Bereavement Quotes For Connecting With Your Grief

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP
Updated June 19, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

If you've lost someone you love, it may feel like words aren't enough to explain the emotions and sensations you experience. Grief is often a profound and personal experience; everyone copes with it differently. 

For some people, feeling heard and understood can help relieve pain or allow them to externalize their emotions in a way that makes sense to them. As art is often created from emotion, looking through poetry, quotes, and writing from others who have experienced grief may help you connect with your own grieving process.

Grieving can be extremely painful

Popular grief quotes

You’ll find countless grief quotes online from various sources. For example, “Grief is the price we pay for love” is a quote attributed to Queen Elizabeth II as condolences to families who lost loved ones during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Other quotes may come from books, movies, poems, historical texts, and more. 

Below are a few popular quotes about grief that you may relate to: 

  • "Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break." - William Shakespeare, Macbeth

  • "We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world-the company of those who have known suffering." - Helen Keller

  • "Embrace your grief. For there, your soul will grow." - Carl Jung

  • "Life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory." – Leonard Nimoy

  • "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." - Henry Havelock Ellis

  • "The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • "Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely." - Buddha

  • "The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you'll 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 

  • "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

  • "What we have once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us." - Helen Keller

  • "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." - Edna St. Vincent Millay

  • "No, it doesn't feel good. It doesn't feel good in this moment. But in the future, it's the thing that's going to light you up so you can stay lit. When you look at the thing, the deeper the heartache, the more you needed to learn." – Oprah

  • "Death ends a life, not a relationship." - Mitch Albom

  • "Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated." - Alphonse de Lamartine

  • "Grief, I've learned, is really just love. It's all the love you want to give but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go." - Jamie Anderson

  • "Come back. Even as a shadow, even as a dream." - Euripides

  • "Say not in grief he is no more but in thankfulness that he was." - Hebrew proverb

  • "You believe you could not live with the pain. Such pain is not lived with. It is only endured. I am sorry.” - Erin Morgenstern

  • "You will lose someone you can't live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn't seal back up. And you come through. It's like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly - that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp." - Anne Lamott

  • "When someone you love dies, and you're not expecting it, you don't lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time - the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes - when there's a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she's gone, forever - there comes another day, and another specifically missing part." - John Irving

  • "Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve." - Earl Grollman

  • "We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one." Dean Koontz

  • "Tears are the silent language of grief." - Voltaire

  • "Grief can't be shared. Everyone carries it alone; his own burden in his own way." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

  • "There are three needs of the griever: To find the words for the loss, to say the words aloud and to know that the words have been heard." - Victoria Alexander

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

  • "Every heart has its secret sorrows which the world knows not, and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • "Time heals old pain, while it creates new ones." - Proverb

  • “Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.” - José N. Harris

Grief poetry

For some people, poetry is an effective way to connect with grief, as it often brings up emotions that may be subconscious. In addition, poetry has been found effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

From "The Sky is Everywhere" by Jandy Nelson

Grief is a house

where the chairs

have forgotten how to hold us.

the mirrors how to reflect us.

the walls how to contain us.

Grief is a house that disappears

each time someone knocks at the door

or rings the bell.

A house that blows into the air

at the slightest gust

that buries itself deep in the ground,

while everyone is sleeping. 

Grief is a house where no one can protect you.

Where the younger sister

will grow older than the older one.

Where the doors

no longer let you in

or out.

When I Think of Death" by Maya Angelou

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 will 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 of 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."

From "Parliament Hill Fields" by Silvia Plath

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.

On Death" by Kahlil Gibran

Then Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of death."

And he said:

"You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond.

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow, your heart dreams of spring,

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor.

Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance."

Grieving can be extremely painful

Counseling for bereavement and grief 

Facing mortality or the death of a loved one can feel all-encompassing and overwhelming. If you're struggling with the emotions or symptoms accompanying this process in your life, you might benefit from reaching out for professional support. Prolonged and overwhelming grief can lead to other complications, like depression. Getting treatment may help you cope, and you can do it on your own time in your own way. 

Online therapy may be a valuable option to help individuals navigate grief. If you're experiencing unpredictable periods of crying, sadness, anger, or other emotions, finding the motivation to attend appointments can be challenging. 

When you work with an online counselor, you can talk to them from your home. Some people may find solace in talking to a therapist from their own secluded space, as it may make communication easier. In addition, online therapy platforms like BetterHelp allow clients to choose a time slot outside of business hours if needed, with the option to choose between live phone, video, or chat sessions with their therapist. 

Takeaway

Research shows that online therapy is effective, as well. One study concluded that participants in online therapy experiencing mild to moderate depression saw "significant and clinically meaningful improvements" after 12 weeks. When you meet with a therapist, you can let them know what you're comfortable discussing and what would be most beneficial to you during this time of grieving.
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