Wooden heart with adhesive bandages on table.

Grief is a natural state of sadness when we lose a loved one, or have any loss of that magnitude. What have authors and wise people through the ages said about grief?

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I would never trust a man who didn’t cry; he wouldn’t be human.

— Norman Schwartzkopf

Bitter are the tears of a child: Sweeten them.
Deep are the thoughts of a child: Quiet them.
Sharp is the grief of a child: Take it from him.
Soft is the heart of a child: Do not harden it.

— Pamela Glenconner

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

— Pema Chödrön

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

— Rabbi Tarfon

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain
For promis’d joy.

— Robert Burns

Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance.

— Robert Frost

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge — myth is more potent than history — dreams are more powerful than facts — hope always triumphs over experience — laughter is the cure for grief — love is stronger than death.

— Robert Fulghum

Grief can awaken us to new values and new and deeper appreciations. Grief can cause us to reprioritize things in our lives, to recognize what’s really important and put it first. Grief can heighten our gratitude as we cease taking the gifts life bestows on us for granted. Grief can give us the wisdom of being with death. Grief can make death the companion on our left who guides us and gives us advice. None of this growth makes the loss good and worthwhile, but it is the good that comes out of the bad.

— Roger Bertschausen, Beyond Absence: A Treasury Of Poems, Quotations, And Readings On Death And Remembrance

Where grief is fresh, any attempt to divert it only irritates.

— Samuel Johnson

I bid you awake at dawn and discover I have gone my way and left you free.

— Sara Teasdale

Nothing on earth can make up for the loss of one who has loved you.

— Selma Lagerlöf

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

— Talmud

Can I see another’s woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow’s share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

— William Blake

Grief is itself a medicine.

— William Cowper

When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.

— William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
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