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Quotations about Grief

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Now leave, O leave me! I have stayed to hear
All the vain comfortings your lips have said,—
Well meant, but yet they fall upon my ear
As yellow leaves might whirl about my head,—
Now leave me with my dead.
~Elizabeth Chase Akers Allen (1832–1911), "Consolation," c.1866

No mourning can heal the wound of neverness. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

This I know: there is nothing as lonely as grief. ~Abby Geni, The Lightkeepers, 2016

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.  ~Colette

Sorrow you can hold, however desolating, if nobody speaks to you.  If they speak, you break down.  ~Bede Jarrett

Grief is love expressed in tears. ~Terri Guillemets, "Smoky," 1996

While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates.  You must wait till it be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.  ~Samuel Johnson

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break.  ~William Shakespeare

There are some griefs so loud
They could bring down the sky,
And there are griefs so still
None knows how deep they lie,
Endured, never expended.
~May Sarton, "Of Grief," A Durable Fire, 1972

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.  ~Kahlil Gibran

Grief cries and life shines on — and hope paints a rainbow. ~Terri Guillemets

'T is hard to part with one so sudden call'd,
So young, so happy, and so dearly loved;
To see the arrow at our idol hurl'd,
And vainly pray the shaft may be removed.
~Mary Ann H. Dodd Shutts (1813–1878), "The Mourner"

My grief is like a magician's endless scarf — the more I let out the more there is. ~Terri Guillemets

Man, when he does not grieve, hardly exists. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

[W]hile men are able to reflect upon their lost companions as remembrances apart from themselves; women, on the other hand, are conscious that a portion of their being has gone with the departed withersoever he has gone. Soul clings to soul; the living dust has a sympathy with the dust of the grave.... [A] shadow walks ever by her side, and the touch of a chill hand is on her bosom, yet life, and perchance its natural yearnings, may still be warm within her, and inspire her with new hopes of happiness. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Chippings With a Chisel," 1837

Even hundredfold grief is divisible by love. ~Terri Guillemets

Sorrow makes us all children again — destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

People think grief somehow fades with time. "Time heals," they say. What a crock. There's no cure for this. You can't accept it. You can't absorb it. Grief is a rabid animal you hold at bay. ~The InBetween, "Made of Stone" [S1, E2, 2019], written by Richard Hatem

His loss had left a wound in Darlene's chest that felt physical, a perpetual ache. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

Sometimes, even after someone dies, you want to send them a postcard. ~Dr. SunWolf, 2016 December 27th tweet,

No one can keep his griefs in their prime; they use themselves up.  ~E.M. Cioran

In the grief of losing someone,
Why do I feel like the lost one?
~Terri Guillemets, "Left behind," 2007

The heart bow'd down by weight of woe,
      To weakest hope will cling,
      To thought and impulse while they flow,
      That no comfort can bring;
      With those exciting scenes will blend,
      O'er pleasure's pathway thrown,
      But memory is the only friend
      That grief can call its own.
The mind will, in its worst despair,
      Still ponder o'er the past,
      On moments of delight that were
      Too beautiful to last;
      To long-departed years extend,
      Its visions, with them flown;
      For memory is the only friend
      That grief can call its own.
~Alfred Bunn (1796–1860), "The Heart Bowed Down," music by Michael William Balfe

And night doth nightly make grief's strength seem stronger. ~William Shakespeare

Healing from grief is allowing the courage and purpose within you and the love someone else left you, to merge and create a new sense of being. ~Terri Guillemets

Grief is a species of idleness.  ~Samuel Johnson

Grief moves at its own pace. ~Simon N. Whitney, M.D., J.D.

I too, have been a mourner. Sorrow deep
Its lava-tide around my pathway roll'd...
All joy grew dim before my tearful eye,
Which but the shadow of the grave could see;
There was no brightness in the earth or sky,
There was no sunshine in the world for me.
~Mary Ann H. Dodd Shutts (1813–1878), "The Mourner"

Six years later my mother's absence remained in the air around us, a deafening silence that I had not yet learned to stifle with words. ~Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind, 2001, translated from Spanish by Lucia Graves, 2004

Grief is historian of the heart. ~Terri Guillemets

Grief is itself a medicine.  ~William Cowper, Charity

      Dr Owen Harding:  Well, it's this confounded living in the past and trying to conjure up ghosts, you know — this playing with the supernatural —it's not doing you any good.
      John Carteret:  I get a great deal of comfort out of what you call conjuring up ghosts. There's nothing supernatural about it — it's beautifully natural.
      Dr Owen:  Well, if it gives you any happiness! But I don't think I realized how much these years have changed you. Your grief's become a habit.
      ~Jane Cowl & Jane Murfin, Smilin' Through, 1919 play, and Smilin' Through, 1932 movie [This is a mash‑up quote I created by combining words from the play and movie. The play was originally published under the pseudonym Allan Langdon Martin. The movie was written by Vajda, West, Stewart, Fagan, Balderston, Marion, & Meehan, and was adapted from the play. –tg]

Immediate grief is a falling to the knees, a bleeding of the heart, a blow to the soul. Ongoing grief is a getting up; a call to move on; a healing and a strengthening; a melding of soul with sorrow, with loss, with life; a transformation of self to a new being, rebuilt with the leavings of another. ~Terri Guillemets

All the smaller emotions had been crushed beneath the weight of his loss. ~Abby Geni, The Lightkeepers, 2016

What does it comfort me, if still he walks
Beside me all the while, invisibly?
What does it help me, that a dear ghost mocks
Blind eyes with unseen smiles?...
      Find the graveward track
      And bring my darling back!
~Elizabeth Chase Akers Allen (1832–1911), "Consolation," c.1866

For the past three months, Darlene had waited for the fact of her father's death to reach every corner of her mind. She had been through this process when Mama died; she knew how it would unfold. Right now, each morning was its own little funeral. She would wake up and listen for Daddy's footsteps, sniff the air for his pipe smoke, open her eyes, and remember. Every morning she lost him... ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

Grief — the great redefiner of life. ~Terri Guillemets

In my Lucia's absence
Life hangs upon me, and becomes a burden;
I am ten times undone, while hope, and fear,
And grief, and rage and love rise up at once,
And with variety of pain distract me.
~Joseph Addison

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.  ~Kenji Miyazawa

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.  ~From the television show The Wonder Years

We acquire the strength we have overcome.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Time is a physician that heals every grief.  ~Diphilus

'T is grief, but all its bitterness is past;
'T is sorrow, but its murmurings are o'er.
Within my soul, which to the storm was bow'd,
Now the white wing of Peace is folded deep;
And I have found, I trust, behind the cloud,
The blessing promised to the eyes that weep.
So thou wilt find relief. For deepest woe
A fount of healing in our pathway springs...
~Mary Ann H. Dodd Shutts (1813–1878), "The Mourner"

No one ever really dies as long as they took the time to leave us with fond memories.  ~Chris Sorensen

There is no timetable for grieving —
      Grief is a snail
      It's a shooting star
      A walk around the lake
      It's eternity
      Or frost 'til bloom —
Memories coursing through the heart
It lasts as many heartbeats as it takes;
      sometimes all of them.
~Terri Guillemets

The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.  ~Arthur Schopenhauer

Whenever you lose a loved one,
even though your heart feels empty,
always remember that it is still full —
of love and thankfulness and memories.
~Terri Guillemets

There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.  ~Lou Reed, "Magic and Loss"

Grieving makes us stronger
It gives us a spirit of grace
And the grace of spirit
Our hearts feel weaker
But living past loss is
      the ultimate courage
We honor our loved ones
      by living on despite,
      and all the more because.
~Terri Guillemets, "Memorial," 2019

[W]ounds of the spirit... are most gently soothed and made whole by the passing years. Under the old scars flows again the calm, healthful tide of life.... Under a great loss the heart impetuously cries that it can never be happy again, and perhaps in its desperation says that it wishes never to be comforted. But though angels do not fly down to open the grave and restore the lost, the days and months come as angels with healing in their wings. Under their touch aching regret passes into tender memory; into hands that were empty new joys are softly pressed; and the heart that was like the trees stripped of its leaves and beaten by winter's tempests is clothed again with the green of spring. ~George S. Merriam

Sometimes, grief is relief. ~Terri Guillemets, "Suffering begone," 2002

Come, ye disconsolate, where'er you languish,
Come at the shrine of God fervently kneel;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish—
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.
~Thomas Moore, c.1813, published in Sacred Songs, 1816

Regret is the glue that makes grief stick around for a lifetime. ~Terri Guillemets

There was nothing to do for that kind of loss — no solution to it, no medicine for it. You just coped as best you could. The ache was dull but profound, like the unanswered call of a lonely coyote. ~Abby Geni, The Wildlands, 2018

Grief twists the heart
and contorts the mind
carves the spirit hollow...
~Terri Guillemets, "Grieving to the marrow," 2019

By... this gleaming perpendicular milky way, his soul was slowly healed; but he was long imprisoned in the dark, cold, serpent's nest of envenomed pains; they entwined and crawled over him, even to his heart. ~Jean Paul Fr. Richter, "501st Station," The Campaner Thal: or, Discourses on the Immortality of the Soul, translated from German by Juliette Bauer

Grief bores holes
in our hearts & heads
like a woodpecker
— peck peck peck
— knock knock knock
You can't make it stop
Eventually it flies away
— but leaves pits
that never fully heal
~Terri Guillemets

There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.  ~Author Unknown

Why does cold weather refresh old griefs?
      More quiet for reflection?
      Longer nights to lay awake?
Like citrus, grief is a winter fruit.
~Terri Guillemets

If you suppress grief too much, it can well redouble.  ~Moliere

Love stabs at loss with pangs of past happiness. ~Terri Guillemets

We have learned so many lessons,
Since our heads were bowed in grief,
That have kept our boat from crashing
On life's ragged, rocky reef.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "To One I Love" (1940s)

Grief is processing what's been taken from you, what's still within you, and all the blessings and memories left behind by the one you're grieving. ~Terri Guillemets

Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature's delight.  ~Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Grief is a haunted lake that's all too easy to drown in. ~Terri Guillemets

In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.  ~Robert Ingersoll

Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.  ~Jacques Prévert

When you're used to seeing someone day after day, for years on end, and then suddenly they're gone, you   ~Terri Guillemets, "Abrupt," 2019

The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep.  ~Henry Maudsley

Fresh petals of grief will eventually wilt and fall away
And along with tears and love, memories and time
They will nourish the seeds of healing underneath —
Life will re-flower as acceptance, strength, and peace
~Terri Guillemets

Every evening I turn my worries over to God.  He's going to be up all night anyway.  ~Mary C. Crowley

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

While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.  ~John Taylor

Let grief and guilt stay not too long as houseguests. ~Terri Guillemets

Our hearts mourn when a loved-one departs, but with courage we learn to accept their absence in our lives. In gratitude, we appreciate the time that was given. And with love, the memories are not forsaken. We continue to create new ones so we can smile again. ~Dodinsky

There's no reason Grief and Hope can't be friends. ~Terri Guillemets

As long as I can I will look at this world for both of us.  As long as I can I will laugh with the birds, I will sing with the flowers, I will pray to the stars, for both of us.  ~Sascha, as posted on

Grief cries pain and sighs love. ~Terri Guillemets

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Last saved 2020 Jul 25 Sat 17:23 PDT

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