Thursday, 6 April 2023

Laughing Through Tears: The Art of Humour in Funeral Poetry

Funerals are so often solemn and sad occasions, where grief becomes all consuming.

Is there also a place for humour and light-heartedness? 

It is such a personal thing but we believe that including poetry that is humorous or whimsical can bring some much needed levity to a difficult situation. Obviously, there are situations where humour is not appropriate, where the pain of loss is simply too great, and the circumstances so tragic that humour is the last thing that is required. But in general, I do think there is room for humour at funerals.  I know that however, I die, I want humour at my funeral.  I want people to remember why they liked me (hopefully!) what made them laugh about me and for my funeral to be light and happy, a remembrance rather than a solemn affair because I didn’t live my life like that and I want to die the same way as I lived.

So, why is humour important when we are grieving?

Humour can help to relieve tension and stress. Funerals can be a stressful and emotional time for everyone involved, and laughter can help ease some of the tension. By including a funny or lighthearted poem in the funeral service, mourners can take a break from the sadness and find a moment to smile or even laugh. It can help to create a sense of togetherness and camaraderie among the mourners.

Another reason why light-hearted poetry is important at funerals is that it can celebrate the life of the person who has passed away in a joyful way. While it is important to acknowledge the sadness and loss, it is also important to remember the good times and the happy memories. A humorous poem can help to capture the personality and spirit of the person who has died, reminding everyone of the joy they brought into the world. It can be a way to celebrate their life and the love that they shared with others. When we write a poem specifically for someone, it is a way of celebrating what made them unique. 

We were asked to write a poem for this gentleman’s family to ‘give him something funny to send him on his way.’ He had an extremely dry and wicked sense of humour in life, and would often joke with his children that they were only hanging around to get his money! 



It is a poem that can certainly only be used for someone who had a real dry sense of humour; someone who wanted to go out with a bang and give everyone a good laugh. The poem was called ‘Keep the Tinnies Cold’. You can find this poem in our new book 'Poetry for Funerals'

There is lots of funeral poetry out there, but there is nothing like a piece that is written especially for your loved one, be it humorous or more serious. I talk to my parents a lot about funerals, it goes with my job I suppose, and maybe we talk about it more than most.  But what I have noticed over the years is how what they want changes from year to year. I remember my Dad used to tell me “I just want to be put in a black bin liner out with the rubbish! No fuss” That’s what he said, “I don’t need anything”. 

Over the years he has changed his mind countless times. At the moment it’s a carriage with horses, black feather plumes and a jazz band playing - What a friend we have in Jesus. The other week after another one of these conversations I wrote him a poem called ‘Did I tell you I don’t want a Funeral?’.  I read it to my Mum and Dad and he laughed before saying “I want that read at my funeral, it’s perfect!”.

Knowing what your loved ones want at their funeral is important for so many reasons, but that’s a blog for another day!

Often people worry that humour will be seen as disrespectful at a funeral but I truly believe there is nothing disrespectful about remembering why someone made you laugh, why they made you smile and sharing it. I know that when I leave this beautiful world, I want people to remember me with smiles and laughter, not with tears.

Humorous poetry can help to create a more relaxed atmosphere at the funeral. While it is important to show respect and dignity during a funeral service, there is also a place for laughter and joy. No two people are the same, and everyone has their own unique sense of humour and personality, my dad definitely does! 

By including a humorous poem in the funeral service, family and friends can pay tribute to the person who has passed away in a way that is authentic and true to who they were. It can be a way to remember their individuality and celebrate the joy they brought into the world.

If you like our poetry you can find 'Keep the Tinnies Cold' in our new book Poetry for Funerals available now at  'Did I tell you I don't want a Funeral' will be available in 'Poetry For Funerals - Families' release date as yet unknown, so watch this space!

Kate x


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