Quotes – Loss, Grief, and Recovery

The same stream of life that runs through the world runs through my veins. ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Grief can be a slow ache that never seems to stop rising, yet as we grieve, those we love mysteriously become more and more a part of who we are. ~ Mark Nepo

No one’s ever completely broken. It’s just a matter of how much has to fall apart before the ember of life is exposed to air. ~ Charles Eisenstein

Up till now, you didn’t know this kind of sadness. You couldn’t even have imagined anything could feel this bad. Now that you are inconsolable, it feels like the new “you” is forever changed, crushed, broken, and irreparable. These temporary feelings will pass, but you will never be restored to that old person.

What is left is a new you, a different you, one who will never be the same again or see the world as you once did. A terrible loss of innocence has occurred, only to be replaced with vulnerability, sadness, and a new reality where something like this can happen to you and has happened. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David KesslerOn Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss.

Your name is upon my tongue
your image is in my sight
your memory is in my heart
where can I send these words that I write ?

When you loved me I gave you the whole sun and stars to play with. I gave you eternity in a single moment, strength of the mountains in one clasp of your arms, and the volume of the seas in one impulse of your soul. ~ George Bernard Shaw

That farewell kiss which resembled greeting, that last glance of love which becomes the sharpest pang of sorrow. ~ George Eliot

Loss is the absence of something we were once attached to. Grief is the rope burns left behind, when that which is held is pulled beyond our grasp.
Stephen Levine

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~ Kahlil Gibran

She lay there a long time … thinking – not for the first time – that being single after being double so long was strange shite, indeed. She would have thought two years was enough for the strangeness to rub off, but it wasn’t; time apparently did nothing but blunt grief’s sharpest edge so that it hacked rather than sliced.
~ Stephen King, Lisey’s Story

Your presence in this house
is almost as painful and enormous
as your absence.
~ Donald Hall, Letter With No Address, from Without: Poems

Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in her spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is physically present, whether or not she is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance. ~ Viktor E. Frankl (The original text used male pronouns throughout but I think an inclusive gender blend is more pleasing to the contemporary reader’s ear.)

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

When I am gone

When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears,
But be thankful we had many good years.

I gave you my love, and you can only guess
How much you’ve given me in happiness.
I thank you for the love that you have shown,
But now it is time I travelled on alone.

So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It is only for a while that we must part,
So treasure the memories within your heart.

I won’t be far away for life goes on.
And if you need me, call and I will come.

Though you can’t see or touch me, I will be near.
And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear,
All my love around you soft and clear.

And then, when you come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile and a ‘Welcome Home’.

~ Anon.

I have become my own version of an optimist.
If I can’t make it through one door,
I’ll go through another door – or I’ll make a door.
Something terrific will come
no matter how dark the present.
~ Rabindranath Tagore

In Buddhism we call the notion of a fixed identity “ego clinging.” It’s how we try to put solid ground under our feet in an ever-shifting world. Meditation practice starts to erode that fixed identity. As you sit, you begin to see yourself with more clarity, and you notice how attached you are to your opinions about yourself. Often the first blow to the fixed identity is precipitated by a crisis. When things fall apart in your life, you feel as if your whole world is crumbling. But actually it’s your fixed identity that’s crumbling. And as Chögyam Trungpa used to tell us, that’s cause for celebration. ~ Pema Chodron

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Grief can destroy you — or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone.

Or you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it.

But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it.

The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. ~ Dean Koontz

No day-to-day mishaps or indignities can really compromise your sense of self after you’ve survived a deep tragedy. ~ Kelsey Grammer


Pain is physical, suffering is mental. Suffering is due entirely to clinging or resisting. It is a sign of our unwillingness to move, to flow with life. Although all life has pain, a wise life is free of suffering. A wise person is friendly with the inevitable and does not suffer. Pain they know but it does not break them. If they can, they do what is possible to restore balance. If not, they let things take their course ~ Nisargadatta

I wish you were that birch
rising from the clump behind you,
and I the gray oak alongside.
~ Donald Hall, Letter in Autumn, from Without: Poems

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One thought on “Quotes – Loss, Grief, and Recovery

  1. Pingback: Quotes | Valley Road Rambler

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