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By Emma Castleberry

Poetry is an ancient form of written word that can bring immense comfort in times of grief. Death and loss are timeless subjects that have been explored by some of the greatest poets in history. If you have been asked to speak at a funeral, these poems can make excellent choices for readings. They can provide comfort and light during a dark and challenging time.

1. Death is Nothing At All by Henry Scott Holland

Henry Scott Holland was a Professor of Divinity at Oxford and a canon of Christ Church in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This poem wasn’t a poem when it was first read, but a sermon written by the professor after King Henry’s death in 1910. The poem imbues listeners with a comforting sense that, though the deceased is gone, they are still close in heart and spirit.

2. A Child of Mine by Edgar Guest

A deeply religious work, this poem is written from the perspective of Christ as a message to those who have loved the deceased, his child. It celebrates the honor of loving and caring for someone while they enjoy their earthly life, while also providing solace that the deceased has moved on to be with his Maker.

3. If I should die by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is a recognizable name and her short, sometimes tragic, poetry has resonated with readers for centuries. This brief piece uses imagery of the natural world—“If birds should build as early/And bees as bustling go,”—to remind the audience that the world keeps turning. Death and loss can feel enormous and all-consuming, and this poem is a small, beautiful reminder that life goes on even as we experience grief. This idea is hopeful, because it means that we may someday be able to return to normality, if a bit changed.

4. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep by Mary Elizabeth Frye

Like Death is Nothing At All, this poem reminds the reader that, though the deceased is gone in body, they are still present in spirit. This idea—that we carry our loved ones with us through experiences like feeling “the gentle autumn rain” or seeing “the diamond glints on snow,”—is a popular one that provides closure and peace during the sad occasion of a funeral.

5. Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost

Another recognizable poet, Robert Frost was deeply inspired by nature. This poem outwardly appears to be about the seasons, which always change. It highlights the march of time that none of us can escape. This poem is a popular reading for funerals because it parallels the deceased with something gold—a good friend, a dear family member, no matter how loved, can never stay forever.

6. O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

Another popular choice for funeral readings, Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain! was written after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. This poem, a bit darker than the previous ones on this list, still carries a sense of honor for the deceased. It is a popular choice for veterans or those who have worked together. While some of the images in the poem are forlorn, there is also a sense of celebration and positivity to the achievements of the deceased: “For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding.”

7. Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay

This poem is a very relatable one for a funeral. It is about the reluctance to accept death, despite its inevitability. Readers of this poem make positive associations with the deceased through lines like, “Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind/Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave,” while also acknowledging the difficulty of loss.

The Right Poem for You

These are some of the most classic choices. While you might want to find a new or unique poem to read at a funeral (or even write your own), there can be immense comfort in a reading this is familiar to you and the audience. Choose a reading that resonates with you and brings you peace, and it is sure to be a wonderful addition to the funeral.

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By Emma Castleberry

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By Emma Castleberry

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By Emma Castleberry

Death and funerals, while unpleasant for many of us to consider, are inevitable occurances that we need to prepare for, both emotionally and financially. As one gets older, the burden of care falls on younger, and often less financially stable, family members. This reality makes it all the more important that the elders within a family provide clear and practical next steps upon their death. No one wants their family’s grief and sadness to be compounded with financial stress.
There are a number of ways for individuals to set aside money for their funeral services. Here are some tips and strategies.

1. Be Realistic

Coming face-to-face with funeral costs can be jarring for some. The products, services and planning tha...

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By Emma Castleberry

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By Emma Castleberry

One of the most important parts of most funeral services is the eulogy. A eulogy is a speech that celebrates the life of the deceased. Some funerals will have more than one eulogy, and some funerals will have no eulogy at all. Often, the family members that are planning the funeral will request a eulogy from friend or close loved one. The religious officiant of the funeral can also deliver the eulogy.

What Should I Include in a Eulogy?

Your eulogy should definitely include the things you loved about the deceased. The speech meant to be personal but also relatable, so while you should include anecdotes unique to your experience with the deceased, you should also include other stories from friends and family members.

When possible, humor is always a good idea—funerals can be stressful and tense, and a little joke can go a long way to making guests feel more comfortable. But humor isn’t always accessible when you’re grieving a loved one, so don’t try to tell a funny story unless it comes to you naturally.

If you are uncomfortable taking an emotional approach to a eulogy, it is also acceptable to highlight a person’s accomplishments and milestones in life. Mention their marriage, children and career, or discuss hobbies and passions.

How Long Should a Eulogy Be?

Like any speech, a eulogy shouldn’t be too long—never more than 10 minutes. Short and sweet is a good rule of thumb, but it’s also important not to be hasty or casual when writing and delivering a eulogy. Eulogies generally last between three and five minutes.

The length of your eulogy will depend on how fast you speak. Generally, between 400 and 900 written words will make for an appropriately timed eulogy when delivered orally.

Tips for Delivering a Eulogy

Above all, you must practice delivering your eulogy. It’s not enough to simply write the speech—you need to say it out loud several times to become comfortable with how it sounds.

When speaking publicly, remember not to rush—this is a common mistake and it makes your speech hard to understand. You should speak slowly enough that it feels a little unnatural. Also, use pauses throughout your eulogy so you can take a breath or a drink of water, and people can have time to process your words.

Try to notice and eliminate ticks like tapping your fingers, playing with your hair, or wringing you hands. These little habits are often unconscious to you but they can be distracting to the audience.

Your Eulogy Will Be Perfect

If the funeral planner requested a eulogy from you, it means they have faith in your ability to honor their loved one and you will undoubtedly rise to the occasion. Even if your eulogy wasn’t specifically requested, speaking from the heart is guaranteed to convey your sympathy for the family and your appreciation of the deceased. Remember that a eulogy is part of the grieving process for you and everyone else, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

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While there are certain standards of etiquette that apply to all funerals, the funeral process at a national cemetery is slightly different than a traditional cemetery. Knowing what to expect at a funeral or memorial service can make the process more comfortable for everyone involved. If you are going to a ceremony for a deceased veteran at a national cemetery, here is what to expect.

National Cemeteries Don’t Host Funerals

It’s important to be aware that national cemeteries don’t have the facilities to host traditional funeral services or open-casket viewing. Sometimes, families will choose to have a funeral prior to the ceremony at the national cemetery.The service that is held at a national cemetery...

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By Emma Castleberry

Did you know that you or your loved one can receive Military Funeral Honors even if the funeral is not at a Veteran National Cemetery? Not only is it possible to receive these honors for a service held in a private funeral home and cemetery, but their availability for eligible veterans is mandated by Public Law 106-65.

What are Military Funeral Honors?

The most basic services included in Military Funeral Honors are the folding and presenting of the flag (often to the widow/widower or next of kin) and the playing of taps. This process will be performed by a pair of Armed Forces members, one of whom will be from the deceased’s parent Service.

If the body is transported, the flag will often be placed over the casket. T...

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By Emma Castleberry

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Contact Us

6051 East Seven Mile Road,
Detroit, MI
48234
(East of Mound Road)

contact@hutchisonfuneralhome.com

Direct Line: 313-893-1880
Fax: 313-891-1758

Hutchison Funeral Home

6051 East Seven Mile Road,

Detroit, MI 48234

Phone. 313-893-1880

Email. contact@hutchisonfuneralhome.com