15+ Famous ‘Gone, But Not Forgotten’ Poems for a Memorial or Funeral

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Finding the right words to express your feelings at a memorial or funeral is often difficult. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to rely solely on your own words. For example, it’s not uncommon for people to include inspirational “gone, but not forgotten” quotes in eulogies. Sometimes others can express our feelings more succinctly, clearly, and beautifully than we can.

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“Gone, but not forgotten” poems can serve the same purpose. Along with helping you confidently speak at a funeral or memorial, these types of poems may also offer comfort and wisdom to other mourners.

The following are a few examples to consider. Whether you’re mourning a lost parent, sibling, friend, lover, or child, at least one of them may perfectly embody your thoughts and emotions.

Tip: If you'd like more help navigating the complicated process of losing a loved one, our post-loss checklist is here to help. 

‘Gone, But Not Forgotten’ Poems for Mom or Dad

Parents shape our lives. Thus, we can’t possibly forget them after they pass. These poems emphasize this truth.

1. "If I Should Go" by Joyce Grenfell

Parents often give their children instructions for living a good life. Thus, this is a powerful “gone, but not forgotten” poem for a parent, as it tells the listener to “weep if you must” but “sing as well.” The best way to remember a lost parent is to keep them in your heart and live a happy life.

2. “He is Gone (Remember Me)” by David Harkins

This popular modern funeral poem encourages mourners to look back and celebrate a life well-lived, instead of focusing solely on the painful feelings a lost loved one’s absence may cause. It’s ideal for a parent’s funeral because it focuses on the loss of someone who lived a reasonably long life and played a significant role in others’ lives.

3. “The Broken Chain” by Ron Tranmer

“The Broken Chain” is another powerful funeral poem for a mother or father because it describes how we may never lose the guidance of someone who helped us grow in life if we remember them and the lessons they shared after they’re gone. 

4. "Gone, But Not Forgotten" by Ellen Brenneman

With that title, this poem was certainly going to show up somewhere on this list. The poem itself shares a beautiful message of hope. It states that death is not an ending, but simply a transition to a happier and more peaceful stage of existence. Thus, it’s also an ideal rest in peace poem.

ยป MORE: The days may pass but the memories never will. Get the post-loss checklist to honor your loved one.

 

‘Gone, But Not Forgotten’ Poems for Siblings

A sibling can be one of your closest friends. Although that makes losing them painful, these poems remind us that we can still keep them in our hearts and memories.

5. “I Fall Asleep” by Samuel Butler

“I Fall Asleep” is a short but powerful expression of the idea that a lost friend or sibling would want us to remember them by keeping their spirit alive in our own “thoughts and deeds.”

6. "The New Life’s Salutation" by Anna Barabauld

This gentle poem admits that feeling some grief after the passing of someone with whom you’ve shared many happy years is understandable. However, after you’ve mourned, you should remember them and assume that instead of saying “goodbye” now, you’ll get the chance to say “good morning” again sometime down the road.

7. “Farewell” by Anne Bronte

This inspirational poem reminds us that part of not forgetting a lost close friend or sibling can involve celebrating the fact that death can never undo the good they did in the world while they were here.

8. "Last Journey" by Timothy Coote

This poem’s metaphor may comfort a mourning sibling. It describes how someone’s death isn’t an end. They’ve merely boarded an earlier train, but eventually, you’ll join them at their destination, and in the meantime, you have happy memories to look back on.

‘Gone, But Not Forgotten’ Poems for Friends

Losing a close friend may feel like losing a part of yourself. However, these poems suggest you may not completely lose a friend if you remember them.

9. "Afterglow" by Helen Lowrie Marshall

Sometimes, the most effective poems are those which quickly but powerfully express simple emotional messages. For example, “Afterglow” by Helen Lowrie Marshall emphasizes the importance of remembering someone who has passed on by reflecting on happy memories of them.

10. “Consolation” by Robert Louis Stevenson

This is a very comforting example of a “gone, but not forgotten” poem, as it suggests that remembering a lost friend should be a happy experience, because you may meet again in another stage of existence.

11. “They That Love Beyond the World” by William Penn

William Penn’s encouraging “They That Love Beyond the World” is another poem that claims lost friends have simply moved on to another place. Because they are immortal, not only can we never forget them, but we can also never truly lose them.

12. "Remember Me" by Margaret Mead

Many comforting poems about death can help us find peace by suggesting a friend’s passing doesn’t erase them from existence completely. For instance, this poem shares the idea that merely remembering someone and keeping them in your thoughts is a way to keep them “alive” in a sense.

‘Gone, But Not Forgotten’ Poems for a Spouse or Partner

Losing a spouse or partner is often a uniquely painful experience, but one you can cope with by looking back on the times you shared with joy and love. These poems can help you remember this.

13. "But Not Forgotten" by Dorothy Parker

This poem’s title isn’t the only reason it earns a spot on this list. In “But Not Forgotten,” the poem’s speaker poignantly explains how the person they’re addressing will remember them with such fondness after they’re gone that they’ll feel the need to share stories about them with future romantic partners.

14. “I Carry Your Heart With Me (I Carry it in My Heart)” by E.E. Cummings

As this poem suggests, while a person may need to move on eventually after a romantic partner’s passing, they may keep them in their heart always, and thus always remember them.

15. “When At Heart You Should Be Sad” by Sir Walter Raleigh

Like many “gone, but not forgotten” poems, “When At Heart You Should Be Sad” describes how remembering a lost love and easing ourselves into stillness can almost make it feel as though they’re still with us somehow.

16. "If I Should Go Tomorrow" by Anonymous

Although no one can seem to determine with absolute certainty who originally wrote this short, moving poem, it’s managed to achieve nearly universal appeal by sharing the idea that remembering a lost love allows them to continue loving us from the heavens. This, in turn, helps us heal.

‘Gone, But Not Forgotten’ Poems for a Child

Few parents can imagine an experience worse than that of losing a child. These poems emphasize the fact that remembering a child and keeping their spirit alive does make it possible to overcome such a tragedy.

17. "Songs of the Death of Children" by Friedrich Rückert

A child who passes at too young an age wouldn’t want their parents to wallow in grief forever. On the contrary, this poem shares the perspective of a lost child who wants their parents to remember them by drowning out the darkness of pain with the light of hope.

18. “No Night Without You” by Helen Steiner Rice

The immense grief a parent feels after losing a child may not go away easily, but this poem reminds us that even the longest nights lead to dawns. A parent can still remember a child and hope they’ll meet again.

19. “A Child of Mine” by Anonymous

This poem may offer comfort to a religious parent mourning a child. It describes how happy memories of a lost child remain a blessing, and faith is key to believing their passing was part of God’s plan, a plan they’ll understand one day.

20. "Turn Again to Life" by Mary Lee Hall

While a child’s loss will naturally cause overwhelming pain, this poem encourages someone who has lost a loved one far too soon to remember them and honor them by devoting their lives to helping and supporting others.

‘Gone, But Not Forgotten Poems’: Coping With Loss

Most people will experience losing close loved ones throughout life. Fortunately, as these poems beautifully express, remembering those we’ve lost can help us find peace. 

If you're looking for more poems ideas, read our guides on funeral poems for dad and funeral poems for a sister.

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