Words and Readings for Funerals

Posted on April 20th, 2022

Sometimes words are not enough to express how we’re feeling but it is safe to say they have a powerful ability to reach others. Often at a funeral, while not essential, family members and friends find it fitting or even cathartic to say some meaningful words to make sense of their loss or remember their loved one in a fond way. It can bring comfort or calm for the bereaved to recite, or listen to, a reading that reminds them of the person they have lost – or may go some small way towards making sense of one’s feelings of grief.

But it’s not always easy to find, or write, your own thoughts and feelings in a way that feels right – especially when you’re grieving – and so it is unsurprising that many choose to use the words of others as a verbal tribute. In religious ceremonies it is common for an excerpt from the Bible to be used, either a traditionally recited one or perhaps the deceased’s chosen verses. In non-traditional memorials this might be anything from a favourite poem, a meaningful or uplifting quote from a novel or play, or even a verse from a song.

Each person’s experience of grief is unique, but the words of poets, artists and writers may resonate with you or touch your heart at this difficult time. Here is a small selection quotes from popular readings for funerals:

The Bible, John, Book 11 Verses 25-26: I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.

W.H Auden, Funeral Blues: 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.

E.E. Cummings, I Carry Your Heart: I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart). I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

William Shakespeare, Cymbeline: Fear no more the heat o’ the sun, Nor the furious winter’s rages; Thou thy worldly task hast done…

David Harkins, She Is Gone: You can shed tears that she is gone; Or you can smile because she has lived … 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.

The Freedom Funerals team are here to assist if you’re unsure of next steps and are always ready to listen if you are finding it difficult to find the words to express yourself. Reach out to us whenever the time feels right, we’ll guide you through this difficult time; call us on 01206 862 963.