Grief Quotes

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We tend to think about grief in relation to the loss of a person, but in reality grief is a wide topic that covers many different kinds of losses and emotions. Grief quotes are a great way to help you process what you’re feeling, or express condolences to others.

Even though it turns our lives upside down, grief is a normal and natural emotional response to loss or change.

When someone we love dies, something that is familiar and normal to us ends. We must adapt to the new, unwanted reality of life without them.

We feel sadness, anger, despair, or perhaps even a sense of relief that they are no longer suffering. We feel those same feelings and experience a different kind of grief when a relationship or job ends.

All kinds of grief are valid and take time to work through.

Whether your grief is fresh and raw or old and still tender, we hope that this collection of grief quotes helps you to translate your feelings into words.

Grief Quotes

Rumi grief quote "Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form"
“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” – Rumi

Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.

José N. Harris

You attend the funeral, you bid the dead farewell. You grieve. Then you continue with your life. And at times the fact of her absence will hit you like a blow to the chest, and you will weep. But this will happen less and less as time goes on. She is dead. You are alive. So live.

Neil Gaiman

Accepting death doesn’t mean you won’t be devastated when someone you love dies. It means you will be able to focus on your grief, unburdened by bigger existential questions like, “Why do people die?” and “Why is this happening to me?” Death isn’t happening to you. Death is happening to us all.

Caitlin Doughty
CS Lewis grief quote "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear"
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” – C.S. Lewis

The only way to end grief was to go through it.

Holly Black

I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.

Gail Caldwell

We are all sorry when loss comes for us. The test of our character comes not in how many tears we shed but in how we act after those tears have dried.

Michelle Moran

Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.

Mark Twain
JM Barrie grief quote "God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December"
“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” – J.M. Barrie

Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.

John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

They say time heals all wounds, but that presumes the source of the grief is finite.

Cassandra Clare

Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day…unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed, and very dear.

Unknown

You can’t truly heal from a loss until you allow yourself to really feel the loss.

Mandy Hale

It is foolish to tear one’s hair in grief, as though sorrow would be made less by baldness.

Marcus Tulius Cicero
"There is no grief like the grief that does not speak"
“There is no grief like the grief that does not speak.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time. It tell us to tell each other right now that we love each other.

Leo Buscaglia

What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us.

Helen Keller

Grief can derange even the strongest and most disciplined of minds.

George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

In the garden of memory, in the palace of dreams…that is where you and I shall meet.

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
"Be the things you loved most about the people who are gone"
“Be the things you loved most about the people who are gone.” – Unknown

You will survive and you will find purpose in the chaos. Moving on doesn’t mean letting go.

Mary Van Haute

Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4, NASB

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

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will 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.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
"Grief is forever. It doesn't go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath"
“Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath.” – Jandy Nelson

You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.

E.A. Bucchianeri

Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face – I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself.

Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle

And when your sorrow is comforted (for time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend.

Antonie de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Veronica Roth grief quote "Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you"
“Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.” – Veronica Roth

The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.

John Green

There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief.

Aeschylus

Everyone grieves in different ways. For some, it could take longer or shorter. I do know it never disappears.

Maria V. Snyder

It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.

Colette
Queen Elizabeth II quote "Grief is the price we pay for love"
“Grief is the price we pay for love.” – Queen Elizabeth II

Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope.

Elizabeth Gilbert

And perhaps there is a limit to the grieving that the human heart can do. As when one adds salt to a tumbler of water, there comes a point where simply no more will be absorbed.

Sarah Waters

But sometimes, unexpectedly, grief pounded over me in waves that left me gasping; and when the waves washed back, I found myself looking out over a brackish wreck which was illumined in a light so lucid, so heartsick and empty, that I could hardly remember that the world had ever been anything but dead.

Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard"
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne

When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.

Unknown

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

She was no longer wrestling with her grief, but could sit down with it as a lasting companion and make it a sharer in her thoughts.

George Eliot
David Levithan quote "What separates us from the animals is our ability to mourn people we've never met"
“What separates us from the animals is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met.” – David Levithan

You can not die of grief, though it feels as if you can. A heart does not actually break, though sometimes your chest aches as if it is breaking.

Laurel K. Hamilton

Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.

C.S. Lewis

In times of grief and sorrow I will hold you and rock you and take your grief and make it my own. When you cry I cry and when you hurt I hurt. And together we will try to hold back the floods to tears and despair and make it through the potholed street of life.

Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook
Tolkien quote "I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are evil"
“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are evil.” – J.R.R. Tolkein, Return of the King

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

Well, everyone can master grief but he that has it.

William Shakespeare

The darker the night, the brighter the stars, the deeper the grief, the closer is God!

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
Sarah Dessen grief quote "Grief can be a burden, but also an anchor. You get used to the weight, how it holds you in place"
“Grief can be a burden, but also an anchor. You get used to the weight, how it holds you in place.” – Sarah Dessen

The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see–the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it.

Katie McGarry

Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.

Arthur Golden

Absence is a house so vast that inside you will pass through its walls and hang pictures on the air.

Pablo Neruda
Shakespeare grief quote "To weep is to make less the depth of grief"
“To weep is to make less the depth of grief.” – William Shakespeare, Henry VI

Life is full of grief, to exactly the degree we allow ourselves to love other people.

Orson Scott Card

Grieving doesn’t make you imperfect. It makes you human.

Sarah Dessen

She heard him mutter, ‘Can you take away this grief?’ ‘I’m sorry,’ she replied. ‘Everyone asks me. And I would not do so even if I knew how. It belongs to you. Only time and tears take away grief; that is what they are for.’

Terry Pratchett

When one person is missing the whole world seems empty.

Pat Schweibert
Nicholas Sparks quote "Youth offers the promise of happiness, but life offers the realities of grief"
“Youth offers the promise of happiness, but life offers the realities of grief.” – Nicholas Sparks

Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar. Here’s what really happens: The spaces between the times you miss them grow longer. Then, when you do remember to miss them again, it’s still with a stabbing pain to the heart. And you have guilt. Guilt because it’s been too long since you missed them last.

Kristen O’Donnell Tubb

If you cannot hold me in your arms, then hold my memory in high regard. And if I cannot be in your life, then at least let me live in your heart.

Ranata Suzuki

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
"The whole world can become the enemy when you lose what you love"
“The whole world can become the enemy when you lose what you love.” – Kristina McMorris

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, A Prayer for Owen Meany

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Faraaz Kazi quote "No matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn't stop for your grief"
“No matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.” – Faraaz Kazi

Relationships take up energy; letting go of them, psychiatrists theorize, entails mental work. When you lose someone you were close to, you have to reassess your picture of the world and your place in it. The more your identity was wrapped up with the deceased, the more difficult the loss.

Meghan O’Rourke

If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels, and if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it.

Lemony Snicket

Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.

Vicki Harrison
Mitch Albom grief quote "Life has to end, love doesn't"
“Life has to end, love doesn’t.” – Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Envy, after all, comes from wanting something that isn’t yours. But grief comes from losing something you’ve already had.

Jodi Picoult

Great grief does not of itself put an end to itself.

Seneca

Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys.

Alphonse de Lamartine
Voltaire condolences quote "Tears are the silent language of grief"
“Tears are the silent language of grief.” – Voltaire

We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.

C.S. Lewis

When you part from your friend, you grieve not; for that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.

Khalil Gibran, The Prophet
Thomas Campbell grief quote "To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die"
“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.” – Thomas Campbell

We hope these grief quotes give you a good start at processing your emotions.

Though grief may be a normal and natural process, always reach out for help if you’re struggling to cope with loss.

Whether you find help and support online or in person, there are so many people out there who can help.

Photo of author

Quincy Seale

Quincy is KIM's lead editor and content writer, and has invested in online properties since 2009. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie, son Alex, and his dog Oban.