This page is intended to help those of you who have lost a loved one and are looking for a few meaningful and appropriate words - either for your own comfort or for use on a memorial note or bulletin. Many of the words here have been borrowed from thoughtful cards and letters I received after my own husband's departing, so thanks to all of you who have unknowingly contributed to this collection.
Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I, and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Pray, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.
Scott Holland (1847-1918) - Canon of
Miss me, but let me go.
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room
- Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not too long.
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared
- Miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take,
And each must go alone.
It's all a part of the Master's plan,
- A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds,
- Miss me, but let me go!
To everything there is a season,
And a time to every purpose under the heaven.
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck that which is planted;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.
Everything is appropriate in its own time.
But though God has planted eternity in the hearts of men,
man cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8, 11
Native American Prayer
I give you this one thought to keep -
I am with you still - I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight 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 think of me as gone -
I am with you still - in each new dawn.
Every blade in the field,
Every leaf in the forest,
Lays down its life in its season
As beautifully as it was taken up.
Henry David Thoreau
What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose,
For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.
They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.
When Tomorrow Starts Without Me...
When tomorrow starts without me
And I'm not there to see
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me.
I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today.
While thinking of the many things
We didn't get to say.
I know how much you love me
As much as I love you.
And each time that you think of me
I know you'll miss me too
But when tomorrow starts without me
Please try to understand
That an angel came and called my name
And took me by the hand
And said my place was ready
In heaven far above
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love
But when I walked through heaven's gates
I felt so much at home
When God looked down and smiled at me
From His great golden throne
He said, "This is eternity
And all I've promised you"
Today for life on earth is past
But here it starts anew
I promise no tomorrow
For today will always last
And since each day's the same way
There's no longing for the past
So when tomorrow starts without me
Don't think we're far apart
For every time you think of me
I'm right here in your heart.
In the warmth of spring,
In the hope that comes with dawn,
In the memories of those left behind,
Your loved one will live on.
Our memories build a special bridge
when loved ones have to part
To help us feel we're with them still
and soothe a grieving heart.
Our memories span
the years we shared,
preserving ties that bind,
They build a special bridge of love
And bring us peace of mind.
When God calls His children home, their angels come to take them by the hand,
leading them along a shining path into a place of peace and light.
Home at last, they see the Lord open His arms, welcoming them with a smile into the everlasting joy that is His love.
In the life of the spirit there is no ending that is not a beginning.
Though the voice is quiet, the spirit echoes still.
It is sad to lose the ones we love, but we will see them again.
For now, we can see reminders of them in everything of beauty.
We can't know why some things happen...
but we can know that love and beautiful memories outlast the pain of grief.
And we can know that there's a place inside the heart where love lives always...
And where nothing beautiful can ever be forgotten.
If I've learned anything down through the years,
It's that nothing beautiful in this world is ever really lost -
Those we cherish will always live on in memory.
Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road,
To sweet eternity.
We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
We are all meant to learn some things,
But never meant to stay...
Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know,
For some the journey's quicker,
For some the journey's slow.
But when the journey finally ends,
We'll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the Lord.
I am home in Heaven, dear ones;
Oh, so happy and so bright!
There is perfect joy and beauty
In this everlasting light.
All the pain and grief is over,
Every restless tossing passed;
I am now at peace forever,
Safely home in Heaven at last.
Did you wonder I so calmly
Trod the valley of the shade?
Oh! But Jesus' love illumined
Every dark and fearful glade.
And He came Himself to meet me
In that way so hard to tread;
And with Jesus' arm to lean on,
Could I have one doubt or dread?
Then you must not grieve so sorely,
For I love you dearly still;
Try to look beyond earth's shadows,
Pray to trust our Father's Will.
There is work still waiting for you,
So you must not idly stand;
Do it now, while life remaineth -
You shall rest in Jesus' land.
When that work is all completed,
He will gently call you Home;
Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
Oh, the joy to see you come!
of St. Francis of
"Lord make me the instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy."
"O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console, to be understood as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is giving that we receive it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
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 paths 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 forever.
To Remember Me
The day will
come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners
of a mattress in a hospital busily occupied with the living and dying. At a
certain moment, a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function
and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.
When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don't call this my deathbed. Let it be called the Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.
Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes of a woman.
Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.
Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.
Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.
Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body, and find a way to make a crippled child walk.
Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that, some day, a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.
Burn what is left of me, and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.
If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all prejudice against my fellow man.
Give my sins to the devil. Give my soul to God.
If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs it. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.
Robert N. Test
Prospero’s words from The Tempest:
.......be cheerful, sir.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
Sleep in peace, Soldier boy
'til the bu-gle calls you with the dawn.
Sleep and rest, God is nigh,
These are the words sung at the end of my husband's memorial sevice. Though there are no official words to Taps, there are many versions to be found on the Internet. The simple but effective words above were sung by my dear friend MSG Cynthia A. Bartolomeo of the United States Army Field.
December 8, 2008