Sharing Words


Everyday I meet or talk to someone that is losing something, a loved one, a job, their marriage, their independence, even their hair or vision. No matter what kind of loss it is, heavy or light, or what kind of grief is expressed, those of us on the listening end may feel compelled to offer poignant words of comfort, healing, and meaning. We can do this, if it feels right, or, we can just listen. Truth is we don't need to try too hard. Authenticity, true presence, and the willingness to sit with the discomfort of loss is the gift of holding space with someone in grief.

Not too long ago, an English poet named Michael Ashby wrote to me and shared with me his beautiful book of poetry. It's called Funeral Poems: Death, Grief and Loss Poetry. In this book, he not only shares his wonderful poetry, but the reflections and touching comments of many individuals who have found comfort in them and used them in their loved one's funeral and ceremony. The latter half of the book is a curation of poetry from several greats such as Shakespeare, Keats, and Tennyson, all weighing in on death, dying, saying goodbye and letting go. I want to thank Mr. Ashby for sharing his gifts with the world, we need words like these to remember how connected we are.

Life Goes On
by Michael Ashby

I want fireworks at my funeral
To brighten up your eyes
I want clowns at my funeral
To return all your smiles

I want dancing at my funeral
to help you move along
I want a party at my funeral
Filled with your happy throng

So, party, party, party
And cheer my spirit with song
As my last wish is you celebrate
That life goes on