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Suggestions for a funeral reading

(32 Posts)
Tumblemum Sun 08-Jan-06 21:23:12

My father died last week and I am hoping to do a reading at his funeral. I do not really know where to start looking, possibly a Bible reading or a poem or prose.
I would appreciate any suggestions.
Thank you

Caligula Sun 08-Jan-06 21:28:04

Commiserations. At my father's funeral we had John Donne's poem, Death be not proud.

john donne

This is very uplifting and comforting for all those who believe in an afterlife.

helsi Sun 08-Jan-06 21:31:30

my sympathies.
how about this one:

All is Well
by Henry Scott-Holland.

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into 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 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 and if you want to, 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 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.

bitsamaloney Sun 08-Jan-06 21:36:07

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone
by W. H. Auden

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 aeroplanes 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 for ever: 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.

Tumblemum Sun 08-Jan-06 21:36:23

Thank you both, if anyone else out there has any suggestions that would be great.

WideWebWitch Sun 08-Jan-06 21:37:19

I really like all is well. I read something I'd written about my father at his funeral, are you up to that? It felt more personal.

helsi Sun 08-Jan-06 21:38:48


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

wilbur Sun 08-Jan-06 21:39:14

Sorry for your loss, tumblemum. Cruse bereavement have a book called "All in the end is harvest" which is full of beautiful readings. I will see if I can find links to any ones I can remember from it.

helsi Sun 08-Jan-06 21:39:42

A more lught-hearted one


“ 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!”

helsi Sun 08-Jan-06 21:40:41


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 a part of the Master’s plan
a step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrow in doing good deeds,
Miss me, but let me go.

wilbur Sun 08-Jan-06 21:40:42

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 star that shines at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry.

I am not there;

I did not die.

wilbur Sun 08-Jan-06 21:46:52

My cousin read this at my father's funeral - I chose it because I loved the line out "our particular sunset"

Extract from Wherever You Go by Gregory Norbert O.S.B.

I want to say something to all of you
who have become a part
of the fabric of my life.

The color and texture
which you have brought into my being
have become a song,
and I want to sing it forever.

There is an energy in us
which makes things happen
when the paths of other persons
touch ours.
And we have to be there,
and let it happen.

When the time of
our particular sunset comes
our thing,
our accomplishment
won't really matter
a great deal.

But the clarity and care
with which we have loved others
will speak with vitality
of the great gift of life
we have been for each other.

Copyright The Benedictine Foundation of the State of Vermont

Tumblemum Sun 08-Jan-06 21:50:32

WWW I don't know just reading these poems has me in floods of tears. My brother is going to do a eulogy, in some ways I would like to say something but not sure what.
Anyone know any uplifting bits of the bible as feel the poems so far listed will have me sobbing,
if you find the link to the cruise bereavement booklet I should be grateful.
I am a stranger to grief, my only loss before this one was a mc at 9 weeks in June, I don't know where to start.

ellceeell Sun 08-Jan-06 21:53:22

Farewell to Thee! But not farewell
To all my fondest thoughts of Thee;
Within my heart they still shall dwell
And they shall cheer and comfort me.

Life seems more sweet that Thou didst live
And men more true Thou wert one;
Nothing is lost that Thou didst give,
Nothing destroyed that Thou hast done.
Anne Bronte

Sorry to hear about your loss

wilbur Sun 08-Jan-06 21:58:38

Cruse's website is here - It's a good place to start when you are feeling overwhelmed at a time like this. They have a publications section that might offer some good things for you to read, and perhaps further down the line you might think about seeing one of their counsellors, it can really help.

wilbur Sun 08-Jan-06 21:59:25

Sorry, here's a proper link .

wilbur Sun 08-Jan-06 22:05:24

Rather than a poem, what about a piece of prose like this, it might be easier to read without breaking down.

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to meet each other. Then someone at my side says, 'There, she is gone.' Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load of living weights to its place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her; and just at the moment when someone at my side says, 'There, she is gone,' on that distant shore there are other eyes watching for her coming and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, 'Here she comes'—and such is dying

WideWebWitch Sun 08-Jan-06 22:15:24

Tumblemum, I'm sorry, my post was insensitive, I'm sorry about your dad, it's very hard I know. Just because your brother is reading something doesn't mean you can't too - my sisters wrote something for our dad's funeral and so did I, there's room if you want to but it's understandable if you can't. It was cathartic for me, writing it down and reading it. And I managed not to cry too much by looking at the paper I was reading from and not looking at the people. But I do understand if it's too much for you, don't be hard on yourself, you don#t have to read anything or do anything if you don't want to, just go and grieve in your own way if you want to, don't feel bound by doing the done thing, it doesn't apply to funerals imo. However you feel is how you feel and is allowed and all right. Much sympathy to you and your family.

WideWebWitch Sun 08-Jan-06 22:16:23

I was a complete stranger to grief too and I do understand how scary that can be.

Janh Sun 08-Jan-06 22:20:40

tumblemum, have a look at If I Should Die . It has lots of ideas (including most of the ones already suggested); but I think WWW's post is great, you don't have to do anything, and if you feel too broken up to speak, nobody will think worse of you for that. Sympathy from me too.

Janh Sun 08-Jan-06 22:21:47

I like this one very much:

Indian Prayer

When I am dead
Cry for me a little
Think of me sometimes
But not too much.
Think of me now and again
As I was in life
At some moments it's pleasant to recall
But not for long.
Leave me in peace
And I shall leave you in peace
And while you live
Let your thoughts be with the living.


swedishmum Sun 08-Jan-06 22:22:04

We had Remember Me by Christina Rosetti at dd's funeral.

Tumblemum Sun 08-Jan-06 22:47:39

You have all been so kind to respond as you have I really appreciate it. WWW you have not been insensitive at all, quite the contrary they have helped me to think about what I can or cannot do. I wish I was a talented musician somehow playing some music would be easier than speaking.
Once again thank you for your kindness.

MummyDreamingOfAWhiteChristmas Mon 09-Jan-06 11:41:50

Tumblemum - my heart goes out to you at this difficult time. I lost my Dad just a short while ago too - and I struggled to find suitable poems and readings. In the end we went for a humanist ceremony, but the readings we chose would be suitable for either. I started a thread entitled "My Dad died this morning" - it may be useful if it isn't too hard to read for you.

Do CAT me if there's anything I can do or you need a friendly ear - this is such a difficult experience to live through. However as I am finding out, you have to travel the journey, gradually learning to live with your loss and eventually through the sadness you get glimpses of the goodness in life once again.

Take good care.

sallycinnamon Mon 09-Jan-06 19:19:57

Dear Tumblemum.
I've just logged on to MN as I was going to post the exact same thread. I lost my darling nana at the weekend so I know what you're going through and you have my sympathy. I was going to read the W H Auden Stop all the clocks at the funeral but somehow it didn't seem quite right. I wanted something more uplifting and celebratory. Fwiw I'm going with helsi's suggestion. The words seem quite comforting. Thinking of you.
Sally xx

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