Here are 64 (okay fine, 63) quotes about grief, coping, and life after loss. Although we love a good grief quote, Litsa and I were slow to join in on the quote-pic phenomenon. The internet just seemed plastered with inspirational platitudes pasted on pictures of sunsets and rainbows. It all seemed so trite and reductive we decided not to add to the noise. Then we got over ourselves because, well, a good quote serves many purposes. A quote helps us put our own thoughts and feelings into perspective. It allows us to use the words of others to communicate or to convey a message. It helps us to feel a sense of commonality when we find our feelings, experiences, and observations match those of another. We hope something here resonates with you (and feel free to steal and share any of these images with your grieving family and friends).
"The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with; Nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they can add up to the story of a life."
~ Rob Sheffield, Love is a Mix Tape
"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
~ Thomas Campbell
"When I think of death, and of late the idea has come with alarming frequency, I seem at peace with the idea that a day will dawn when I no longer be among those living in this valley of strange humors.
I can accept the idea of my own demise, but I am unable to accept the death of anyone else.
I find it impossible to let a friend or relative go into that country to no return.
Disbelief becomes my close companion, and anger follows in its wake.
I answer the heroic question 'Death, where is thy sting?' with 'It is here in my heart and mind and memories.'"
~ Maya Angelou, When I Think of Death
"At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer, we remember them."
~ Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Reimer
"Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?"
~ Terry Pratchett
"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."
~ Havelock Ellis
"God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December."
~ J.M. Barrie
"It's so curious; One can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses."
"There are no happy endings. Endings are the saddest part, so just give me a happy middle and a very happy start."
~ Shel Silverstein
"Should you shield the valleys from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their canyons."
~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
"Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone."
~ Rodgers and Hammerstein, Carousel
"On this bald hill the new year hones its edge.
Faceless and pale as china
The round sky goes on minding its business.
Your absence is inconspicuous,
Nobody can tell what I lack."
~ Sylvia Plath, Parliament Hill Fields
"Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built of a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touches some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there."
~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
"When we have joy we crave to share; We remember them."
~ Sylvan Kamens & Rabbi Jack Riemer
"Make the most of your regrets; Never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it 'til it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh."
~ Henry David Thoreau
"I'll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through."
~ Billie Holiday, I'll Be Seeing You
"One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day with you."
~ Diamond Rio, One More Day
"You gave me a forever within the numbered days…"
~ John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
"I would always look for clues to her in books and poems, I realized. I would always search for the echoes of the lost person, the scraps of words and breath, the silken ties that say, 'Look: She existed.'"
~ Meghan O'Rourke, Story's End
My longest relationship.
My only experience of maternal love.
My constant companon.
My best friend.
~ Sarah Silverman, On Her Dog Duck
“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
"Look closely and you will see almost everyone carrying bags of cement on their shoulders.
That's why it takes courage to get out of bed in the morning and climb into the day."
~ Edward Hirsch
"Losing my mother at such an early age is the scar of my soul. But I feel like it ultimately made me into the person I am today. I understand the journey of life. I had to go through what I did to be here."
~ Mariska Hargity
"My father didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it."
~ Clarence Budington Kelland
"No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear."
~ C.S. Lewis
"Ain't no shame in holding on to grief... as long as you make room for other things too."
~ "Bubbles," The Wire
"She was no longer wrestling with the grief, but could sit down with It as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts."
~ George Eliot
"The holiest of holidays are those kept by ourselves in silence and apart: The secret anniversaries of the heart."
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
"When a child dies, you bury the child in your heart."
~ Korean Proverb
"If I die before you
which is all but certain
then in the moment
before you will see me
become someone dead
in a transformation
as quick as a shooting star’s
I will cross over into you
and ask you to carry
not only your own memories
but mine too until you
too lie down and erase us
both together into oblivion."
~ Galway Kinnell, Promissory Note
"It's coming on Christmas
They're cutting down trees
They're putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on."
~ Joni Mitchell, River
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering 'It will be happier'..."
~ Alfred Tennyson
"When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
"When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live."
~ Stuart Scott
"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."
~ Khalil Gibran
~ Everyone Ever
"It takes strength to make your way through grief, to grab hold of life and let it pull you forward."
~ Patti Davis
"The healing power of even the most microscopic exchange with someone who knows in a flash precisely what you're talking about because she experienced that thing too cannot be overestimated."
~ Cheryl Strayed
"What separates us from animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we've never met."
~ David Levithan
"Someday soon, we all will be together
If the fates allow
We'll have to muddle through somehow."
~ Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man."
"Next person that minimizes my grief is getting a swift kick to the shin."
"Well, every one can master a grief but he that has it."
~ William Shakespeare
"So when you need her touch
And loving gaze
Gone but not forgotten
Is the perfect phrase
Smiling from a star
That she makes glow
Trust she's always there
Watching as you grow
Find her in the place
Where the lost things go."
~ The Place Where Lost Things Go, Mary Poppin Returns
"If there ever comes a day where we can't be together, keep me in your heart. I'll stay there forever."
~ A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
"The whole world can become the enemy when you lose what you love."
~ Kristina McMorris, Bridge of Scarlett Leaves
"Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything."
~ C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
"I will not say:
Do not weep;
For not all tears are evil."
~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
"The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to."
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler
"Give the sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break."
~ William Shakespeare, Macbeth
"The song is ended, but the melody lingers on."
~ Irving Berlin
"When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine,
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun."
~ William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
"The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?"
~ Edgar Allan Poe
"Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated."
~ Alphonse de Lamartine, Méditations Poétiques
"Love is really the only thing we can possess, keep with us, and take with us."
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
"An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior."
~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
"Death ends a life, not a relationship."
~ Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie
"But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer."
~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
"They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. Death cannot kill what never dies."
~ William Penn
"Life has to end.
~ Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven
"And once the storm is over you won't remember you how made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what the storm's all about."
~ Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
"What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us."
~ Helen Keller
Have a favorite grief quote we forgot? Share it below!
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