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By Funeral Poems, Grief/Loss

By Bessie Anderson Smith*

He has achieved success
who has lived well,
laughed often, and loved much;

who has enjoyed the trust of
pure women,

the respect of intelligent men and
the love of little children;

who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;

who has left the world better than he found it
whether by an improved poppy,
a perfect poem or a rescued soul;

who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty
or failed to express it;

who has always looked for the best in others and
given them the best he had;

whose life was an inspiration;
whose memory a benediction.



*This poem is often incorrectly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, usually with the inclusion of the famous line: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Psalm 23

By Funeral Poems, Grief/Loss

Psalm 23
David, The Book of Psalms (KJV)

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 for ever.



Grief and Professional Help: When to Consider Therapy

By AfterCare, Grief/Loss

Grief is normal. It hurts to lose someone dear to you, and it makes sense to acknowledge this pain. Everybody must go through a grieving process when losing a loved one. The grief journey is an indicator that the person who passed on was dearly loved. But what happens when the intensity of grief will not subside? What if you find yourself unable to cope, even though many months or years have passed since your loss?

Complicated Grief

If you find yourself unable to function in daily life long after the loss of your loved one, you may want to consider the possibility that you are experiencing complicated grief. While grief is a perfectly normal, healthy response to the event of loss, complicated grief is a psychological problem that, if left untreated, can severely impact your quality of life.

Receiving Help

If you think you may be struggling with complicated grief, treatment is available. Grief counseling can be a useful resource for dealing with complicated grief. A trained counselor can give you the tools that you need to start enjoying your life again. It is important to realize that counseling is not an attempt to make you forget about the life of your loved one or diminish their legacy. Rather, it is a way to help you accept the reality of their death and make tangible steps to get to a point where you can find joy in life.

Rational Thinking

Counseling can be especially beneficial if you find yourself suffering from extreme guilt, anxiety, or fear. Getting an outside perspective could help you to see when your thoughts become irrational. For instance, if you are someone who blames yourself for the death of a loved one, hearing a fresh perspective might allow you to see things differently. A liberating insight from a therapist could provide just the boost that you need to get back to finding joy and meaning in your life.

Accepting the Reality of Loss

Of course, it is unhelpful and unrealistic to believe that we will ever fully “move on” or “recover” from a loss. Even if this state of mind could be achieved, it wouldn’t be desirable. You will always remember the person that you loved, and the knowledge of their loss will always be painful. This knowledge falls under the category of grief that is considered normal. The pain of loss is part of what it means to love.  But if your thoughts of your loved one border on obsession, and if long after your loved one has passed, you find yourself ignoring everything except for these thoughts, then you may be struggling to accept the reality of the loss. Grief therapy can help you get to acceptance, and can provide you with advice on how to carry this experience with you as you continue to navigate your life journey.

How Do I Know if Counseling is Right for Me?

Studies suggest that people who are struggling with complicated grief respond better to therapy than those who struggle with normal grief. For those who are still on their grief journey, time is the most important factor in the healing process.  So how can you be sure that therapy will be useful for you? Since there is no set time frame for working through the grieving process, at what point can you reasonably estimate that your grief has become complicated?

There’s no definitive answer to these questions. You have no way of knowing with absolute certainty if counseling or the mere passage of time will be the best approach for your mental health. But if you feel that a significant amount of time has passed and that you are still unable to cope with daily life, it couldn’t hurt to give counseling a try. At the very least, you’ll have a trained professional to talk to, an experienced person who will listen as you get some things off your chest. This simple step could end up making a great difference.

Technology and Your Grief Journey

By Grief/Loss, Technology and Grief

The technological developments of the 21st century have touched every aspect of lives, and the ways in which we deal with loss and cope with grief are transforming. The rise of social media and other technological advances have had an effect on the way that we navigate our grief journeys, and many people feel that cyberspace communication has the potential to aid in the grieving process. Here are some ways in which technological innovations can help you deal with grief.

Announcing the Loss

After a loss, it’s important to find a way to communicate the news of death as efficiently as possible. Of course, those closest to the deceased should be told in person, but there is less agreement on how the news should be spread to those outside of the inner circle. Online obituaries and social media sites allow the information to go out to the deceased’s entire social network of friends, which keeps you from having to make the painful announcement multiple times to different groups of people.

Most funeral homes post obituaries online, which can easily be shared across social media channels, helping the news get out to your social network much faster. What you don’t want is for a very close friend or family member to find out about the death on Facebook. Before making the post, take stock of who might be hurt by receiving the information on social media. Once you are sure that everyone who is closest to the deceased has been informed in person or by phone, then announce the loss on social media.

Receiving Social Support

Social media allows you to receive the support of loved ones both near and far. Caring words, condolences, and memories can all be shared by friends on social media. If you need time to yourself, you can read their messages at your own leisure; social media puts less pressure on you to respond immediately. You might post a tribute on the account that gives friends the opportunity to say a few words to honor the deceased or provide comfort. The loved one’s account can be turned into a memorial page, which mourners return to from time to time to express their feelings and honor the life. This online support network can be very beneficial to you as you begin your grief journey.

Crowdfunding Sites

Struggling to find a way to pay for a service? You can use crowdfunding websites to create a funeral campaign. Some of these websites are general fundraising platforms that can help you raise money for a funeral. in particular has become a very popular way to campaign for a service. Other websites such as Funeral Fund are specifically tailored to funeral fundraising. These sites provide efficient ways to receive the financial support that you or a loved one needs to craft a meaningful ceremony.

Memorial Websites

You may decide that you want to do more than a Facebook post to honor a loved one. If so, consider making a memorial webpage. Memorial websites such as Legacy, Remembered and Your Tribute allow you to create an online memorial that can be accessed for years to come. These sites allow you write tributes, add photos, and post videos of remembrance. The memorial website gives you an online space to return to periodically for reflection. Just as we return to the gravestone with flowers in hand to spend a few moments to remember, so too can we return to a memorial page to contemplate the life of a loved one.

Memorial Video Sites

Memorial video sites help you to create quality video content to honor the life and capture the spirit of your loved one. Perhaps the most popular of these sites is animoto, which is easy to use and allows you to create high-quality, professional-looking videos. Online tutorials are available, and the website will take you step-by-step through the process of making a great memorial video.

QR Code on Headstone

Want more information than you can fit on a headstone? Consider installing a QR code. By scanning this code with your smart phone, you can obtain additional information about the loved one online. QR codes can be linked to memorial webpages or online obituaries. This option provides a unique experience, allowing you to participate in the timeless tradition of visiting the headstone while getting the most out of 21st century technological advances. QR codes are worth considering if you are looking to create a highly personalized marker to honor your loved one.

A New Way of Grieving

Technological advances are creating a wide range of possibilities for communicating with others in times of grief. While having direct contact with people is essential, social media can also be a useful tool to help you on your grief journey. Through the use of online platforms, you can cultivate a support network, create online memorials that help you to reflect on and remember the life that was lived, expedite the process of spreading important news, and receive messages of encouragement in a way that doesn’t put pressure on you or anyone else who is grieving.

If you are struggling financially, crowdfunding websites can help you to get the support that you need to have a funeral for your loved one. If you are looking for special ways to memorialize your loved one, memorial websites, memorial videos, and QR codes can help you to craft a personalized tribute. Since technology is playing an increasingly important role in our everyday lives, it makes sense that it should also have its place in celebrating our lives and mourning our deaths.

Grief and Loss in the Digital Age

By Grief/Loss, Planning Tools, Technology and Grief

Is There Room for Technology in the Funeral Profession?

People often associate funeral homes with tradition, order, and family values. When they think of technology, they think innovation, variety, and convenience. These two sets of positive characteristics aren’t mutually exclusive. The reliability of the old fashioned, personable, customer service-oriented funeral home and the ease of technology can work in tandem to create a valuable service. Taking the best of the classical funeral experience and fusing it with the latest technological innovations can help us craft meaningful ceremonies for our loved ones.

Technology Used During the Service

In the 21st century, the funeral service has changed drastically. Whereas photographs of the deceased used to be displayed near the casket, they are now able to be projected on slideshows. Video and music capabilities have increased the level of personalization in the average funeral. Clips of the deceased or favorite songs are played to capture the spirit of a loved one. These developments illustrate technology’s potential to enrich a ceremony and aid in the grieving process.

Broadcasting a Funeral Service Online

Another innovation is the ability to stream a funeral service online. While this may not be the ideal way for loved ones to participate in the funeral (the communal aspect that is achieved when a group of people gather in a room should not be underestimated), it can be useful in some circumstances because it allows people in distant places to connect. For example, if a family member or friend is overseas and unable to attend the service, this kind of broadcast could be of great benefit.


Many funeral homes have now made the leap into cyberspace, building websites and online resources to meet the needs of the people they serve. These websites often contain obituaries, grief resources, aftercare information, and online forms for prearranging funerals. Sometimes, you are able to use the funeral home website to send flowers to those who are grieving. Visit your local funeral home’s website to see what services they offer and what resources they provide.

Social Media

Social media sites have changed the game by creating a public online platform on which people can honor the life of a loved one and pay their respects. Families might access the loved one’s account to post a final, meaningful tribute, and people can comment to show how the loved one touched them. In this way, social media can function as a giant support network, in which hundreds or even thousands of people receive the news of a loved one’s passing. Social media is a great additional step that you can take to connect with people that you care about during a time of loss.

Digital Funeral Planning

In addition to providing more information and buying options, technology can play an important role in funeral arrangements by facilitating more efficient communication with funeral directors. Passare funeral home software, a new company that is designed to make funeral arranging easier on both the funeral director and the client, offers an online space that allows you to connect with your funeral director at any time and any place. All that you need is access to an electronic device. The online Collaboration Center is easily accessible and gives you a voice in the planning process.


Exciting advances are regularly being made in the technological world. These advancements aren’t working to make funeral homes obsolete. Rather, they provide funeral directors with tools to better serve their clients. Those who are planning for a service can use the web as a valuable resource to become better informed and to choose the options that suit their personal needs. And of course, technology plays a role in the funeral service itself, which uses audio and video capabilities to enhance the service and capture the unique characteristics of the loved one. These innovations have the potential to positively shape the grieving process and help us to honor the lives of our loved ones.

How Poetry Can Help You on Your Grief Journey

By Exclude from Top Posts, Funeral Poems, Grief/Loss, Seasonal

Did you know that poetry can play an important role in the grieving process? Sadly, poetry readings are becoming less and less popular in everyday life, but they are still widely used in important rituals and ceremonies, including funerals. Our willingness to turn to poetry to mark events of great importance indicates that we still understand the power of poetry and are drawn to it, even though we only turn to it on rare occasions.

What’s So Great About Poetry?

A great poem captures essential truths about the human condition. Through the precise arrangement of a few carefully chosen words, the poet explores universal themes and attempts to encapsulate an aspect of human experience. Good poems are relatable. Writing it allows us to express ourselves to others, and reading it cultivates empathy and reminds us of what we have in common. Poetry reminds us of what it means to be human–to feel joy and pain, to laugh and to cry, to celebrate the wonders of life and to fear our mortality. In this way, it connects us to the people around us.

Reading Poetry to Enhance a Funeral Service

In a funeral setting, poetry reading can be a powerful ritual. It honors the life of the loved one and strengthens the bonds between those who mourn. Whether the poems chosen are mournful or inspirational and uplifting, they can serve as an opportunity to reflect on the life of the deceased. Funeral poems can help us search for meaning in the loss and can bring us into a state of contemplation. Poetry reading is a communal experience: it allows everybody who is present to share a profound moment together.

Therapeutic Benefits

Poetry can also be useful after the ceremony, in the weeks, months, even years after the loss of a loved one. Studies suggest that any form of reading can be therapeutic and poems can be especially useful because of its contemplative, even spiritual, qualities. The grief journey is not linear. Long after the loved one has passed, sporadic periods of intense grief can crop up. During these difficult times, it might be useful to consider reading some poems. The is a great place to start.

Writing Your Own Poems

In addition to reading, you may also find it helpful to write some poems of your own. Grief experts consider grief journaling to be a healthy way to channel painful emotions. In many ways, writing poems can function as a sophisticated form of journaling. Writing is a healthy means of self-expression that allows you to better process your thoughts and to comprehend what you are feeling. The great poet Robert Frost once said, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” In short, poems helps us to better understand our emotions. Understanding what we feel is incredibly useful during times of grief, when we experience confusing or paradoxical emotions. Mourning through creative imagery can be incredibly cathartic. By putting your feelings into words, you open the door to self-discovery.

Using Poetry as a Place of Refuge

Not all of the poems that you use during the grieving process have to deal directly with death. Poetry can be an effective outlet for dealing with painful emotions. Additionally, it can also provide a refuge from the pain and stress that comes after a loss. Taking a few moments out of your day to read some soothing poems can be refreshing. Consider going to a favorite spot, where you can read or write peacefully without distractions. You may find that this activity calms your mind and relieves stress.

Try It!

If you have recently lost a loved one, consider utilizing poetry to help you on your grief journey. Whether you’re thinking about incorporating poems into a funeral service, looking for poems to read personally, or considering writing some poems of your own, find ways to take advantage of the benefits that poetry can offer.


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