10 Sad Poems to Reflect On an Ex-Husband's Death


Not all marriages last. However, sometimes, even if a marriage fell apart, you may still have fond feelings for your ex. The fact that you weren’t right for each other as spouses doesn’t mean there was never any genuine bond.

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Thus, you may struggle to cope with the death of your ex if you learn your ex-husband has died. Although overcoming grief can be a difficult experience, and you should certainly seek out professional guidance if you believe it’s necessary, even “little things” like poetry can make your pain somewhat more bearable.

Additionally, you may even be in the position to recite a poem at your ex-husband’s funeral. Whether you’re looking for the ideal selection, or simply in need of some comfort, consider these examples.

Poems for an Ex-Husband’s Funeral

As these selections will illustrate, not all poems about the death of an ex-husband directly reference exes. Many are merely poems about death that can apply to your current circumstances. Regardless, they’re all beautiful works.

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1. “In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver

This poem explores the fact that part of being human involves falling in love with others and being willing to let them go when the time to do so comes. It’s a general poem about death but could serve as a particularly touching poem about the death of an ex-husband.

Specifically, the poem’s lesson about letting go of a loved one can have two meanings. It can refer to death, and it can refer to the way you and your ex had to let go of one another when you got a divorce.

2. “Time Will Ease the Hurt” by Bruce Wilmer

“Time Will Ease the Hurt” is another poem with potentially dual meanings. It describes how, after a painful experience (such as a loved one’s death), there may be a period of time during which you struggle with grief and other such emotions. However, eventually, there will come a day when you can overcome the hurt and look back on “softer memories.”

This notion can also apply to the experience you may have had after your divorce. Although some divorces are fairly amicable, others may involve fighting and tension. If that was the case for you, during the months (and even years) that followed, you may have found it difficult to feel anything but bitter about the past.

You might also have eventually seen those emotions fade. Maybe there came a time when you could regard your ex-husband with more positive feelings. If so, consider reading this poem at his funeral.

3. “Our Memories Build a Special Bridge” by Emily Matthews

This short but sweet poem describes how memories of happier times build a symbolic bridge “when loved ones have to part.” Like many of the poems here, it can simply be a general funeral poem, but it may be especially appropriate for an ex-husband’s funeral. The “bridge” of memories the poem focuses on can also be a bridge that ensures there’s always a bond between two spouses who had to part ways.

4. “A Parting Guest” by James Whitcomb Riley

Reciting a poem at any funeral can be challenging. You may worry you’ll get too emotional to finish if you choose a longer poem.

Consider reading “A Parting Guest” if that’s the case. It’s a very short but inspirational poem that suggests a person who has died may have simply been grateful for the time they spent alive. It also characterizes “Life and Love” as “parting guests.”

You could say that the love you shared with your ex-husband when you were married was also such a guest. It didn’t stay with you forever, but instead of being sorrowful, you can appreciate that you had the chance to experience it for a time.

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5. “Life is But a Stopping Place” by Unknown

“Life is But a Stopping Place” is a common funeral poem. Its somewhat spiritual themes make it particularly popular at religious funerals.

That said, it functions as a tasteful poem for an ex-husband’s funeral as well. Its inspiring message will offer comfort to many in attendance. Additionally, it describes how “we all have different journeys” and “are all meant to learn some things.”

This could suggest that you and your ex-husband divorced because you had different paths to follow in life, but you did learn important lessons from each other during your time together.

6. “His Journey’s Just Begun” by Ellen Brenneman

“His Journey’s Just Begun” is an ideal selection for the funeral of an ex-husband for several reasons. One, it has an uplifting message, suggesting that the deceased is now simply living elsewhere in an afterlife. That’s the type of optimistic idea many want to hear at a funeral.

Additionally, lines such as “For nothing loved was ever lost, and he was loved so much” can allow you to sensitively acknowledge that you did love your ex-husband, while also suggesting that many others did.

This may be a safe way to address your feelings if your ex remarried after your divorce. Per ex-spouse funeral etiquette, you want to express your feelings, while respecting those of their other spouse.

7. “Farewell” by Anne Bronte

“Farewell” is an uplifting poem about death that describes saying goodbye to someone who must go, but not saying goodbye to our “fondest thoughts” of them. This message naturally applies when someone has died, but it can also apply to your divorce.

You could recite this poem as a way of telling those in attendance that, while you and your ex-husband did eventually split up, you didn’t let the end of your marriage rob you of any positive feelings you ever had for them.

More Poems About the Death of an Ex-Husband

Some poems about an ex-husband’s death may not be proper selections for his funeral but could help you explore your own grief. Consider these examples:

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8. “If You Will Forget Me” by Pablo Neruda

“If You Will Forget Me” is among the most famous poems about divorce ever written. However, it can also apply to death, as many of its lines touch on the idea of simple experiences bringing back happy memories of a lost loved one.

However, the poem is complicated. One section uses metaphorical language to describe the pain of watching romantic love wither away in painfully honest terms. On the other hand, the final section of the poem ends on a happier note, suggesting that a love that’s strong enough can overcome challenges.

This likely isn’t a poem you’ll want to read at your ex-husband’s funeral. Its description of love coming to an end may be too negative for the occasion. That said, it might be a poem that could offer some comfort to you personally if you’re struggling with conflicting feelings after an ex’s passing.

9. “Modern Love” by George Meredith

“Modern Love” is another poem that’s not appropriate for a funeral service. That said, it’s also another poem that may help you cope with emotions you may face after the death of an ex-husband.

The poem touches on feelings of grief for a dying love that are very similar to the feelings of grief we have after a death. It also very starkly explores the pains of a marriage that is heading towards a divorce.

Your feelings about your ex-husband don’t always have to be entirely positive after they’ve died. Maybe you never fully reconciled after your divorce. However, maybe there was the potential for a reconciliation one day, and now you mourn the fact that you never reached it while your ex was alive. 

Divorces can be messy. So can your emotions when an ex passes away. Consider reading this poem as a way of honestly admitting to yourself that you still feel conflicted about your relationship with a now-deceased ex-husband.

10. “Family Reunion” by Jeredith Merrin

“Family Reunion” addresses the various ways a divorce might not merely separate you from a spouse, but also from the family connections your marriage made possible. 

It also reminds the reader that making a conscious attempt to maintain ties to our own histories can allow us to reunite with those lost loved ones as a family again in some way. You might find this idea comforting if you’re mourning the death of an ex-husband. You could interpret its suggestion of some form of reunion as a metaphor for a reunion with your husband in the afterlife.

You may not be “married” when you reunite, but maybe all the pain of your divorce will no longer affect your relationship.

Poems to Remember an Ex-Husband, Poems to Heal

Poems about death, songs about death, and virtually any form of art about death can be very helpful when we’re mourning someone’s passing.

As these examples prove, that’s particularly true when our relationship with the deceased may have been complicated.

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