When we had our planning meeting, you gave your time unstintingly, and we were amazed how your calm questioning changed our factual written account of Cathy's life into a warm, vibrant, memory-filled picture of her life.

For those of us who believe that death marks the end of a person’s life the meaning of life, lies in what we do and achieve in our lifetime.

We believe that there are many ways in which we survive: through the genes passed to our children, through the influence we have on others and in the memories of those who knew us.

More information about humanist ceremonies from Humanists UK
Supporter of The Natural Death Centre

Humanist Funeral Poems

A Life Well Lived

A life well lived is a precious gift
Of hope and strength and grace,
From someone who has made our world
A brighter, better place

It’s filled with moments, sweet and sad
With smiles and sometimes tears,
With friendships formed and good times shared
And laughter through the years.

A life well lived is a legacy
Of joy and pride and pleasure,
A living, lasting memory
Our grateful hearts we’ll treasure

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.

William Wordsworth

Lay me down upon the earth
Let the soil retake me
Set me floating on the waves
Let the sea absorb me
Put me back amongst the flames
Let the air release me
Carry me in your arms
Let your souls remember me

Amy Heys

At every turning of my life
I came across
Good friends,
Friends who stood by me
Even when the time raced me by.

Farewell, farewell
My friends
I smile and
Bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears
For I need them not
All I need is your smile.

If you feel sad
Do think of me
For that’s what I’ll like.
When you live in the hearts
Of those you love
Remember then
You never die.

Rabindranath Tagore


Listen. There is this silence now. This stillness.
Gradually we will get used to it. But, for now,
it is strange. You have left such a gap.
Our world is in shock, holding its breath

But listen closer – all your laughter, all your love
is still ringing out. Still holding us.

All our memories of you are still with us.
All the love we shared is still in every one of us.
And although we ache from this loss of you,
you will always be here – as still and steady,
and fierce, as any star.

Look. You are shining
bright through all our skies.
Thank you
for being here with us.

Char March

Four Candles

The first candle represents our grief.
The pain of losing you is intense
It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.

The second candle represents our courage.
To confront our sorrow,
To comfort each other,
To change our lives.

This third candle we light in Rhiannon’s memory.
For the times we laughed,
The times we cried,
The times we were angry with each other,
The silly things you did,
The caring and joy you gave us.

The fourth candle we light for our love.
We light this candle that your light will always shine
As we enter this sad time and share this day of remembering
with family and friends.
We cherish the special place in our hearts
That will always be reserved for you.

We thank you for the gift
Your living brought each of us.

I am there

Look for me when the tide is high
And the gulls are wheeling overhead
When the autumn wind sweeps the cloudy sky
And one by one the leaves are shed

Look for me when the tide is high
And the gulls are wheeling overhead
When the autumn wind sweeps the cloudy sky
And one by one the leaves are shed

I am there, where the river flows
And the salmon leap to a silver moon
Where the insects hum and the tall grass grows
And sunlight warms the afternoon

I am there in the busy street
I take your hand in the city square
In the market place where the people meet
In your quiet room – I am there

I am the love you cannot see
And all I ask is – look for me.

Iris Hesselden

Something Beautiful Remains

The tide recedes
But leaves behind
Bright shells on the seashore

The sun goes down
But gentle warmth
Still lingers on the land

The music stops and yet
It lingers on in sweet refrains –
For every joy that passes
Something beautiful remains

Inside our Dreams

Where do people go to when they die?
Somewhere down below or in the sky?
“I can’t be sure,” said Grandad, “but it seems
they simply set up home inside our dreams.”

Jeanne Willis

The Dash

I read of a man who stood to speak,
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on his coffin
From the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came his date of birth
And spoke 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 he spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved him
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.

Linda Ellis

He is gone

You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived,
You can close your eyes and dream that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
Or you can be full of the love that you shared,
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,
You can cry and close your mind
be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what he would want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

Adapted version by David Harkins

What is left of me … is you

I am the family face;
I live on, in her eye,
In your nose, in that smile,
In the way his thumb curves,
And the way she sighs.

And, I live on
In each and every
Heart and mind –
I am the memory,
The well-known phrase,
The laughter and
The song.

Char March