A Beyond Guide to Memorial Tattoos 0

Both getting a tattoo and remembering a loved one are very personal things, so we can’t tell you the best tattoo for someone who passed away. If you’re looking for memorial tattoo ideas, though, we can offer you a place to start.

Should I get a memorial tattoo?

Before getting any tattoo, especially if it’s your first tattoo, be sure that it’s something you want. Tattoos aren’t for everyone, and you don’t need a tattoo to prove your love; that love will exist even if you don’t ink it into your skin.

If you feel confident that you want a tattoo, though, memorial tattoos can be very meaningful. The people we love leave a mark on us, and remembrance tattoos are a way of making that mark visible.

Finding tattoos to remember a loved one

One way to come up with personalised memorial tattoo ideas is to consider what the person you’re remembering loved. A favourite bird or animal, a favourite flower, a favourite gemstone.

Another way is to think about things you personally shared with them. For example, was there a videogame you played together, a book series you always talked about with them, a band you both loved?

Don’t dismiss these things as trivial; if you both enjoyed them and they helped you bond, they were valuable to you. They can also be a source of inspiration for remembrance tattoos. If your loved one introduced you to a film that means a lot to you, and that film includes a symbol or logo you like the design of, that could be a possibility for your tattoo.

A third way to find tattoo designs for lost loved ones is to consider the personality traits you loved in them, and to look for designs that symbolise those traits. For example, intelligence could be symbolised by a fox, an owl or a book.

Some ideas for simple memorial tattoos

  • Sometimes, people have names that suggest tattoo designs: a lion for Leo, a lily for Lily, a cluster of catkins for Willow.
  • Leaves or flowers often make strong tattoo designs. If your loved one had a favourite plant or flower, you could remember them with, for example, a simple maple leaf or daffodil tattoo.
  • Did your loved one have a favourite weather type or time of day? Did you ever share a meaningful conversation in a blizzard or under the stars? The sun, the moon, some stars, a cloud, a raindrop, a snowflake: all of these could be potential tattoo designs.
  • Sometimes we associate our loved ones with particular animals. Animal tattoos can be realistic and elaborate, but there are also simpler options if you prefer them; for example, you might choose to have a simple cat tattoo done in outline or silhouette. If your loved one reminded you of a bird in some way, a feather tattoo might be fitting.

Hopefully you can find some inspiration here for tattoo ideas for loved ones that passed away. In the end, the important thing is that the tattoo feels meaningful to you and you’re happy with the design.

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10 Funny Funeral Poems for an Uplifting Service 0

Michael Ashby's A Long Cup of Tea, a funny funeral poem

‘Funny funeral poems’ might sound like a bit of a contradiction. But humour isn’t always out of place at a farewell. When we celebrate someone’s life, we celebrate all of it, all of the best things about them — and that can mean laughter as well as sadness.

Here, we’ve gathered together 10 popular funny funeral poems to inspire you. We hope you’ll find something your loved one would have giggled at.

 


Amy Roper's Pardon Me For Not Getting Up, one of our top 10 funny funeral poemsPardon Me For Not Getting Up by Kelly Roper

There’s puns galore in this poem by Kelly Roper, writer and hospice volunteer. It’s a popular light-hearted reading, especially in funerals for people who were always taking care of others.

Told from the perspective of someone who has died, Pardon Me For Not Getting Up asks funeral guests to excuse them from hosting this time — and asks them to go ahead and celebrate their life nevertheless.


 A Long Cup of Tea by Michael Ashby

Michael Ashby's A Long Cup of Tea, a funny funeral poem

Is this the most British funeral poem of all time? Perhaps. Full of sly jokes (‘Please pick the biggest mug you can find / Size really does matter at this time’) Michael Ashby’s funeral poem is perfect for someone who loved to kick back with a cuppa. And who doesn’t?


The Busman’s Prayer by Anon

The Busman's Prayer, one of our top 10 funny funeral poems
This parody of the Lord’s Prayer is one of the more original non-religious funny funeral poems. The version here is ideal for born-and-bred Londoners, but there are also versions for retired policemen and women (‘The Law’s Prayer’) and people in Derbyshire around.

You can, of course, also write your own. Simply swap out the London locations for local landmarks with a similar sound.


Death by Joe Brainard, one of our top 10 funny funeral poemsDeath by Joe Brainard

This wry, matter-of-fact poem by Joe Brainard has a lot of simple truth in it. And some very black humour. Noting that visualising death might help us not to be afraid, he adds:

“Try to visualize, for example, someone sneaking up behind
your back and hitting you over the head with a giant hammer.”

If your friend or relative was a straightforward sort of person with an appreciation for the darker variety of jokes, this could be the one.


Warning by Jenny Joseph

Jenny Joseph's Warning, one of the best funny funeral poems for mums.
This playful and funny funeral poem is all about how old age can be liberating — and how we’d act if we could just please ourselves all the time. It’s a wonderful funeral poem for anyone who spent their later years living life to the full.

It’s also an excellent message for us all: don’t let respectability get in the way of doing all the (silly) things that make you happy.


On a Tired Housewife, one of our top 10 funny funeral poems

On a Tired Housewife by Anon

This anonymous poem has something of a dark backstory. But it’s now one of the nation’s favourite comic poems.

In it, the reader explains that after a lifetime of hard work, she’s actually looking forward to a restful eternal sleep. This makes it one of the more fitting funny funeral poems for a friend or parent who was always busy looking after their family.


Untitled jisei by Moriya Sen’an

A jisei (death poem) by Moriya Sen'an
For some time, it was traditional in Japan for some people (the elite, samurai and monks in particular) to write short poems shortly before their death. Many of these jisei are beautiful and contemplative. Others, like this one, are comically frank and can have a place in funny funeral speeches.


Death by Sean Hughes, one of the best funny funeral poemsDeath by Sean Hughes

This poem, which describes Sean Hughes’ idea of a good funeral, is ideal for any ‘celebration of life’ style funeral service.

With free drinks and new friendships being forged, it actually does sound like a great way to send someone off. The poem was in fact read at Hughes’ own funeral.


I Didn’t Go To Church Today by Ogden Nash

I Didn't Go to Church Today, one of our top 10 funny funeral poems by Ogden Nash
In this quietly comic poem, the narrator explains why he skipped church that morning: the day was too beautiful not to spend at the beach. It’s a sweet piece about appreciating a perfect moment.

Although light-hearted, the poem does have comfort for those at a funeral. As Nash shares, God will likely understand. After all, ‘He knows when I am said and done / We’ll have plenty of time together’.


Last Will and Testament by Will Scratchmann

Last Will and Testament by Will Scratchmann, one of the best funny funeral poems
This short-but-sweet piece by Will Scratchmann could be a funny funeral poem for a dad. But behind the humour is a positive message about what we want for our loved ones after we’re gone. Not a lifetime of sadness, but a lot of joy (and parties!) in time.


 

One last note on funny funeral poems…

Giving a ‘funny’ reading at a funeral can be a bit nerve-wracking. What if it goes down badly? The best thing to ask yourself is what the person who has died would have thought. Does the poem sound like them? Is it something they might have found funny? After all, the day is all about them. And if you need advice on public speaking, take a look at our top tips from funeral celebrants.

Didn’t find the right funeral poem today? Not to worry. We have a round up of 33 beautiful non-religious funeral poems here to help you in your search.

Nervous About Speaking at a Funeral? Try These Celebrant-Approved Tricks 0

Man looking nervous in church

Standing up to speak at a funeral can be rewarding … and terrifying. 

But in a situation where the advice ‘imagine everyone in the audience naked’ is deeply unhelpful, how do you overcome nervousness and say what you need to say? We asked four celebrants for their advice. 

 

To prepare…

 

writing a funeral speech1) Write your speech down

“Unless you’re really accomplished and used to speaking in public, it’s absolutely essential to write your words down,” says Clive Pashley from Premier Celebrants. Not only will the script keep you on track, but it can be comforting to read your words later on. Otherwise, “you often don’t remember much of it.”

“Do not ad lib,” stresses Yorkshire-based celebrant Adrienne Hodgson-Hoy, citing a vicar who, despite all his experience, repeatedly got the widow’s name wrong during a eulogy. “That’s when things go to pot.” 

 

2) Practise before the funeral

Practice makes perfect. “But not too much,” warns Adrienne, “because you want it to sound natural, rather than stilted.” 

This has two benefits. The first, explains Clive, is emotional. Reading the piece through a few times can take some of the sting out of them.  “The more you read it, the more you deal with those emotions. Then it’s not such a shock on the day.”

The second is to simply rehearse your delivery, and make any last edits. “Get somebody to listen to you practise,” advises Adrienne. “They can give you tips about which points you need to emphasise and when to stop and breathe.”

 

3) Type your final draft out 

Woman types out funeral speechMicrosoft Word is your friend, says Clive, who recommends putting the whole speech in size 16 or 18 font to make it easy to read. Add double spaces after full stops and keep paragraphs to six lines or less.

“If you’ve got just a massive solid body of text, you can easily lose your place,” he explains. “It really hinders the flow of the delivery.”

His final tip? Gobbledegook. “Often, the end of the speech is when you get overcome by emotion. But if you type out a few lines of gobbledegook after your final paragraph, it can trick your brain into thinking there’s more to come, so you don’t well up. I promise you it works!”

 

When the time comes for your funeral speech…

 

4) Breathe in, breathe out

All our celebrants agreed on this: after each full stop, remember to breathe. And take a longer, slower breath at the end of each six line paragraph. Start as you mean to go on:

“Take a deep breath and drop your shoulders,” suggests Kate Mitchell, who acts as a celebrant in the South East. “Then, fix your eyes at the back of the hall – but low, so you’re not looking above people’s heads. The main doors are usually a good point to focus on.

“Place your finger on where you are – if your eyes are blurry it’s easy to lose your place – then look up, smile, take another deep breath and begin.”

“Try to deliberately speak slowly. You might feel like it’s too slow, but it’s really going to be a normal pace.”

5) Pace yourself

“Take your time,” says Kate. When a natural pause comes, use it. “One very good suggestion is to sweep your eyes around everybody regularly,” she adds.

Adrienne agrees, warning against fast, “monotonous” speaking. “At the end of a paragraph when you are taking your breath, look up and make eye contact.”

“When people are anxious and nervous, they speak faster than usual,” explains Clive. “Stand close to the microphone and try to deliberately speak slowly. You might feel like it’s too slow, but it’s really going to be a normal pace.”

 

6) Don’t worry about getting upset

Woman holding a man's hand to give support“The number one thing people worry about is emotion,” says Melanie Sopp, interfaith minister. “The idea that ‘I won’t be able to hold it together and I’ll cry and it will be a mess.’ But it’s natural to be emotional.”

If you do break down, don’t beat yourself up, says Adrienne. “It is emotional and it is difficult – and people will understand that. Just say you’re sorry, take a moment and then continue when you’re ready.”

Kate agrees. “No one’s expecting you to find this easy.  If you start to feel upset, or that you need to stop, do stop. Just take a deep breath and say, ‘I’m finding this very hard.’ Be honest.”

It’s also perfectly normal to ask someone else to step in and finish your speech for you if you do become overwhelmed. “Never be afraid to ask for help,” says Melanie.

 

7) Remember, it’s worth it

Speaking at a funeral can be stressful, but it’s also very rewarding, says Melanie. “If someone thinks that they’d like to do it, then I always encourage them, because I think it can help. It can even be a healthy part of the grieving process.”

Once you’ve made up your mind, “don’t let anyone talk you out of it!” she adds. “If it’s important to you, do it. 

“You’ll never, ever regret it.”

 

And for more inspiration…

Not yet written your funeral speech? Check out our guide on what to say in a eulogy or tribute here. And for inspiration, you can’t beat our piece on funeral speech examples. It’s filled with touching and even funny eulogies from real people.

 


Meet the celebrants

Clive Pashley started Premier Celebrants with his friend, James Greely, in 2016. They were later joined by Rachel Nussey. He and his team offer professional and bespoke funeral service planning across the Midlands.

Rev. Melanie Sopp is a celebrant and interfaith minister, working across the Midlands and the South coast. Melanie runs the excellent Celebrant Academy, which trains celebrants to create ceremonies and lead services of all kinds.

Adrienne Hodgson-Hoy was inspired to become a celebrant after losing her husband. Now, she leads unique, personal funeral services across Hull and East Yorkshire. With a friend, Adrienne runs Memories of Me, a service that allows people to plan their own funeral services.

Kate Mitchell is a creative independent celebrant working in the South East: her stomping grounds include Kent, Surrey and Sussex. As well as funerals, Kate leads thoughtful wedding and baby-naming ceremonies.