Picture by Becca Tapert on Unsplash
The death of a best friend can mean losing the very person you’d usually talk to in difficult times.
If you’re grieving a friend, these poems may be a comfort, or could be your way of telling a grieving friend you’re there for them on their own journey through bereavement.
Grief counsellor Annie Broadbent regularly answers readers’ questions about coping with bereavement on this blog. She understands that grieving a friend can be hard.
“I often hear from people say: ‘other people were much closer to them, so why should I be taking it so hard?’” she says.
“It can be incredibly difficult for people to own their pain and ask for help.”
If you are finding it difficult to cope, or want to find out how to support a friend who is grieving, we have lots of helpful information about bereavement support in our Help and Resources pages.
These funeral poems for a best friend reflect on some of the emotions you may be feeling after their death, or be a comfort at lonely times when you are missing them. You’ll find more beautiful poems about mourning, remembrance and love in our collection of funeral poetry and verses.
My best friend died – a poem for you
One of the most popular poems for grieving a friend, If I Should Go, by Joyce Grenfell is a lovely reminder of how you can remember someone and go on to have happy times, with their blessing – as if they were there.
If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I'm gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep if you must
Parting is Hell
But life goes on
So sing as well.
A poem to support a grieving friend
This beautiful poem, Farewell My Friends, by Rabindranath Tagore is written from the perspective of someone who is dying and ready to say goodbye.
It says so much about what good friends wish for the people they love. It can be intepreted as a poem for grieving a friend – or, if you are at the end of life, perhaps be among the words you leave in a legacy letter to a best friend who will deeply miss and grieve you.
Farewell My Friends
It was beautiful
As long as it lasted
The journey of my life.
I have no regrets
The pain I’ll leave behind.
Those dear hearts
Who love and care…
And the strings pulling
At the heart and soul…
The strong arms
That held me up
When my own strength
Let me down.
At the turning of my life
I came across
Friends who stood by me
Even when time raced me by.
Farewell, farewell My friends
I smile and
Bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears
For I need them not
All I need is your smile.
If you feel sad
Do think of me
For that’s what I’ll like
When you live in the hearts
Of those you love
You never die.
A reassuring poem for a friend who’s grieving
Written by Helen Lowrie Marshall, Afterglow is a popular remembrance poem, because it captures so much of how a good friend would want to be remembered. It’s about how they were when they were alive.
A comfort to read when you are grieving a friend, they are also beautiful words to write or say goodbye to those you love, towards the end of your life.
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun;
Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.
A poem for when you are grieving a friend
You can shed tears that someone died, or smile and remember that they lived, wrote David Harkins in this wonderful funeral poem about friendship and love.
Originally called She is Gone, this poem can be read or written to a grieving friend referring to “he” or “they” instead.
You can shed tears that she is gone
Or you can smile because she has lived
You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
Or you can be full of the love that you shared
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday
You can remember her and only that she is gone
Or you can cherish her memory and let it live on
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
- Writing a poem about grieving a friend could be among the alternative therapies you could try, if you are finding it difficult to cope. Read more about complementary grief therapies and how they can help after a bereavement.