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Below are 25 inspirational words from some of our world’s most inspirational people
for times of grief and loss. For more, download Words of Inspiration (.pdf) [100 kb].



We choose our attitude towards suffering. The worst losses can be catalysts for change.
- Viktor Frankl -

Hope is a waking dream. 
- Aristotle -

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
- Nelson Mandela -

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.
- Buddha -

In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
- Albert Camus -

Death can show us the way, for when we know and understand completely that our time on this earth is limited, and that we have no way of knowing when it will be over, then we must live each day as if it were the only one we had.
- Elisabeth Kübler-Ross -

We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another.
- Luciano de Crescenzo -

I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.
- Martha Washington -

Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
- Rossiter Worthington Raymond -

It isn’t for the moment you are struck that you need courage. But for the long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security.
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh -

Many demolitions are actually renovations.
- Jalaluddin Rumi -

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.
- Friedrich Nietzsche -

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.
- Martin Luther King, Jr -

The only truly dead are those who have been forgotten.
- Jewish Proverb -

King Solomon asked his wisest men for something that would make him happy when he was sad, but also sad when he was happy. They consulted and came back with a ring engraved with the words ‘This too will pass’.
- Anonymous -

The life of the dead consists in being present in the minds of the living.
- Cicero -

There is only one way for you to live without grief in your lifetime; that is to exist without love. Your grief represents your humanness, just as love does.
- Carol Staudacher -

There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
- Thornton Wilder -

Hope
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chilliest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.
- Emily Dickinson -

She Is gone
Words from the poem that prefaced the Order of Service at the Westminster Abbey for the Queen Mother’s funeral
You can shed tears because she is gone
or you can smile because she lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she’s gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
- Anonymous -

What is Death?
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we still are.
Call me by my 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 word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without affect,
without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolutely 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.
- Henry Scott Holland -

Funeral Blues
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juice bone,
Silence the pianos, and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

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 love could last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
- WH Auden -

From A Grief Observed
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like begin afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
At other times it feels like being mildly drunk, or concussed. There is a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says. Or perhaps, hard to want to take it in. It is so uninteresting. Yet I want the others be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.
There are moments, most unexpectedly, when something inside me tries to assure me that I don’t really mind so much, not so very much, after all. Love is not the whole of a man’s life. I was happy before I met H. I’ve plenty of what are called ‘resources’. People get over these things. Come, I shan’t do badly. One is ashamed to listen to this voice but it seems for a little time to be making out a good case. Then comes a sudden jab of red-hot memory and all this ‘commonsense’ vanishes like an ant in the mouth of a furnace…
Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be – or so it feels – welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and doubling bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?
- CS Lewis -

Sanskrit Proverb
Look to this day! For it is life, the very life of life. For yesterday is but a dream. And tomorrow is only a vision. But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness. And tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore, to this day!
- Anonymous -

They shall not grow 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 shall remember them.
- Laurence Binyon -

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