Recommended Reading Selections for Funeral Services

By: David Tindall
Friday, May 31, 2024

Funeral services are deeply emotional and profoundly significant events. They offer a moment to honor and celebrate the life of a loved one, providing comfort and support to grieving families and friends. Choosing the right readings for a funeral service can be a delicate task, as they should reflect the personality, beliefs, and values of the deceased while offering solace to those in attendance. Here are some recommended reading selections to consider for funeral services, encompassing various genres and themes to resonate with diverse audiences.

1. Poetry

“Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye

This timeless poem provides a comforting message that the deceased is not truly gone but lives on in nature and the memories of loved ones. Its soothing tone and hopeful imagery make it a popular choice.

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...

“The Dash” by Linda Ellis

Ellis’s poem emphasizes the importance of how we live our lives between our birth and death dates. It encourages reflection on the impact the deceased had on others and the legacy they leave behind.

For that dash represents all the time

That they spent alive on earth.

And now only those who loved them

Know what that little line is worth...

2. Literature

“Death is Nothing at All” by Henry Scott Holland

This prose piece reassures that death does not break the bonds of love and memory. Its straightforward yet poignant message can be very comforting for those grieving.

Death is nothing at all.

It does not count.

I have only slipped away into the next room...

“When Great Trees Fall” by Maya Angelou

Angelou’s powerful words capture the impact of losing someone significant, but also the enduring strength and beauty left behind. This piece is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit.

When great trees fall,

rocks on distant hills shudder,

lions hunker down

in tall grasses,

and even elephants

lumber after safety...

3. Quotes and Reflections

C.S. Lewis on Grief

C.S. Lewis’s reflections on grief in "A Grief Observed" offer a deeply personal and relatable perspective on mourning. His candid exploration of his own grief process can resonate with many.

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.”

Kahlil Gibran on Death

From "The Prophet," Gibran’s eloquent words on death speak to the continuity of life and the eternal nature of the soul. His poetic language is both comforting and uplifting.

“For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.”

4. Personal Reflections and Eulogies

Personal reflections and eulogies can be the most touching part of a funeral service. They offer a unique and intimate glimpse into the life of the deceased, celebrating their individuality and the special moments shared with them. Encourage family members and friends to share stories, memories, and reflections that highlight the character and essence of the loved one.

Tips for Writing Personal Reflections:

  • Be Honest and Genuine: Speak from the heart and share personal anecdotes.
  • Focus on Positive Memories: Highlight the joyful and impactful moments.
  • Incorporate Humor: If appropriate, humor can lighten the mood and celebrate the deceased’s personality.
  • Keep it Concise: Aim for a balance between brevity and depth.


Choosing readings for a funeral service is a deeply personal task, but it can significantly impact the tone and atmosphere of the service. Whether you opt for classic poetry, religious texts, literary excerpts, or personal reflections, the most important aspect is that the readings resonate with the memory of the deceased and provide comfort to those who mourn. These selections can help create a meaningful tribute that honors the life and legacy of your loved one.

For additional information - Contact us through this form or call Tindall Funeral Home at (315) 468-5521.

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