2. Resources for eulogies
  3. Inspirational quotations

Inspirational quotations for eulogies

By: Susan Dugdale 

- funeral readings to calm, comfort & heal

An inspirational quotation is a wonderful salve. The right word, in the right place, at the right time, can inspire, calm and heal. And that's what I hope you'll find here; something that speaks to you, something to soothe you.

About these quotations and this page

The collection features words of wisdom from writers, poets, and seers from many different cultures and times. You'll find a mix of beliefs: some spiritual, some secular.

The page is very long. Take your time. Savor the words. Try them out, until you find those exactly fitting your need whether it be to include in a funeral speech or eulogy, or for solace for yourself.

The quotations and poems are not in any particular order and where the original author is known, their name is below their work. If you decide to use their words in a speech or any printed material, please attribute them.

Graphic - quotation - The right word in the right place at the right time can sooth, calm and heal.

Graphic - night sky.Text: Perhaps they are not the stars, But rather openings in heaven where The love of our lost ones pours through.  Inuit legend.

Perhaps they are not the stars,
But rather openings in heaven where
The love of our lost ones pours through
And shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.

Inuit legend

Say not in grief: "He is no more",
but live in thankfulness that he was.

Hebrew Proverb

A death is not the extinguishing of a light,
but the putting out of the lamp
because the dawn has come.

Life is given to us,
we earn it by giving it.

Let the dead have the immortality of fame,
but the living the immortality of love.

Life's errors cry for the merciful beauty
that can modulate their isolation into a
harmony with the whole.

Life, like a child, laughs,
shaking its rattle of death as it runs.


Attitude toward Death

Live your life that the fear of death
can never enter your heart.

Trouble no one about his religion.
Respect others in their views
and demand that they respect yours.

Love your life, perfect your life,
beautify all things in your life.

Seek to make your life long
and of service to your people.

Prepare a noble death song for the day
when you go over the great divide.

Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting
or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.

Show respect to all people, but grovel to none.

Graphic: delicate sunrise - haze of purple/pink sky - tree with flock of birds. Text: When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life, for your strength. Tecumseh

When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light,
for your life, for your strength.

Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in yourself.

Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.

When your time comes to die, be not like those
whose hearts are filled with fear of death,
so that when their time comes they weep and pray
for a little more time to live their lives over again
in a different way.

Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

The teachings of Tecumseh (Shawnee warrior and chief)

All Return Again

Graphic: parchment and ornate font. Text: It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again. Ralph W Emerson.

It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die,
but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again.

Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries,
and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new strange disguise.

Jesus is not dead dead; he is very well alive; nor John, nor Paul, nor Mahomet, nor Aristotle;
at times we believe we have seen them all, and could easily tell the names under which they go.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Graphic: stylized flowery background. Text: ... to find the best in others;
to give of one's self; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch ...

To laugh often and love much;
to win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affection of children;
to earn the approbation of honest critics
and to endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to give of one's self;
to leave the world a little better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
to have played and laughed with enthusiasm
and sung with exultation;
to know that even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived, 
this is to have succeeded.

Bessie Anderson Stanley

We Remember Them

Graphic: blue background, yellow sun, masses of red poppies. Text: We remember them. At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.

At the rising of the sun and at its going down,
We remember them.

At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter,
We remember them.

At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring,
We remember them.

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer,
We remember them. 

At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, 
We remember them. 

At the beginning of the year and when it ends, 
We remember them. 

As long as we live, they too will live; 
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.

When we are weary and in need of strength, 
We remember them. 

When we are lost and sick at heart, 
We remember them.

When we have joys we yearn to share,
We remember them. 

When we have decisions that are difficult to make, 
We remember them.

When we have achievements that are based on theirs, 
We remember them. 

As long as we live, they too shall live, 
for they are a part of us, as we remember them.

Author Unknown

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For Everything There is a Season

Graphic: golden landscape. Text: For everything there is a season. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Graphic: Happy family in front of church. Text: Extract from Joyce Grenfell poem -Nor when I'm gone speak in a Sunday voice, But be the usual selves that I have known.

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 
But be the usual selves that I have known.
Weep if you must,
is hell,
But life goes on,
So sing as well.

Joyce Grenfell

There is no such thing as the pursuit of happiness, but there is the discovery of joy.

Joyce Grenfell - English comedian, singer, actress, monologist, scriptwriter and producer.

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He who has hope has everything.

Arabian Proverb

Quotes from Bhuddha

Graphic: blue/green watercolor background with yellow flower. Text: If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. Buddha.

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.

Buddha (Hindu Prince Gautama Siddhartha, founder of Buddhism, approx.563-483 B.C)

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.


Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.


No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.


You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger.


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Trials give you strength, sorrows give understanding and wisdom.

Chuck T. Falcon

Graphic: blackboard with chalk drawing of a camellia in one corner. Text: Remember sadness is always temporary. This, too, shall pass. Chuck T. Falcon.

Remember sadness is always temporary.
This, too, shall pass.

Chuck T. Falcon

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Soren Kierkegaard

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.

Emily Dickenson

Hope is like a bird that senses the dawn and carefully starts to sing while it is still dark.


Unless a man undertakes more than he possibly can do, he will never do all that he can.

Henry Drummond

Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.

Bernice Johnson Reagon

Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They're what make the instrument stretch - what makes you go beyond the norm.


A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world.


Graphic: simple drawing of couple sitting side by side gazing at the sun. Text: To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides. David Viscott

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.

David Viscott

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

Chinese Proverb

Happiness is not a matter of events, it depends upon the tides of the mind.

Alice Meynell

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If we have been pleased with life,
we should not be displeased with death,
since it comes from the hand
of the same master.


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I look at life as a gift of God.
Now that he wants it back
I have no right to complain.

Joyce Cary

When you were born,
you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die,
the world cries and you rejoice.

Cherokee Expression

Graphic: delicately colored sun infused  clouds. Text: Whoever brought me here will have to take me home. Rumi.

Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.


Let no one weep for me, or celebrate my funeral with mourning; for I still live, as I pass to and fro through the mouths of men.

Quintus Ennius

The gods conceal from men the happiness of death, that they may endure life.


Death, the last sleep? No, the final awakening.

Walter Scott

Unto God, the Lord belong the issues of death.

Psalm 68:20

Good men must die, but death can not kill their names.


It is good to die before one has done anything deserving death.


There is a dignity in dying that doctors should not dare to deny.


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Graphic: drawing of Winston Churchill. Text: I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

Sir Winston Churchill (British politician, army officer and writer. As Prime Minister he led Britain to victory in WW2.)

Do not seek death. Death will find you.
But seek the road which makes death a fulfillment.

Dag Hammarskjöld

We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears. We must not demean life by standing in awe of death.

David Sarnoff

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

God's finger touched him, and he slept.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you're alive, it isn't.

Richard Bach

Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1606

Lord, now lettest now thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.

Luke 2:29

For death begins with life's first breath
And life begins at touch of death

John Oxenham

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As men, we are all equal in the presence of death.

Publilius Syrus

Graphic: Beautiful sunset on a rugged coastline. Text: Death - the last voyage, the longest and the best.Thomas Wolfe.

Death - the last voyage, the longest and the best.

Thomas Wolfe

Nothing you can lose by dying is half as precious as the readiness to die,which is man's charter of nobility.

George Santayana

There is but one freedom,
To put oneself right with death.
After that everything is possible.
I cannot force you to believe in God.
Believing in God amounts to coming to terms with death.
When you have accepted death, the problem of God will be solved, and not the reverse.

Albert Camus


You'll find comfort and support in this free series of inspirational messages.
They're my gift to you because, I know how it feels.

Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean.

David Searls

Knowledge by suffering entereth,
And life is perfected by death.

Elizabeth Barret Browning

If God hath made this world so fair,
Where sin and death abound,
How beautiful beyond compare
Will paradise be found!

James Montgomery. 1771-1854.

Death came with friendly care;
The opening bud to heaven conveyed,
And bade it blossom there.

Samuel Taylor

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Death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods?

Thomas B. Macaulay

There is no death! What seems so is transition;
This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life Elysian,
Whose portal we call Death.

Henry W. Longfellow

In death a hero, as in life a friend!

Alexander Pope

Graphic: stunning sunrise over mountains with flock of birds. Text: Vladimir Nabokov quote -Life is a great sunrise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.

Life is a great sunrise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.

Vladimir Nabokov

Death is a delightful hiding place for weary men.


It is a far, far better thing that I do, than anything I have ever done;
it is a far, far, better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.

Charles Dickens

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I am going to seek the great Perhaps.

Francois Rabelais

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

George S. Patton, Jr.

We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears. We must not demean life by standing in awe of death.

David Sarnoff

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

E. E. Cummings

A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.

Charles Darwin

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.

Albert Einstein

Graphic: woods in winter -one path splitting into two. Text: Robert Frost quote on taking the path less traveled.

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

Security is mostly a superstition.
It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Helen Keller

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Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.

Ayn Rand

Our care should not be to have lived long as to have lived enough.


I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts
of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die,
discover that I had not lived.

Henry David Thoreau

Graphic: Theodore Roosevelt. Text: Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Teddy Roosevelt.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. 

Teddy Roosevelt

Everyone must row with the oars he has.

English Proverb

God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas, but for scars.

Elbert Hubbard

Until you know that life is interesting, and find it so, you haven't found your soul.

Geoffrey Fisher

It is not length of life, but depth of life.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

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Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

William Jones

To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.

Stephen R.Covey

It's the circle of life, and it moves us all, through despair and hope,
through faith and love, 'till we find our place, on the path unwinding.

Elton John, The Lion King

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.

I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Frank Herbert, Dune

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Graphic: drawing of a bird sitting on a bough singing. Text: Those who wish to sing always find a song. Swedish proverb.

Those who wish to sing always find a song.

Swedish proverb 

The greater the obstacle, the more the glory in overcoming it.


The world is your mirror and your mind is a magnet.
What you perceive is in this world is largely a reflection of your own attitudes and beliefs.
Life will give you what you attract with your thoughts think, act and talk negatively and your world will be negative.
Think and act and talk with enthusiasm and you will attract positive results.

Michael LeBeuf

To reach a great height a person needs to have great depth.


People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there light is from within.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross

And life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.

Grandma Moses

Every person, all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there.
What you choose to do with them is up to you.

Richard Bach

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Graphic: black and white image of boy giving another a helping hand to climb a mountain. Text: Ralph Waldo Emerson quote about helping others.

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen,
not touched but are felt in the heart.

Helen Keller

If you want happiness for an hour take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone else.

Chinese Proverb

I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.

Thomas Jefferson

If there is light in the soul, there will be beauty in the person
If there is beauty in the person, there will be harmony in the house
If there is harmony in the house, there will be order in the nation
If there is order in the nation, there will be Peace in the World.

Chinese Proverb

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Greatness and goodness are not means, but ends!
Hath he not always treasures, always friends,
The good great man? Three treasures, love and light,
And calm thoughts, regular as infants' breath;
And three firm friends, more sure than day and night,
Himself, his Maker, and the angel Death.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 1772-1834.

Life let us cherish, while yet the taper glows,
And the fresh flow'ret pluck ere it close;
Why are we fond of toil and care?
Why choose the rankling thorn to wear?

J. M. Usteri. 1763-1827.

That best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.

William Wordsworth. 1770-1850.

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Graphic: golden clouds in deep blue sky. Text: William Wordsworth poem - Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's star ...

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar.
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory, do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy.

William Wordsworth. 1770-1850.

It's often said that life is strange. But compared to what?

Steve Forbert

If you learn from your suffering, and really come to
understand the lesson you were taught,
you might be able to help someone else
who's now in the phase you may have just completed.
Maybe that's what it's all about after all...


The journey is the reward.

Tao Saying

Nothing is so strong as gentleness
and nothing is so gentle as real strength.

Ralph W. Sockman

Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life
and repeat to yourself, the most comforting words of all;
This, too, shall pass.

Ann Landers

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God shall wipe all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 21:4

Graphic: old parchment. Text: Homer quote - Bear patiently, my heart, for you have suffered heavier things.

Bear patiently, my heart, for you have suffered heavier things.


I think only through suffering all our wonderful human qualities come out in us.
Unless and until you suffer, how will you understand other's suffering?

Sree Chakravarti

It requires more courage to suffer than to die.

Napoleon Bonaparte

That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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Along the road

I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chattered all the way.
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne'er a word said she;
But oh, the things
I learned from her
When Sorrow
walked with me!

Robert Browning

They that sow in tears, shall reap in joy.

Psalm 126:6

The Lord God will wipe all tears from all their faces.

Isaiah 25:8

Graphic: drawing/watercolor of sad person. Text: Matthew 5:4 quote: Blessed are they that mourn.

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

Honest listening is one of the best medicines we can offer the dying and the bereaved.

Jean Cameron (dying of Cancer in 1982)

You never know till you try to reach them how accessible men are;
but you must approach each man by the right door.

Henry Ward Beecher

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Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.

Helen Keller

There is nothing the body suffers which the soul may not profit by.

George Meredith

Graphic: sad boy. Text: Allphonse de Lamartine quote about one person being absent.

Sometimes, when one person is absent, the whole world seems depopulated.

Allphonse de Lamartine

Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can;
and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys.

Alphonse de Lamartine

Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.

Elie Wiesel

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.

Mark Twain

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.

Helen Keller

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Happiness is different from pleasure.
Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.

George Sheehan

People living deeply have no fear of death.

Anais Nin

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.

Gilda Radner

Somerset Maugham quote on dying being a very dreary affair.

Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.

Somerset Maugham

This delightfully wry, tongue in cheek comment by Somerset Maugham brings my collection of inspirational quotations, eulogy quotes and funeral readings to an end.

I sincerely hope you've found what you need.

Pages of related interest to inspirational quotations:

  1. Would you like to read a sample eulogy?
    There are two eulogy examples here written by me or there is a wonderful, and growing, collection submitted by site visitors.
    Click sample eulogies to read them.
  2. How to write a eulogy- funeral speeches step by step, an easily followed guide with a free printable eulogy planner
  3. Listen to readings of four much-loved funeral poems: Funeral Blues, Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, I Am Standing Upon The Seashore, and The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi.

And now some expert advice - a little help from our friends

Chad Dyer - MemesBams managing directorChad Dyer

Chad Dyer from MemesBams says:

Would you like an inspirational quote to help a friend to start their day?
Here are the three most popular 
Good Morning Inspirational Quote Ideas on MemesBams.com.

#1 Welcome to the fresh morning, with a smile on your face, love in your heart, good thoughts in your mind, and you will have a wonderful day!

#2 Good morning. Have you told yourself just how amazing and beautiful you are yet. No.. well let me tell you… You are amazing and beautiful. Have a great day!      

#3  Enjoy every moment in your life. Today’s beautiful moments are tomorrow’s beautiful memories. Good morning, enjoy the day!