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Non religious poems for a funeral

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  • Non religious poems for a funeral

    Hi all

    Happy new Year to everyone. Our New Year has started on a bit of a sour note but we'll get through it. Unfortunately my Mother-in-law died 2 nights ago, bit unexpectedly. She was 80 and not in the best of health generally but it was sudden. Anyway, moving on now to sort a non religious funeral for her. She had put together a list of what she wanted and expressed a non religious funeral. I've looked on the internet to try and find a poem that's not got religious wording or meaning and I'm finding it a hard to search out one that's suitable. I just wondered if anyone had done something similar and could offer me a few poignant words. She has expressed she wants a cardboard coffin decorated with flowers which we can sort and has said a non religious service so any advice and help would be very much appreciated.
    my web page ~ my facebook page ~ my folksy page ~ my misi page

  • #2
    So sorry to hear your sad news.

    This is a very popular poem
    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 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 stars that shine at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry;
    I am not there. I did not die.

    Mary Elizabeth Frye
    full time mum and very very part time crafter.


    • #3
      I have always loved that poem. It says everything, religious or not it is suitable for anything and says everything.
      God helps them that help themselves.


      • #4
        I was going to suggest that poem too, I think it's beautiful.

        You can look up humanist funerals, they are fine for non-religious people. I went to one once and it was lovely. The lady who'd passed away was an avid knitter, so people who had one of hre colourful jumpers wore them to the service. There were pictures of her everywhere. Her son and daughter spoke about her and anyone who wanted was able to get up and speak of their memories of her.

        In her youth she'd been a performer, travelling the world in a dance group, so at the end, when the curtains were pulled closed around the coffin, instead of standing with heads bowed we were asked to send her off with a round of applause. It was lovely, such an upbeat funeral. Of course we wept, but it was a much nicer experience than I'd expected.


        • #5
          I too would suggest you look at humanist funerals. I have been to a couple and would recommend them as a starting point for anyone not wanting any religious accompaniment.

          Best wishes to you and yours.xx
          Do not watch this space


          • #6
            This brought me a lot of comfort when I lost my dear Mum...

            In the Next Room
            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 are still.
            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 or solemnity or sorrow.
            Laugh as we always laughed at the
            little jokes we enjoyed together.
            Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
            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

            really sorry for your loss xx
            Sarah x

            ~ The Lilac Dragonfly- Handmade Jewellery ~

            ~ Facebook Page ~


            • #7
              So sorry for your loss.

              The Next Room (posted above) would have been my suggestion for suitable wording...there are a few adaptations with slightly different wording that does not need to include the words pray for me..... and the Humanists would be my port of call for advice on a non religious funeral.

              I lost a friend in 2012 and she had the most amazing funeral which was a real celebration of her life... She had a cardboard coffin which family members decorated with things that were personal and floral tributes were wild flowers or vegetables and fruits or plants for the garden. At the end of the non religious service which included pictures and a slideshow of special moments from her life, words from family and friends, music and laughter, pens were provided and everyone was invited to write a personal message on the cardboard coffin as they passed by...the family then spent some private time reading the messages. It was personal and special and while it was of course sad, we were all left feeling she would have approved...

              We will be thinking of your family at this sad time.


              • #8
                Thank you all for your comments. I have also attended a humanist funeral which was a wonderful celebration of their life. I have looked up on the internet and found a couple of people, they're not very close to where we live but I am going to email them and see if they are happy to travel over. She wants her ashes scattered in a woodland burial ground near where she used to live. She was a keen cyclist when she was young and won many medals and became a keen gardener, owning an allotment up until a couple of years ago so I like the flowers and vegetables idea. That is a nice poem but I'm not sure it's the one, but thank you for taking the time to post it. She had a fun sense of humour and I would like to incorporate some humour in it as she doesn't want us to be sad and gloomy. Difficult i know but we will try and lift it a liitle. Thanks again and if anyone has any other suggestions please let me know.
                my web page ~ my facebook page ~ my folksy page ~ my misi page


                • #9
                  I can't think of any other poems but would just like to say I am thinking of you at this sad time. My dad died 8 days before xmas 2010 and I know how hard it is to lose someone at this time of year.



                  • #10
                    Thanks all for the kind messages and help. I do appreciate it.
                    my web page ~ my facebook page ~ my folksy page ~ my misi page


                    • #11
                      My thought are with you Jules, sorry for your loss. Sometimes your own words are the best as they are straight from the heart.



                      • #12
                        I am so sorry for your troubles. We used this poem at my mother's funeral, I am sure your mother in law more than filled her dash.

                        The Dash Poem by Linda Ellis
                        I read of a man who stood to speak
                        At the funeral of a friend.
                        He referred to the dates on her tombstone
                        From the beginning to the end.
                        He noted that first came the date of her birth
                        And spoke of the following date with tears,
                        But he said what mattered most of all
                        Was the dash between those years.
                        For that dash represents all the time
                        That she spent alive on earth
                        And now only those who loved her
                        Know what that little line is worth.
                        For it matters not, how much we own,
                        The cars, the house, the cash,
                        What matters is how we live and love
                        And how we spend our dash.
                        So think about this long and hard;
                        Are there things you’d like to change?
                        For you never know how much time is left
                        That can still be rearranged.
                        If we could just slow down enough
                        To consider what’s true and real
                        And always try to understand
                        The way other people feel.
                        And be less quick to anger
                        And show appreciation more
                        And love the people in our lives
                        Like we’ve never loved before.
                        If we treat each other with respect
                        And more often wear a smile,
                        Remembering that this special dash
                        Might only last a little while.
                        So when your eulogy is being read
                        With your life’s actions to rehash
                        Would you be proud of the things they say
                        About how you spent your dash?



                        • #13
                          Mmm. A very timely reminder before its too late. Next time I tell someone I must 'dash' I will stop and remember these sentiments.
                          God helps them that help themselves.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by joolsjules View Post
                            I've looked on the internet to try and find a poem that's not got religious wording or meaning
                            So sorry to hear of your loss, a death at Christmas is hard to face never mind organise. We "celebrate" 3 funerals on the 5th of January, my Dad, Mum and partners son (some coincidence!)

                            They all had "Humanistic" funerals and loads of our own words and poetry and their favourite music.

                            I did find this website >>>>HERE<<<< and I hope it helps, it also seems to have everything you need for this kind of send off, including cardboard coffins.

                            It's hard to rearrange yourself around the empty space they leave behind, especially at the anniversary every year.


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                            “Our ordinary mind always tries to persuade us that we are nothing but acorns and that our greatest happiness will be to become;
                            bigger, fatter, shinier acorns, but that is of interest, only to pigs. Our faith gives us knowledge of something better, that we can become oak trees.”


                            • #15
                              I'm sorry to hear about your sad loss. I think the two poems suggested here are beautiful, I'm sure the service will be beautiful too.
                              "If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely." Roald Dahl