Quotes for times of sadness & loss
Over the years I’ve collected many beautiful poems, lyrics and quotes that offer comfort and insight. From great philosophers and age-old spiritual teachings I found deep compassion and loving support. From songwriters – our modern poets, I found strength in the raw honesty of their words, and I found courage in their vulnerability and their willingness to share those feelings. May you find the perfect quote for your occasion.
QUOTES FROM THE GOODBYE BOOK
This collection is from my book, Goodbye — for Times of Sadness & Loss. A mixture of angry, sad, philosophical, hopeful and hopeless; not to change the way you feel but rather to meet you wherever you are.
I hurt myself today to see if I still feel
—written by 9" Nails, sung by Johnny Cash
Is there no pity sitting in the clouds that sees into the bottom of my grief?
—William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
We cannot learn without pain
Sometimes when one person is absent, the whole world seems depopulated
—Allphonse de Lamartine
The angels are always near to those who are grieving to whisper to them that their loved ones are safe in the hand of God.
—quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book, by Eileen Elias Freeman
Life it seems will fade away
—Metallica, 'Fade To Black'
Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body,
I stir wild honey into my carefully prepared cedar tea and wait for meaning to arise, to greet and comfort me.
—Paula Gunn Allen
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
—Edna St. Vincent Millay ‘Time Does Not Bring Relief’ 1917
Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak
—Macbeth, William Shakespeare
You don’t have to hold on to the pain, to hold on to the memory
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
—Edna St. Vincent Millay
We weep over the graves of infants and the little ones taken from us by death;
When I die
when you see
when you leave me
it looks like the end
when for the last time
—Rumi, ghazal number 911, translated May 18, 1992, by Nader Khalili.
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.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
—From a headstone in Ireland
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
—The Bible, Matthew 5:4
Oh, where oh where can my baby be? The Lord took her away from me.
—from Last Kiss by Pearl Jam
I visited the place where we last met.
—Absence, by Elizabeth Jennings
Can I see another’s woe, And not be in sorrow too?
—William Blake, Songs of Innocence, ‘On Another’s Sorrow’
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the
Only when you drink from the river of silence
—from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
Listen to the silence as it echoes around you, ancient spirits dance in it
—Amber Coverdale Sumrall
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am a thousand winds that blow.
When you wake in the morning hush,
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
—Mary Frye (1932)
When things look bleak and gloomy, you have at least two things to look forward to. First, morning always follows night. Second, the longer you have to wait in darkness, the more you appreciate the sheer wonder of the sunrise.
—Paul Wilson ‘The Little Book of Hope’
There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love.
The pain passes, but the beauty remains.
—Pierre Auguste Renoir
Death is nothing at all; it does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room.
—Canon Henry Scott-Holland
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.
—Mary Anne Radmacher
I’ll tell you how to get up in the morning……watch for the dawn.
If I had a single flower for every time I think about you, I could walk forever in my garden.
— Claudia Ghandi
It’s what we do for each other that heals.
Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
—Henry Van Dyke
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.
Death is but changing of our robes to wait in wedding garments at the Eternal's gate.
They will come back, come back again,
— Rudyard Kipling
The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.
Death is not the end
Hope is the thing with feathers
The pieces can’t be glued; they’re always rearranging. As soon as things get clear, that’s when everything starts changing.
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other. Then someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side, and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming, and there are other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!" And that is dying.
— Henry van Dyke
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.
We are such stuff
Hope is a waking dream
GENERAL QUOTES ABOUT LOSS
These are some of my new favourite quotes about loss, change and coming to terms with it.
When there are no words…know that the silences are carrying the thoughts and prayers of all who love you
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
My soul is a broken field, plowed by pain.
It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.
Sunday is gloomy,
—Gloomy Sunday sung by Billie Holiday, written by Carter / s. lewis / r. seress
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
—W. H. Auden