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When a best friend has died: Poems for when you are grieving

funeral poems for a friend

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

Whatsoever said

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

Good friends,

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

Remember then

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.