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
Love is also a common theme;
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 by Bob Perks
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”.
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
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
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.