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Words of Inspiration: Friends

Quotes on the death, dying and grief caused by the loss of a friend

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Updated April 11, 2014

Two young boys in swimsuits Photo © Xavier Bonghi/Getty Images

While words can never fully express how much someone means to us, language can still provide comfort, solace, hope and even inspiration following the death of a loved one. Here, you will find a select collection of quotes on the death, dying and grief caused by the loss of a friend. You might find these lines helpful when writing a eulogy or condolence letter, particularly if you're having trouble finding the right words and need inspiration.

John Taylor, American politician and senator
While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.

Edward Young, English poet
But fate ordains that dearest friends must part.

Richard Bach, American author
Can miles truly separate you from friends... If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?

Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher
The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him alone, and is, therefore, absolutely and irretrievably lost.

Stone Temple Pilots, American rock group
If you should die before me, ask if you can bring a friend.

Author unknown
It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them, but it takes an entire lifetime to forget them.

Henri J.M. Nouwen, Dutch author and Catholic priest
When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.

Author unknown
Friends are the angels that lift us up when our wings have forgotten how to fly.

John Gay, English poet and dramatist
Excuse me, then! you know my heart;
But dearest friends, alas! must part.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French author and poet
On a day of burial there is no perspective -- for space itself is annihilated. Your dead friend is still a fragmentary being. The day you bury him is a day of chores and crowds, of hands false or true to be shaken, of the immediate cares of mourning. The dead friend will not really die until tomorrow, when silence is round you again. Then he will show himself complete, as he was -- to tear himself away, as he was, from the substantial you. Only then will you cry out because of him who is leaving and whom you cannot detain.

Robert Southey, English author and poet
No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth.

Homer, Greek poet
The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for.

Steven Wright, American comedian
I had a friend who was a clown. When he died, all his friends went to the funeral in one car.

Richard Bach, American author
Don't be dismayed at goodbyes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, American rock group
You and I will meet again
When we're least expecting it
One day in some far off place
I will recognize your face
I won't say goodbye my friend
For you and I will meet again

Charles Caleb Colton, English author and clergyman
True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost.

Henry Fielding, English author and dramatist
Distance of time and place generally cure what they seem to aggravate; and taking leave of our friends resembles taking leave of the world, of which it has been said, that it is not death, but dying, which is terrible.

Harold Kushner, American rabbi and author
At some of the darkest moments in my life, some people I thought of as friends deserted me -- some because they cared about me and it hurt them to see me in pain; others because I reminded them of their own vulnerability, and that was more than they could handle. But real friends overcame their discomfort and came to sit with me. If they had not words to make me feel better, they sat in silence (much better than saying, "You'll get over it," or "It's not so bad; others have it worse") and I loved them for it.

Washington Irving, American author
Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.

William Penn, English reformer and founder of Pennsylvania
Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent. In this divine glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free as well as pure. This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.

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