Funerals Poems, Readings and Prayers
Some of these poems and readings have been passed down through generations and may not always quite fit in with today’s language or terminology. Please note that the wording can easily be altered to fit into the ceremony.
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun;
Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.
How Did They Live?
Not, how did they die, but how did they live?
Not, what did they gain, but what did they give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a person as a person, regardless of birth.
Not, what was their church, nor what was their creed?
But had they befriended those really in need?
Were they ever ready, with a word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not, what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when they passed away?
She Is Gone (He Is Gone)
You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
Touched By An Angel
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
To the living, I am gone,
To the sorrowful, I will never return,
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot speak, but I can listen.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore gazing at a beautiful sea,
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity,
Remember me in your heart:
Your thoughts, and your memories,
Of the times we loved,
The times we cried,
The times we fought,
The times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never have gone.
Don’t Cry for Me
Don’t cry for me now I have died, for I’m still here I’m by your side,
My body’s gone but my soul is here, please don’t shed another tear,
I am still here I’m all around, only my body lies in the ground.
I am the snowflake that kisses your nose,
I am the frost, that nips your toes.
I am the sun, bringing you light,
I am the star, shining so bright.
I am the rain, refreshing the earth,
I am the laughter, I am the mirth.
I am the bird, up in the sky,
I am the cloud, that’s drifting by.
I am the thoughts, inside your head,
While I’m still there, I can’t be dead.
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not for long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that once we shared
Miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the master plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know.
Laugh at all the things we used to do
Miss me, but let me go.
Gone, But Not Forgotten
Don’t think of her/him as gone away
Her/His journey’s just begun,
Life holds so many facets
This earth is only one.
Just think of her/him as resting
From the sorrows and the tears
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days and years.
Think how she/he must be wishing
That we could know today
How nothing but our sadness
Can really pass away.
And think of her/him as living
In the hearts of those she/he touched
For nothing loved is ever lost
And she/he was loved so much.
All Is Well
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Henry Scott Holland
Pardon Me for Not Getting Up
Oh dear, if you’re reading this right now,
I must have given up the ghost.
I hope you can forgive me for being
Such a stiff and unwelcoming host.
Just talk amongst yourself my friends,
And share a toast or two.
For I am sure you will remember well
How I loved to drink with you.
Don’t worry about mourning me,
I was never easy to offend.
Feel free to share a story at my expense
And we’ll have a good laugh at the end.
I Am Free
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free,
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call,
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day, to laugh,
To love, to work or play.
Tasks undone must stay that way
I’ve found that peace at the close of the day.
If parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah, yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish for you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savoured much
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and share with me,
God wants me now, He set me free.
Shannon Lee Moseley
If I Should Go Tomorrow
If I should go tomorrow
It would never be goodbye,
For I have left my heart with you,
So don’t you ever cry.
The love that’s deep within me,
Shall reach you from the stars,
You’ll feel it from the heavens,
And it will heal the scars.
A Song of Living
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.
I have run and leaped with the rain,
I have taken the wind to my breast.
My cheek like a drowsy child
to the face of the earth I have pressed.
Because I have loved life,
I shall have no sorrow to die.
Amelia Josephine Burr
A light went out on Earth for me
The day we said goodbye
And on that day a star was born,
The brightest in the sky
Reaching through the darkness
With its rays of purest white
Lighting up the Heavens
As it once lit up my life
With beams of love to heal
The broken heart you left behind
Where always in my memory
Your lovely star will shine
Because I Love You So
Time will not dim the face I love,
The voice I heard each day,
The many things you did for me,
In your own special way.
All my life I’ll miss you,
As the years come and go,
But in my heart I’ll keep you,
Because I love you so.
I’m There Inside Your Heart
Right now I’m in a different place
And though we seem apart
I’m closer than I ever was,
I’m there inside your heart.
I’m with you when you greet each day
And while the sun shines bright
I’m there to share the sunsets, too
I’m with you every night.
I’m with you when the times are good
To share a laugh or two,
And if a tear should start to fall
I’ll still be there for you.
And when that day arrives
That we no longer are apart,
I’ll smile and hold you close to me,
Forever in my heart.
To Those Whom I love & Those Who Love Me
When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears,
But be thankful we had so many good years.
I gave you my love, and you can only guess
How much you’ve given me in happiness.
I thank you for the love that you have shown,
But now it is time I travelled on alone.
So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It is only for a while that we must part,
So treasure the memories within your heart.
I won’t be far away for life goes on.
And if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I will be near.
And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear,
All my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and a ‘Welcome Home’.
One At Rest
Think of me as one at rest,
for me you should not weep
I have no pain no troubled thoughts
for I am just asleep
The living thinking me that was,
is now forever still
And life goes on without me now,
as time forever will.
If your heart is heavy now
because I’ve gone away
Dwell not long upon it friend
For none of us can stay
Those of you who liked me,
I sincerely thank you all
And those of you who loved me,
I thank you most of all.
And in my fleeting lifespan,
as time went rushing by
I found some time to hesitate,
to laugh, to love, to cry
Matters it now if time began
If time will ever cease?
I was here, I used it all,
and now I am at peace.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let airplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message “He is Dead”,
Put Crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday-rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk , my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good
W. H. Auden
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
(Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before only better, infinitely happier and forever we will all be one together with Christ.)
Henry Scott Holland
Tear drops, slow and steady, The pain so real and true,
God took another angel, And that angel, dear, was you.
Angel wings, upon the clouds, Your body softly sleeps,
Hush now little angel, No more tears you have to weep.
Little prayers are sent to you, The short life you led;
Your family will never forget you, So rest your little head.
I know God will look after you, Now you are truly alive,
Your spirit soars beyond the moon, Your legacy will survive.
You’re beautiful, you’re endless, Now stretch your wings and fly,
You’re loved by so many, It will never be goodbye.
Close your pretty eyes, No more tears, just go and rest,
Let your soul lie peacefully, We know you did your best.
Come with me
God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be
So He put His arms around you
And whispered ‘Come with Me.’
With tearful eyes
We watched you suffer
And saw you fade away,
Although we loved you dearly
We could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard working hands at rest,
God broke our hearts to prove
He only takes the best.
It’s lonesome here without you,
We miss you more each day,
Life doesn’t seem the same
Since you’ve gone away.
When days are sad and lonely
And everything goes wrong,
We seem to hear you whisper
‘Cheer up and carry on.’
Each time we see your picture,
You seem to smile and say
‘Don’t cry, I’m in God’s keeping
We’ll meet again someday.’
You never said ‘I’m leaving’,
You never said goodbye,
You were gone before we knew it,
And only God knew why.
A million times we needed you,
A million times we cried,
If love alone could have saved you,
You never would have died.
In life we loved you dearly,
In death we love you still ,
In our hearts you hold a place,
That no one could ever fill.
It broke our hearts to lose you,
But you didn’t go alone,
For part of us went with you,
The day God took you home.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He heads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
The Lords Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Blessed are you God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
who has blessed us with the gift of knowing [name]
We give you thanks for his/her life.
For what we shared together
In times of joy and times of sorrow,
In times of peace and times of despair,
In good times and in bad.
For everything he/she was and all he/she did,
For all this and more, we give you thanks O God
God of all comfort,
your son, Jesus, wept at the tomb of his dear friend Lazarus
be with us now, as we grieve.
May we feel the comfort of your loving embrace,
the reassurance of your presence with us
and the certainty that nothing can separate us from your love.
We ask this in the name of your son, Jesus Christ
Thank you for the life of [name]. We want to thank you for the chance to know him/her, and are grateful for everything (s)he did and everything (s)he was. Thank you for your loving care of her/him throughout her/his life.
Jesus, we know that you are with us in our pain and grief at her/his passing. When our lives seem at their most difficult, that is when you are closest to us. Enfold us in your comfort and give us your peace as we mourn her/him.
Holy Spirit, help us through this time of grief and let us learn from our suffering, so, as time goes on, we can bring comfort to others who mourn, and share your love with them.
We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free, I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took his hand when I heard his call, I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day, to laugh, to love, to work, to play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way, I’ve found that peace at the end of the day.
If my parting has left a void, then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss, ah, yes, these things too I will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow, I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savoured much, good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief, don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me, God wanted me now, He set me free.
Janice M. Fair-Salters
Traditional Gaelic blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.
I weep in love
I am glad, Lord, for I wept today.
And I hid my tears inside my handkerchief.
Still my eyes were burning, and my head got hot; my heart was beating fast and I felt weak, solemn thoughts rose up from my mind, and a note of thankfulness played its melody in my being.
Why? I do not know.
I know that drops of tears which I hid in my kerchief.
Have been a stepping stone for me to thee.
Lord, I cry, make me weep,
And give me tears to flow;
Thy loving touch transforms my grief
Into joy, and peace I weep in love – I am glad, Lord, for I wept today
Meditation by an Indian Christian
O Lord,support us all the day long
of this troublous life,
until shadows lengthen,
and evening comes,
and the busy world is hushed,
and the fever of life is over,
and our work is done.
Then, Lord, in thy mercy,
grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest,
and peace at last.
Blessed John Henry Newman
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us all with the gift of this earthly life
and has given to our brother/sister [name]
his/her span of years and gifts of character.
God our Father, we thank you now for all his/her life,
for every memory of love and joy,
for every good deed done by him/her
and every sorrow shared with us.
We thank you for his/her life and for his/her death,
we thank you for the rest in Christ he/she now enjoys,
we thank you for giving him/her to us,
we thank you for the glory we shall share together.
Hear our prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord.