Quotes about Death

Death Quotes About Losing a Loved One, Grief, & Comfort

Last Updated on October 13, 2020

We’ve uncovered and curated over a hundred of the most insightful quotes about death, grief, and losing a loved one.

Note: These quotes are meant to inspire, to help improve quality of life for you and your loved ones. If you find that you are feeling overwhelmed with grief or sadness, or you simply feel you can’t go on, there is a qualified professional who is ready and willing to talk or chat with you here.

Read and consider the quotes below if you have lost a loved one, or know someone who has. Even if you haven’t experienced a recent loss, we all will face death in some shape or form throughout our lives. These death quotes from famous authors, ancient and modern alike, will help all of us to consider at the end of life with clear eyes and honest, inquisitive, and hopeful hearts.

Death can be sad or frightening. It can be weird and even funny. It can feel like a relief at the end of a long, rewarding journey, or the cold unknown from which even our dreams recoil.

These quotes will help us to think about death, dying, and remembering; provide comfort for our own grieving hearts or that of a friend; express the sorrow we feel while treasuring the memories we keep.

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Contents

Quotes About Losing a Loved One

Many of these quotes about losing a loved one may be ideal for a eulogy or epitaph. These are the inspirational and comforting death quotes that highlight the life and legacy of a dear mother, father, or someone else important in your life.

Loss of Mother Quotes

Death Quotes - Loss of Mother

She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible. She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.

Ariana Dancu

During the eulogy [of my mother], I found myself saying, “Now I am an orphan. My brothers and sister are orphans.” Even as I said those words, I felt that they were surprising. The word orphan usually connotes helplessness. But I, my brothers and sister were married, had families of our own. We were not helpless. We were adults in the middle of our own lives. Nevertheless, I felt orphaned. And years later, I still feel so. The death of a parent changes one’s life in practical and abstract ways. I don’t think that one ever stops missing a deceased parent.

Marc D. Angel, On the Death of a Parent

Losing a mother doesn’t happen in a moment. It takes years to appreciate the impact of what’s gone.

Lisa-Jo Baker

Instill the love of you into all the world, for a good character is what is remembered.

The Teaching for Merikare, Parable 24

The best lessons, the best sermons are those that are lived.

Yolanda King

A mother’s love is unlike any other: It lasts forever.

Anonymous

She fought the good fight; she finished the race; she kept the faith.

Based on II Timothy 4:7

Loss of Father Quotes

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much.

Bessie Anderson Stanley

this man
shall be remembered. Oh, not with statues’ rhetoric,
not with legends and poems and wreaths of bronze alone,
but with the lives grown out of his life, the lives
fleshing his dream of the beautiful, needful thing.

Frederick Douglass

His death diminishes us all.

Anonymous, but likely derived from John Donne (see here)

I should like my epitaph to say, ‘He helped people see God in the ordinary things of life, and he made children laugh.’

Reverend W. Awdry

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way.

Psalm 37:23

My father took to his grave the short-sleeved, beer-swilling men of summer, big bellies, raucous laughter, pipe smoke and the aroma of cigars. My daddy is really gone and his vacant place is my cold, hard border. As always, my life is framed by his absence.

Bebe Moore Campbell, Sweet Summer: Growing Up With and Without My Dad

Sometimes the strong die, too.

Louis Gosset Jr.

The measure of a man is in the lives he’s touched.

Erin Banks

He fought the good fight; he finished the race; he kept the faith.

Based on II Timothy 4:7

Once the glue of the family passes away, holidays just aren’t the same anymore.

Anonymous

Loss of Husband or Wife Quotes

Death Quotes - Loss of Spouse

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever;
I was wrong.

W. H. Auden, Funeral Blues

We were together. I forget the rest.

Walt Whitman

For a season there must be pain –
For a little, little space
I shall lose the sight of her face,
Take back the old life again
While She is at rest in her place.

Rudyard Kipling, The Widower

I feel the loss more than I had thought I should… Without my wishing it she chose to lose herself in me, and the result was she became truly my better half.

Mahatma Ghandi, on the passing of his wife Kasturba

All I have I would have given gladly not to be standing here today.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, in his first speech to Congress after the death of JFK

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee.
If every wife was happy with a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.

Anne Bradstreet, To My Dear and Loving Husband

And to us here, ah! she remains
A lovely memory.
Until Eternity;
She came, she loved and then she went away.

Angelina Weld Grimké, To Keep the Memory Of Charlotte Forten Grimké

I will not hide my grief, as I did not hide my love.

Anonymous

For the rest of my life I will search for moments full of you.

Anonymous

Loss of Child Quotes

Loss of Child Quotes

I’d rather miss you forever than never have met you.

Sara Millen

With the death of a husband, you lose your present; with the death of a parent, the past; but with the death of a child you lose your future.

Shalom Levy

The reality is that we don’t forget, move on, and have closure. But rather we honor, we remember, and incorporate our deceased children and siblings into our lives in a new way. In fact, keeping memories of your loved one alive in your mind and heart is an important part of your healing journey.

Harriet Schiff, The Bereaved Parent

Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade,
Death came with friendly care;
The opening bud to heaven conveyed,
And bade it blossom there.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Epitaph on an Infant

Life went on,
But it was
Never the
Same
Again.

David Jones

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form.

Shakespeare, King John

There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.

Anonymous

Oh, when a mother meets on high
The babe she lost in infancy,
Hath she not then for pains and fears,
The day of woe, the watchful night,
For all her sorrow, all her tears,
An over-payment of delight?

Robert Southey, The Curse of Kehama

Grief is the art of living after your heart is ripped out of your body.

Anonymous

And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief.

William Cullen Bryant

Loss of Brother Quotes

Oh, call my brother back to me!
I cannot play alone:
The summer comes with flower and bee,—
Where is my brother gone?

Felicia D. Hemans, The Child’s First Grief

There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone the light remains.

Anonymous

There’s no other love like the love for a brother. There’s no other love like the love from a brother.

Terri Guillemets

To lose a brother is to lose someone with whom you can share the experience of growing old, who is supposed to bring you a sister-in-law and nieces and nephews, creatures to people the tree of your life and give it new branches.

Yann Martel, Life of Pi

And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief.

William Cullen Bryant

Brothers and sisters

Loss of Sister Quotes

Her suffering ended with the day,
Yet lived she at its close,
And breathed the long, long night away
In statue-like repose.

But when the sun in all his state
Illumed the eastern skies,
She passed through Glory’s morning-gate,
And walked in Paradise.

James Aldrich, A Death-Bed

When you lose a precious member of your family, the love you shared does not die with them. It lives on forever among the shattered pieces of your heart.

Gillian Roberts

Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Death Quotes for a Friend

True friendship is discovered in times of difficulty. Are you the friend who, as the proverb says, “sticks closer than a brother” (or sister)? Take these quotes to heart, show your friend love and support, and let them know you’re there for them.

More resources: What to say (and what NOT to say) when someone dies


Do not try to comfort your friend while his deceased relative is not yet buried.

Ethics of the Fathers (4:18)

Death ends a life, not a relationship.

Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie

Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.

Cicero

Come, you disconsolate, where’er you languish;
come to the mercy seat, fervently kneel.
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
earth has no sorrows that heaven cannot heal.

Thomas Moore, Come Ye Disconsolate

Many lines from that famous old hymn were updated and revised by David Crowder in his version called Come As You Are, where the refrain is repeated, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.”

We are not friends
because of the laughs
we spend
but the tears
we save

Nikki Giovanni, Jr., A Poem of Friendship

When we ask ourselves which person in our lives means 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… That is a friend who cares.

Henri Nouwen

If I can see pain in your eyes, then share with me your tears. If I can see joy in your eyes, then share with me your smile.

Santosh Kalwar

Honest listening is one of the best medicines we can offer the dying and the bereaved.

Jean Cameron

Tell your friend that in his death, a part of you dies and goes with him. Wherever he goes, you also go. He will not be alone.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

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

C.S. Lewis

Be the things you loved most about the people who are gone.

Anonymous

Quotes About Death & Dying

Among the following quotes you’ll find all sorts of ideas. As with life, people think and talk about death in serious and snarky ways, sometimes deeply philosophical and other times irreverently lighthearted. There is a season for everything, indeed.

More resources: 30 Questions About Death, Dying, & Your Legacy


Ain’t nothing wrong with talking about death. That’s part of life.

August Wilson, Fences

Behold and see as you pass by
As you are now, so once was I;
As I am now, so you will be-
Prepare for death and follow me.

Anonymous, commonly found on Colonial-era gravestones

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

Leo Buscaglia

Dying,
Is an art, like everything else.

Sylvia Plath, Lady Lazarus

To die will be an awfully big adventure.

J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

In their death they were not divided.

II Samuel 1:23

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so.

John Donne, Holy Sonnets

Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure of life.

Charles Frohman

Dying is no big deal. The least of us can manage that. Living is the trick.

Red Smith, in his eulogy for Fred Corcoran

Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.

W. Somerset Maugham

God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave.

Stonewall Jackson

Death is nothing at all… I have only slipped away into the next room.

Henry Scott Holland

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a Ride!’

Hunter S. Thompson

Xerxes the Great did die,
And so must you and I.

New England Primer, 1688

By becoming deeply aware of our mortality, we intensify our experience of every aspect of life.

Robert Greene

Life is a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire

I often feel that death is not the enemy of life, but its friend, for it is the knowledge that our years are limited which makes them so precious.

Joshua Loth Liebman, Peace of Mind

Death is nature’s way of telling you to slow down.

Attributed to Severn Darden

If there wasn’t death, I think you couldn’t go on.

Stevie Smith

It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. The act of dying is not of importance, it lasts so short a time.

Samuel Johnson, from Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson

Shrouds have no pockets.

Yiddish proverb

Remember: it is not give to man to take his goods with him.
No one goes away and then comes back.

The Song of the Harper, circa 2650-2600 B.C.

I am about to take my last voyage, a great leap in the dark.

Thomas Hobbes, his last words

Yes, drifting, drifting; and I thought that life,
When nearing death is like the sunset sky
And death is but the slow, sure drifting in,
To rest far more securely, by and by.

Olivia Ward Bush-Banks, Driftwood

Death stops the body’s work, the soul’s a journeyman.

Natasha Trethewey, Native Guard

To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause.

Shakespeare, Hamlet

Missing You Quotes

No matter how recent or how long it’s been, sometimes you just miss that person who is gone. These quotes capture that bittersweet feeling of love, yearning, memory, sadness, and grief.

More: Missing You: 22 Honest Quotes About Grief

Losing Someone We Love

When we lose someone we love we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind.

Anonymous

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide.

Edna St Vincent Millay, Time does not bring relief

It is both a blessing
And a curse
To feel everything
So very deeply.

Anonymous

Memories are smoke
lips we can’t kiss
hands we can’t hold
will never be
enough for us.

Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Rites of Passage

The people who think there is a time limit for grief have never lost a piece of their heart.

Anonymous

Some nights in the midst of this loneliness I swung among the scattered stars at the end of the thin thread of faith alone.

Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow

Still so gently o’er me stealing,
Mem’ry will bring back the feeling,
Spite of all my grief revealing,
That I love thee,—that I dearly love thee still.

Vincenzo Bellini, Opera of La Sonnambula

Die, my dear Doctor, that’s the last thing I shall do!

Lord Palmerston, his last words

I walk down memory lane because I love running into you.

Anonymous

Grief is the loudest silence I have ever heard.

Anonymous

Comforting Quotes About Death

Real, genuine comfort is found in hope for the future and memories of the past. These comforting quotes about death help us to treasure what we had while looking ahead to what comes after this life.

Related: Memorial Quotes for Inscriptions, Epitaphs, & More

Death Quotes of Comfort

Soon I will be done with the troubles of the world
Going home to live with God

Traditional African-American spiritual

To love anything good, at any cost, is a bargain.

Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow

God… is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.

Ephesians 3:20, TLB

And all our calm is in that balm –
Not lost but gone before.

Caroline Norton, Not Lost but Gone Before

If I never see you again, I’ll see you in the Kingdom.

Harriet Tubman

Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.

Rabindranath Tagore

Though death has divided us, yet we do live together already, in a Holy Communion of Saints. If the dead, and we, be not upon one floor, nor under one story, yet we are under one roof. We think not a friend lost, because he is gone into another room, nor because he is gone into another Land; and into another world, no man is gone, for that Heaven, which God created, and this world, is all one world.

John Donne

Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.

Dr. Seuss

In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.

Robert Green Ingersoll

Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped into the next room.

I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference in your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household world that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect, without the ghost of shadow upon it.

Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Henry Scott Holland

Several months before Amy died, she stopped by the local florist’s shop on her way to visit a friend.

While she was there, she noticed several large arrangements that had been prepared for a funeral scheduled for later that day. Though the flowers were beautiful, she frowned at the various cards attached to each arrangement. They read, ‘With deepest sympathy,’ or ‘With our condolences.’

She slowly shook her head and said to the florist, ‘Those cards are far too depressing. I don’t want any like those on the flowers at my funeral.’ She began thumbing through the cards that were on display, and smiled as she pulled one out and laid it on the counter. ‘This is the card I want on my flowers,’ she said as she turned and left the shop.

Three months later, at her memorial service, all the flowers at the graveside and church included the card she had selected. ‘Welcome to your new home.’

Edward A. Hartman, Homeward Bound

Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Thomas, And death shall have no dominion

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are stayed on you, because they trust in you.

Isaiah 26:3

Only in the darkness can you see the stars.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Grief is love with no place to go.

Anonymous

Christ never preached any funeral sermons.

D.L. Moody

While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil…

John Taylor

We have suffered bereavement after bereavement, but we are going to the land of the immortal where graves do not exist.

C.H. Spurgeon

Death is no punishment to the believer; it is the gate of endless joy.

C.H. Spurgeon

Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.

Floyd W. Tomkins

Remembrance Quotes

Grief is deep because the memories we shared with them are deep. As time passes, those memories change. Some soften, some disappear, others emerge with greater meaning. In all, we want to remember not just our loved ones but – perhaps more importantly – the stories we created together with our lives. These remembrance quotes help us to contemplate what it means to remember a loved one.

More:

Remembrance Quotes

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.

George Eliot

There should be an invention that bottles up the memory like a perfume, and it never faded, never got stale, and whenever I wanted to I could uncork the bottle, and live the memory all over again.

Daphne Du Maurier, Rebecca

If we could heal sorrow by weeping and raise the dead with tears, gold would be less prized than grief.

Adapted from Sophocles

It’s a pleasure to share one’s memories. Everything remembered is dear, endearing, touching, precious.

Susan Sontag

Their bodies are buried in peace, but their name liveth forevermore.

Ecclesiasticus

Gone are the living, but the dead remain,
And not neglected; for a hand unseen,
Scattering its bounty like summer rain,
Still keeps their graves and their remembrance green.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Jewish Cemetery

Wherever a beautiful soul has been, there is a trail of beautiful memories.

Ronald Reagan

No one knew you but to love you,
No one named you but to praise.

Our paraphrase of Fitz-Greene Halleck

Green be the turf above thee,
Friend of my better days!
None knew thee but to love thee,
Nor named thee but to praise.

Fitz-Greene Halleck, On the Death of Joseph Rodman Drake

In a time of destruction, create something. A poem. A parade. A community. A school. A vow. A moral principle. One peaceful moment.

Maxine Hong Kingston, The Fifth Book of Peace

When the dead are buried among their people and families, and their names are remembered by them, it is as though they continue to participate in life upon earth.

Yechezkel Kaufmann

Life is short, and it’s up to you to make it sweet.

Sadie Delany, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years

Per aspera ad astra.
(“Through hardships to the stars.”)

Ancient Latin aphorism

It is not I that belong to the past, but the past that belongs to me.

Mary Antin, The Promised Land

Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again.

Willa Cather, My Ántonia

The night is thick, the night is tough. But still our hope is kept safe in the depths of our hearts.

Frankétienne, Dezafi

Every day is borrowed time. You want to be able to use life as well as death as a form of service to something bigger than you; that makes life meaningful.

Cornel West

Memories… form the building blocks of family history. They are the stories that survive in our kitchens and in our living rooms. Stories that tell it like it is about the way it was, the way it used to be. Some are humorous, others are painful, even embarrassing, but all of them make up the essence of African American history.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., African American Lives

Someone said that God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.

J.M. Barrie

The pain passes, but the beauty remains.

Pierre Auguste Renoir

Read more: 50+ Best In Loving Memory Quotes

Death Anniversary Quotes

Every year that day comes. And you remember. Here are some quotes to encourage, inspire, and help you reflect.

Related: Death Anniversary: How to Remember & Celebrate Your Loved One

Death Anniversary Quotes

I still tell you things in our imaginary conversations.

Adapted from Reddit user Pinkypieluvpup

Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind.

William Wordsworth, Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Childhood

If you get there before I do
Look out for me, I’m coming too

Traditional African-American spiritual

Memories are not shackles, Franklin, they are garlands.

Alan Bennett

We love because it’s the only true adventure.

Nikki Giovanni, Jr., Love: Is a Human Condition

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Walt Whitman

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon, For the Fallen

Read next: Happy Birthday in Heaven: Remembering Your Loved One

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