United in Courage & Grief 

Grief is the most patient and persistent of all of life's companions.
It is an ancient, universal power that links all human beings together.

-Molly Fumia, Safe Passage
Words can provide a source of solace, hope, comfort and reassurance--emotions much needed during the grieving process. Words, in whatever form, help us to realize that we are not alone in our feelings of grief or desolation. Words--written or spoken is a powerful way of dealing with grief that has been utilized since ancient times. Often the written words can often be more effective than spoken condolences at touching the part of a person's heart which is grieving.

These collected quotes, some written centuries ago, some by experts in the field, some by those who have experienced loss & grief and survived are arranged in a specific sequence. The quotes are arranged starting with the grief response to loss, then entering the transition phase before reaching quotes on healing.

Grief Response
Everyone Grieves - Commonality of Grief

Not a day passes over the earth but men and women of no note do great deeds, speak great words, and suffer noble

-Charles Reade
Everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes.
Loss is a byproduct of living.
-Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS

Suffering is not an elective, it is a core course in the University of Life.
-Steven J. Lawson

Feeling Grief

Grief is a tidal wave that over takes you,
smashes down upon you with unimaginable force,
sweeps you up into its darkness,
where you tumble and crash against unidentifiable surfaces,
only to be thrown out on an unknown beach,
bruised, reshaped...

It is the ashes from which the phoenix rises,
and the mettle of rebirth.

It returns life to the living dead.
It teaches that there is nothing absolutely true or untrue...

Grief will make a new person out of you,
if it doesn't kill you in the making.

- Stephanie Ericsson

What is grief compared with physical pain? Whatever fools may say, the body can suffer twenty times more than the mind. The mind has always some power of evasion. At worst, the unbearable thought only comes back and back, but the physical pain can be absolutely continuous.

Grief is like a bomber circling round and dropping its bombs each time the circle brings it overhead; physical pain is like the steady barrage on a trench in World War One, hours if it with no let-up for a moment. Thought is never static; pain often is….Is it not yet enough?

-C.S. Lewis
Deep sobs -
That start beneath my heart
and hold my body in a grip that hurts.
The lump that swells inside my throat
brings pain that tries to choke.
Then tears course down my cheeks -
I drop my head in my so empty hands
abandoning myself to deep dark grief
and know that with the passing time
will come relief.
That though the pain may stay
There soon will come a day
When I can say her name
and be at peace.
-Norah Leney

Pain & Suffering

Pain is only bearable if we know it will end, not if we deny it exists.

-Viktor Frankl
Pain is the most individualized thing on earth.
It is true that it is the great common bond as well,
but that realization only comes when it is over.
To suffer is to be alone.
To watch another suffer is to know the barrier that shuts each of us away by himself
Only individuals can suffer.
-Edith Hamilton

When pain is to borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.
-C. S. Lewis

The pain of the world will sear and break our hearts because we can no longer keep them closed. We've seen too much now. To some degree or other, we have surrendered into service and are willing to pay the price of compassion.

But with it comes the joy of a single, caring act. With it comes the honor of participating in a generous process in which one rises each day and does what one can. With it comes the simple, singular grace of being an instrument of Love, in whatever form, to whatever end.

-Ram Dass

Suffering breaks our world. Like a tree struck by lightening—splintered, shaken, denuded—our world is broken by suffering, and we will never be the same again.
- Nathan Kollar
I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone
suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and a willingness to remain
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The most difficult thing of all—yet the most essential—is to love life, even when you suffer, because life is all.
-Leo Tolstoy
Sorrows come to stretch out spaces in the heart---for joy.
-Edwin Markham

The world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.
-Helen Keller
Mourning - The Outward Expression of  Grief
How easy it is to mourn when I see tearing down, to fail to see that that is part of building. It cannot, or should not, be separated from building up. For without the tearing down of twigs, there would be no building of nests.
-Jane Grayshon
People in mourning have to come to grips with death before they can live again.
Mourning can go on for years and years.
It doesn't end after a year, that's a false fantasy.
It usually ends when people realize that they can live again,
that they can concentrate their energies on their lives as a whole,
and not on their hurt, and guilt and pain.
-Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
Those who grieve find comfort in weeping and in arousing their sorrow
until the body is too tired to bear the inner emotions.
Transition Phase

Not Grieving
An ungrieved loss remains forever alive in our unconscious, which has no sense of time.

-B.G. Simos

 Whatever it is that I have lost (or must give up) I must grieve. If I do not do my grieving about the old hurts and insults, then, when I am faced with a here and now grief experience, I will end up having to dredge up all that old energy along with the current experience.
-Elaine Childs-Gowell

Opportunity in Adversity
Adversity often produces an unexpected opportunity. Look for it ! Appreciate and utilize it! This is difficult to do if
you're feeling sorry for yourself because you're faced with adversity.

-John Wooden
Adversity often activates a strength we did not know we had.
-Joan Walsh Anglund

Journey through Grief
To find a safe journey through grief to growth does not mean one should forget the past. It means that on the journey we will need safe pathways so that remembrance, which may be painful, is possible.

-Donna O'Toole

You need to face the pain and the fear and walk through the Grief.

- Dr. Phil McGraw

The path to healing from a loss is different for each person, one which may have many unexpected twists and turns,
but a road that has been traveled by many.
-Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS

Grief is a journey, often perilous and without clear direction, that must be taken. The experience of grieving cannot be ordered or categorized, hurried or controlled, pushed aside or ignored indefinitely. It is inevitable as breathing, as change, as love. It may be postponed, but it will not be denied.

-Molly Fumia
Healing from Grief

Grief has a quality of healing in it that is very deep because we are forced to a depth of emotion that is usually below the threshold of our awareness.

-Steven Levine

When an emotional injury takes place, the body begins a process as natural as the healing of a physical wound. Let the process happen. Trust that nature will do the healing. Know that the pain will pass, and, when it passes, You will be stronger, happier, more sensitive and aware.

- Mel Colgrove

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it in full.

-Marcel Proust

I knew that… the full acceptance of the finality of loss, and all the pain that goes with it, need not diminish life but could five it a new quality of fulfillment. I also knew that this could not be achieved without going through the agonies of grief and mourning.

- Lily Pincus

If it were possible for us to see further than our knowledge extends and out a little over the outworks of our surmising, perhaps we should then bear our sorrows with greater confidence than our joys. For they are the moments when something new, something unknown, has entered into us. The more patient, quiet and open we are in our sorrowing, the more deeply and the more unhesitatingly will the new thing enter us, the better shall we deserve it, the more will it be our own destiny.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

 Nature provides the exact dosage for dealing with the constant strikes of pain we experience. Usually there is no real need for outside medication. Your body in its perfect wisdom gauges your requirements and numbs you accordingly. You will feel cold, but your bodymind will not allow more pain than you can tolerate. To disrupt the natural safeguards may only postpone the initial pain in your mourning process.
-V.  Durling-Jones

After a stormy period of mixed feelings of prolonged sadness, there comes a calm.
After we become convinced that we are at the very brink of eternal despair, or fear, or guilt, or sadness, we are given a reprieve. We have a breathing space that eventually leads to whole days that have personal value and offer us the opportunity for affection.
Then we recognize that no period of misery is endless and unrelenting;  it is instead, changeable.

 -Carol Staudacher

Piece by piece, I reenter the world.
A new phase, a new body, a new voice.
Birds console me by flying, trees by growing, dogs by the warm patch they
leave on the sofa.
Unknown people merely by performing their motions.
It's lie a slow recovery from a sickness, this recovery of one's self.

-Tony Talbot

He'd begun to wake up in the morning with something besides dread in his heart.
Not exactly happiness, not eagerness for a new day,
but a kind of urge to be eager,
A longing to be happy.

-Jon Hasser

Grief Returns
Time does restore to us our quiet joy  in the spiritual presence of those we love,
so that we learn to remember without pain,
and to speak without choking up with tears.

But all our lives we will be subject to sudden small reminders
which will bring all the old loss back, overwhelmingly.

-Elisabeth Watson

… One thing I do
Know is that after years grief brings a pang
As terrible almost
As that first rending. Death, where love's been strong,
Can always make you feel entirely lost
Or so it does with me. Time does not heal,
It makes a half-stitched scar
That can be broken and you feel
Grief as total as in its first hour.

-Elizabeth Jennings

When it seems that our sorrow is too great to be borne,
let us think of the great family of the heavy-hearted
into which our grief has given us entrance, and inevitably,
we will feel about us, their arms and their understanding

-Helen Keller

Living with Grief
Grief is a powerful, universal feeling, but it is survivable.

-Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS

Great joys make us love the world. Great sadnesses make us understand the world.

-Kent Nerburn

All I know from my own experience is that the more loss we feel the more grateful we should be for whatever it was we had to lose. It means that we had something worth grieving for. The ones I'm sorry for are the ones that go through life
not knowing what grief is.

-Frank O'Connor

I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love.

-Leo Buscaglia

To live is to suffer,
to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

-Roberta Flack
Other Blessings, Prayers, Lyrics, & Poems
Blessings Index Page
Other Resources and Information:
United in Courage and Grief - Introduction Page
Why does my heart feel so bad?
What is Different about this Event?
The Importance of Telling the Story
Wake-up Call for the World
Health Concerns for Witnesses
Blessings, Lyrics, Poems & Quotes
Remembering Our Children
Helping Children to Cope with Tragedy
More Resources
Ways of Helping & Coping
Creatively Expressing Grief
Share your thoughts in the new Message Forum Transformations on the Journey
Page posted October 7, 2001.
In Memory of all those lost and forever missing from the events on September 11, 2001, the day our world changed.
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