See also the General collection of poems and readings
Poems and readings sorted by other themes
- Interests (fishing, gardening, cricket)
- Nature and the world around us.
- Life-Affirming (including dementia-related poems)
This page includes readings that mention family and close relationships.
Click here for readings that may bring comfort on the death of a baby or child.
A wife, a mother, a grandma too,
This is the legacy we have from you.
You taught us love and how to fight,
You gave us strength, you gave us might.
A stronger person would be hard to find,
And in your heart, you were always kind.
You fought for us all in one way or another,
Not just as a wife not just as a mother.
For all of us you gave your best,
Now the time has come for you to rest.
So go in peace, you’ve earned your sleep,
Your love in our hearts, we’ll eternally keep.
Legacy of Love – Author Unknown
Parent and Child
It’s a special bond that spans the years
Through laughter, worry, smiles and tears,
A sense of trust that can’t be broken,
A depth of love sometimes unspoken,
A lifelong friendship built on sharing,
Hugs and kisses, warmth and caring,
Parent and child, their hearts as one –
A link that can never be undone.
As We Look Back
As we look back over time
We find ourselves wondering …..
Did we remember to thank you enough
For all you have done for us?
For all the times you were by our sides
To help and support us …..
To celebrate our successes
To understand our problems
And accept our defeats?
Or for teaching us by your example,
The value of hard work, good judgement,
Courage and integrity?
We wonder if we ever thanked you
For the sacrifices you made.
To let us have the very best?
And for the simple things
Like laughter, smiles and times we shared?
If we have forgotten to show our
Gratitude enough for all the things you did,
We’re thanking you now.
And we are hoping you knew all along,
How much you meant to us.
She always leaned to watch for us,
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.
And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe
Because she waited there.
Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget!
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet.
Waiting till we come home to her,
Anxious if we are late,
Watching from Heaven’s window,
Leaning on Heaven’s gate.
Margaret Widdemer (1884 – 1978)
Remember me when I am gone away,
gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
you tell me of the future that you planned;
Only remember me; you understand
it will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet, if you should forget me for a while
and afterwards, remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
a vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
better by far you should forget and smile
than that you should remember and be sad.
Your children are not your children
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
Kahlil Gibran – The Prophet
A Mother’s Lament for her Son’s Death
Fate gave the word, the arrow sped,
And pierc’d my darling’s heart;
And with him all the joys are fled
Life can to me impart.
By cruel hands the sapling drops,
In dust dishonour’d laid;
So fell the pride of all my hopes,
My age’s future shade.
The mother-linnet in the brake
Bewails her ravish’d young;
So I, for my lost darling’s sake,
Lament the live-day long.
Death, oft I’ve feared thy fatal blow.
Now, fond, I bare my breast;
O, do thou kindly lay me low
With him I love, at rest!
There’s magic in a Mother’s touch,
And sunshine in her smile.
There’s love in everything she does
To make our lives worthwhile.
We can find both hope and courage
Just by looking in her eyes.
Her laughter is a source of joy,
Her words are warm and wise.
There is a kindness and compassion
To be found in her embrace,
And we see the light of heaven (or – the look of love)
Shining from a Mother’s face.
My Mother Kept A Garden
My Mother kept a garden.
A garden of the heart;
She planted all the good things,
That gave my life its start.
She turned me to the sunshine,
And encouraged me to dream:
Fostering and nurturing
The seeds of self-esteem.
And when the winds and rains came,
She protected me enough;
But not too much, she knew I’d need
To stand up strong and tough.
Her constant good example,
Always taught me right from wrong;
Markers for my pathway
To last my whole life long.
I am my Mother’s garden,
I am her legacy.
And I hope today she feels the love,
Reflected back from me.
I know where the garden of longing is
I’ve been there many a time
To see your beautiful smiling face
And hold your hand in mine
We walk the paths where flowers bloom
And watch the butterflies
We share some childhood memories
Of yesterday’s gone by
Many tears I’ve cried since you went away
My life has changed so much
Without you here to share with me
Or feel your gentle touch
I miss your smile, your laughter too
I miss those days gone by
I often sit and wonder
About all the reasons why.
Ave Atque Vale: An Offering to the Dead
Carried over many seas, and through many nations, brother, I come to these sad funeral rites, to bring you my funeral gifts, and speak in vain to your silent ashes. Fate has stolen from me your very self. Alas, my brother, torn so cruelly from me, yet, by the ancient ancestral customs, receive these sad gifts, offerings to the dead, soaked with a brother’s tears, and for eternity, brother: ‘Hail and Farewell!’
Catullus (84BC – c. 54 BC)
Ave Atque Vale could be translated as: “I salute you and say farewell”