How to Choose a Memorial Poem or Verse for a Funeral or Life Celebration

When choosing a poem or verse for a life celebration, funeral or memorial service you will first want to consider where you plan to use the poems and verses. Today, many people are going beyond just prayer cards and bookmarks and creating memorial service folders and various memorial favors. You also may wish to print the same poem or verse on thank-you notes that you will send out. If you are using the verse on a small size card obviously you will want to choose a shorter poem or verse.

Next, you will want a verse that most closely captures the essence of the person. Sometimes this may even come in the form of musical verse from the person?s favorite band or singer. You may want to peruse their music selection to see if you can find some song lyrics that might be appropriate.
Perhaps a family member or even a young family member could write a poem. Experts recommend writing as an effective form of grieving. Children, although very simple in their thoughts can often write very moving words.

Consider that the poem does not have to be about death but instead how they lived their lives. For example;

?To love for the sake of being loved is human,
but to love for the sake of loving is angelic.?
By Alphonse de Lamartine

Not all horses were born equal.
Some were born to win.
By Mark Twain

To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of the intelligent people

and the affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of honest critics

and endure the betrayal of false friends;

to appreciate beauty;

to find the best in others;

to leave the world a bit better

whether by a healthy child,

a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;

to know that one life has breathed easier

because you lived here.

This is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love is also a common theme;

To Those Whom I Love and Those Who Love Me

When I am gone, release me, let me go

I have so many things to see and do

You must not tie yourself to me with tears

Be happy that I have had so many years

I gave you my love, you can only guess

How much you gave me in happiness

I think you for the love each have shown

But now it is time I traveled on alone
So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must

Then let your grief be comforted by trust

It is only for a while that we must part

So bless the memories in your heart
I will not be far away, for life goes on

So if you need me, call and I will come

Though you can not see or touch me, I will be near

And if you listen with your heart, you will hear

All of my love around you soft and clear
Then, when you must come this way alone

I will greet you with a smile and a

“Welcome Home”

Mary Alice Ramish
Love Lives On

Those we love remain with us

for love itself lives on,

and cherished memories never fade

because a loved one’s gone.

Those we love can never be

more than a thought apart,

far as long as there is memory,

they’ll live on in the heart.

If the person was religious, the most common or traditional verse for Catholic and religious services has been the 23rd Psalm.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
King James Version

The following poems and verses are more focused on death;

I Wish You Enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough “Hello’s” to get you through the final “Goodbye.
Death is Nothing

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

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, pray for me,

Let my name be ever the household word that

It always was.

Let it be spoken without effort,

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 absolutely unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am

Out of sight? I am but waiting for you

For an interval

Somewhere very near

Just around the corner.

All is well.

Canon Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)
I turn my head and look towards death now.

Feeling my way through the tunnel with the space of
emptiness and quiet.

The shimmering silence that awaits me.

This is my direction now; inward to the green pastures…

The cares of the world concern me no longer.

I have completed this life. My work is done, my
children grown.

My husband is well on his hero’s journey.

I have loved much and well…

Those I leave behind, I love.

I hope I will remain in their hearts as they will
in mine…

Thank you for taking such good care of me…

And all of you who have been my friends, thank you
for teaching me about love.

Karen Vervaet from “Karen’s Journal, 3 April 1993
In closing, memorial services and life celebrations are about the person that was lost and the life that they lived. It is up to you to decide what will help you and the people who attend to best remember and celebrate the life of that person.

Mary Hickey is an urn designer and thought leader in the funeral industry. For some drastically needed new life celebration ideas, contemporary memorial poems and verses visit her site www.nextgenmemorials.com. She is co-founder of Renaissance Urn Company, based in San Francisco. Hickey can be reached at hickey_mary@hotmail.com.

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