A Selected Collection of Quotes on Grief

A Selected Collection of Quotes on Grief

1. “I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens”. – Woody Allen
2. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” ~Winston Churchill
3. “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?” — Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
4. “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” — Jan Glidwell
5. “The pain passes, but the beauty remains”. –Pierre Auguste Renoir (1841-1919)
6. “Grief is itself a medicine”. –William Cowper (1731-1800)
7. “Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell.” — Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
8. “To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness” — Erich Fromm (1900-1980)
9. “Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose”– from The Wonder Years
10. “He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it”. — Turkish Proverb
11. “The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief — But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.” — Hilary Stanton Zunin
12. “There is no grief like the grief that does not speak” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
13. “Every one can master a grief but he that has it” — William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
14. “Love is a fabric that never fades, no matter how often it is washed in the waters of adversity and grief”. — Anon.
15. “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 (1709-1784)
16. “Grief is a process, not a state”– Anne Grant (1755-1838)
17. “Mourning is one of the most profound human experiences that it is possible to have… The deep capacity to weep for the loss of a loved one and to continue to treasure the memory of that loss is one of our noblest human traits”.– Shneidman (1980)
18. “Courage is being afraid and going on the journey anyhow”. — John Wayne
19. “Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys”– Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869)
20. “And can it be that in a world so full and busy the loss of one creature makes a void so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up!”– Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
21. “Look well into thyself. There is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou will always look there”. — Marcus Aurelius (121-180)
22. “Mourning is love with no place to go”– anon.
23. “Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them”. — Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
24. “We find a place for what we lose. Although we know that after such a loss the acute stage of mourning will subside, we also know that we shall remain inconsolable and will never find a substitute. No matter what may fill the gap, even if it be filled completely, it nevertheless remains something else”. — Sigmund Freud (1961)
25. “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o’er-wrought heart and bids it break.” — William Shakespeare (MacBeth)
26. “The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of confusion or despair, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing… not curing… that is a friend indeed.” –Henri Nouwen
27. “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief… and unspeakable love.” — Washington Irving
28. “Grief shared is grief diminished”– Rabbi Grollman
29. “At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer; A wordless trust of the same mystery is the foundation of your work and its integrity.” — Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
30. “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal”. ~From a headstone in Ireland

Selected from: From: http://www.recover-from-grief.com/memorial-quotes.html

Dead Yesterday, Unborn Tomorrow,…


A Musing to Self.

By William Olkowski, PhD,  7.15.12.

Apologies to Omar Khayyam but …

this is how I remember the quote:

“Dead yesterday, unborn tomorrow,

Who cares, if today be sweet.”

I have been thinking about these lines ever since I read it.

Sure today is where the senses detect the world around each of us.

And sure, we all make whatever we will of that sensory information.

And if today be sweet who needs the past and who has time to muse about the future.  Today is where the action is.


While I live all who I can remember live again and again as I recall them.

Sure, what I make of these memories can change and even be improved as time passes and that is interesting.  That makes even a bad experience useful, sometimes.  And sure, the past is gone, so all the more reason to live today for that is all we have, ultimately.


Without a past, no learning is possible.  Yes, one can learn something new each day, maybe a new mix of colors, or to find a new great paint brush, even meet a new friend, which can change your life.   They can all be important.  But the past is always present, whether you recall it or not.  Its part of who you are.  Its part of who I am anyway.  Who can forget the beauties of living?  Why forget them if they can live again and again.  It’s easy to forget bad things sometimes, sort of as a deliberate act of neglect.  It’s probably a good thing too.  Why carry garbage around, why not recycle it into something useful?


To live without a future means  you are dead already.  Plant a tree and die if you have to.  Seeds in the ground can sprout without you.  Seeds into trees leave a memory for friends.  Who planted that tree?  Someone may ask.  I will say, I did and I didn’t care who gets the fruit.  An old teacher told me: “There is no limit to the good a person can accomplish if he/she does not care who gets the credit.”  It was directed at me, I thought erroneously, but that memory popped up while I was musing about the BIG THREE today.  The Big Three, The Past, The Future and Today are intertwined; we separate them with our words, which divide up inner perceptions for focus.  It’s OK to focus as long as you remember that all three make up a life.  And as for credit, well we can see by our fiscal disaster all can be wiped out in a flash, just like your life.


Like Woody Allen also says: “Whatever Works” to give some modest pleasure, grab it, cultivate it, see it for what it is, and be happy.  For this is all there is.  All life is in your hands, heart and mind.  Sing about it, paint it, mold it, store it, laugh with it all, love it all, for when you are gone, there’s nothing.  Emptiness will descend, and cover all your dreams and thoughts.  This everlasting vast moonscape will not know you or your thoughts and dreams.

“So tear your pleasures with rough strife through the iron gates of life;  and though you cannot make it stand still,  we will make it run.  (Another apology to Andrew Marvell (1621–1678), from To His Coy Mistress).

Khayyám at work:



A Pertinent Quote by Thomas Jefferson

A Pertinent Quote:

Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was a relentless critic of the monopolizing of economic power by banks, corporations and those who put their faith in what the third president referred to as “the selfish spirit of commerce (that) knows no country, and feels no passion or principle but that of gain.  He had it right.

As July 4, 1826 approached, he was invited to appear inWashingtonfor a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Age and infirmity preventedJeffersonfrom attending the event. But he sent a message — his last political statement — which read:

“May (July 4) be to the world, what I believe it will be — to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all — the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form (of government) which we have substituted restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately….”


Quote from Felix Adler: Religions Produce Wars

“For more than three thousand years men have quarreled concerning the formulas of their faith. The earth has been drenched with blood shed in this cause, the face of day darkened with the blackness of the crimes perpetrated in its name. There have been no dirtier wars than religious wars, no bitterer hates than religious hates, no fiendish cruelty like religious cruelty; no baser baseness than religious baseness. It has destroyed the peace of families, turned the father against the son, the brother against the brother. And for what? Are we any nearer to unanimity? On the contrary, diversity within the churches and without has never been so widespread as at present. Sects and factions are multiplying on every hand, and every new schism is but the parent of a dozen others.”

— Felix Adler, founding address ofNew York Society for Ethical Culture, May 15, 1876

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor Freedom from Religion Foundation



Lawrence Wallin, the artist philosopher/muscian lists these beauties among a much longer list.  See his paintings plus on his website:


Among all I viewed were these which hit me hard but in a good way:

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world–this makes it hard to plan the day.
E. B. White:

So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from war, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.
Ray Bradbury


A great war leaves the country with three armies – an army of cripples, an army of mourners, and an army of thieves.
German proverb

Swords and guns have no eyes.
Chinese proverb

No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.
Turkish proverb

The value of possessing good sense is in using it.
Hausa proverb

When money speaks, the truth keeps silent.
Russian proverb

The believer is happy; the doubter is wise.
Hungarian proverb