Healing Arts
Other > Grief Related Quotes

Compiled by
KotaPress Co-editors

We get many emails and read many books where there are great quotes related to the grief experience. We are hoping with this article to start providing a list of quotes that are in the public domain, meaning they were published prior to 1923 and now the copyrights are released to the public. If you have a quote you'd like to see added here, then please give us the full citation for it so we can confirm its copyright status!

One exception to the public domain rule will be any quotes from KotaPress materials where we fully own the copyright and so are free to offer it here. Please do not break copyright by taking any of the KotaPress quotes without permission!

Quotes on Grief

"There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope."
~ George Eliot, 1819- 1880

"To pretend angels do not exist because they are invisible
is to believe we never sleep because we don't see ourselves sleeping."
~Thomas Aquinas, b. 1225, d. 1274

Grief makes one hour ten.
~Shakespeare, Richard II 1.3.261

It easeth some, though none it ever cured,
To think their dolour others have endured.
~Shakespeare, The Rape of Lucrece 1575

I will instruct my sorrows to be proud
For grief is proud an't makes his owner stoop.
~Shakespeare, King John 2.2.67-8

Day doth daily draw my sorrows longer,
And night doth nightly make grief's length seem stronger.
~Shakespeare, Sonnet 28 13-4

What's gone and what's past help
Should be past grief.
~Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale 3.2.245-6

Feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought,
And with a green and yellow melancholy
She sat like patience on a monument,
Smiling at grief.
~Shakespeare, Twelfth Night 2.4.120

The worst is not
So long as we can say, "This is the worst."
~Shakespeare, King Lear 4.1.30-1

My grief lies all within,
And these external manners of lament
Are merely shadows to the unseen grief
That swells with silence in the tortured soul.
~Shakespeare, Richard II 4.1.294-7

Give sorrow words;
the grief that does not speak
whispers the o'er-fraught heart
and bids it break.
~William Shakespeare (Macbeth, 5.1.50-1)

“If you would have me weep,
you must first of all feel grief yourself.”
~ Horace quotes (Ancient Rome, Writer, 65 BC-8 BC)

Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows.
~ Shakespeare, Richard II, Act II, SCENE II. The palace.

“Grief and sadness knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger than common joys”
~ Alphonse de Lamartine, French Writer, 1790-1869

Grief tears his heart, and drives him to and fro, In all the raging impotence of woe.
~ Homer, The Iliad, bk. XXII, l. 526

The best you can do on holidays is to be gentle with yourself. Know that it is okay to do something or do nothing. Know that you can change your mind half way through the day. Know that you can make this a "self-care" opportunity instead of a disasterous "must do" obligation.
-Loss Journal, May 2004,, "Dreaded Mothers & Fathers Days"

When a child dies, the parent loses not only the child, but also their visibility as a parent. The tangible things that tell the world you are a parent, disappear. So the complexity of loss after a child dies, is not just about the child being gone. It is about the re-creation of the self as a parent as well.
-Loss Journal, May 2004,, "Sharing Our Stories"

At Thanksgiving dinner or any holiday dinner when they go around the table and you get to say what you are thankful for or to do a toast to something, try saying things like, "I'm thankful for *all* my kids, those living and dead, and all the ways they have each affected my life."
-Loss Journal, December 2003,, "Ideas for the Holidaze"

Almost all the winter holidays involve candles somehow. Make a new tradition of family members making luminaries for the season. Kids can easily participate. You can make your luminary simple or elaborate... you can paint your deceased child's name on it if you want... Use your imagination. Give yourself and your family a way to give light and voice to *all* the children you love this season.
-Loss Journal, December 2003,, "Ideas for the Holidaze"

[This] journey can last a long time -- in fact, just like you are a parent to your living children forever, so too are you a parent to your dead child. In that sense, we are bereaved parents for the rest of our lives. The grief will change shape, gain and lose meanings, be more or less intense, but you will remain a parent even if your child is not physically standing next to you. It is just a different kind of parenthood.
-Loss Journal, September 2003,, "Journaling During Grief"

We have to look at new ways to offer support to the bereaved... shift our perspective on grief... stop thinking that grief is a sickness, something to be pathologized.... start thinking of grief as a NORMAL response to the death of someone we loved very much... stop trying to CURE grief and instead start CARING for the bereaved in the short-term and in the long-term.
-Loss Journal, June 2003,, "Care & Cure: there's a difference"

It is precisely because you don't have the tangible body of your child with you now, that you will forever create other tangible memories of your dead child as you move through your everyday life... Tangible creations [like doing teddy bear drives, publishing your story, doing Kindness Projects in your child's name, making memory books] are healthy expressions of grief, healing, and parenthood after the death of a child. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
-Different Kind of Parenting, Spring 2001, KotaPress, "Something Tangible"

Sometimes the Spring season is difficult... Try your hand at kite flying. We found a kite that is in the shape of a sail boat. When it is flying high, I imagine it is my son's hand making it fly through the air or that I am in the boat sailing to visit him.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Spring 2001, KotaPress, "Sometimes..."

Give yourself permission to still be grieving and healing -- and be flexible about this process looks like...the map of grief and healing looks different for each of us. And it changes daily.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Oct-Dec 2001, KotaPress, "You can move but..."

Sometimes the Autumn season makes you sad... Be tender with yourself on those days when the cool weather and changing leaves make you sad. Pull on a warm sweater, make a cup of tea, sit in a comfortable chair and look out the window, mindful of how bulbs planted in October turn into beautiful flowers in the Spring.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Oct-Dec 2001, KotaPress, "Sometimes..."

Sometimes you have to be able to ask for help...[when you feel] too overwhelmed...or alone... People love you for you, not for your moods. Be gentle with yourself and ask for help in whatever form you need it.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Oct-Dec 2001, KotaPress, "Sometimes..."

I'm all for getting professional help if you need it. If you find a counselor with whom you enjoy working, that's an awesome thing. However, if you find a counselor who is trying to make you "get over" your grief or is trying to make you do things that are really not working for you, then it is important that you find the strength to stand up for yourself and find other help.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Jan-Mar 2002, KotaPress, "Sometimes the Professionals Are Not Right"

If you aren't getting the support you need, then try seeking out the friendship of other bereaved parents. Sometimes only a "native to the land of grief" can understand the language you are speaking.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Jan-Mar 2002, KotaPress, "Note from the Editor"

What can I say? I want my cake and eat it, too. When it comes to babyshowers, I want people to invite me so I don't feel excluded just because I'm a stillbirth mom. But then I want people to understand that I will most likely not show up to attend because as a stillbirth mom, it is too hard to be there.
-July 2004, KotaPress, "Dealing with the Baby Shower Thang"

If such a thing as "healing" does really exist, I do not think it is about "getting over it" or "shutting up about it" or "moving on" even. I think it is about giving voice to the traumatic experience over and over and over again as time passes. It is about how that voice changes and evolves with time. It is about using that voice as we learn to live life after the deaths of our children.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Jan-Mar 2003, KotaPress, "Notes from the Editor"

...creativity would appear to be the exact opposite of loss. But since my own son's death, I have found that creativity has actually been a companion to loss. In those times when I felt most alone, it was creativity that helped me fill the space, remember my child, do something for other in my son's name, reaffirm my [different kind of] parenthood...
-Different Kind of Parenting, Apr-Jun 2003, KotaPress, "Grief & Creativity"

A healthy reaction to grief after the death of a child is to give a full expression to all that the experience brings to is through [this full expression] that we redefine the new "normal' in our lives.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Jul-Sept 2003, KotaPress, "Normal is Bogus!"

I wish for each of you to feel the presence of your child, to let his/her life and death affect/effect you and the people around you. I honor the memory of *all* our children, living and dead alike. For they all matter. The candle in my house is lit for them all this holiday season.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Oct-Dec 2003, KotaPress, "Notes from the Editor"

When our children first die, we do not necessarily comprehend the long-term nature of grief. The immediacy of death is much more concerned with just surviving moment to moment...I don't know what [each year] will bring... Mostly I just don't want to choreograph anything. I just want the freedom to the holidays as they come and to react in whatever ways feel right at the time.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Oct-Dec 2003, KotaPress, "The Holidays, Again."

It is amazing to me how very difficult it is to give ourselves good, solid self-care...we often take care of everyone else and forget our very own hearts and bodies and minds.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Oct-Dec 2003, KotaPress, "Self Care"

Self care ensures that you stay healthy, vital, full-to-overflowing so that you have something to actually give to others. If we don't engage in solid self care, then we end up run down, feeling empty, maybe crabby or depressed. What "good" are we to others if we are empty and run down? You have to fill your cup so that there is something to actually share.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Oct-Dec 2003, KotaPress, "Self Care"

Self care can take many forms, and just as grief is unique to each individual, so too, is self care unique to each of us.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Oct-Dec 2003, KotaPress, "Self Care"

Self care can be: taking a walk once a day; throwing rocks in the ocean when you are feeling mad; doing a silent retreat for a day just to clear your mind; eating healthier; keeping a writing or art journal to express whatever comes up for you; getting a massage or pedicure; ...telling others how they might best support you instead of hoping they will guess what you need/want; giving yourself a day off to do nothing (not as easy as it sounds!); taking yourself on a creative date to the museum or park or film festival; sitting under a tree alone and in silence for an hour; taking a hot bath; honest withthe people around you; curling up in a comfortable chair with a warm blanket, a cup of hot tea, and a good book.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Oct-Dec 2003, KotaPress, "Self Care"

If you are feeling angry, throw rocks out into the water or snowballs against a tree.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Jan-Jun 2004, KotaPress, "When you just miss your child..."

Go to a water front and throw flower petals. Talk to your child as the petals float out.
-Different Kind of Parenting, Jan-Jun 2004, KotaPress, "When you just miss your child..."

Consider writing a "children's book" version of your child's story -- share it with others!
-Different Kind of Parenting, Jan-Jun 2004, KotaPress, "When you just miss your child..."

You have the right to ask for help. If the first person you ask doesn't help, ask someone else! If the second person isn't helpful, ask yet another person. Don't give up!
-Different Kind of Parenting, Jan-Jun 2004, KotaPress, "Seeking Support"

You have the right to try [some kind of support], decide it does not work, and then try something else!
-Different Kind of Parenting, Jan-Jun 2004, KotaPress, "Seeking Support"

You have the right to seek help and support today -- then to not feel the need for support again for many months or years. And then to suddenly find you need support again some time in the future. It's your life -- live it in ways that give you the best self care!
-Different Kind of Parenting, Jan-Jun 2004, KotaPress, "Seeking Support"

Asking me when a parent will be done with grief in their parenting to a dead child is like asking when a parent will be done with happiness in their parenting to their living children... you cannot expect them to have "closure" on their parenthood. They are still parents. [It would be] like telling someone whose mother died, that they are no longer someone's kid.
-Different Kind of Parenting, July-Sept 2004, KotaPress, "From Grief to Parenting"

Really be gentle and grateful to yourself, your body, your spirit, your soul for leaping hurdles, for dealing day to day, for continuing to honor the life and death of your child, for finding ways to express your different kind of parenthood and your grief experiences.
-Different Kind of Parenting, July-Sept 2004, KotaPress, "Wisdom of Reflection"


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