Music, Hymns, Poems

Music, Hymns and Poems

Music, poems and readings are a lovely way to personalise a funeral or memorial service for your loved one. There are no right or wrong choices and the people closest to the person who has died arein the best position to make these choices.

Thinking about what music to play and what readings to use at a loved one’s funeral can seem overwhelming at first. If your loved one created a Go With Grace Plan before they died, some of this information may be included.

Make it personal

The funeral or memorial service is an occasion for the family and friends of the deceased to honour their memory. When selecting readings for the service some people find it helpful to think about the books, genres of music, songs, TV shows and films that their loved one enjoyed and start there for inspiration.

Asking yourself the following questions may help:

  • What songs did your loved one play most?
  • Did they have a favourite band, genre of music, album or musical?
  • What was their favourite TV show or film? Perhaps it has a memorable soundtrack e.g. I’ll Be There For You from the TV show ‘Friends’
  • What was their favourite book? Are there any underlined passages or quotes that you may want to use for a reading?
  • Were they religious?
  • What were they like, and what did they enjoy? Perhaps they had a particular outlook on the world that you would like to honour e.g. My Way by Frank Sinatra, or a hobby that made them happy that you could include a nod to e.g. Sailing by Rod Stewart.
  • Did your loved one leave any instructions or preferences for their funeral? This could be written instructions, part of a Go With Grace Plan or something they may have mentioned to a friend or family member.

If you are not sure what pieces of poetry your loved one liked, you may prefer to honour their memory by selecting pieces that you like that remind you of them and your shared moments.

Some things you could consider include:

  • Is there anything in particular you would like to say or share? Sometimes family and friends find it cathartic to send a message to their missing loved one in the form of a song or poem. Perhaps there is something you would like to say to your loved one in the form of a song e.g. You’re My Best Friend by Queen, or Goodbye My Lover by James Blunt.
  • Are there any special moments and memories that you would like to honour? For example, the song you danced to with your Dad at your wedding, or your parents’ first dance song at their wedding, or a lullaby your Grandmother used to sing to you.
  • Have you read any passages or poems that have helped you in your grief or that mean something to you? Perhaps you or a family member have written a poem for the occasion.

The tone of the service

You do not have to choose a traditional ‘funeral song’, hymn or poem, you are free to choose any piece you like. Consider whether you would like a quiet, reflective mood, or a more upbeat environment celebrating the life of your loved one. You may even want to choose songs that create different moods at different parts of the service.

If you are not sure, it can be a good idea to ask other members of your family and friends who also knew your loved one well. If you are holding the service at a church or other religious place it is also worth consulting with them directly as they may not allow songs or poetry that feature certain themes or wording to be used.

Read through the wording carefully

Sometimes the actual words of a song, no matter how well we think we know the piece of music, may surprise us. Before you commit to choosing a song for the service, it may be a good idea to review the lyrics line by line and be sure you are comfortable with them and that they are appropriate for the occasion.

Looking for inspiration?

There is a selection of funeral songs, hymns, poems and readings in our Resources section that you might find useful as a starting point.

The most important thing is that you and your family are comfortable with your choices and the tone of the service.