walked straight up to my cabin, pulled out the guitar and wrote Dragonfly’s Eye.

Dragonfly’s Eye: Instructions for My Funeral

© Marie Eaton 1999 (PSGW)

And when my time has come lay me on the water                                     

Scatter my ashes there through the darkening air                             

And I will be the ripple on the wave             

And I will be the whisper in the leaves

I’ll be the blue in the dragonfly’s eye            


And when my time has come lay me on the water

Scatter my ashes there through the brightening air

And I will be the mist in early morn

And I will be the crying of the loon

I’ll be the blue in the dragonfly’s eye


And when my time has come lay me on the water

Scatter my ashes there through the shining air

And I will be the silver dancing rain

And I will be the sighing in the wind

I’ll be the blue in the dragonfly’s eye


And when my time has come lay me on the water

Lay me on the water  Lay me on the water


In the years since I wrote this song, I have been blessed by the invitation to sing it at the memorial services for three friends.


Marie Eaton is the Director of the Palliative Care Institute at Western Washington University. She is also has taught songwriting and performs as a member of Motherlode.




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