These poems, readings and blessings would be useful to family members engaged in the act of preparing the deceased's body. If it is just taking a washcloth to their hands or a comb to their hair, please consider making this final, loving act. MAKING READY are prayers and poems to prepare yourself and the room to attend to your loved one. WASHING AND DRESSING are readings to signify that you are about to minister to the final care of a human being. Find ceremony templates here.
We gather here with ________as she lies here, newly dead.
The force of her life has just left this body that once was full of life, that she inhabited to move, to touch, to work, to love, to dance, to rest.
We give thanks to this body that held ________ through her life, and bore her unto death.
As we prepare to care for her in death, please forgive any errors we may make.
Help us make space to remember her out loud, to cry openly, and to laugh easily, as she would like.
Guide our hands to care for her tenderly, lovingly, and patiently.
Thank you for bringing us together to share in this work of love and service. Amen
Peace, my heart, let the time for
the parting be sweet.
Let it not be a death but completeness.
Let love melt into memory and pain
Let the flight through the sky end
in the folding of the wings over the
Let the last touch of your hands be
gentle like the flower of the night.
Stand still, O Beautiful End, for a
moment, and say your last words in
I bow to you and hold up my lamp
to light you on your way.
-- Rabindranath Tagore
Take her not from me.
Let it be this hand
Who wipes the folds of her flesh —
A final encore to fading days.
With each tender stroke,
May her seasoned soul unwind its threads
from this mortal coil.
With each grieving caress,
May her enduring love weave more tightly
into the whole of my being.
Take her not from me,
Until the last essence of who she was is truly gone,
And I have captured only what she left for me —
In this hand and heart.
-- Pashta MaryMoon
Almighty God, thank Thee for the job of this day.
May we find gladness in all its toil and difficulty,
its pleasure and success,
and even in its failure and sorrow.
We would look always away from ourselves,
and behold the glory and the need of the world
that we may have the will and the strength to bring
the gift of gladness to others;
that with them we stand to bear
the burden and heat of the day
and offer Thee the praise of work well done.
-- Bishop Charles Lewis Slattery
Those who are worn out and crushed by this mourning,
let your hearts consider this: This is the path that has existed from the time
of creation and will exist forever.
Many have drunk from it and many will yet drink.
As was the first meal, so shall be the last.
May the master of comfort comfort you.
Blessed are those who comfort the mourners.
-- Jewish blessing
I give thanks to those that I am about to invite!
I ask that this room, this home or building and the grounds become a sacred space.
I invite the Divine to be present.
I invite Great Spirit, Mother Father God to be present.
I invite Great Mystery to be present.
I invite the Compassionate and loving Ancestors to be present and I give thanks to them, because with out them we couldn't be here.
I invite the Great Teachers and Masters to be present, especially those that we have connections to and affiliations with.
I invite the Angels, the great beings of light, especially the Archangels, the guardian angels angels of love and the angels of healing.
I invite the Power Animals, the Totems, and I give thanks to them for loaning their power, their qualities, their protection and for relationship.
I invite the Healing Spirits of all the realms and give thanks for the healing that I know is going to happen.
I invite the Elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Sacred Space...and I ask for a balancing and harmonizing of the Elements.
I invite the Compassionate Spirits and Devas.
I Invite the Earth, the Sun and the Moon.
I give thanks to the Stars and the Compassionate Star People.
I invite the Directions and the Guardians of the Directions
I invite the Four Great Winds.
I give thanks to the Great Spirits of the Land and I ask to be in harmony with you and to prosper here.
I give thanks to the Spirits of this place for allowing this work and this prayer to happen here in a good way.
And as always, I give thanks in advance for the blessings that I know will happen here.
-- Betsy Bergstrom
I am the rose of Sharon, the lily of the valleys.
As a lily among the thistles, so is my beloved among girls.
As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my love among young men. In his delightful shade I sit, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.
He has taken me to his cellar, and his banner over me is love.
Feed me with raisin cakes, restore me with apples, for I am sick with love.
His left arm is under my head, his right embraces me.
I charge you, daughters of Jerusalem, by all gazelles and wild does, do not rouse, do not wake my beloved before she pleases.
BELOVED: I hear my love. See how he comes leaping on the mountains, bounding over the hills.
My love is like a gazelle, like a young stag. See where he stands behind our wall. He looks in at the window, he peers through the opening.
My love lifts up his voice, he says to me, 'Come then, my beloved, my lovely one, come.
For see, winter is past, the rains are over and gone.
'Flowers are appearing on the earth. The season of glad songs has come, the cooing of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree is forming its first figs and the blossoming vines give out their fragrance. Come then, my beloved, my lovely one, come.
'My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock, in the coverts of the cliff, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.'
Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that make havoc of the vineyards, for our vineyards are in fruit.
My love is mine and I am his. He pastures his flock among the lilies.
Before the day-breeze rises, before the shadows flee, return! Be, my love, like a gazelle, like a young stag, on the mountains of Bether.