RESOURCES & EXTRAS
Photos, music, quotations, poems, and more
It’s very much the norm for photos to be included as part of a service, but this can be done in lots of ways, some of which are very imaginative.
Funeral directors tend to discuss this with you, but here’s my take on it.
Usually you have the option of a ‘holding photo’ on the screen at the front of the room, throughout the service. This is often supplemented by a framed picture, placed next to the coffin and it’s usual to have a few well chosen snaps to put in the printed Order of Service.
You can also choose a selection of pictures and have them scrolling on a loop throughout the service, although I personally think this can be a bit distracting.
A better way of ‘capturing a life on film’ is a photo tribute set to music and again, the funeral director can help you, or speak to me if you like.
If you choose a music track for ‘reflection’ so that people can remember the deceased in their own way, it tends to be around 3 or 4 minutes, which is the average length for a song. Choose around 25 photos (usually a mix from childhood to recent pictures) and they can be run as a slideshow with the music playing behind, displayed on the screens at the front.
Music too ranges from the melodic and classical to irreverent and noisy. Who has died? What did they like? Let that guide you.
Feel free to include whatever you want as part of your special send off. I’ve had people use quotations from philosophers and scientists, song lyrics and catchphrases, even the worldly wisdom their Dad or Mum passed down to them and of course there are often standing jokes amongst families, someone’s pet saying… anything goes.
Poetry, which is quite a niche thing in everyday life comes into it’s own at a funeral. Maybe it’s the ability to say a lot with a few words, the knack of expressing strong emotions without sounding soppy. If you search online under ‘funeral poetry’ you’ll probably find something which fits. Here are a couple I like, along with a video of me reciting one of my own.
Remember Me by Margaret Mead
To the living, I am gone,
To the sorrowful, I will never return,
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot speak, but I can listen.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore gazing at a beautiful sea,
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity,
Remember me in your heart:
Your thoughts, and your memories,
Of the times we loved,
The times we cried,
The times we fought,
The times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never have gone.
You’ve Just Walked On Ahead of Me by Joyce Grenfell
And I’ve got to understand
You must release the ones you love
And let go of their hand.
I try and cope the best I can
But I’m missing you so much
If I could only see you
And once more feel your touch.
Yes, you’ve just walked on ahead of me
Don’t worry I’ll be fine
But now and then I swear I feel
Your hand slip into mine.
Alone again (but naturally)
Written and performed by Theo Theobald.
Filmed and edited by Mark Ellis (Postmaster Media).
Shot on location at Westall Park Natural Burial Ground.
© 2022, Theo Theobald
"The eulogy is very beautifully put together, Theo. I’m sure the family will be so grateful to you."