For many years, Maya Angelou funeral poems have been very popular. If you are planning a funeral and are looking for beautiful, and poignant words to be read you really should consider this poet’s work.
This poet speaks simply, but eloquently of the human condition. She uses her experience of living as an African-American being bought up in a segregated country where she, along with many others, had to fight to be treated equally.
During the course of here 86 years she wrote seven autobiographies, books of essays, dozens of poems, as well as plays, movies, and television shows. Naturally much of what she wrote was especially to African Americans who shared her experience of living in a country which for decades treated them as second class citizens.
However, over the decades, everyone, from all walks of life have come to appreciate, and love, her work. Today, she is one of the most popular poets in America and has a growing worldwide following.
The nicest Maya Angelou funeral poems
Her body of work is a large one, and there is something for everyone. Here we have put together details of the ones we like. There are other poems that she has wrote that could be suitable for a funeral, but these are the best of them:
When Great Trees Fall
This poem speaks to the mark that we all leave on the world. It reminds of the fact that even when we die the life of those who are left behind are still affected by our influence on them when we were alive. It is a poem that is often used when great leaders die, but it is just as poignant when a parent or grandparent is lost to us.
When I Think of Death
This poem is about the coming of death and that way it haunts our living days. It speaks f the loss and disbelief we feel when someone who is dear to us is lost to us forever.
It is not as popular as some of her other poems, but it does give the mourners permission to grieve. Therefore, many say that it had a healing affect on them, allowing them to start the grieving process.
Few people realise that the poem read by Queen Latifah at Micheal Jackson’s funeral was written by Maya Angelou. It was very clearly about Jackson, but like so much of her poetry it speaks of, and to, many people. Currently, it is not a popular poem, but we can see it gradually becoming so.
His Day is Done
Passages of the poem that Maya Angelou wrote to honour Nelson Mandela are also slowly being picked out and used by people for their family funerals.
Links to Maya Angelou funeral poems
If you want to use these beautiful poems for the funeral of a friend or family member, click here to find out more about her body of work.
You can find links to her individual poems on this page.
You can find out more about the poems of Maya Angelou, and here life here.
Choosing the right funeral attire is important. What you wear to such an event sends a message to those around you and also has a significant affect on how you feel yourself.
What is the right funeral attire?
You need to choose what you wear to a funeral carefully. If you get your choice right you will be showing respect to the person who has died and those they have left behind.
In addition, you will also feel more comfortable. There really is nothing worse than feeling under, or over dressed at a funeral.
What you should wear depends on whose funeral you are attending, where, and the religious traditions and customs of them and their family. You need to remember that you are primarily there to show respect, so you need to do your best to reflect this fact.
That means if it is customary to wear a suit to a funeral in your area then that is what you should do. It does not matter whether you have never one in your life or not. You need to go out and hire one, buy an inexpensive one, or borrow a suit from a friend, so that you blend in.
On the other hand, if the custom is to dress casually, but tidily, for a funeral then that is what you should also do.
Usually casual footwear is also frowned upon. For example, trainers, even if they are new and dark coloured in many parts of the world people do not like to see them worn at funerals.
The colour of funeral clothes
In many parts of the world black is the traditional colour of mourning, so it is frequently worn to funerals, especially in the west. However, it is not the only colour of mourning. For example, in most parts of India the mourners wear white. In Japan, funeral attire combine both black and white.
Again, the key is to understand what is the custom with the close family of the deceased and reflect that in the way you dress. Even if there is no traditional colour that you know of, generally speaking, you should still avoid wearing bright colours.
For such a sombre affair it is generally a good idea to dress modestly. For women that means no low cut tops or extremely short skirts. Men also need to dress appropriately, so it is best not to wear an unbuttoned shirt, or overly tight clothes.
Practical funeral attire
You also need to dress in a practical way. For example, if it is a burial wearing high heel shoes is not a sensible approach. You will have to walk over soft ground and are not going to be able to do so with dignity if your heels are too high.
It is wise to go prepared for the weather. Be just aware of what the sun can do as the rain and snow. You may be standing outside for some time, so you need to protect yourself from the elements, by choosing your attire carefully.
It can be difficult to choose life insurance. Finding the type of life insurance, you want, and knowing what your family will actually be receiving can be hard to understand. The piece that follows includes key information for finding and buying the most suitable policy for your life insurance options at affordable costs.
When you are choosing a policy, consider all the expenses that will need to be covered. Life insurance is also use to pay one-time expenses like estate taxes or funeral costs, which can cost quite a bit.
Get just the amount of coverage for your family. It may seem tough, but the extra time spent is well worth it. Think about your mortgage and loans, property taxes, for instance.
Hobbies and professions, which are thought to be hazardous to your health, can raise the life insurance. If the premium is too high for you, consider giving up risky hobbies such as bungee jumping, scuba diving or skydiving. Travelling to risky areas around the world could also increase your premiums.
Do not put in too much personal information to get a quote on the internet. There are clever scammers online who promise a lot of life insurance related phishing defrauds online. Keep in mind that the only initial information you should give out for a policy quote is your zip code.
You will find that some provides offer identical coverage for up the cost of others.
Do not buy life insurance from someone who sold it to you.
Get several quotes when looking for life insurance. Each company is different way of calculating premiums and you might find you have a wide range of options open to you. If you smoke, you will encounter different rates of insurance quoted by different companies, so devote a good deal of your time into calling different places and reviewing many quotes before you buy.
Use the Internet to compare life insurance
It is in your best interest to pay premiums yearly rather than monthly. Paying the premium annually will save you a little money.
Stay away from “guaranteed issue” policies unless there really is no better choice. These “guaranteed” policies are intended to provide coverage for those with serious pre-existing health conditions. You will not need a medical exam to get this kind of insurance, but the premiums will be much higher and the coverage will only be available in limited amounts.
Get advice from an independent broker
This is because the independent broker will generally be able to offer you a wide range of products from various different firms whereas if you go to a specific firm, whereas an independent broker can provide you with choices from a wider range of firms. Life insurance is considered a major long-term responsibility, so consider your options before plunging into a contract.
You should protect yourself by understanding the cancellation options are available to you when you are setting up your life insurance before signing on the dotted line. Some companies will charge you a form of penalty for cancelling out of the policy. You should be aware of what penalties there may be for cancelling a policy.
A joint policy should be considered for a married couple. A joint policy is the lower premium is much less than two single policies. The coverage does not change; you will simply pay a decreased amount to have it.
Thanks to the above article, you now have some advice on how to get the best possible life insurance policy. Once you gain a complete understanding of the information provided, you should be able to quickly discern exactly what is being offered by the life insurance policies you are considering. With this article and the tips provided, you can get a policy that you feel comfortable with for the rest of your life.
If you are looking for a free funeral program template, you are in the right place. We have scoured the web and fount the best places for you to source and download your funeral plan templates from.
Why use a free funeral program template
Using one of these templates takes a lot of the stress out of organising a funeral. We know that it is very hard to make sure that everything that needs to be done is done, and that you see your loved one off in a tasteful and respectable way.
There is a lot to think about, so it is all too easy for things to be missed. If you use a template, you can make sure that you have everything covered.
It is important to provide funeral attendees with a nicely put together programme. In many communities, this is expected, so not providing some attendees could see one not being provided as a slight, or a sign that their friend or relative is not being afforded proper respect.
Something to remember the deceased by
In addition, providing a nice funeral programme is a good way to help people to remember the person who has died, later. Many people still take the funeral programme home with them and keep it in a safe place. These little booklets still mean an awful lot to people.
How practical is printing your own funeral programmes?
Editing a funeral plan template is not easy, and producing a good result, is not easy if you have never done so before. It is quite a skill, so you want to give yourself plenty of time to do the editing, and make sure that you print off a few copies well in advance. That way if you discover that the task of making your own funeral plans is too tricky you will have time to order some from a professional print firm.
The true cost of printing your own funeral programmes
You also need to realise that printing your own funeral programmes may not be as low cost an option as you think. The paper will not cost much, but the ink cartridges for a home printer or copier are expensive. Usually you will only be able to print a handful of colour copies with each set of ink cartridges.
Therefore, you may find it cheaper to ask a professional to produce your funeral programmes for you. Even in those situations, the free funeral plan templates can still come in handy because they allow you to map the design out and show the printer exactly what you are after.
The best free funeral program template links
Below are links to some of the best free funeral program templates we could find. In some cases, you will find yourself taken to the websites of commercial print firms that sell funeral programmes.
Do not think you have been misdirected. You should find a link that will take you to their free template page, so you can download and edit it.
Help us to help others to plan a funeral
If you know of any other free funeral plan templates or funeral programme templates that we have missed, please leave a link below.
We all want a secure future for our family and key to this is financial planning. Most of us have a weekly or monthly budget in place, and know that if we stick to the budget there will be enough money in the bank to cover the bills.
Holidays, Christmas, car repairs and things like the kid’s school uniforms are also normally budgeted for, many people save for these items. However, studies show that many of us do not have any money in reserve for unexpected, yet common, events like serious illness, the loss of a job or the death of a close family member. These events cause a lot of pain, stress and heartache, which is often made far worse because these events put the family under extreme financial stress as well.
The wisdom of making funeral plans now
Nobody really wants to think about these awful events, so there is a tendency for people not to put the necessary measures to help them to cope financially in place. This is understandable and only natural.
However, ignoring the possibility is not a wise approach especially when it is relatively easy to make sure that your family has the money they need to cope. For most people the best approach is to invest in insurance policies to provide coverage in the event of a job loss, serious illness or a death in the family.
Buying these kinds of insurance will make a huge difference to your family. Provided you buy the right level of coverage, you and your family will have the cash you need even in the most difficult of situations.
Life insurance to cover the cost of a funeral
Life insurance is important and the right policy can provide you with serious illness coverage too. That way should you or your spouse become terminally ill your family will have access to funds to help you to cope with the additional costs of being ill and to be able to continue to enjoy life and spend precious time as a family.
With the price of funerals, continuing to soar funeral planning is becoming increasingly important. Most families do not much money sitting in their bank accounts. Currently, the average cost of a funeral, in the UK, is £8,000, and many expect that cost to continue to rise. As a result, many families get into long term financial difficulties when they have to find the money to pay for a funeral.
Put aside an emergency funeral fund
Saving regularly, so that you have a substantial emergency fund available is another way to take care of your family’s financial future. However, this approach is only a good idea if you can resist the temptation to dip into your emergency funds to buy a dream holiday or car.
I appreciate that this is a depressing subject, but, as you can see, not planning financially for these awful life events has serious consequences for you and your children. Therefore, it really is worth sitting down and addressing the issue of how you are going to provide financially for your family in the event of a job loss, terminal illness or death.
For most Christians hymns for funerals are important. They are a part of the service that allows everyone to raise their voices together in praise of god and remembrance of the person whose funeral it is.
If you are organising a funeral the chances are you are going to be the one who is asked to choose the hymns that will be sung. Do not worry if you are not a churchgoer yourself because you will recognise many of the hymns anyway, they are very much part of the fabric of many Western cultures, so you will have heard many of them over the years.
Even if you have not the person who is conducting the service will help you. Alternatively, if you prefer, refer to a member of the family who is himself or herself a regular church or chapel attendee.
Popular Christian hymns for funerals
Another option is to go online and listen to excerpts from the most popular funeral hymns. That way you will definitely be familiar with them before you have to choose some.
Amongst the most popular hymns that are sung at funerals are:
Abide With Me
The Lord’s My Shepherd
All Things Bright and Beautiful
The Lords My Shepherd
Guide me O thou great redeemer
Love divine all loves excelling
The day thou gavest Lord is ended
The Old Rugged Cross
Morning Has Broken
Lord of all hopefulness
You can find most of these on lyrics sites too, which will help you to find something that is appropriate to your loved one. Ideally you want the words to reflect the type of person they where, and their religious beliefs.
If you know the congregation is going to mainly be made up of people who are not used to singing these hymns it is usually well worth taking up the option of paying for a small choir. The hymns will sound so much better if you take this approach than they would if you and your friends try to sing something they are not familiar with from a funeral song sheet.
Even if the congregation is familiar with the hymns, you may still want to hire a choir to help them along. Funerals are very upsetting, so it can sometimes be difficult to sing as you would normally. You just not cannot breath in the same you would if you were not trying to hold back the tears. That means that voices will not carry so well, and it will be harder for the congregation to do the hymns justice.
Links to the best hymns for funerals
Here are some links to the best hymns for funerals that we could find. As you would expect they mostly cover the Christian tradition. However, not all of them are religious in nature, so they can also work well for a secular funeral service. Some would also work well for a humanist funeral:
Your favourite hymns for funerals
If you have favourite, funeral hymns please tell us about them in the comments. We would especially like to hear from you if you can suggest hymns and songs that would work well for the funerals of those who do not necessarily follow a specific religion.
It would be nice to hear from people of all faiths about the songs that are used at the services they attend.
On this site, we like to cover all funeral traditions and customs. If you would like to write a short guest post explaining your family or faith funeral traditions please leave a comment below, so we can get in touch.
When it comes to buying life insurance there is a bewildering choice of policies out there. Finding the right policy for you and your family can be done, but requires a little research.
This is an overview of the main types of insurance. The two main types of life insurance are term or whole life insurance.
Term life insurance
Term life insurance only pays out if you die, but cannot be traded in for cash at any point. This is the most common form of life insurance
Whole life insurance
A whole life policy does have a cash value and can be surrendered for money should you get into financial difficulties. If you do not surrender your policy before you die, your family will receive a payout in the event of your death.
Which is best a life or term policy?
The debate over term versus whole life insurance goes on. Some experts recommend that if you are under 40 years old and do not have a family disposition for a life threatening illness, go for term insurance, which offers a death benefit but no cash value.
Whole life offers both a death benefit and cash value, but is much more expensive. The Wall Street Journal has reported that half of all cash value policies are surrendered within the first seven years, making the coverage very expensive because commissions and fees limit the cash value in the early years.
With a traditional life insurance policy, the premiums stay the same over the life of the policy. The policy stays in effect until your death, even after you have paid all the premiums, which can often be paid up within a certain amount of time. A cash reserve is built up, but you have no control over how it is invested.
There are some other kinds of life insurance available. Here is a quick overview of the most common ones.
Variable Life insurance policies
Variable life polices build up a cash reserve that you can invest in any of the choices offered by the insurance company. The value of your cash reserve depends on how well those investments are doing.
Universal Life insurance policies
You can vary the amount of your premium with Universal life insurance policies by using part of your accumulated earnings to cover part of the premium cost. You can also vary the amount of the death benefit. For this flexibility, you will need to pay higher administrative fees. Check out www.thatsinsurance.com for more details.
Buying enough coverage
As with any policy, you need to think about what you are buying and what you are getting for your money. The idea of life insurance is to make sure that the costs of your funeral are covered and that the needs of any family you leave behind are covered.
You need to understand the details of the policy you are buying. The ThatsInsurance site is a good place to educate yourself. Not only are policies compared on this site, the details of what the various terms and jargon mean are all explained.
In many countries when someone dies, some sort of wake is held. The form of the wake depends on the religion of the family involved and the customs of the country in which they live. In most cases, the wake involves friends and family who knew the deceased staying with the family and the body of the deceased.
The customs surrounding wakes are changing. For example, in Spain, the custom up to a few years ago was to sit with the body in the home of the deceased. Today, the body is taken to a funeral home, and the family may take a break to go home and eat. In years gone by, neighbours would have brought food to the family’s home.
Most funeral customs involve food in some form. In America, people bring food when they visit the family before the funeral. Usually the wake that is held afterwards also involves food for the guests. In the UK there is normally a wake held after the funeral again food is normally served.
Preparing food for a funeral
Given the importance of food at a funeral, we thought we would briefly cover the subject.
Follow the customs
The first thing you need to do is to bear in mind and follow the customs of your family and country. In some countries, there are traditional dishes that are served at this time and other foods are forbidden. It is easy to cause offence by not following these customs.
Food for everyone
You need to think about who is attending the funeral and provide food that is suitable for everyone to eat. Bear in mind people who are suffering from food allergies and intolerance. These days it is wise to avoid serving food that contains nuts.
Think about the age of the people that will be attending the funeral too. A buffet works well for most funerals, but if a lot of the people that will be attending are very elderly getting to the buffet and serving themselves could be difficult. In that situation, it might be a good idea to hire a waiter or serve sandwiches that can more easily be passed around.
Do not leave yourself too much to do
Providing a funeral tea can be a lot of work. The funeral is going to be a busy and stressful day for you anyway, so it is important not to leave yourself too much to do.
Enlist the help of friends and family and try to prepare as much as you can in advance. Often the best approach is to buy most of the food from your local supermarket rather than make it all yourself. This is helpful in another way. You never know for sure how many people will attend the funeral tea. If you buy some of the food in it is possible to keep some in the fridge to get out later and serve more people as they arrive and there is no waste.
Every culture treats their dead in a different way. The way the dead are treated has evolved because of local beliefs and sometimes out of necessity. Here we are going to consider the American practice of embalming the dead. How this practice has evolved to be the norm in America demonstrates what we mean.
Most Americans do not realize that how they treat their dead makes them different from nearly every other culture in the world. By looking at the work of the oldest embalming school in the US, The National College of Mortuary Science, we can get a better understanding of why the dead are embalmed in the US, but not in other countries.
Since 1882, generation after generation of mortician’s in training have enrolled at the NCMS to become experts in the American rituals of death and burial. American Funeral Directors know that their clients want the dead to look as they did in life. They want to see their loved one in a very natural peaceful state.
In the US embalmers work not just to disguise the power of death.
They work to stop its inevitable destruction of the body in its tracks.
Using modern embalming techniques the decay can be stopped several years. The body can be preserved by using several gallons of a chemical preservative called formaldehyde. This practice of routinely embalming the dead would be taboo in many other cultures. Even in mortuary school, embalming is practically a ritual with clearly defined steps.
The steps of embalming explained
First, the body is cleaned and prepared or laid out in a natural repose. Natural and proper mouth closure is crucial to get a natural expression.
Next, the embalmers locate the blood vessel into which they will pump the formaldehyde solution. As the solution works its way through the body, it displaces the blood. The blood escapes through an incision made in a vein, usually in the jugular vein. Almost immediately, the corpse begins to harden. This may seem like a process dreamed up by a mad scientist but in reality, the practice has deep historicaland religious roots.
Why embalming became necessary in America
In America, the motivation behind the practice of embalming the dead is not from a quest for immortality. Rather it stems from what is perhaps the nation’s greatest tragedy – the Civil War. When the war started modern embalming techniques had just been invented.
During the war, hundreds of thousands of young men died on the battlefield. Often, they were far from home when they died. For the first time soldiers families could request that the bodies of their sons and husbands be preserved and returned for burial.
There were many who welcomed the new technique as a godsend. For many Christians embalming is a perfect fit with their religious beliefs. Many believe that the body and the spirit will be reunited at the resurrection.
Embalming is just one of the diverse rituals that we practice to honour the dead. It is also part of our attempt to make sense of and cope with death.
Funerals are something that most people do not really want to think about. Of course, this is natural. However, we have to accept that at some stage we are all going to die, so it is very important to plan our funeral.
A very convenient way of doing this is to buy a funeral plan. Doing so allows you to think about your funeral in advance. It forces you to ask and answer the questions that you would normally avoid. In addition, it gives you the chance to easy for your funeral in advance, and spread the cost.
The vast majority of the time buying a funeral plan is a good move. However, there are a few things that you need to bear in mind when buying one. Here we look at the main things you need to consider.
Buying the right type of funeral plan
The first step to determining which funeral plan is right for you is to understand the different types that available.
The main types are:
Prepaid funeral plans
With this kind of funeral plan, you pay for your funeral in advance. What is covered by the plan should be laid out clearly within the policy and you should understand this before you purchase. Every policy is different so it is very important to read the small print carefully.
Insurance based plans
Another increasingly popular form of funeral plans are insurance-based plans. With this kind of plan, you are normally buying a whole life policy, but the insurance package also covers the cost of your funeral. Again, how much you pay and how much coverage you get varies from company to company.
Sometimes these plans are called over fifties plans or no health check plans.
What is typically covered?
As we already mentioned exactly what is covered varies from company to company. There is a huge variation between different policies and the different firms.
What is covered is also affected by the country in which you live and the funeral customs in that country. For this reason, it is hard for this site to cover the subject in much detail.
However, over the coming months we do plan to write some more in-depth articles about funeral plan coverage in all of the largest English speaking countries, so watch this space.
The vast majority of funeral plans normally provide some level of cover for the following expenses:
The cost of picking up the deceased from the place of death
The cost of preparing the body for burial or cremation
The cost of the coffin or casket
The cost of transporting the deceased to the place of burial or cremation
Some plans also provide cover for the transfer of relatives to the place of burial or cremation. Often, these plans also cover the cost of keeping the body in the funeral home for a short period before the funeral can take place.
A funeral plan is basically a form of insurance policy As with any policy take your time to shop around and find the best deal.