I am often asked to suggest readings or poems by the families I meet. Usually on that first meeting, you can get a sense of the character of the loved one lost and the loved ones left but it’s hard to recommend something so personal.
I’ve researched many styles of reading and poems over the years so my families can look through them at their leisure and there’s always something that resonates and speaks to them about an element of their loved ones' life.
I’m never afraid to offer light-hearted readings – a funeral should bring some sort of comfort, and people should not be scared to smile at a funny anecdote – it’s all about getting the balance right and above everything else, making sure the chief mourners are as comfortable as possible with the content.
Here are a few of my favourite readings and poems which I think of as more light-hearted.
AN EXTRACT FROM “THE LITTLE PRINCE” - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
“People have stars, but they aren’t the same. For travellers, the stars are guides. For other people, they’re nothing but tiny lights. And for still others, for scholars, they’re problems. For my business man, they were gold. But all those stars are silent stars. You, though, you’ll have stars like nobody else.”
“What do you mean?”
"When you look up at the sky at night, since I'll be living on one of them, since I'll be laughing on one of them, for you it'll be as if all the stars are laughing. You'll have stars that can laugh!"
"And when you're consoled (everyone is eventually consoled), you'll be glad you've known me. You'll always be my friend. You'll feel like laughing with me. And you'll open your windows sometimes just for the fun of it … And your friends will be amazed to see you laughing while you're looking up at the sky. Then you'll tell them, 'Yes, it's the stars; they always make me laugh!' And they'll think you're crazy. It'll be a nasty trick I played on you …"
AN EXTRACT “PETE’S DRAGON “ – Walt Disney
I’ll be your candle on the water,
My love for you will always burn.
I know you’re lost and drifting,
But the clouds are lifting.
Don’t give up, you have somewhere to turn…
I’ll be your candle on the water,
This flame inside of me will grow.
Keep holding on, you’ll make it.
Here’s my hand, so take it.
Look for me reaching out to show,
As sure as rivers flow,
I’ll never let you go.
“IF YOU’RE WONDERING WHERE TO FIND ME” - Catherine Prutton
If you’re wondering where to find me,
I’ll tell you where I’ll be,
I’m in that in-between bit,
That space where sky meets sea,
In the whispers of the trees
And the edges of your dreams’
Close enough to almost touch
But slightly out of reach.
I’m in the moon and in the stars
But never really far
And always, always
I’m there inside your heart
“YOU’VE JUST WALKED ON AHEAD OF ME” – JOYCE GRENFELL
You’ve just walked on ahead of me
And I’ve got to understand
You must release the ones you love
And let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can
But I’m missing you so much
If I could only see you
And once more feel your touch.
Yes, you’ve just walked on ahead of me
Don’t worry I’ll be fine
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine.
“AFTERGLOW” – Helen Lowrie Marshall
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 done.
“PARDON ME FOR NOT GETTING UP” - 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.
“SUCCESSFUL LIFE” – Eugene Grinman
Death is an inevitable fate.
Someday we have to go.
You hope you did
your best in life,
but how are you to know?
It’s not the model of your car
or brand of clothes you wear.
It’s not some fancy, famous name,
sewn in your underwear.
It’s not the square footage of your house
or what you keep inside.
There’s no material you possess
that proves success in life.
It’s everything you sacrificed
and choices you made.
It’s all the problems that you solved,
your lessons from mistakes.
It’s bad times you’ve persevered.
It’s all the fun you’ve had.
It’s any time you’ve ever laughed
and every tear you’ve shed.
It’s any time that you’ve been proud
of others or yourself.
It’s every song you turned up loud,
and every friend you helped.
It’s every wish you ever had.
It’s all your dreams and hopes.
It’s all the books you ever read,
the movies that you’ve seen.
It’s all the stories you told,
The places you’ve been.
It’s every sunset that you caught
and every cent you spent.
It’s anyone you’ve ever loved
who mourns you in the end.
It’s all these things
and so much more,
so don’t stress.
If you lived your life
Then it’s been a success.
“SHE IS GONE” (HE IS GONE) - David Harkins
You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on
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.
“FLY” – Robert Longley
Stand upon the mountain
Raise your wings up high
Cast aside the chains of fear
Trust and you will fly.
Rejoice now in the knowledge
Returned to you this day
You’ve always had the power
To simply fly away.
So dance with me this evening
Above the lands below
The clouds provide our dance floor
Neath the light of those we know.
The earth provides the music
To set your spirit free
You only need to trust yourself
Fly! And you will see.