100 Grief Quotes from Great Minds to Stir Your Soul

The best grief quotes provide something more than a pat on the back. Truly thoughtful words of comfort provide insight and encouragement to a downcast soul.

I’m a great believer in the wisdom of classical literature. For years I’ve scoured old books of quotations, grief resources, the Bible, and other resources for insight on grief, death, loss, and remembering those we love. More recently, I’ve begun the ancient practice of keeping a commonplace book to log all the great quotes I find.

All that has gone into this resource to create the ultimate list of powerful, meaningful, and uplifting grieving quotes.

Below, you’ll find the most popular, famous, and meaningful bereavement quotes. You’ll see a lot of those on other websites. But more than that, I’ve unearthed sayings from ancient sources you won’t find on other lists like this. I’ve even written a few of my own (thoughts both original and derivative of longer great quotes) to contribute.

Read on, and I think you can find rich benefit from this collection of wise and timeless words.

Quotes for Those Who Grieve

If you’re the one grieving, you know that the loss of your beloved saps your strength and ability to think clearly. Sadness and sorrow are completely normal, but you’re not always sure how to express what you’re feeling.

Here’s something important to know: Others have been where you are.

Learn from the wisdom of those who have mourned before you. Read each quote thoughtfully and carefully. You might be surprised at the things that resonate with you.

Take these words and make them your own as you journal, compose an epitaph, engrave an inscription, or describe your love and sorrow to a counselor or dear friend.

Quotes on Grief for Those Providing Comfort

For those who want to support and comfort a grieving friend, your presence is vital.

But what do you say when you’re with your bereaved friend or family member? Silence is ok, and it’s a good idea to avoid incessant talking anyways.

Still, at some point, you need to say something.

If you’re here as a friend of the bereaved, we commend you. Read on to deepen your understanding of what your friend may be going through. We hope you find inspiration for what to say.

We’ll have more tips at the end, but let’s get to the quotes.

Short Grief Quotes

Tears are the silent language of grief. – Voltaire

Little by little, grief slowly fades. But love always burns brightly.

Those who were always there for us in this life will always be there for us in our memories.

It is not length of life, but depth of life. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

No one spread more love in one lifetime.

Sometimes, happy memories hurt the most.

We know you’d be with us today
If heaven wasn’t so far away.

God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble. – Psalm 46.1

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

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

You’ll be with me forever.

Wherever a beautiful soul has been there is a trail of beautiful memories. – Ronald Reagan

Grief is a form of love. It is the pent-up love you can no longer give or share; and it is the loss of the love you can no longer receive.

Shakespeare, Macbeth- Quotes on Greiving

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak Whispers the o’re-fraught heart, and bids it break. – William Shakespeare

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair. – Chinese Proverb

This confusing mix of sadness, anger, joy, and guilt is completely normal after the death of a loved one. It even has a name: Grief.

Grief is not heartbreak. The rest of the body breaks, too.

The pain passes, but the beauty remains. – Renoir

Your grief is as individual as you are.

I will always grieve over you, because I will always love you.

Grief is itself a medicine. – William Cowper

Earth has no sorrows that heaven can’t heal. – Thomas Moore

Famous Grief Quotes

100+ Quotes over Grief: Helen Killer

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

I wish I had done everything on earth with you. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

There are no good-byes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart. – Ghandi

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

Bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love. It follows marriage as normally as marriage follows courtship or as autumn follows summer. – C.S. Lewis

While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till grief be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it. – Samuel Johnson

Can I see another’s woe, and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another’s grief, and not seek for kind relief? – Sir William Blake

Affliction may one day smile again; and till then, sit thee down, sorrow! – Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. – Washington Irving

Everyone can master a grief but he that has it. – Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and oftentimes we call a man cold, when he is only sad. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It is foolish to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. – General George S. Patton

My grief lies onward and my joy behind. – Shakespeare, Sonnet I

Related: 101 Beautiful “Letting Go” Bereavement Quotes

Famous Quotes About Loss

Any man’s death diminishes me,
  because I am involved in Mankind:
and therefore never send to know
  for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
– John Donne

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 Scottt Holland

The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown.
– William Cowper, Letter to an Afflicted Protestant Lady

God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December. – J.M. Barrie

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

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened. – Dr. Seuss

Or perhaps better: Cry because it’s over. Then smile because it happened.

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. – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before – more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle. – Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

I will not say: Do not weep; For not all tears are evil. – J.R.R. Tolkein

Missing a Loved One Quotes

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

I love you. Nothing, and nobody, not even time, will change that.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. – A.A. Milne, The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh

Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure. You are loved beyond words, and missed beyond measure.

You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will,
But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.
– Thomas Moore

May the winds of heaven blow softly
and whisper in your ear
How much we love and miss you
and wish that you were here

O, won’t you come and go with me
I’m bound for the promised land.
– Traditional African-American spiritual

Your wings were ready, but my heart was not.

You are gone, but thank you for all these soft, sweet things you have left behind in my home, in my head, in my heart. – Nikita Gill

Life is a beautiful collage of priceless moments and memories, which when pieced all together creates a unique treasured masterpiece. – Melanie M. Koulouris

In our hearts your memory lingers
Sweetly tender, fond and true…
There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think of you.

You may be gone from my sight but you are never gone from my heart.

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

You will always be the answer, when somebody asks me what I’m thinking about.

Tears then, tears too long repress’d,
Gush’d; – they fell like healing balm,
Till the whirlwind in my breast
Died into a dreary calm.
– James Montgomery, The Wanderer of Switzerland

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

Missing you is like the ocean. Sometimes the waves toss and churn, and sometimes all is calm as I float upon a glassy, mystic surface. Sometimes the tide pulls me out to fearsome depths, or washes me up on golden-sanded shores. Sometimes my stamina fails and I sink beneath the surface. And sometimes I feel my muscles stir with newfound strength as I learn to swim in that beautiful sea of memories.

Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything. – C.S. Lewis

I just… miss you.

More: Missing You (22 Honest Quotes About Grief)

Healing Grief Quotes

100+ Quotes About Grief- "...We Shall Soon Wake in Heaven"

This life is but a passing dream, we soon shall wake in heaven.

What is your only comfort in life and death? That I am not my own, but belong with body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ. – Heidelberg Catechism

A good life is a collection of happy moments. – Denis Waitley

Healing comes from letting there be room for all of “this” to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. – Pema Chodron

Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom. – Rumi

When we lose someone we love, we can either die with them or live on to celebrate their life. I’m tired of focusing on what we lost. I want to focus on what we had. – Barbara Delinsky

Our brief partings on Earth will appear one day as nothing beside the joy of eternity together.

Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken? – Terry Pratchett

Beyond this vale of tears
There is a life above,
Unmeasured by the flight of years;
And all that life is love.
– James Montgomery

The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one. – Seneca

There are three needs of the griever: To find the words for the loss, to say the words aloud and to know that the words have been heard. – Victoria Alexander

The only cure for grief is action. – George Henry Lewes

Related: If the only cure for grief is action, here are some ways to memorialize your loved one.

Memorial Tributes

People touch our lives, and that means something. When they die, we can cherish the meaning they gave to us by mourning their passing and honoring their memory.

Think of the memories you made together. Grieve that there will be no more new ones, and treasure the ones you recall. Things are valuable when they are both scarce and desirable. So think often of your loved one, and write down each memory as it comes to you. Each new scrap of memory you remember is like finding a golden coin, and worthy of rejoicing over.

Strength is truly revealed by acting the right way at the right time. It takes more bravery to show your emotions than to hide them. It takes more confidence to reveal your weakness than to pretend indifference. In a word, to grieve well is to be emotionally strong.

We should remember our dying and try to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world. – John Steinbeck

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. – Helen Keller

To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. – Thomas Campbell

Tears water the healing tree of memories.

Though today it’s difficult to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.

It takes great strength to work through deep grief. You have that strength, even if you don’t know it yet. Your mettle will be proved in the experience, and you will emerge with a fuller capacity to sympathize, to appreciate, to remember, to live, and to love.

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

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

Healing does not come after grief, but rather through it. And you do not grieve by training yourself to stop missing your loved one; rather, by acknowledging how much you really do miss them.

Related: Mourning a Death: How to Grieve Well (Or Poorly, For That Matter)

Quotes About the Experience of Grief

100+ Grief Quotes

The irony of grief is that the person you need to talk to about how you feel is the person who is no longer there.

That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet. – Emily Dickinson

Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve. – Earl Grollman

Feel. Grieve. Just sit and let it all rip you apart. And then get up and keep breathing. One breath at a time. One day at a time. Wake up, and be shredded. Cry for a while. Then stop crying and go about your day. You’re not okay but you’re alive. – Jasinda Wilder

Deep in our hearts you will always stay, Loved and remembered everyday.

Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things. – Arthur Schopenhauer

100+ Grief Quotes- "Grieving is Like Having Broken Ribs..."

Grieving is like having broken ribs. On the outside, you look fine, but with every breath, it hurts.

Total grief is like a minefield. No knowing when one will touch the tripwire. – Sylvia Townsend Warner

Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread.
Now that I am without you, all is desolate;
And all that once was so beautiful is dead.
– Conrad Aiken

Grief is like glitter. You can throw a handful of glitter up in the air, but when you try to clean it up, you’ll never get it all. Even long after the event, you will still find glitter tucked into corners… it will always be there. Somewhere. – Instagram user @Irish_Cuchalainn

Between grief and nothing, I will take grief. – William Faulkner

Night is the time to weep,
To wet with unseen tears
Those graves of memory where sleep
The joys of other years.
– James Montgomery

Grief drives men into habits of serious reflection, sharpens the understanding, and softens the hearts. – John Adams, to his rival (but later in life, friend) Thomas Jefferson

Grief Quotes by Jamie Anderson

Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in the hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go. – Jamie Anderson

Tears are very close to my eyes… Not for pain… no… I do not cry because of pain. I cry only because of beautiful things. – Zakes Mda

Grief is universal, because love is universal. Where there is great love, there is great sorrow at the loss of that love.

Some days it’s ok if the only thing you do is breathe.

The great promise of the Gospel is that the pain of grief will be forever assuaged in the resurrection, when every tear is wiped away and death will be no more. – Daniel Szczesniak

Grief can be a burden, but also an anchor. You get used to the weight, how it holds you in place. – Sarah Dessen

Grief is like living two lives. One is where you “pretend” everything is alright, and the other is where your heart silently screams in pain.

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

I should have hugged you tighter and longer the last time I saw you.

Grief is a testament to how deeply someone impacted your life. Strong grief, difficult grief, passionate grief, angry grief – these reactions mean that their life affected yours. Your grief is thus a confirmation that the meaning of their life will live on in yours.

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

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

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

You will always grieve your loss, even as you learn to cope, heal, and thrive. Remember, as Leo Tolstoy said,

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.

Related: Inspirational Quotes About the Death of a Loved One

Bible Verses for Those Who Grieve

Quotes Over the Topic of Grief- Psalm 119:25

My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word! – Psalm 119:25

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. – Matthew 5:4

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. – Revelation 21:4

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:7

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. – John 14:18

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. – Psalm 10:17

This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. – Psalm 119:50

There is a peace that passes understanding. – From Philippians 4:7

More: Bible Verses About Grief and Hope

Celebration of Life Quotes

Grief Quote by Bessie Anderson Stanley

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much. – Bessie Anderson Stanley

To live in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today.

You will forever be my always.

You are my todays and all of my tomorrows.

As is a tale, so is a life: Not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters. – Seneca

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist; that is all. – Oscar Wilde

Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. – William Penn

Some people feel the rain; others just get wet. – Roger Miller

Again and again, I play memory games
in the casino of the past.
Yes, half a chance,
I’d do it all the same.
– Ai [Florence Anthony]

Grief Quote by Winston Churchill

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. – Winston Churchill

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein

You drew memories in my mind I could never erase. You painted colors in my heart I could never replace.

What the caterpillar perceives is the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning. – Richard Bach

Those who live to live forever, never fear dying. – William Penn

For though from out our bourne of time and place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
– Alfred Lord Tennyson

More: 33 Inspiring Life Celebration Quotes

How to Grieve Well

Be honest. Truth is the first step towards expressing grief in a healthy way. Just be honest: This hurts. This sucks. I hate that this happened. I’m sad. I miss her. I’m angry at (God, the doctors, cancer). Death is stupid. I don’t want to talk to people.

Give yourself time. You might not be ready to express your grief right away; that’s ok. Allow yourself time to process, or to simply mourn and cry. As J.R.R. Tolkien said, “I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

Let it come out in words and actions. While it’s ok to allow yourself a season of zero pressure, you also want to begin to express your grief in some form. Express your grief with words by talking to a friend or counselor, writing in a grief journal, or praying to God. You can also find ways to express your grief through tears, quiet contemplation, dealing with your loved one’s affairs, gathering photos and memories, and creating tributes.

Talk about your loved one. Say their name. Tell stories (or write them down). Talk to a friend who knew your loved one, and share in their sorrows even while sharing memories together. Talk to someone with wisdom and experience, such as a counselor, pastor, or older friend.

Talk about your grief. Not everyone is comfortable talking about how they feel, and that’s ok. Still, you can find validation and even encouragement by expressing something as simple as, “I’m sad today.” For those of us who process things verbally, consider having meetings (casually with a friend, regularly with a support group, or professionally with a counselor) to discuss where you’re at in the grieving process.

Related: Learning to Cope with Grief

How to Comfort a Grieving Friend

Listen. By all means, come with some of these mourning quotes and ideas in mind, some encouraging Scripture verses, a story of their loved one. Those all have a place. But first and foremost, listen. If your grieving friend needs to talk, be their ear. Don’t offer correction or advice in these early stages. Just listen. They need to process a wide range of emotions, and grief is a journey with many ups and downs. Prepare by reading about the “5 stages of grief“, it’s a basic roadmap of the grief process which will help you better understand.

Recognize that everyone grieves differently. You may be expect your friend to be sitting on the couch surrounded by tissue, but they’re up and about and talking to you as they normally would. They’re still grieving; they may just be processing it in a different way than you might. Learn about typical symptoms and expressions of grief before you go, and expect the unexpected.

Your presence is probably more important than anything. Just be there. Show up (but be ready to leave – don’t press to hang out) with some flowers and let them know you are thinking of them. Sit and talk, sit and watch a movie, offer to watch the kids or do laundry while they nap. Showing up tells them that you care and provides more comfort than you know.

Bring something. Food and flowers are always appreciated. Or some other items, like practical household necessities (does a grieving person shop for TP?) or a sympathy gift.

Don’t be easily offended. Your grieving friend may want to be alone. It’s not that they don’t like you or don’t want you around; they’re grieving. So don’t be upset, and let them grieve in their own way.

Offer specific help, and follow through. Avoid saying “let me know if you need anything.” No one wants to ask for help. Instead, (again,) listen and figure out what they need. Maybe you could pick up the dry cleaning, mow the lawn, or return the chairs that were rented for the funeral reception. Say, “I’d like to help with the yard, where should I start?” You’re still asking, and it gives them a chance to decline, but it’s much more specific and proactive than a generic offer to help.

More: 83 Practical Ways to Comfort Someone Who Is Grieving

What’s a good quote to say when someone dies?

Many of the grief quotes above will be ideal, but you also want to tailor what you say to the individual, their situation, and your relationship.

Best practices include: Say something, say the decedent’s name, offer condolences, share a favorite memory, tell the person you care for them, you love them, and you are there for them in whatever they might need.

So you might say something like this:

“Oh dearest friend, I just want you to know I’m thinking of you and praying for you. I always loved the way Jim would talk to my kids, treat them as adults, yet still make them laugh. He was such a gem, and will be greatly missed. I’m sure everyone is offering all sorts of help, so feel free to say no, but can I come over sometime and either just sit with you and have coffee, or watch the kids while you take a nap or go for a walk or something?”

Read more: What to say (and what NOT to say) when someone has died

What can I say instead of “sorry for your loss”?

People often what to say in place of the same overused phrases. Here are ten “sorry for your loss” alternatives that may help. We also have a comprehensive resource for the 101 best condolence messages.

What does God say about grieving?

Jesus wept over the death of his friend (John 11:35), so we know that sorrow over death is not wrong. In fact, Jesus even said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Other Scriptures that talk about grief include Psalm 6:7, Psalm 31:9, Isaiah 53:3-4, Lamentations 3, Romans 12:15, Ecclesiastes 3:4, Ecclesiastes 7:2-4.

How long does grief last?

Grief is a lifelong process that waxes and wanes, peaks and furrows. But intense emotions do gradually decrease over time.

It’s not always so simple, but often the mourner can start to feel a little better after 6-8 weeks. Some find grief hits hardest at around 4-6 months, while others experience an initial anguish which fades to a dull ache after a few weeks or months. Still others gradually heal as they process over a few years.

A sense of sorrow over the loss of a loved one will always be with you. That’s a given. You will always miss them, and feel waves of sadness at times. You can expect to feel better (in time) as you actively mourn your loved one.

More: How Long Does Grief Last? A Grief Timeline

Quotes to Read About the Topic of Grief
Quotes Over Grief- James Montgomery, The Wanderer of Switzerland
100+ Quotes about Grief
100+ Quotes over the Topic of Grief
Winston Churchill: 100+ Grief Quotes
100+ Illuminating Grief Quotes

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