Quotes and Poems About Death, Grieving, and Healing
Death Is Sad for Those Left Behind
As mere mortals, we are extremely uncomfortable with death. The thought of our own mortality terrifies us. However, as much as we try to hide from death, its presence constantly overshadows us.
Every Death Is Human
At the time of this writing, we have been bombarded with news stories surrounding the death of Michael Jackson. Often, when a famous person dies, we forget that at the end of the day they are human like the rest of us and that they have personal ties that have been severed by the cruel hand of death. With all of the news stories circulating about death, one story in particular drew my attention.
Surprisingly, it was not the story of Michael Jackson’s passing; I was shocked and saddened by the death of Michael Jackson, but the story that remained with me was the shooting death of Steve McNair—not because I am a football fan or a Steve McNair fan, for that matter, but more so because of the human interest angle of the story. It got me thinking about his wife and children and how difficult it must be for them to deal with his death given the way in which he departed from this world.
Words Can Bring Healing
There is a famous saying that death is only sad for those that are left behind. This article is for those that are left behind; I hope these poems and quotes bring some measure of healing.
When the body sinks into death, the essence of man is revealed. Man is a knot, a web, a mesh into which relationships are tied. Only those relationships matter . . .— Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A Consoling Poem: Death Is Nothing at All
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to 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 into 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 effect.
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 absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
—Henry Scott Holland (1847–1918)
Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral—London, UK
Inspiring Death Quotes and Grief Quotes
- Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. —From a headstone in Ireland
- God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled. —Unknown
- We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears. We must not demean life by standing in awe of death. —David Sarnoff
- God himself took a day to rest in, and a good man's grave is his Sabbath. —John Donne
- Death is beautiful when seen to be a law, and not an accident—It is as common as life. —Henry David Thoreau
- As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well used brings happy death. —Leonardo da Vinci
- 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 W. Raymond
- Death ends a life, not a relationship. —Jack Lemmon
- Love is stronger than death even though it can't stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can't separate people from love. It can't take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death. —Unknown
- Thinking and talking about death need not be morbid; they may be quite the opposite. Ignorance and fear of death overshadow life, while knowing and accepting death erases this shadow. —Lily Pincus
- 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
- To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die. —Thomas Campbell
- 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
- When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. —Author Unknown
- Tears are the silent language of grief. —Voltaire
- There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief . . . and unspeakable love. —Washington Irving
- No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. —C.S. Lewis
- The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief—But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love. —Hilary Stanton Zunin
- He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it. —Turkish Proverb
- After desolation, grief brings back our humanity. —Mason Cooley
I Am Not Gone: Inspirational Sympathy Memorial Poem
This poem is part of a collection of memorial death poems I wrote recently. I posted it here after reading a moving comment from a young reader called Morgan (see Comment Section below). This poem is for Morgan and all the other people struggling through the loss of a dear loved one.
I have used the image of a butterfly because it holds special significance for my family. When we were burying our father, two butterflies flew up from the grave, and my younger sister said they represented my father and my grandmother coming to collect him. Ever since then, at some of our lowest moments, my sisters and I have seen butterflies (sometimes in the oddest places) or images of butterflies and had a sense of inner peace and the feeling that our father is there by our side helping us through our struggles.
I Am Not Gone
(An Inspirational Memorial Poem by Injete Chesoni)
I am not gone
I remain here beside you
Just in a different form
Look for me in your heart
And there you will find me
in our love which forever lives on
In those moments when you feel alone
Look for me in your thoughts
And there you will find me
in sweet memories that burn strong
Every time a tear
Forms in your beautiful eyes
Look up to the heavens
And there you will see me
Smiling down from God’s glorious skies