Bereavement Verses

March 24, 2008

Below are some verses from various sources.
Visit often. Light a candle in your soul, and place a flower at the grave above her heart.

~Sasaki Yok


Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.This be the verse you gave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

~Robert Louis Stevenson, Requiem (his epitaph)


Don’t carry me off in a brass-handled coffin
With a wreath on my chest I won’t be ‘at rest’There’s nothing much worse than a ride in a hearse
To a hole in the ground with just strangers around
No! bury me deep in the compost heap
Or pop me right under a nice floribunda
Its really much wiser to become fertiliser
Then I can grow roses as I decomposes.

~Joyce Fothergill, A gardener’s last wish,



An old monk was once asked why he cared for ancient graves, and why he cleaned the stones to preserve the writing carved there. His reply was simple: “They still have their names. They will always have their names.” A life infused with love has consequences that reach beyond time—ensuring that names, and places, and memoreies of what was still are, and always will be. They are not dead, can never die.

~Gregory & Suzanne Wolfe, Climb High, Climb Far



Let no one weep for me,
or celebrate my funeral with mourning;
for I still live, as I pass
to and fro through the mouths of men.

~Quintus Ennius



All of the following poems by ~Sri Chinmoy

Death is not the end.
Death can never be the end.
Death is the road.
Life is the traveler.
The soul is the guide.


The body has death, but not the soul.
The body sleeps, the soul flies.
The soul-stirring words on death and the soul in this chapter of the Gita, let us recollect.

“Even as man discards old clothes for the new ones, so the dweller in the body, the soul,
leaving aside the worn-out bodies, enters into new bodies.
The soul migrates from body to body.
Weapons cannot cleave it, nor fire consume it, nor water drench it, nor wind dry it.
This is the soul and this is what is meant by the existence of the soul.


Death is at once
The end of the body’s
Old journey
And the beginning of the soul’s
New journey.



…and He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His hand.

~Michael Joncas, excerpt from Eagles Wings


The agony is so great
And yet, I will stand it.
Had I not loved so very much
I would not hurt
So much
For goodness knows
I would not want to diminish
That precious love
By one fraction of an ounce
I will hurt and I will be grateful
To the hurt
For it bears witness
To the depths
Of our meaning
And for that I will be
Eternally grateful.

~author unknown, Love and Gratitude


May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
May the rains fall soft uon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

~Irish Blessing


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 sun 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 Frye


When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When you father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn’t.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.

~Diana Der-Hovanessian, Shifting the Sun


A beareavement teaching

Then Almitra spoke, saying, “We would ask now of Death.”
And he said: You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Khalil Gibran, On Death


A bereavement eulogy

Thank you for the “yes,” your smile always gave me
When we met.

Thank you for telling me it was the little things in life
Like my phone calls that kept you going.

Thank you for listening to my sorrows and then giving me
Encouragement when I needed it.

Thank you for seeing the pain behind my smile and giving me

Thank you for the admiration and respect you gave me.

Thank you for loving me for who I am, and not expecting
More or less from me.

Thank you for the many hours you gave me sitting in your
Garden. Time is Precious.

Thank you for your humor and how you kept me laughing.

Thank you for the grace and elegance you added to our
Every meeting.

Thank you for the high standards and integrity you demanded
From yourself and those around you.

Thank you for seeing the best in me and not letting me forget it.

Thank you for the stubborn independence and self reliance that kept you
Strong and led the way for me.

Thank you for your love of beauty, both the inward and the outward,
and how your sharp eye sharpened mine.

Thank you for believing in me and wanting me here, with you.

Thank you for loving me and telling me so.

Thank you for choosing me as friend, sister, family.
~Christine McAuliffe, Roberto


visit Memorial Keepsakes for other bereavement poems and verses


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