A Selection of Funeral and Memorial Service Readings and Quotes

Over the years I have collected a scrapbook of funeral readings - and memorial service readings - that are non-religious in nature.   Some are simple quotes, which are also useful in writing an eulogy.

This following is an excellent reading  to open the funeral or memorial service.  It gives permission  to  the family to grieve, acknowledging their pain and to let them know the audience has gathered together to share and help the family in their grief;

We gather to remember the little things that made a special place in our heart.

To remember those happy times when we laughed

and those times when our hearts broke as one.

For who could put a price on memory?

We gather to share the pain

To hurt when you hurt without presuming that our pain is the same.

To cry when you cry and not try to hide or avoid our tears.

For who can ever take away the pain?

We gather to give the gift of grief

To stand beside you in silence and not be uncomfortable with your tears.

To allow you the gift of mourning this loss and not lose patience

For grief is God’s way of healing a broken heart.

The following is an excellent quote to add to an eulogy, addressing the tears and the loss of the family, and the attendees.

"There is a sacredness in tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love. "                         

By Washington Irving

This is a favorite reading of mine.  It has been my experience that for many people,  our biggest fear is not so much death but it is our fear that  we will be forgotten after we are gone.  We want our life to have had significance.  We want to be remembered.  I feel this reading says it much better than I ever could.

To the living I am gone

To the sorrowful I will never return

To the angry I was cheated

But to the happy, I am at peace

And to the faithful I have never left.

I cannot speak but I can listen,

I cannot be seen but I can be heard.

So as you stand in a vast forest,

Gazing at the stars,

Remember me…

Remember me in your heart and in your thoughts

The memories of the times we loved

The memories of the time we shared.

For if you always think of me, I will have never gone.

funeral reading

We Remember Them

In the rising of the sun and in its going down,

We remember them

In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,

We remember them

In the opening of the buds and in the warmth of summer,

We remember them

In the rustling of leaves and the beauty of autumn,

In the beginning of the year and when it ends

We remember them

When we are weary and in need of strength

We remember them

When we are lost and sick at heart

We remember them

When we have joys we yearn to share

We remember them

So long as we live, they too shall live,

For they are now a part of us as

We remember them

-from Gates of Prayer Reform Judaism Prayer Book


"Many people walk in and out of your life, but only true friends leave footprints on your heart."                                                                                 Eleanor Roosevelt.

funeral quote

The following is an appropriate reading for someone who has lived a long full life.  It can be a nice way to end the service.

The cares of the world concern me no longer

I have completed this life

My work is done,

My family is happy and healthy in their pursuits

I have loved much and well

To those I leave behind

I hope I will remain in their hearts as they will in mine

Thank you for taking such good care of me

And all of you who have been my friends, thank you for teaching me about life and about love.

Readings to describe the outstanding character of a loved one;

"Sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated."

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.

-Mother Theresa

We are here to add to the sum of human goodness. 

To prove the thing exists. 

And however futile each individual act of courage or generosity, self-sacrifice, or grace - 

it still proves the thing exists. 

Each act adds to the fund.

- Josephine Hart

First World War

I was ever a fighter, so -

one fight more,

the best and the last!

Robert Browning

Death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence. I have formed during the last few years such close relations with this best and truest friend of mankind, that his image is not only no longer terrifying to me, but is indeed very soothing and consoling!

- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

We get no choice.

If we love, we grieve.

- Thomas Lynch

Fear no more the heat o' the sun,

Nor the furious winter's rages;

Thou thy worldly task hast done,

Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages.

- William Shakespeare

'Say not in grief 'he is no more' but live in thankfulness that he was'

- Hebrew proverb

'Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, which is why it is called the present'

funeral quote

photo by Art Weber

For additional quotations

Here is another site we love to use for quotes, http://www.quotegarden.com

We also have a selection of funeral bible readings for the Christian service.


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