What do you read at a person's funeral?

Published: 4/5/2023

Saying goodbye to someone you love at a funeral is a very difficult and emotional time, but it can also provide a lovely opportunity to honour and celebrate their life.

One way to pay your respects, express how you're feeling and share the love and feelings you have for the departed is by reading something at their funeral. Below we have provided a few suggestions to help you decide what to read, with a couple of nice examples along the way.

Reflect on the deceased

Before deciding on what to read at the funeral, it might be worthwhile to take some time for yourself to reflect on the life of the person who has passed away. You might like to think about their personality, their passions, their values and what you thought made them so special to you. What were some of their favourite quotes or poems? Did they have a particular piece of literature or music that held a special meaning for them? By considering these factors, you might find something that perfectly represents and honours your loved one.

Religious or Spiritual Readings   If the deceased was a religious or spiritual person, you might like to look for a reading a passage from their holy book or a spiritual poem. These can provide comfort and solace to both you and other mourners, while also honouring the deceased's faith. Some popular options include psalms, the Lord's Prayer, or the Beatitudes.

What do you read at a person's funeral?
What do you read at a person's funeral?

Favourite poems or quotes

If the person who has passed away had a favourite poem or quote, consider reading it during the funeral service. This can be a meaningful way to honour their memory and provide comfort to those in attendance. If you don't know the person's favourite poem or quote, you could instead read something that reminds you of them or something that you believe captures their spirit. Here are a couple of nice examples from our Poems for a tribute or eulogy.

Idyll - By Siegfried Sassoon

In the grey summer garden I shall find you

With day-break and the morning hills behind you.

There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;

And down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings.

Not from the past you'll come, but from that deep

Where beauty murmurs to the soul asleep:

And I shall know the sense of life re-born

From dreams into the mystery of morn

Where gloom and brightness meet. And standing there

Till that calm song is done, at last we'll share

The league-spread, quiring symphonies that are

Joy in the world, and peace, and dawn's one star

The Star - Anon

A light went out on Earth for me

The day we said goodbye

And on that day a star was born,

The brightest in the sky

Reaching through the darkness

With its rays of purest white

Lighting up the Heavens

As it once lit up my life

With beams of love to heal

The broken heart you left behind

Where always in my memory

Your lovely star will shine

RELATED ARTICLE: Uplifting losing a loved one quotes

Personal stories or memories

Reading a personal story or memory about your loved one can be a loving and emotional way to pay your respects. Sharing an anecdote about a special moment you shared with them can also provide comfort to other people while also celebrating the life of the deceased. Keep in mind that this can be difficult to do if you are overcome with emotion, so consider practising beforehand or talking to someone who can be your backup if emotions take over.

Eulogy or tribute

If you have been asked to deliver a eulogy or tribute, this is an opportunity to speak about the person's life and legacy. It's important to be honest and heartfelt in your speech, while also respecting the wishes of the deceased and their loved ones. A eulogy should be a celebration of the person's life, highlighting their achievements, their personality, and their passions. It should also provide comfort to those in attendance and help them to begin the healing process.

Reading something at a funeral is a traditional way to honour and celebrate the life of someone who has passed away. Whether you choose a religious or spiritual passage, a favourite poem or quote, a personal story or memory, the most important thing is to choose something that feels right for you and true to the person's life and spirit.

Understand, too, that it's okay to feel overwhelmed with emotion, you've just lost someone very special, so it's important to take your time to find the right words to express your feelings. In doing so, you will find that you're not only supporting your own grief, but you are providing comfort to others.

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