What sort of poems or funeral readings can you have? Do you like something sad and melancholic or would you prefer a humorous and uplifting theme?
The answer is, you can have whatever you choose! As an experienced funeral event planner, I meet people with all sorts of preferences but in the main, they tend to favour themes of hope and comfort at this time and to leave the service with feelings of positivity and optimism.
My preferred stance means I do not include religious funeral readings, hymns or prayers unless specifically requested to do so. I prefer to reflect on mother nature and the way in which we all come from and ultimately return to dust. I am a passionate environmentalist and am increasing seeking an economical and affordable yet carbon neutral way of saying farewell to our earthly human remains.
Here are a couple of my favourite poems and funeral readings which I have used to convey different feelings during some of my services.
If I Should Go
By Joyce Grenfell
If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I’m gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep if you must
Parting is hell
But life goes on
So sing as well.
Miss Me But 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 too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me-but let me go
For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It’s all part of the Master’s plan
A step on the road to home
When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me but let me go.
Pardon Me for Not Getting Up
By Kelly Roper
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.
And finally, here is one of the funeral readings I would like to have in my service, when the time comes!
by Pam Ayres
Don’t lay me in some gloomy churchyard shaded by a wall
Where the dust of ancient bones has spread a dryness over all,
Lay me in some leafy loam where, sheltered from the cold
Little seeds investigate and tender leaves unfold.
There kindly and affectionately, plant a native tree
To grow resplendent before God and hold some part of me.
The roots will not disturb me as they went their peaceful way
To build the fine and bountiful, from closure and decay.
To seek their small requirements so that when their work is done
I’ll be tall and standing strongly in the beauty of the sun.