Funeral reading

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  • Funeral reading
  • Rockape63

    Not a very nice subject, but I’m looking for some ideas on a short reading for my Dad’s funeral soon…..if anyone has any experience of these things, your help would be appreciated.

    Premier Icon easygirl

    Something that your dad would have liked was top of my list
    We ended up finding a poem he had written shortly after he found out he had cancer, and read that
    My dad did not write poems usually 😀

    Premier Icon muddydwarf

    Something personal if not religious, if religious then maybe a Biblical* passage he particularly found uplifting?

    My condolences for your loss.

    *Other religions are available etc


    I was asked to read this at my Uncle’s funeral. I think this get’s read at quite a few, so you might want to do something more personal

    all is well


    At my gran’s funeral we had:

    Elgar Nimrod at the beginning.

    Time for reflection was a minute of Bird Song from the local woods and this was very received.

    Then, one of her favourite… Time to Say Goodbye… she was 97.

    If you want the MP3 for the Bird Song I’ll email you a copy. Or anyone else if they like.


    A good friend of mine read out a poem at his fathers, written by William Ernest Henley called Invictus…very nice it was.

    Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

    agree with all above.

    just open things at random and see what comes out. for my dad i found a lovely passage about love in a book of my father in laws, the gospel of the Essene i think (i can find out if you want, happy to do so) that summed up a lot of things about my dad, my mum and things.

    the whole funeral service i found a helpful process, i am an only child and as my mum had gone a few years beforehand it all came down to me, and, maybe an odd thing to say, i found satisfaction in making sure it was all right for my dad and the process of choosing hymns, readings, photos etc that had meaning to his life, our family and the man he was. in a healing sense it really helped me. i had promised to take care of him and i hope i did.

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    Something honest and personal. It’s your eulogy to him. Your opportunity to tell people who he was to you, what he did that inspired you, and perhaps a little about his flaws, if you like. Funny story that will resonate with people?

    Depends a little on the audience. And a lot on you.

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    If he had any connection with horses, I can send you something that my borther read at my grandad’s. It was perfect.

    I am sorry for your loss.

    I wrote and read the tribute for my wife. Definitely do it. I really helped every one and it helped me. The structure I went for is to give an over view of her life, chronologically, the stuff that mattered to her, he achievements and passions, connecting to how every one else knew her. You see everyone knew part of her life but no one knew the whole in context. That was six paras of four sentEnces each. I closed with two paras the first about her attitude to her illness and reassure people that she died peacefully and finally key messages that we should contemplate in our own lives going forward. there was also a really good poem she wrote as a student. And some of her favourite music that we associated with her. It was well received.

    Prepare well. Read slowly. It means more coming from you. You’ll be great. Good luck.


    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there… I do not sleep.
    I am the thousand winds that blow…
    I am the diamond glints on snow…
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain…
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you waken in the morning’s hush,
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of gentle birds in circling 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…

    Premier Icon leffeboy

    Saves buzz-lightyear’s post for the day I need it. Nicely done


    Blind Melon – what is that? It’s nice.


    It’s an Irish blessing, not sure of the origins


    at a funeral I went too a family member read out the lyrics to the deceased favorite song Lenny Kravitz’s Are you gonna go my way, got a few laughs but was also very poignant, very nice touch I thought.


    BlindMelon, that’s beautiful, I’m copying that and keeping it safe for future use, it’s really lovely. Thank you.


    I think a poem you like is nice. I did If.


    Thanks Guys….some great stuff there. My elder brother will be reading the life history stuff, which leaves me to make a small contribution of a poem or reading. The Blind Melon poem is wonderful…its actually quite famous, as Ive heard before a few times. Invictus, too….proper poetry that! Love Nimrod and birdsong, but not sure my Dad was particularly keen.

    Anyway, I appreciate your help everyone!


    Glad we could be of assistance Rockape. You have my condolences.


    I wouldn’t be able to give a eulogy to any of my family, I’m too emotional. Good luck.


    Slightly depends what his hobbies/interests were; one sailor friend had Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar, another had Masefield’s “I must go down to the sea again.”
    For Jon’s grandfather, I read Shakespeare’s “Golden lasses and lads” because he loved Shakespeare.

    Personally, I want “Fanfare for the Common Man” played at my funeral…

    Condolences; I hope you & your family are coping.

    Premier Icon jamj1974

    I wrote a eulogy based on key people/events in my dads life. Spoke a bit about his character and what he had taught me about life – all of which was well received. However the two bits which moved me the most were paying his favourite song as he entered the chapel – The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel and using a quote from the Bhagavad Gita, as my dad was a Hindu:

    “Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; not in the future shall any if us cease to be.”

    Most importantly focus that on whatever you do, be assured that you will be doing your dad proud.



    We are coping well thanks, he had a torrid last 4 years, blighted by dementia, alzhiemers and then cancer…..FFS!

    Therefore was a relief to see him go, although the end was awful. I spent his last 9 hours at his bedside…not nice, but glad I was there.

    His world revolved around sport, played football into his 60’s, I recall him taking 3 wickets bowling for the local cricket team at the age of 70.

    Played golf until he was 80, when it all started! A pretty good life overall, so much to be thankful for.


    So sorry to hear about your loss.

    My Mum passed away 2 months ago and this is the reading I read at her funeral. We always sailed as a family so it was relevant to us, and a reading she loved. I also like the sentiment behind it.

    For what it’s worth, standing up in front of family and friends to do the reading was THE most difficult thing I have ever done in my life but I am SO glad that I did. I was terrified that I would mess it up but a calm sort of takes-over and it went perfectly. I will never ever forget reading it and it definitely helped the (still) grieving process.

    Anyway, here it is;

    The Ship (Bishop Brent)

    I am standing on the seashore,
    A ship sails and spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
    And starts for the ocean.
    She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her till at last she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says “ she is gone”.
    Gone where?
    Gone from my sight that is all.
    She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars, as she was when I saw her,
    and just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.
    The diminished size, the total loss of sight is in me not in her, and just at the moment when someone at my side says “She is gone”
    There are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up the glad shout.
    “here she comes.”
    And that is DYING.

    All the very best – keep smiling 🙂


    My dad was into sailing and the sea so I read “Crossing the Bar” by Tennyson. I gave a very short explanation of the metaphor in the poem relating to my Dad’s love as an introduction.

    Top tip is to read slowly with passion so people can have time for their thoughts during it.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv


    I hope this isn’t inappropriate, but a smile at a time like this is sometimes welcome – but I misread Red Thunder’s post (albeit very briefly) as 1 minute of the Birdy Song. Which would be ‘unusual’, if not entertaining.

    Hope it goes well. I dread the day when i have to do this for one of my parents.

    Premier Icon unklehomered

    Best wishes what must be a crappy time.

    I can’t help with suggestions, but all I would say is whatever you choose practice the hell out of it. At my mother’s funeral I did a reading from the tempest, and I knew it off by heart for days in advance, but when stood up there, with all the emotion, I was still reading from the paper, running my finger along the words as if I was 8. Also there may be a microphone, which is also weird if you’re not used to it.

    Bets of luck with, as others have said, what might seem proper etc. is balls, choose something he would have liked, it be it monty python, something off beat or whatever.

    Hi OP

    Sorry to hear of your loss, it’s a real bummer I know. By coincidence, I’m doing a reading at the funeral of my Aunt next week, my cousins have selected one of the sections from A E Housman’s “A Shropshire Lad” cycle.

    Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
    Is hung with bloom along the bough,
    And stands about the woodland ride
    Wearing white for Eastertide.

    Now, of my threescore years and ten,
    Twenty will not come again,
    And take from seventy springs a score,
    It only leaves me fifty more.

    And since to look at things in bloom
    Fifty springs are little room,
    About the woodlands I will go
    To see the cherry hung with snow.

    +1 to all the above advice about doing the reading – my brother and I spoke at our Mum’s funeral two years ago, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I’m really glad that I did it, helped with the closure process.

    And it’s okay to be sad.

    And it’s okay to be sad

    This is very important.

    I would go further to say that it’s very expected to feel: clinical, cold, numb, empty, depressed, angry, even violent, tearful and strangely oddly happy at different times. Above all you simply feel tired.

    Grieving is a complex, gradual and tiring process and it takes time and effort to work through with some taking longer than others. Above all, be extra kind to yourself for the foreseeable future.

    Good luck with the tribute. I really mean that.


    I would go further to say that it’s very expected to feel: clinical, cold, numb, empty, depressed, angry, even violent, tearful and strangely oddly happy at different times. Above all you simply feel tired.

    This is true – I still feel like i’m losing my marbles.

    Possibly because I actually am….

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