Funeral poems can be very strange things, some are full of wisdom and some seem to make no sense at all. Some are short and sweet, some are rather long, but however you feel about poems most of them are fairly good at capturing the essence of the emotion and grief surrounding a loved ones death.
I have researched many poems this week in order to write this piece, my premise was ‘What poem would I be happy to have at my funeral’? so alongside all the usual ones that are regularly used in services I have come across all sorts of poems in my search for something that I would be happy with at my own service. I have narrowed hundreds down to 3, and I think I would be happy for any one of these to be read out at my own funeral.
Having organised the funerals for 2 very close family members recently, the angst of trying to work out what they might have wanted was awful, what if I got it wrong? Death in general and more specifically our own deaths is still quite a taboo subject for many families and this has made me very aware as to what might get chosen for me if I don’t leave my wishes written down somewhere. I tell my family all the time what sort of things I want but the chances of any of them remembering is quite remote!
With my own experiences showing me that life can be taken in the blink of an eye I am now thinking long and hard about what do I want? and how I can save my family the trouble of second guessing what I might want read out, or what songs I might want played, and what were her favourite flowers again? So being proactive I have decided to leave my preferred wishes clearly stated with Richard and Ben so no one has to try and second guess me when I’m gone.
So along with my songs, my favourite flowers (Tulips and Roses) I have chosen one of these 3 poems, and my family can pick whichever one they like the best, at least I know that this is one less job for someone to think of. So my question to you is this… Which poem would you have at Your funeral? post me your favourite poem, tell me your music choices (one of my family members is having ‘Going on up to the spirit in the sky’!) nowadays anything goes from traditional to modern, from simple to ostentatious, from quirky to stereotypical, you can even hire someone to stand at the back of the chapel dressed as the grim reaper if it floats your boat! (not that we would particularly recommend this but yes it can be done)
So tell me how you envisage Your funeral taking place – what do you want? talk to your family about it! tell your friends! come let us know your wishes if you want! lets try and get the only one certainty about life – which is death – out into the open and into our conversations.
These are my 3 poems…
I Never Left You
I watch you every day, I am always very near.
I know deep in your heart, you realise I am here.
I watch you while you sleep, in your bed at home.
I hear you when you speak to me, when you are on your own.
You cannot understand the reason why I’ve gone.
But I will never leave you, I am there to keep you strong.
Talk to me, I hear you, though you may not see.
We share an unbroken bond that will always be.
Death will not keep us apart, for our love is forever.
Just remember me in your heart, and one day we will be together.
Live your life and live it full, don’t waste a single day.
Remember, I am always with you, every step of the way.
To Those Whom I Love And Those Who Love Me – Author Unknown
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’.
Mary Oliver ~ In Blackwater Woods
“To live in this world
you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.”