He Is Gone

By David Harkins

You can shed tears that he is gone,
Or you can smile because he lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him,
Or you can be full of the love that you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live for yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember him and only that he is gone,
Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.
You can cry, close your mind, be empty, and turn your back,
Or you can do what he would have wanted: smile, open your eyes, love and move on.
Submitted by Peg Remsen. 
Read by Leila Fairchild, age 11, at the memorial service for her grandpa, Peter T. Fairchild.   January 18, 2020. 
Editor’s Note:  This poem was written in 1981 by David Harkins who was a 22 year old baker in Cumbria, UK.  It was originally entitled “Remember Me” and was a poem about unrequited love.  The poem was recited at the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002 where it was listed as author unknown.  It has since become a popular poem recited at funerals.