If you’ve been asked to speak at a memorial service or funeral it can be hard to know where to start when preparing what you’ll say. Using a poem to express the way you feel is a good way to get started. We’ve put together fifteen of our favorite poems that can be used at a memorial service, funeral, or celebration of life to honor a loved one who has passed.
She is Gone, by David Harkins
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 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.
Remember Me, by Margaret Mead
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.
Let Me Go, by Christina Rossetti
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.
If I Should Go Tomorrow, Anonymous
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.
Because I Love You So, Anonymous
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.
The Life That I Have Poem, by Leo Marks
The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause.
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.
I’m There Inside Your Heart, Anonymous
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.
There is No Light Without a Dawning, by Helen Steiner Rice
No winter without a spring
And beyond the dark horizon
Our hearts will once more sing…
For those who leave us for awhile
Have only gone away
Out of a restless, care worn world
Into a brighter day
You’ve Just Walked on Ahead of Me, by Joyce Grenfell
And I’ve got to understand
You must release the ones you love
And let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can
But I’m missing you so much
If I could only see you
And once more feel your touch.
Yes, you’ve just walked on ahead of me
Don’t worry I’ll be fine
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine.
Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep, by Mary Elizabeth Frye
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 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.
Don’t Cry for Me, Anonymous
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.
Afterglow, by Helen Lowrie Marshall
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.
To Those Whom I Love and Those Who Love Me, Anonymous
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 traveled on alone.
So grieve for me awhile, if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It is only for awhile 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 is soft and clear.
And then, when you come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and a ‘Welcome Home’.
Gone, But Not Forgotten, by Ellen Brenneman
Don’t think of him as gone away
His journey’s just begun,
Life holds so many facets
This Earth is only one.
Just think of him as resting
From the sorrows and the tears
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days and years.
This how he must be wishing
That we could know today
How nothing but our sadness
Can really pass away.
And think of him as living
In the hearts of those he touched
For nothing loved is ever lost
And he was loved so much.
Feel No Guilt in Laughter, He’d Know How Much You Care, Anonymous
Feel no guilt in laughter, he’d know how much you care.
Feel no sorrow in a smile that he is not here to share.
You cannot grieve forever, he would not want you to.
He’d hope that you could carry on the way you always do.
So, talk about the good times and the way you showed you cared,
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared.
Let the memories surround you, a word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day,
That brings him back as clearly as though he were still here,
And fills you with the feeling that he is always near.
For if you keep those moments, you will never be apart
And he will live forever locked safely within your heart.