We used the following three poems at Ailish’s funeral.



The agony is so great…
And yet I will stand it.
Had I not loved so very much
I would not hurt so much,
But goodness knows I would not
Want to diminish that precious love
By one fraction of an ounce.
I will hurt,
And I will be grateful to the hurt
For it bares witness to
The depth of our meanings,
And for that I will be
Eternally grateful.
— Shirley Holzaer Jeffrey



Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
— Max Ehrmann


Still I Will Love You

If my tears should dry,
And I no longer cry;
I will still love you.

If my heart should mend,
And from despair descend;
I will still love you.

If my feet should take me new,
Along paths you never knew;
I will still love you.

If my mind should once forget,
It will remind me yet;
That I will always love you.
— Dick Underwood

Christopher Thompson
June 2nd, 2011 6:57 PM

It is incredibly hard to find appropriate words. We took great care with these poems. I wish I could write more now on why specifically we chose each one, but I am unable.

Christopher Thompson
June 2nd, 2011 7:00 PM

My mom read Desiderata.

June 2nd, 2011 9:51 PM

The first and last poems are ones I wished I could have heard when Jessica died. They are so exactly right, but it took me such a long time to realize that I could let go of the hurt, but not let go of loving her.

Your mother’s reading was … magical. The spell worked by her voice carrying those words was powerful and healing.

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