Reflections on Grief

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When sorrows come, they come not single...but in battalions. ~William Shakespeare, Hamlet IV, 78

This is the Hour of Lead—

Remembered, if outlived,

As Freezing persons recollect the Snow—

First—Chill—then Stupor—then the letting go—

~Emily Dickinson

Unless we remember we cannot understand. ~Edward M. Forster

We live by losing and leaving and letting go. And sooner or later, with more or less pain, we must all come to know that loss is indeed a lifelong human condition. ~Judith Viorst

Everyone can master a grief but he that has it. ~William Shakespeare

He seems so near, and yet so far. ~
Alfred Tennyson

Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor’s mind toward some resolution, some clear meaning, which it may never find. ~
Robert Anderson

Who telleth a tale of unspeaking death?
Who lifteth the veil of what is to come?
Who paineth the shadows that are beneath?
The wide-winding caves of the peopled tomb?
Or uniteth the hopes of what shall be
With the fears and the love for that which we see?

~Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792 – 1822) From "On Death"

Grief, like the ocean comes in waves only to recede and come yet again. But with it comes healing. Memories wash ashore and are bathed by the golden sun. Grab hold of those memories and let them fill the emptiness. ~Eva Vichules

Truly it is in the darkness that one finds the light, so when we are in sorrow, then the light is nearest of all to us. ~
Johannes Eckhart

A broken heart is like a desert wherein can flourish no green thing. ~
Washington Irving

At first I was afraid of going to places where H. and I had been happy—our favorite pub, or favorite wood. But I decided to do it once—like sending a pilot up again as soon as possible after he’s had a crash. Unexpectedly, it makes no difference. Her absence is no more emphatic in those places than anywhere else. It’s not local at all…The act of living is different all through. Her absence is like the sky, spread over everything.
~C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love.
~C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Hope is grief's best music. ~Author Unknown

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. 

~From a headstone in Ireland

Sorrow makes us all children again - destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

In my Lucia's absence
Life hangs upon me, and becomes a burden;
I am ten times undone, while hope, and fear,
And grief, and rage and love rise up at once,
And with variety of pain distract me.
~Joseph Addison

Time is a physician that heals every grief. ~Diphilus, Greek physician and poet circa 3rd Century B.C.

There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept,

things we don't want to know but have to learn,
and people we can't live without but have to let go.
~Author Unknown

If you suppress grief too much, it can well redouble. ~Moliere

The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep. ~Henry Maudsley

Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Sometimes I wish I were a little kid again, skinned knees are easier to fix than broken hearts.
~Author Unknown

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing. 

~Mignon McLaughlin


I hate the day, because it lendeth light
To see all things, but not my love to see.
~Edmund Spenser

With what a deep devotedness of woe
I wept thy absence - o'er and o'er again
Thinking of thee, still thee, till thought grew pain,
And memory, like a drop that, night and day,
Falls cold and ceaseless, wore my heart away!
~Thomas Moore

Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it. ~J.K. Rowling

We loved with a love that was more than love. ~Edgar Allan Poe

Tears are the silent language of grief. ~Voltaire, French philosopher, 1694 – 1778

There is no grief like the grief that does not speak. ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Oh that it were possible, After long grief and pain, To find the arms of my true love, Around me once again. ~Alfred Tennyson

Grief makes one hour ten. ~William Shakespeare

I loathe a friend whose gratitude grows old, a friend who takes his friend's prosperity but will not voyage with him in his grief. ~Euripides, Greek playwright, c. 480-406 BC

Those things that hurt, instruct. ~Benjamin Franklin


A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.
~Author Unknown


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Summer  2015


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How complicated and individual mending is, the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
. Mary Jane Moffat
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