Lost For Words

How will you say goodbye?

As a nation we’re not often short of something to say but when it comes to saying goodbye to our loved ones, we often find ourselves lost for words. 

Almost half (42%) of UK adults recently surveyed had no idea what a eulogy was. With such a lack of awareness, it’s no surprise that a huge 81% of the nation have never told their loved ones what eulogy they would like at their own funeral and half of us (52%) have never thought about it, despite a rising trend in personalising funerals.

Out of the 21% of UK adults who’ve delivered a eulogy, almost two thirds (66%) found it particularly difficult due to the emotion of the circumstance or because they simply couldn’t find the right words.*

Not only do they feel a big sense of responsibility, they also have to cope with their own strong feelings – which are likely to include nervousness as well as sorrow.

The facts highlight how we struggle to talk about death with our loved ones.  But doing so makes it much easier for friends and family at what can be an incredibly difficult time.

Eulogies are a reminder that each of us leads a life of special interest and value, and that each of us is unique, with our own special gifts.

Picking the right eulogy can make a big difference in making the ceremony more personal whether you choose a poem, a religious reading or share a memory of a life well lived.


Top 10 most popular funeral poems

Poetry still forms a significant part of a eulogy, with over a third (35%) of UK adults claiming they last encountered a poem when saying goodbye to a loved one.*

The Co-op’s internal insights** further support this, with three quarters of Funeral Directors agreeing that poems are the most common choice as part of a eulogy.

We found the UK’s 10 most popular funeral poems to be:  

1. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep - Mary Elizabeth Frye

2. The Parting Glass - Irish Traditional

3. Funeral Blues/Stop All the Clocks - W.H. Auden

4. Life Goes On - Joyce Grenfell

5. To Sleep - John Keats

6. When I am dead, my dearest - Christina Rossetti

7. Remember - Christina Rossetti

8. If I Should Go Tomorrow - Author Unknown

9. Remember me - David Harkins

10. Death is Nothing At All - Canon Henry Scott-Holland


Do you know how you’d like to be remembered?

As well as the evident popularity of poetry at funerals, almost half (43%) of Co-op’s Funeral Directors said they’ve seen a rise in people leaving behind personal eulogies, allowing loved ones to deliver pre-written tributes and making it much easier for those bereaved to find the right words.

If you’re thinking about how you’d like to be remembered, or you’re preparing to say goodbye to someone close to you, you might want to visit our eulogies page for our advice and tips on preparing the perfect eulogy.

We’re here to help in any way we can. If you’d like more advice on any aspect of arranging a funeral, please contact us at any time.


  *Research conducted April 2017 on behalf of Co-op by Opinion Matters among 2,000 UK adults **Internal research based on a poll across 60 of the Co-op’s Funeral Homes

For further information contact

Claire Newmarch

PR Assistant

Lauren Pogson

Senior PR Manager