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Words of Inspiration

Quotes on Death and Grief

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Updated July 07, 2014

portrait of an elderly woman in a state of worry
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Poetry and words of inspiration have helped people cope with grief since the beginning of time. Here, I've listed some of my favorite poems, quotes, and words of inspiration. You can share your favorite death and grief quotes or, perhaps, your own poetry with the User Answer Tool below.

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!"

"Gone where?"

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: "There, she is gone!" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: 'Here she comes!"

And that is dying.
Henry Van Dyke

Do not stand
at my grave and weep.
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds
that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight
on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awake in the
morning's hush
I am the soft uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star that
shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there.
I did not die.

--- Anonymous

An important way to cope with grief is having an outlet, be it interpersonal, be it artistic, that will allow you to not have to contain your grief, but will give you an opportunity to express it, to externalize it to some degree.

---R. Benyamin Cirlin, Grief counselor

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.

--- C.S. Lewis

I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me but I find I am grateful for having loved them. The gratitude has finally conquered the loss.

--- Rita Mae Brown

The caterpillar dies so the butterfly could be born. And, yet, the caterpillar lives in the butterfly and they are but one. So, when I die, it will be that I have been transformed from the caterpillar of earth to the butterfly of the universe.

--- John Harricharan

The Bustle in a House
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon earth-
The Sweeping up the Heart
And putting Love away
We shall not want to use again
Until Eternity.

--- Emily Dickinson

Tears have a wisdom all their own. They come when a person has relaxed enough to let go and to work through his sorrow. They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery.

--- F. Alexander Magoun

Grief can't be shared. Everyone carries it alone, his own burden, his own way.

--- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I'm Gone now, but I'm still very near.
Death can never separate us.
Each time you feel a gentle breeze,
It's my hand caressing your face.
Each time the wind blows,
It carries my voice whispering your name.
When the wind blows your hair ever so slightly,
Think of it as me pushing a few stray hairs back in place.
When you feel a few raindrops fall on your face,
It's me placing soft kisses.
At night look up in the sky and see the stars shining so brightly.
I'm one of those stars and I'm winking at you and smiling with delight.
For never forget you're the apple of my eye.

--- Mary M. Green

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

You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

---David Harkins

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