Published: Tuesday, Feb. 8th, 2022

On the Death of the Beloved: Funeral Poem & Blessing by Irish Poet John O’Donohue


Reading a poem at a funeral or memorial service is a beautiful way to honor a lost loved one. 


This poem, by John O’Donohue, honors the grief of losing someone so dear to our heart, while celebrating the memory of a vibrant life well lived. 


O’Donohue was a contemporary Irish priest, poet, author, and philosopher, who spent much of his life studying Celtic spirituality. His inspired words have brought comfort to many over the years. 


If you’ve been asked to officiate a funeral or memorial service, read: 


How to Officiate a Funeral or Memorial Service


Then, become an ordained minister online with AMM and learn how to celebrate life rites in your community, including funerals, weddings, handfastings, and other blessings.




On The Death Of The Beloved
By John O’Donohue



Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.


Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of colour.


The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything.


Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.

Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.


Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was live, awake, complete.


We look towards each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.


Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul's gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.


Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.


When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.


May you continue to inspire us:


To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.




Why are we talking about memorial services on American Weddings?

We spend a lot of time talking about wedding ceremonies here on the American Weddings blog. This makes sense... Wedding ceremonies (and wedding officiants) are awesome! And they’re our primary focus and passion. 
But AMM Ministers don’t just marry people. When they choose to, their roles can extend much further, supporting their communities in important ways, and celebrating not just new beginnings, but endings, too. This deserves to be highlighted. 
Ordination through American Marriage Ministries gives our ministers all of the same rights and protections held by ministers ordained through traditional brick-and-mortar churches.
As an AMM Minister (or Reverend, Pastor, or Officiant, whatever title you choose), your right to conduct religious ceremonies of all forms is protected by the religious non-establishment clause of the first amendment. 
While many of our ministers only conduct wedding ceremonies, others also conduct baptisms, funerals, baby blessings, and other meaningful rites. 
Learn more about what it means to be an AMM Minister by visiting our FAQ page.




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