1. Find a Way to Peace
No one knows the grief we share,
As the darkness falls around us,
No one seems to hear our prayer:
People smother us with kindness,
Then they walk away again:
Their compassion flawed by blindness
To our hurt, fear and pain.
Cannot be the same again;
God, through anger, desolation,
Find a way to peace through pain;
Lift the veil to understanding,
Offer insight to our grief:
Held too close by love and sadness,
Help this isolation to cease.
Of the ones who cannot face
All that we have seen together,
All that shatters time and space;
Frozen in the present moment,
Needing you in human form,
Hold us by their prayers and presence,
Fly with us beyond the storm.
2. Death is not the end
Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. Whatever we were to each other; that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effort. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of your mind because I an out of your sight I am but waiting for you, for an interval somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well. Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before – only better, infinitely happier and forever – we will all be one in Christ.
Henry Scott Holland
3. Death is only an Horizon
We give them back to you, O Lord, who first gave them to us; and as you did not lose them in the giving so we do not lose them in the return. Not as the world gives do you give O Lord. For what is yours is ours also, if we belong to you. Life is unending because love is undying and the boundaries of this life are but an horizon and an horizon is but the limit of our vision. Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further. Strengthen our faith that we may see beyond the horizon. And while you prepare a place for us as you have promised, prepare us also for that happy place; that where you are we may be also, with those we have loved, forever.
Bede Jarett, O.P.
4. Stranger at our side
All through life’s day our risen Lord walks with us. Often, however, he is a stranger to us, for he never forces himself upon us. Before the day’s end, we will ask many questions, experience many failures, disappointments and heartaches. And then, suddenly, whether we are young, middle aged or old, we will find that the shadows are lengthening and night is fast approaching. In that moment we pray that, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, our eyes will be opened and that we will recognise him – the stranger who walked at our side – as our risen Lord. And he will not vanish from our sight. Instead he will guide us through the dark valley of death to the safety of the Father’s house.
5. Builders of Eternity
Isn’t it strange that princes and kings
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
And ordinary folks, like you and me,
Are builders of eternity.
To each is given a bag of tools,
An hour-glass and a book of rules;
And each must build `ere time has flown,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.
6. Peace at Last
May the Lord support us all the day long; till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over and our work is done. Then in his mercy, may he give us a safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at last. Amen
7. Gone only from our sight
I am standing on the seashore. Suddenly a ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts out for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch her until at length she is only a ribbon of white cloud just above where the sea and sky mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says: “There! She’s gone!” Gone where?
Gone from my sight – that is all. She is just as large in mast and hull as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination. Her diminished size is in me, not in her and just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There! She’s gone!” there are other voices ready to greet her with a glad shout: “There! She comes!”And that is dying.
One night a man had a dream. He dreamt that he was walking along a beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed the scenes of his life. For each scene he noticed not one, but two sets of footprints in the sand. He understood immediately that one belonged to him and the other to the Lord. But then he noticed a curious thing. At the lowest and saddest times in his life there was only one set of footprints. This bothered him and so he asked the Lord: “How come that during the most difficult times in my life, the very times when I most needed you, you left me on my own?”
Then the Lord replied: “My friend, during your trials and sufferings when you see only one set of footprints, those footprints are mine. It was then that I carried you.
9. Dear Parents
I did not die young. I lived my span of life within your body and within your love. There are many that have lived long lives and not have been loved as me.
If you would honour me, then speak my name and number me among your family. If you would honour me, then strive to live in love, for in that love I now live. Never ever doubt that we will meet again. Until that happy day I will grow with God and wait for you.
10. Miss me but let me go
When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little, but not too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me but let me go.
For this is a journey we all must take
And each must go alone
It’s all a part of the master plan
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury the sorrow in doing good deeds
Miss me but let me go.
11. Reflection Grief (John O’Donohue)
Though the silent weeping of your heart lessens, you get on, more or less, with your life; a place is kept within you for the one who is gone. No other will ever be given the key to that door. As the years go on you may not remember the departed every day with your conscious mind. Yet below your surface mind, some part of you is always in their presence.
From their side, our friends in the unseen world are always secretly embracing us in their new and bright belongings. Though we may forget them, they can never forget us; their secret embrace unknowingly shelters and minds us.
The bright moment in grief is when the sore absence gradually changes into a well of presence. You become aware of the subtle companionship of the departed one. You know that when you are in trouble, you can turn to this presence beside you and draw on it for encouragement and blessing.
The departed is now no longer restricted to any one place and can be with you any place you are. It is good to know the blessings of this presence.
12. A Shared Tear
As the sun goes down, we realize
that another day is coming to an end.
We feel for your family and close friends
at the loss of your loved one.
We wish you the peace and assurance
that the reasons are there.
They may be beyond our understanding
at this time, but they do exist.
We pray you are comforted during this
time of grief, through your friends and family.
We just want you to know, Loved one, that
our thoughts and prayers are with you.
-Kenneth G. Kirkpatrick
13. I’m Free
Don’t grieve for me, for now I am free.
I’m following the path God has laid, you see.
I took His hand when I heard Him call.
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work, or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I found peace at the close of the day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joys,
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Oh yes, these things I, too, will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow.
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all to brief,
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee.
God wanted me now; He set me free!
14. One day at a time–this is enough.
Do not look back and grieve over
the past, for it is gone;
and do not be troubled about the future,
for it has not yet come.
Live in the present and make it so beautiful
that it will be worth remembering.
–Ida Scott Taylor
15. God’s Secrets to Life
Take time to think…
It is the source of Power
Take time to play…
It is the secret of Youth
Take time to be friendly…
It is the source of Happiness
Take time to work…
It is the price of Success
Take time to Pray…
It is the greatest power on Earth
Take time to Love the Lord…
It is the Way of God
16. Concluding prayer 1
We have loved them in life, Let us not abandon them until we have conducted them
By our prayers into the house of the Lord.
Lord, give us the certainty that beyond death there is a life where broken things are mended and lost things are found; where there is rest for the weary and joy for the sad; where all that we have loved and willed of good exists, and where we will meet again our loved ones. We ask this through Christ, our Lord, Amen.
17. Concluding Prayer 2
All say: May the Lord support us all the day long ‘til the shades lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is done.
Then in his mercy may He grant us a safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen. (Cardinal Newman)