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Words of Comfort

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GRIEF

Tears are a river that can carry you forward.
Sometimes, when one person is absent, the whole world seems depopulated.- Alphonse de Lamatrine, poet

There isn’t a pill in the world that can put things right – now. I’ll take may pain straight, undulled, and with it the glory of knowing how much he was, then sense of his strength shoring up my life. Even though all seems to be lost, much will be found again. I want it all – as Eric wanted it all. I can wait. And trust. Life will begin again.
– Doris Lund, in Eric

If you suppress grief too much, it can well redouble.- Moliere, playwright
There is no coming to consciousness without pain.- Carl Jung, psychologist

Good God! How often are we to die before we go quiet off this stage? In every friend we lose a part of ourselves, and the best part.- Alexander Pope. Poet

No man is an island, entire to itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of they friend’s or of thine own were: 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, in “Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions”

COPING

Time passes – hours, days, decades – and grief has its own measure.
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.- Kahil Gibran, poet and philosopher

In the face of adversity we are not permitted to ask, “Why me?” You can ask but you won’t get an answer. Maybe you are the instrument who is left behind to perpetuate the life that was lost and appreciate the time you had with it.- Erma Bombeck, humorist

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable. – Anne Morrow Lindberg, aviator and writer

Just when I think I’m “getting over it,” and feel better, even feel a bit guilty that I’m not missing you as much as I did, back it comes. The grief surges through me until I am nothing but a cry for you.- Bess Truman, in Letter to My Husband: Harry S. Truman

STRENGTH

Inside,
I am making myself strong. . . .
I am strengthening my mind
With the warp and the weft
Of weariness and endurance.
I am binding my faith With the bonds of psalms and songs
Of all who have suffered.
In time,I will be tempered like fine steel To bend, but not to break.
– Dr. Albert Schweitzer, written on the death of his wife Helene after 53 years of marriage. Dr. Schweitzer was 84 years old.

LESSONS IN LOSS

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials. Confucius

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.- Henri Van Nouwen, in “Out of Solitude”

It is by those who have suffered that the world has been advanced.- Leo Tolstoy, novelist
All I know from my own experience is that the more loss we feel the more grateful we should be for whatever it was we had to lose. It means we had something worth grieving for. The ones I’m sorry for are the ones that go through life not even knowing what grief is.- Frank O’Connor, in“Requiem”

Sorrow is the obverse side of love. To ask for immunity from sorrow is to ask for more than a special dispensation granted to others. Death is absolutely democratic – all are equal. Then it is to ask that we love not, gain no friends or devotedly serve any cause? Nonsense! To enter into any relationship of deep meaning is to run the risk of sorrow. It is a fearsome thing to love something that can be touched by death.- Rabbi Morris Adler

ALONG THE ROAD

I walked a mile with Pleasure
She chatted all the way
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she
But oh the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me.- Nathaniel Hawthorne, American author

We are defined by whom we have lost.
– Anna Quindlen, columnist and author

FACING MORTALITY

Want to be immortal? Love someone.

Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on the future generations.
– George Bernard Shaw, playwright

It’s natural to die. The fact that we make such a big hullabaloo over it is all because we don’t see ourselves as part of nature. We think because we’re human we’re something above nature. We are all cousins to the trees, and we will tumble and fall as certainly as every tree does.- Rev. Dr. Edgar N. Jackson, pastor and teacher

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow
from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me
Under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
– Walt Whitman, in “Song of Myself”

Death is nothing at all. . . . It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.- Henry Scott Holland, in Fibres of Faith

HEALING

In times like these, it helps to remember that there have always been times like these.
You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present. Grant Wood, artist

I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought, and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain

When you help dig someone out of their troubles, a miracle happens. You find that you have enough dirt left over and a new hole to bury your own.- Iowa Wisdom, author unknown

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it in full.- Marcel Proust, novelist

Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.- Elie Wiesel, writer, professor

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life. – Robert Louis Stevenson,

REMEMBERING

Death has no dominion where memory rules.
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
for love is stronger than death.- Song of Songs

It is the image in the mind that links us to our
lost treasures; but it is the loss that shapes the
image, gathers the flowers, weaves the garland.
– Colette, in My Mother’s House

I went ahead and. . . took the road we stood on
at the start together, I took it all without you as
if in taking it after all I could most honor you.
– Sharon Olds, in “Cambridge Elegy”

They are poor that have lost nothing; they are
poorer far who, losing, have forgotten; they most
poor of all, who lose and wish they might forget.
– Jean Ingelow, in “Regret”

Where there is spiritual union with other people, the love one feels for them keeps the circle unbroken, and the bond between us and them strong, whether they are dead or alive. Perhaps that is one of the manifestations of heaven on earth.
– Alice Walker, in Living by the Word

I found her nearest when I missed her most:
I found her in my heart. . .
A light I know not till my soul was dark.
– W. L. MacKenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn them.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. . . .- James Stewart, actor


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