What Is Grief Quotes

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There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must have felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life. " Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, 'Wait and Hope.
Alexandre Dumas
The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see--the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping... waiting... and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir... open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us... guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we'd be truly dead.
Joss Whedon
Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
It’s what happens when two people become one: they no longer only share love. They also share all of the pain, heartache, sorrow, and grief.
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
words are like nets - we hope they'll cover what we mean, but we know they can't possibly hold that much joy, or grief, or wonder.
Jodi Picoult (Change of Heart)
Whoever said that loss gets easier with time was a liar. Here's what really happens: The spaces between the times you miss them grow longer. Then, when you do remember to miss them again, it's still with a stabbing pain to the heart. And you have guilt. Guilt because it's been too long since you missed them last.
Kristin O'Donnell Tubb (The 13th Sign)
I just looked at her, feeling utterly empty. I didn’t know what I was supposed to say to her. My life is in that bed. Please let me stay.
Maggie Stiefvater (Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2))
Only mundanes say they're sorry when what they mean is "I share your grief,"' Jace observed.
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
And no matter what anybody says about grief and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.
Tiffanie DeBartolo
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing. It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain!I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it, or fix it. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human. It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithlessand therefore trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it's not pretty, every day,and if you can source your own life from its presence. I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!” It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children. It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back. It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer
The Peace of Wild Things When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry (The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry)
This place is a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn, and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief.
Rumi
The whole world can become the enemy when you lose what you love.
Kristina McMorris (Bridge of Scarlet Leaves)
She heard him mutter, 'Can you take away this grief?' 'I'm sorry,' she replied. 'Everyone asks me. And I would not do so even if I knew how. It belongs to you. Only time and tears take away grief; that is what they are for.
Terry Pratchett (I Shall Wear Midnight (Discworld, #38; Tiffany Aching, #4))
One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.
Haruki Murakami (Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage)
When you experience loss, people say you’ll move through the 5 stages of grief…. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance ….. What they don’t tell you is that you’ll cycle through them all every day.
Ranata Suzuki
People talk about the pain of grief, but I don't know what they mean. To me, grief is a devastating numbness, every sensation dulled.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
If you’re searching for a quote that puts your feelings into words – you won’t find it. You can learn every language and read every word ever written – but you’ll never find what’s in your heart. How can you? He has it.
Ranata Suzuki
I think perhaps I will always hold a candle for you – even until it burns my hand. And when the light has long since gone …. I will be there in the darkness holding what remains, quite simply because I cannot let go.
Ranata Suzuki
I keep finding myself stifled by the company of others and then crippled by loneliness when I leave them. I am terrified and I don't even know of what, because I have lost everything already.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on, coughing and searching, and finding.
Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)
What I sometimes mistake for ecstasy is simply the absence of grief.
Sarah Kane (Crave)
What do people mean when they say, 'I am not afraid of God because I know He is good'? Have they never even been to a dentist?
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being 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 to be about me. I dread the moments when the house is empty. If only they would talk to one another and not to me.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Grief can destroy you --or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn't allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it's over and you're alone, you begin to see that it wasn't just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can't get off your knees for a long time, you're driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.
Dean Koontz (Odd Hours (Odd Thomas, #4))
But what was there to say? Only that there were tears. Only that Quietness and Emptiness fitted together like stacked spoons. Only that there was a snuffling in the hollows at the base of a lovely throat. Only that a hard honey-colored shoulder had a semicircle of teethmarks on it. Only that they held each other close, long after it was over. Only that what they shared that night was not happiness, but hideous grief. Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
It was like Percy had faced death before, like he knew about grief. What mattered was listening. You didn’t need to say you were sorry. The only thing that helped was moving on—moving forward.
Rick Riordan (The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2))
I knew what it was like to lose someone you loved. You didn't get past something like that, you got through it.
Jodi Picoult (Change of Heart)
We are as forlorn as children lost in the wood. When you stand in front of me and look at me, what do you know of the griefs that are in me and what do I know of yours? And if I were to cast myself down before you and tell you, what more would you know about me that you know about Hell when someone tells you it is hot and dreadful?
Franz Kafka
What are heavy? sea-sand and sorrow. What are brief? today and tomorrow. What are frail? spring blossoms and youth. What are deep? the ocean and truth.
Christina Rossetti
Grief can be so bad you can’t breathe, but that’s what it means to be human. We lose, we suffer, but we have to keep breathing.
Cassandra Clare (Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices, #3))
She wanted—what some people want throughout life—a grief that should deeply touch her, and thus humanize and make her capable of sympathy.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter)
Why can't I write something that would awake the dead? That pursuit is what burns most deeply.
Patti Smith (Just Kids)
He smiled despite the grief he felt at the deaths of his men; he smiled because that was what he did. That was how he proved to the Lord Ruler-and to himself-that he wasn't beaten.
Brandon Sanderson (The Final Empire (Mistborn, #1))
And I wonder what the sound of a heart breaking might be. And I think it might be quiet, unperceptively so, and not dramatic at all. Like the sound of an exhausted swallow falling gently to earth.
Sarah Winman (Tin Man)
Don't cling to things, because everything is impermanent... But detachment doesn't mean you don't let the experience penetrate you. On the contrary, you let it penetrate you fully. That's how you are able to leave it...You're afraid of the pain, you're afraid of the grief... But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely.You know what pain is. You know what love is. "All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.
Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
Monday, June 9: People think they know you. They think they know how you're handling a situation. But the truth is no one knows. No one knows what happens after you leave them, when you're lying in bed or sitting over your breakfast alone and all you want to do is cry or scream. They don't know what's going on inside your head--the mind-numbing cocktail of anger and sadness and guilt. This isn't their fault. They just don't know. And so they pretend and they say you're doing great when you're really not. And this makes everyone feel better. Everybody but you.
William H. Woodwell Jr.
Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not 'So there's no God after all,' but 'So this is what God's really like. Deceive yourself no longer.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
CLEMENTINE: This is it, Joel. It's going to be gone soon. JOEL: I know. CLEMENTINE: What do we do? JOEL: Enjoy it.
Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: The Shooting Script)
Time doesn't heal. It’s what you do with the time. Healing is possible when we choose to take responsibility, when we choose to take risks, and finally, when we choose to release the wound, to let go of the past or the grief.
Edith Eger (The Choice: Embrace the Possible)
The days will always be brighter because he existed. The nights will always be darker because he's gone. And no matter what anybody says about grief, and about time healing all wounds, the truth is, there are certain sorrows that never fade away until the heart stops beating and the last breath is taken.
Tiffanie DeBartolo (God-Shaped Hole)
This soldier, I realized, must have had friends at home and in his regiment; yet he lay there deserted by all except his dog. I looked on, unmoved, at battles which decided the future of nations. Tearless, I had given orders which brought death to thousands. Yet here I was stirred, profoundly stirred, stirred to tears. And by what? By the grief of one dog.' Napoleon Bonaparte, on finding a dog beside the body of his dead master, licking his face and howling, on a moonlit field after a battle. Napoleon was haunted by this scene until his own death.
Napoléon Bonaparte
What they never tell you about grief is that missing someone is the simple part.
Gail Caldwell (Let's Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship)
She knew what it was to wait for someone who would never come home. She knew that grief, like a scar, faded but never really went away.
Libba Bray (The Diviners (The Diviners, #1))
What I mean is don't be a person who seeks out grief. There is enough of that in life.
Nina LaCour (We Are Okay)
We cannot understand. The best is perhaps what we understand least.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
There is no loss, if you cannot remember what you have lost.
Claire North (The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August)
Love is for those who know the griefs of time, for it goes hand in hand with loss. An eternity, so burdened, would be a torment. And yet—” He broke off, drew breath. “Yet what else to call it, this terror and this joy?
Katherine Arden (The Winter of the Witch (The Winternight Trilogy, #3))
Here’s what I know: death abducts the dying, but grief steals from those left behind.
Katherine Owen (Seeing Julia)
To be godless is probably the first step to innocence," he said, "to lose the sense of sin and subordination, the false grief for things supposed to be lost." So by innocence you mean not an absence of experience, but an absence of illusions." An absence of need for illusions," he said. "A love of and respect for what is right before your eyes.
Anne Rice (The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #2))
He came up and kissed me on my forehead, and before he stepped away, I closed my eyes and tried hard to memorize this moment. I wanted to remember him exactly as he was right then, how his arms looked brown against his white shirt, the way his hair was cut a little too short in the front. Even the bruise, there because of me. Then he was gone. Just for that moment, the thought that I might never see him again… it felt worse than death. I wanted to run after him. Tell him anything, everything. Just don’t go. Please just never go. Please just always be near me, so I can at least see you. Because it felt final. I always believed that we would find our way back to each other every time. That no matter what, we would be connected—by our history, by this house. But this time, this last time, it felt final. Like I would never see him again, or that when I did, it would be different, there would be a mountain between us. I knew it in my bones. That this time was it. I had finally made my choice, and so had he. He let me go. I was relieved, which I expected. What I didn’t expect was to feel so much grief. Bye bye, Birdie.
Jenny Han (We'll Always Have Summer (Summer, #3))
That was the hard thing about grief, and the grieving. They spoke another language, and the words we knew always fell short of what we wanted them to say.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
You will live as you live anywhere. With difficulty, and grief. Yes, you are dead. And I and my family and everyone, always, forever. All dead, like stones. But what does it matter? You still have to go to work in the morning. You still have to live.
Catherynne M. Valente (Deathless)
Every relationship that has hit a crossroads has asked, “What is it that you want from me?
Shannon L. Alder
The nutritionist said I should eat root vegetables. Said if I could get down thirteen turnips a day I would be grounded, rooted. Said my head would not keep flying away to where the darkness lives. The psychic told me my heart carries too much weight. Said for twenty dollars she’d tell me what to do. I handed her the twenty. She said, “Stop worrying, darling. You will find a good man soon.” The first psycho therapist told me to spend three hours each day sitting in a dark closet with my eyes closed and ears plugged. I tried it once but couldn’t stop thinking about how gay it was to be sitting in the closet. The yogi told me to stretch everything but the truth. Said to focus on the out breath. Said everyone finds happiness when they care more about what they give than what they get. The pharmacist said, “Lexapro, Lamicatl, Lithium, Xanax.” The doctor said an anti-psychotic might help me forget what the trauma said. The trauma said, “Don’t write these poems. Nobody wants to hear you cry about the grief inside your bones.” But my bones said, “Tyler Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River convinced he was entirely alone.” My bones said, “Write the poems.
Andrea Gibson (The Madness Vase)
After a while, though the grief did not go away from us, it grew quiet. What had seemed a storm wailing through the entire darkness seemed to come in at last and lie down.
Wendell Berry (Jayber Crow)
This is how you survive the unsurvivable, this is how you lose that which you cannot bear to lose, this is how you reinvent yourself, overcome your abusers, fulfill your ambitions and meet the love of your life: by following what is true, no matter where it leads you.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.)
But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, Who is already sick and pale with grief, That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she. Be not her maid, since she is envious; Her vestal livery is but sick and green And none but fools do wear it; cast it off. It is my lady, O, it is my love! Oh, that she knew she were!
William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)
But please, please - won't you - can't you give me something that will cure Mother?' Up till then he had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself. 'My son, my son,' said Aslan. 'I know. Grief is great.
C.S. Lewis (The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia, #6))
There are all sorts of experiences we can't really put a name to...The birth of a child, for one. Or the death of a parent. Falling in love. Words are like nets--we hope they'll cover what we mean, but we know they can't possibly hold that much joy, grief, or wonder. Finding God is like that, too. If it's happened to you, you know what it feels like. But try to describe it to someone else--and language only takes you so far.
Jodi Picoult (Change of Heart)
That what?" "That I knew i misjudged you. That you love him. I'm not saying In what way. Maybe you don't know yourself. But anyone paying attention could see how much you care about him," he says gently.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
We are as forlorn as children lost in the woods. When you stand in front of me and look at me, what do you know of the griefs that are in me and what do I know of yours. And if I were to cast myself down before you and weep and tell you, what more would you know about me than you know about Hell when someone tells you it is hot and dreadful? For that reason alone we human beings ought to stand before one another as reverently, as reflectively, as lovingly, as we would before the entrance to Hell.
Franz Kafka
I don't know the meaning of life. I don't know why we are here. I think life is full of anxieties and fears and tears. It has a lot of grief in it, and it can be very grim. And I do not want to be the one who tries to tell somebody else what life is all about. To me it's a complete mystery.
Charles M. Schulz (Charles M. Schulz: Conversations)
What happens when you let go, when your strength leaves you and you sink into darkness, when there's nothing that you or anyone else can do, no matter how desperate you are, no matter how you try? Perhaps it's then, when you have neither pride nor power, that you are saved, brought to an unimaginably great reward.
Mark Halperin
What broke your heart so bad That you had to close every door, That you say you have a dark soul And can't utter the word 'love' anymore?
Sanhita Baruah
Suddenly, all I can think about are all the things I don't know about him. All the things I never had time to learn. I don't know if his feet are ticklish or how long his toes are. I don't know what nightmares he had as a child. I don't know which stars are his favorites, what shapes he sees in the clouds. I don't know what he is truly afraid of or what memories he holds closest. And I don't have enough time now, never enough time. I want to be in the moment with him, feel his body against mine and think of nothing else, but my mind explodes with grief for all that I am missing. All that I will miss. All that I have wasted.
Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1))
In the sea of grief, there were islands of grace, moments in time when one could remember what was left rather than all that had been lost.
Kristin Hannah (Night Road)
...for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you were. All your grief hasn't changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You're only left with your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on or not.
Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain)
Grief reunites you with what you've lost. It's a merging; you go with the loved thing or person that's going away. You follow it a far as you can go. But finally,the grief goes away and you phase back into the world. Without him. And you can accept that. What the hell choice is there? You cry, you continue to cry, because you don't ever completely come back from where you went with him -- a fragment broken off your pulsing, pumping heart is there still. A cut that never heals. And if, when it happens to you over and over again in life, too much of your heart does finally go away, then you can't feel grief any more. And then you yourself are ready to die. You'll walk up the inclined ladder and someone else will remain behind grieving for you.
Philip K. Dick (Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said)
I went to a tattoo parlor and had YES written onto the palm of my left hand, and NO onto my right palm, what can I say, it hasn't made my life wonderful, its made life possible, when I rub my hands against each other in the middle of winter I am warming myself with the friction of YES and NO, when I clap my hands I am showing my appreciation through the uniting and parting of YES and NO, I signify "book" by peeling open my hands, every book, for me, is the balance of YES and NO, even this one, my last one, especially this one. Does it break my heart, of course, every moment of every day, into more pieces than my heart was made of, I never thought of myself as quiet, much less silent, I never thought about things at all, everything changed, the distance that wedged itself between me and my happiness wasn't the world, it wasn't the bombs and burning buildings, it was me, my thinking, the cancer of never letting go, is ignorance bliss, I don't know, but it's so painful to think, and tell me, what did thinking ever do for me, to what great place did thinking ever bring me? I think and think and think, I've thought myself out of happiness one million times, but never once into it.
Jonathan Safran Foer
What if depression is, in fact, a form of grief—for our own lives not being as they should? What if it is a form of grief for the connections we have lost, yet still need?
Johann Hari (Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions)
I don't want to. Believe me. But I can't help it. Rose said in time, I'll learn the control to keep his feelings out, but I can't do it now. And he has so much, Sydney. So much feeling. He feels everything so strongly— love, grief, anger. His emotions are up and down, all over the place. What happened between him and Rose . . . it tears him apart.
Richelle Mead (Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1))
The bird is gone, and in what meadow does it now sing?
Philip K. Dick (Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said)
You can miss places. You can miss people. Just know that what you’re really missing is the way things were. And even if you could go there again…. see them again…. you can’t go back. They’re not the same. You’re not the same. The loss of them changed you.
Ranata Suzuki
I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved - the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history. {Letter to Thomas Jefferson, September 3, 1816]
John Adams (The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams)
She had left me thirsty and all my life would be thirst and longing for what I had lost before I found it.
Jean Rhys
What we work out in our journals we don’t take out on family and friends.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Dealing with the impossible, fantasy can show us what may be really possible. If there is grief, there is the possibility of consolation; if hurt, the possibility of healing; and above all, the curative power of hope. If fantasy speaks to us as we are, it also speaks to us as we might be.
Lloyd Alexander
Take any emotion—love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, or what I’m going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions—if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them—you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. “But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, ‘All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment’.
Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
Or perhaps is is that time doesn't heal wounds at all, perhaps that is the biggest lie of them all, and instead what happens is that each wound penetrates the body deeper and deeper until one day you find that the sheer geography of your bones - the angle of your hips, the sharpness of your shoulders, as well as the luster of your eyes, the texture of your skin, the openness of your smile - has collapsed under the weight of your griefs.
Thrity Umrigar (The Space Between Us)
Isn't it weird," I said, "the way you remember things, when someone's gone?" What do you mean?" I ate another piece of waffle. "When my dad first died, all I could think about was that day. It's taken me so long to be able to think back to before that, to everything else." Wes was nodding before I even finished. "It's even worse when someone's sick for a long time," he said. "You forget they were ever healthy, ever okay. It's like there was never a time when you weren't waiting for something awful to happen." But there was," I said. "I mean, it's only been in the last few months that I've started remembering all this good stuff, funny stuff about my dad. I can't believe I ever forgot it in the first place." You didn't forget," Wes said, taking a sip of his water. "You just couldn't remember right then. But now you're ready to, so you can." I thought about this as I finished off my waffle.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
The mind knows the truth when your heart denies what it feels. When you don't feel safe to let people in it is because you're not ready to deal with the pain of honesty.
Shannon L. Alder
A lot of things are inherent in life -change, birth, death, aging, illness, accidents, calamities, and losses of all kinds- but these events don't have to be the cause of ongoing suffering. Yes, these events cause grief and sadness, but grief and sadness pass, like everything else, and are replaced with other experiences. The ego, however, clings to negative thoughts and feelings and, as a result, magnifies, intensifies, and sustains those emotions while the ego overlooks the subtle feelings of joy, gratitude, excitement, adventure, love, and peace that come from Essence. If we dwelt on these positive states as much as we generally dwell on our negative thoughts and painful emotions, our lives would be transformed.
Gina Lake (What About Now?: Reminders for Being in the Moment)
I want to tell him that I don't know what i feel. I want him but i'm frightened to want him. I don;t want my happiness to be entirely dependent on somebody else's to be a hostage to fortunes I cannot control.
Jojo Moyes (After You (Me Before You, #2))
This is what you should know about losing someone you love. They do not travel alone. You go with them.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.)
Grief was what you owed the dead for the necessary crime of living on without them.
Kamila Shamsie (Home Fire)
Destroying what someone else cherished never brought back what you yourself had lost. All it did was spread grief like a contagion.
Shelley Parker-Chan (She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor, #1))
She fit her head under his chin, and he could feel her weight settle into him. He held her tight and words spilled out of him without prior composition. And this time he made no effort to clamp them off. He told her about the first time he had looked on the back of her neck as she sat in the church pew. Of the feeling that had never let go of him since. He talked to her of the great waste of years between then and now. A long time gone. And it was pointless, he said, to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell, Inman said, for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you are. All your grief hasn't changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You're left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on or not. But if you go on, it's knowing you carry your scars with you. Nevertheless, over all those wasted years, he had held in his mind the wish to kiss her on the back of her neck, and now he had done it. There was a redemption of some kind, he believed, in such complete fulfillment of a desire so long deferred.
Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain)
Dirge Without Music I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground. So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind: Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned. Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you. Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust. A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew, A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost. The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,— They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve. More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world. Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind; Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave. I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
Edna St. Vincent Millay (Collected Poems)
As Luke knelt down beside his corpse, Clary couldn’t help but remember what he had said about having loved Valentine once, about having been his closest friend. Luke, she thought with a pang. Surely he couldn’t be sad — or even grieved? But then again, perhaps everyone should have someone to grieve for them, and there was no one else to grieve for Valentine.
Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
Nobody died. how can you kill an idea? How can you kill the personification of an action?" "Then what died? who are you mourning?" "A point of view.
Neil Gaiman (The Wake (The Sandman, #10))
When you are happy, so happy you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an 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 double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Cry your grief to God. Howl to the heavens. Tear your shirt. Your hair. Your flesh. Gouge out your eyes. Carve out your heart. And what will you get from Him? Only silence. Indifference. But merely stand looking at the playbills, sighing because your name is not on them, and the devil himself appears at your elbow full of sympathy and suggestions. And that's why I did it....Because God loves us, but the devil takes an interest.
Jennifer Donnelly (Revolution)
There is much asked and only so much I think I can or should answer, and so, in this post I would like to give a few thoughts on what seemed to be the overwhelming question: “WHY?” And here is the best answer I can give: Because. Because sometimes, life is damned unfair. Because sometimes, we lose people we love and it hurts deeply. Because sometimes, as the writer, you have to put your characters in harm’s way and be willing to go there if it is the right thing for your book, even if it grieves you to do it. Because sometimes there aren’t really answers to our questions except for what we discover, the meaning we assign them over time. Because acceptance is yet another of life’s “here’s a side of hurt” lessons and it is never truly acceptance unless it has cost us something to arrive there. Why, you ask? Because, I answer. Inadequate yet true.
Libba Bray
Whatever he goes through, I feel. Whatever I go through, he feels. It’s what happens when two people become one: they no longer only share love. They also share all of the pain, heartache, sorrow, and grief.
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
Ever since the Christmas of '53, I have felt that the yuletide is a special hell for those families who have suffered any loss or who must admit to any imperfection; the so-called spirit of giving can be as greedy as receiving--Christmas is our time to be aware of what we lack, of who's not home.
John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)
Sometimes she'd go a whole day without thinking of him or missing him. Why not? She had quite a full life, and really, he'd often been hard to deal with and hard to live with. A project, the Yankee oldtimers like her very own Dad might have said. And then sometimes a day would come, a gray one (or a sunny one) when she missed him so fiercely she felt empty, not a woman at all anymore but just a dead tree filled with cold November blow. She felt like that now, felt like hollering his name and hollering him home, and her heart turned sick with the thought of the years ahead and she wondered what good love was if it came to this, to even ten seconds of feeling like this.
Stephen King (Lisey's Story)
It's funny how sometimes you don't see the obvious things coming. You think you know what life has in store for you. You think you're prepared. You think you can handle it. And then-boom, like a thunderclap-something comes at you out of nowhere and catches you off guard.
Cynthia Hand (The Last Time We Say Goodbye)
Meanwhile, the trees were just as green as before; the birds sang and the sun shone as clearly now as ever. The familiar surroundings had not darkened because of her grief, nor sickened because of her pain. She might have seen that what had bowed her head so profoundly -the thought of the world's concern at her situation- was found on an illusion. She was not an existence, an experience, a passion, a structure of sensations, to anybody but herself.
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D’Urbervilles)
I wasn't good at pretending, that was the thing. After what had happened in that burning house, given what went on there, I could see no point in being anything other than truthful with the world. I had, literally, nothing left to lose. But, by careful observation from the sidelines, I'd worked out that social success is often built on pretending just a little. Popular people sometimes have to laugh at things they don't find very funny, or do things they don't particularly want to, with people whose company they don't particularly enjoy. Not me. I had decided, years ago, that if the choice was between that or flying solo, then I'd fly solo. It was safer that way. Grief is the price we pay for love, so they say. The price is far too high.
Gail Honeyman (Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine)
It was too perfect to last,' so I am tempted to say of our marriage. But it can be meant in two ways. It may be grimly pessimistic - as if God no sooner saw two of His creatures happy than He stopped it ('None of that here!'). As if He were like the Hostess at the sherry-party who separates two guests the moment they show signs of having got into a real conversation. But it could also mean 'This had reached its proper perfection. This had become what it had in it to be. Therefore of course it would not be prolonged.' As if God said, 'Good; you have mastered that exercise. I am very pleased with it. And now you are ready to go on to the next.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
A light which lives on what the flames devour, a grey landscape surrounding me with scorch, a crucifixion by a single wound, a sky and earth that darken by each hour, a sob of blood whose red ribbon adorns a lyre without a pulse, and oils the torch, a tide which stuns and strands me on the reef, a scorpion scrambling, stinging in my chest-- this is the wreath of love, this bed of thorns is where I dream of you stealing my rest, haunting these sunken ribs cargoed with grief. I sought the peak of prudence, but I found the hemlock-brimming valley of your heart, and my own thirst for bitter truth and art. - Stigmata of Love
Federico García Lorca
Sara waited a respectful time, knowing there was nothing she could do to ease the woman's pain. Grief was a place, Sara understood, where a person went alone. It was like a room without doors, and what happened in that room, all the anger and the pain you felt, was meant to stay there, nobody's business but yours.
Justin Cronin (The Passage (The Passage, #1))
I was dying, of course, but then we all are. Every day, in perfect increments, I was dying of loss. The only help for my condition, then as now, is that I refused to let go of what I loved. I wrote everything down, at first in choppy fragments; a sentence here, a few words there, it was the most I could handle at the time. Later I wrote more, my grief muffled but not eased by the passage of time. When I go back over my writing now I can barely read it. The happiness is the worst. Some days I can't bring myself to remember. But I will not relinquish a single detail of the past. What remains of my life depends on what happened six years ago. In my brain, in my limbs, in my dreams, it is still happening.
Meg Rosoff (How I Live Now)
For an instant, at least, they seemed one and the same, as though all anguish exists in the same deep well, no matter what loss or misfortune leads us to it. We might be at odds, hate each other, and desired each others destruction, but in our despair, we are lost in the same darkness, breathing the same air as we choke on our grief.
Laini Taylor (Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer, #2))
I was perpetually grief-stricken when I finished a book, and would slide down from my sitting position on the bed, put my cheek on the pillow and sigh for a long time. It seemed there would never be another book. It was all over, the book was dead. It lay in its bent cover by my hand. What was the use? Why bother dragging the weight of my small body down to dinner? Why move? Why breathe? The book had left me, and there was no reason to go on.
Marya Hornbacher
Now I know grief is a whetstone that sharpens all your love, all your happiest memories, into blades that tear you apart from within. Something has been torn out from inside me that will never be filled up, not ever, no matter how long I live. They say "time heals," but even now, less than a week after my father's death, I know that's a lie. What people really mean is that eventually you'll get used to the pain. You'll forget who you were without it; you'll forget what you looked like without your scars.
Claudia Gray (A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird, #1))
What if it's as simple as one moment? One tiny thing, like that kiss on the rocks? What if I'd kissed him a little longer? Would he be alive right now? Or what if I'd stayed with him Friday night, what if I'd been with him… wherever he was?
Kristina McBride (One Moment)
What I have learned lately is that people deal with death in all sorts of ways. Some of us fight against it, doing everything we can to make it not true. Some of us lose our selves to grief. Some of us lose ourselves to anger.
Carrie Jones (Entice (Need, #3))
What I mean to say is, we had been considerable. Had been loved. Not lonely, not lost, not freakish, but wise, each in his or her own way. Our departures caused pain. Those who had loved us sat upon their beds, heads in hand; lowered their faces to tabletops, making animal noises. We had been loved, I say, and remembering us, even many years later, people would smile, briefly gladdened at the memory.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
...what happens when you return and find nothing but a hollowed shell, shingles and floor, walls and echoes and the light that lead you here has now burned out and the ones who built it have traveled afar and you cant go to them, no matter what shoes you wear.
Kellie Elmore (Magic in the Backyard)
Recipe For Greatness - To bear up under loss; To fight the bitterness of defeat and the weakness of grief; To be victor over anger; To smile when tears are close; To resist disease and evil men and base instincts; To hate hate and to love love; To go on when it would seen good to die; To look up with unquenchable faith in something ever more about to be. That is what any man can do, and be great.
Zane Grey
The reality of grief is far different from what others see from the outside. There is pain in this world that you can't be cheered out of. You don't need solutions. You don't need to move on from your grief. You need someone to see your grief, to acknowledge it. You need someone to hold your hands while you stand there in blinking horror, staring at the hole that was your life. Some things cannot be fixed. They can only be carried.
Megan Devine (It's OK That You're Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand)
If you believe suicide will bring you peace, or at the very least just an end to everything you hate- you are displaying self-caring behavior. You are still able to actively seek solutions to your problems. You are willing to go to great lengths to provide what you believe will be soothing to yourself. This strikes me as optimistic.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.)
If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever." A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
The best thing the universe ever gave us is that we'll all be forgotten. [...] I kinda like the idea. That when we die, despite any pain or fear or embarrassment we experienced during our lives, despite any heartbreak or grief, we get to be dispersed back into nothingness. It makes me feel brave, knowing I'll get a blank slate at the end. You get a brief glimmer of consciousness to do with what you will and then it's given back to the universe again. I'm not religious, but even I can appreciate that that's redemption, on the grandest scale. Oblivion isn't scary; it's the closest thing to genuine absolution of sin that I can imagine.
Krystal Sutherland (Our Chemical Hearts)
Take any emotion—love for a woman, or grief for a loved one, or what I’m going through, fear and pain from a deadly illness. If you hold back on the emotions—if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them—you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails.
Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
It’s not okay,” I tell her. This gets her attention; it’s not what she was expecting. “You don’t have to be okay.” “What do you want from me?” Her voice is ragged, desperate. “I want you to let yourself be broken. Let yourself hurt.” She shakes her head again. “I can’t. If I let it out, it’ll never stop.” “Yes, it will.
Jasinda Wilder (Falling into You (Falling, #1))
His mind was freshly inclined toward sorrow; toward the fact that the world was full of sorrow; that everyone labored under some burden of sorrow; that all were suffering; that whatever way one took in this world, one must try to remember that all were suffering (none content; all wronged, neglected, overlooked, misunderstood), and therefore one must do what one could to lighten the load of those with whom one came into contact; that his current state of sorrow was not uniquely his, not at all, but, rather, its like had been felt, would be felt, by scores of others, in all times, in every time, and must not be prolonged or exaggerated, because, in this state, he could be of no help to anyone and, given that his position in the world situated him to be either of great help, or great harm, it would not do to stay low, if he could help it.
George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo)
Grief causes you to leave yourself. You step outside your narrow little pelt. And you can’t feel grief unless you’ve had love before it - grief is the final outcome of love, because it’s love lost. […] It’s the cycle of love completed: to love, to lose, to feel grief, to leave, and then to love again. Grief is the awareness that you will have to be alone, and there is nothing beyond that because being alone is the ultimate final destiny of each individual living creature. That’s what death is, the great loneliness.
Philip K. Dick (Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said)
He didn't know of course. Not really. And yet that was what he said, and I was soothed to hear it. For I knew what he meant. We all have our sorrows, and although the exact delineaments, weight, and dimensions of grief are different for everyone, the color of grief is common to us all. "I know," he said, because he was human, and therefore, in a way, he did.
Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale)
I have not loved the world, nor the world me, but let us part fair foes; I do believe, though I have found them not, that there may be words which are things, hopes which will not deceive, and virtues which are merciful, or weave snares for the failing: I would also deem o'er others' griefs that some sincerely grieve; that two, or one, are almost what they seem, that goodness is no name, and happiness no dream.
Lord Byron
Linus: What's wrong, Charlie Brown? Charlie Brown: I just got terrible news. The teacher says we're going on a field trip to an art museum; and I have to get an A on my report or I'll fail the whole course. Why do we have to have all this pressure about grades, Linus? Linus: Well, I think that the purpose of going to school is to get good grades so then you can go on to high school; and the purpose is to study hard so you can get good grades so you can go to college; and the purpose of going to college is so you can get good grades so you can go on to graduate school; and the purpose of that is to work hard and get good grades so we can get a job and be successful so that we can get married and have kids so we can send them to grammar school to get good grades so they can go to high school to get good grades so they can go to college and work hard... Charlie Brown: Good grief!
Charles M. Schulz
You can't fix grief,” said Simon. “A rabbi told me that when my father died. The only thing that fixes grief is time, and the love of the people who care about you, and Tavvy has that.” He squeezed Mark's shoulder briefly. “Take care of yourself,” he said. “Shelo ted'u od tza'ar, Mark Blackthorn.” “What does that mean?” said Mark. “It's a blessing,” said Simon. “Something else the rabbi taught me. ‘Let it be that you should know no further sorrow.
Cassandra Clare (Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices, #3))
A Thirsty Fish I don't get tired of you. Don't grow weary of being compassionate toward me! All this thirst equipment must surely be tired of me, the waterjar, the water carrier. I have a thirsty fish in me that can never find enough of what it's thirsty for! Show me the way to the ocean! Break these half-measures, these small containers. All this fantasy and grief. Let my house be drowned in the wave that rose last night in the courtyard hidden in the center of my chest. Joseph fell like the moon into my well. The harvest I expected was washed away. But no matter. A fire has risen above my tombstone hat. I don't want learning, or dignity, or respectability. I want this music and this dawn and the warmth of your cheek against mine. The grief-armies assemble, but I'm not going with them. This is how it always is when I finish a poem. A great silence comes over me, and I wonder why I ever thought to use language.
Rumi
Fire runs through my body with the pain of loving you. Pain runs through my body with the fires of my love for you. Pain like a boil about to burst with my love for you. Consumed by fire of my love for you. I remember what you said to me, I am thinking of your love for me. I am torn by your love for me. Pain and more pain. Where are you going with my love? I'm told you will go from here. I'm told you will leave me here. My body is numb with grief. Remember what I said My Love Goodbye My Love, goodbye.
Kwakiutl Indian
The thing about losing someone is that it doesn’t happen just once. It happens every time you do something great you wish they could see, every time you’re stuck and you need advice. Every time you fail. It erodes your sense of normal, and what grows back is decidedly not normal, and yet you still have to figure out how to trudge forward.
Rachel Lynn Solomon (The Ex Talk)
How we take it for granted – those trivial conversations; those mundane moments that we think hold no meaning. We never realise how much we rely on the ordinariness of everyday life. When love is gone – when our entire world is gone – only then do we understand those moments are what we live for.
Dianna Hardy (Cry Of The Wolf (Eye Of The Storm, #2))
Not everyone can feel things as deeply as you. Most people, their feelings are ... bland, tasteless. They'll never understand what it's like to read a poem and feel almost like they're flying, or to see a bleeding fish and feel grief that shatters their heart. It's not a weakness, Grey. It's what I love about you most.
Juliann Garey (Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See)
Optimism sprouts from the knowledge that you are in control of your own life, not your past and not those around you. Part of being in control is taking responsibility for how you feel. This means not just admitting to uncomfortable feelings but then examining your circumstances to see what can be done to change these feelings at the source.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.)
But feelings, no matter how strong or “ugly,” are not a part of who you are. They are the radio stations your mind listens to if you don’t give it something better to do. Feelings are fluid and dynamic; they change frequently. Feelings are something you HAVE, not something you ARE. Like physical beauty, a cold sore, or an opinion. Admitting you feel rage or terrible pain or regret or some old, rotten blame does not mean these feelings are part of who you are as a person. What these feelings mean is, you have to change your thinking to be free of them.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.)
I know how much you grieve over those who are under your care: those you try to help and fail, those you cannot help. Have faith in God and remember that He will is His own way and in His own time complete what we so poorly attempt. Often we do not achieve for others the good that we intend but achieve something, something that goes on from our effort. Good is an overflow. Where we generously and sincerely intend it, we are engaged in a work of creation which may be mysterious even to ourselves - and because it is mysterious we may be afraid of it. But this should not make us draw back. God can always show us, if we will, a higher and a better way; and we can only learn to love by loving. Remember that all our failures are ultimately failures in love. Imperfect love must not be condemned and rejected but made perfect. The way is always forward, never back.
Iris Murdoch (The Bell)
Sometimes it's exhausting for me to simply walk into the house. I try and calm myself, remember that I've lived alone before. Sleeping by myself didn't kill me then and will not kill me now. But this what loss has taught me of love. Our house isn't simply empty, our home has been emptied. Love makes a place in your life, it makes a place for itself in your bed. Invisibly, it makes a place in your body, rerouting all your blood vessels, throbbing right alongside your heart. When it's gone, nothing is whole again.
Tayari Jones (An American Marriage)
Where there was nature and earth, life and water, I saw a desert landscape that was unending, resembling some sort of crater, so devoid of reason and light and spirit that the mind could not grasp it on any sort of conscious level and if you came close the mind would reel backward, unable to take it in. It was a vision so clear and real and vital to me that in its purity it was almost abstract. This was what I could understand, this was how I lived my life, what I constructed my movement around, how I dealt with the tangible. This was the geography around which my reality revolved: it did not occur to me, ever, that people were good or that a man was capable of change or that the world could be a better place through one’s own taking pleasure in a feeling or a look or a gesture, of receiving another person’s love or kindness. Nothing was affirmative, the term “generosity of spirit” applied to nothing, was a cliche, was some kind of bad joke. Sex is mathematics. Individuality no longer an issue. What does intelligence signify? Define reason. Desire- meaningless. Intellect is not a cure. Justice is dead. Fear, recrimination, innocence, sympathy, guilt, waste, failure, grief, were things, emotions, that no one really felt anymore. Reflection is useless, the world is senseless. Evil is its only permanence. God is not alive. Love cannot be trusted. Surface, surface, surface, was all that anyone found meaning in…this was civilization as I saw it, colossal and jagged…
Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho)
Even painfully shy and awkward people are not painfully shy or awkward when they are alone. The way to access this natural, comfortable alone-self when you are with others is by choosing to forbid yourself to wonder what "they" are thinking. Instead, force yourself to exist in the instant, then take it- and give it- as it comes.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.)
Miles exhaled carefully, faint with rage and reminded grief. He does not know, he told himself. He cannot know... "Ivan, one of these days somebody is going to pull out a weapon and plug you, and you're going to die in bewilderment, crying, "What did I say? What did I say?" "What did I say?" asked Ivan indignantly.
Lois McMaster Bujold (The Warrior's Apprentice (Vorkosigan Saga, #2))
BE RUTHLESS TO THE THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER “How many have laid waste to your life when you weren’t aware of what you were losing, how much was wasted in pointless grief, foolish joy, greedy desire, and social amusements—how little of your own was left to you. You will realize you are dying before your time!” —SENECA, ON THE BREVITY OF LIFE, 3.3b
Ryan Holiday (The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living: Featuring new translations of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius)
The interesting thing about grief, I think, is that it is its own size. It is not the size of you. It is its own size. And grief comes to you. You know what I mean? I’ve always liked that phrase “He was visited by grief,” because that’s really what it is. Grief is its own thing. It’s not like it’s in me and I’m going to deal with it. It’s a thing, and you have to be okay with its presence. If you try to ignore it, it will be like a wolf at your door.
Stephen Colbert
SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 I sit in one of the dives On Fifty-second Street Uncertain and afraid As the clever hopes expire Of a low dishonest decade: Waves of anger and fear Circulate over the bright And darkened lands of the earth, Obsessing our private lives; The unmentionable odour of death Offends the September night. Accurate scholarship can Unearth the whole offence From Luther until now That has driven a culture mad, Find what occurred at Linz, What huge imago made A psychopathic god: I and the public know What all schoolchildren learn, Those to whom evil is done Do evil in return. Exiled Thucydides knew All that a speech can say About Democracy, And what dictators do, The elderly rubbish they talk To an apathetic grave; Analysed all in his book, The enlightenment driven away, The habit-forming pain, Mismanagement and grief: We must suffer them all again. Into this neutral air Where blind skyscrapers use Their full height to proclaim The strength of Collective Man, Each language pours its vain Competitive excuse: But who can live for long In an euphoric dream; Out of the mirror they stare, Imperialism's face And the international wrong. Faces along the bar Cling to their average day: The lights must never go out, The music must always play, All the conventions conspire To make this fort assume The furniture of home; Lest we should see where we are, Lost in a haunted wood, Children afraid of the night Who have never been happy or good. The windiest militant trash Important Persons shout Is not so crude as our wish: What mad Nijinsky wrote About Diaghilev Is true of the normal heart; For the error bred in the bone Of each woman and each man Craves what it cannot have, Not universal love But to be loved alone. From the conservative dark Into the ethical life The dense commuters come, Repeating their morning vow; 'I will be true to the wife, I'll concentrate more on my work,' And helpless governors wake To resume their compulsory game: Who can release them now, Who can reach the dead, Who can speak for the dumb? All I have is a voice To undo the folded lie, The romantic lie in the brain Of the sensual man-in-the-street And the lie of Authority Whose buildings grope the sky: There is no such thing as the State And no one exists alone; Hunger allows no choice To the citizen or the police; We must love one another or die. Defenseless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame.
W.H. Auden (Another Time)
Revenge is never what you think it's going to be. There's no pleasure and glory, and when it's done your grief remains. Once a man does the things you're talking about, he will never be the same, and he can never go back to who he was before. Worst of all, no matter how many enemies you kill, you are never satisfied. There is always one more who deserves it. When it becomes too easy to kill, it never ends.
Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim (Sandman Slim, #1))
It may seem to you that your life is over now. Your future without the person you love is no future at all. Death is a head-on collision with your plans. But everything in life--the gold fillings of your teeth, the cotton of your sheets, the air you breathe, all the food you will ever eat--everything there is was born from a collision. Inside every single thing that lives is a debt to a distant star that died. Nothing new is ever created without one thing colliding into another. And something new is created when the person you love dies. Because they are not the only ones who die: you die, too. The person you were when you were with them is gone just as surely as they are. This is what you should know about losing somebody you love. They do not travel alone. You go with them.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.)
There is a theory that watching unbearable stories about other people lost in grief and rage is good for you—may cleanse you of your darkness. Do you want to go down to the pits of yourself all alone? Not much. What if an actor could do it for you? Isn’t that why they are called actors? They act for you. You sacrifice them to action. And this sacrifice is a mode of deepest intimacy of you with your own life. Within it you watch [yourself] act out the present or possible organization of your nature. You can be aware of your own awareness of this nature as you never are at the moment of experience. The actor, by reiterating you, sacrifices a moment of his own life in order to give you a story of yours.
Anne Carson (Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides)
O youth! youth! you go your way heedless, uncaring – as if you owned all the treasures of the world; even grief elates you, even sorrow sits well upon your brow. You are self-confident and insolent and you say, 'I alone am alive – behold!' even while your own days fly past and vanish without trace and without number, and everything within you melts away like wax in the sun .. like snow .. and perhaps the whole secret of your enchantment lies not, indeed, in your power to do whatever you may will, but in your power to think that there is nothing you will not do: it is this that you scatter to the winds – gifts which you could never have used to any other purpose. Each of us feels most deeply convinced that he has been too prodigal of his gifts – that he has a right to cry, 'Oh, what could I not have done, if only I had not wasted my time.
Ivan Turgenev (First Love)
It made Fire so angry, the thought of such a medicine, a violence done to herself to stop her from creating anything like herself. And what was the purpose of these eyes, this impossible face, the softness and the curves of this body, the strength of this mind; what was the point, if none of the men who desired her were to give her any babies, and all it ever brought her was grief? What was the purpose of a woman monster?
Kristin Cashore (Fire (Graceling Realm, #2))
This is what we are like. Collectively as a species, this is our emotional landscape. I met an old lady once, almost 100 years old, and she told me, "There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history. How much do you love me? And Who's in charge? Everything else is somehow manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief, and suffering.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Imagine that you were on the threshold of this fairytale, sometime billions of years ago when everything was created. And you were able to choose whether you wanted to be born to a life on this planet at some point. You wouldn’t know when you were going to be born, nor how long you’d live for, but at any event it wouldn’t be more than a few years. All you’d know was that, if you chose to come into the world at some point, you’d also have to leave it again one day and go away from everything. This might cause you a good deal of grief, as lots of people think that life in the great fairytale is so wonderful that the mere thought of it ending can bring tears to their eyes. Things can be so nice here that it’s terribly painful to think that at some point the days will run out. What would you have chosen, if there had been some higher power that had gave you the choice? Perhaps we can imagine some sort of cosmic fairy in this great, strange fairytale. What you have chosen to live a life on earth at some point, whether short or long, in a hundred thousand or a hundred million years? Or would you have refused to join in the game because you didn’t like the rules? (...) I asked myself the same question maybe times during the past few weeks. Would I have elected to live a life on earth in the firm knowledge that I’d suddenly be torn away from it, and perhaps in the middle of intoxicating happiness? (...) Well, I wasn’t sure what I would have chosen. (...) If I’d chosen never to the foot inside the great fairytale, I’d never have known what I’ve lost. Do you see what I’m getting at? Sometimes it’s worse for us human beings to lose something dear to us than never to have had it at all.
Jostein Gaarder (The Orange Girl)
I find,' he says, his voice still muffled, 'that I am constantly wondering where he is. Where he has gone. It is like a wheel ceaselessly turning at the back of my mind. Whatever I am doing, wherever I am, I am thinking: Where is he, where is he? He can't have just vanished. He must be somewhere. All I have to do is find him. I look for him everywhere, in every street, in every crowd, in every audience. That's what I am doing, when I look out at them all: I try to find him, or a version of him.
Maggie O'Farrell (Hamnet)
What I know about living is the pain is never just ours Every time I hurt I know the wound is an echo So I keep a listening to the moment the grief becomes a window When I can see what I couldn’t see before, through the glass of my most battered dream, I watched a dandelion lose its mind in the wind and when it did, it scattered a thousand seeds. So the next time I tell you how easily I come out of my skin, don’t try to put me back in just say here we are together at the window aching for it to all get better
Andrea Gibson
...he prayed fundamentally as a gesture of love for what had gone and would go and could be loved in no other way. When he prayed he touched his parents, who could not otherwise be touched, and he touched a feeling that we are all children who lose our parents, all of us, every man and woman and boy and girl, and we too will all be lost by those who come after us and love us, and this loss unites humanity, unites every human being, the temporary nature of our being-ness, and our shared sorrow, the heartache we each carry and yet too often refuse to acknowledge in one another, and out of this Saeed felt it might be possible, in the face of death, to believe in humanity's potential for building a better world, so he prayed as a lament, as a consolation, and as a hope....
Mohsin Hamid (Exit West)
There will be hatred. There will be war. The country will fight itself to pieces. It will starve its people, ravage its land, poison its breath. Shanghai will fall and break and cry. But alongside everything, there has to be love - eternal, undying, enduring. Burn through vengeance and terror and warfare. Burn through everything that fuels the human heart and Sears it red, burn through everything that covers the outside with hard muscle and tough sinew. Cut down deep and grab what beats beneath, and it is love that will survive after everything else has perished.
Chloe Gong (Our Violent Ends (These Violent Delights, #2))
Miracles do happen. You must believe this. No matter what else you believe about life, you must believe in miracles. Because we are all, every one of us, living on a round rock that spins around and around at almost a quarter of a million miles per hour in an unthinkably vast blackness called space. There is nothing else like us for as far as our telescopic eyes can see. In a universe filled with spinning, barren rocks, frozen gas, ice, dust, and radiation, we live on a planet filled with soft, green leaves and salty oceans and honey made from bees, which themselves live within geometrically complex and perfect structures of their own architecture and creation. In our trees are birds whose songs are as complex and nuanced as Beethoven’s greatest sonatas. And despite the wild, endless spinning of our planet and its never-ending orbit around the sun–itself a star on fire–when we pour water into a glass, the water stays in the glass. All of these are miracles.
Augusten Burroughs (This Is How: Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude & More. For Young and Old Alike.)
A shade of sorrow passed over Taliesin's face. 'There are those,' he said gently, 'who must first learn loss, despair, and grief. Of all paths to wisdom, this is the cruelest and longest. Are you one who must follow such a way? This even I cannot know. If you are, take heart nonetheless. Those who reach the end do more than gain wisdom. As rough wool becomes cloth, and crude clay a vessel, so do they change and fashion wisdom for others, and what they give back is greater than what they won.
Lloyd Alexander (The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain, #5))
Then one morning she’d begun to feel her sorrow easing, like something jagged that had cut into her so long it had finally dulled its edges, worn itself down. That same day Rachel couldn’t remember which side her father had parted his hair on, and she’d realized again what she’d learned at five when her mother left – that what made losing someone you loved bearable was not remembering but forgetting. Forgetting the small things first, the smell of the soap her mother had bathed with, the color of the dress she’d worn to church, then after a while the sound of her mother’s voice, the color of her hair. It amazed Rachel how much you could forget, and everything you forgot made that person less alive inside you until you could finally endure it. After more time passed you could let yourself remember, even want to remember. But even then what you felt those first days could return and remind you the grief that was still there, like old barbed wire embedded in a tree’s heartwood.
Ron Rash (Serena)
If you hold back on the emotions - if you don't allow yourself to go all the way through them - you can never get to being detached, you're too busy being afraid. You're afraid of the pain, you're afraid of the grief. You're afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely. You know what pain is. You know what love is. You know what grief is. And only then can you say, "All right. I have experienced that emotion. I recognize that emotion. Now I need to detach from that emotion for a moment.
Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
Yeah, you lose this attitude, I can help you work that hurt out.” Who was this man? He held onto his tragedy for seventeen fucking years, how could he stand there and tell me he could help me work through mine? “Really, Joe? Like you helped me work out my grief at losing Tim?” I asked sarcastically. “That’s not what I was offerin’, buddy, but you want it like that I’ll give it to you.” “You’re unbelievable,” I snapped. “I’m yours.” That socked me in the gut too, so hard it winded me and all I could do was stare up at him. Taking advantage, his face dipped close and his hands curled around both sides of my head. “First fuckin’ time you smiled at me in my bed, that’s when it happened,” he murmured.
Kristen Ashley (At Peace (The 'Burg, #2))
There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings and walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.
Suzanne Clothier (Bones Would Rain from the Sky: Deepening Our Relationships with Dogs)
We all recognize grief in moments that should be celebrations; it is the salt in the pudding. Didn't Roman generals hire slaves to march beside them in a triumphant parade and remind them that they too would die? Even your narrator, one morning after what should have been a happy occasion, was found shivering at the end of the bed (spouse: "I really wish you weren't crying right now"). Don't little children, awakened one morning and told, "Now you're five!" - don't they wail at the universe's descent into chaos? The sun slowly dying, the spiral arm spreading, the molecules drifting apart second by second toward our inevitable heat death - shouldn't we all wail to the stars?
Andrew Sean Greer (Less)
Tonight I can write the saddest lines. Write, for example,'The night is shattered and the blue stars shiver in the distance.' The night wind revolves in the sky and sings. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. Through nights like this one I held her in my arms I kissed her again and again under the endless sky. She loved me sometimes, and I loved her too. How could one not have loved her great still eyes. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her. To hear the immense night, still more immense without her. And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture. What does it matter that my love could not keep her. The night is shattered and she is not with me. This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance. My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. My sight searches for her as though to go to her. My heart looks for her, and she is not with me. The same night whitening the same trees. We, of that time, are no longer the same. I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her. My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing. Another's. She will be another's. Like my kisses before. Her voide. Her bright body. Her inifinite eyes. I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her. Love is so short, forgetting is so long. Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms my sould is not satisfied that it has lost her. Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these the last verses that I write for her.
Pablo Neruda
Look at the children of the land leaving in droves, leaving their own land with bleeding wounds on their bodies and shock on their faces and blood in their hearts and hunger in their stomachs and grief in their footsteps. Leaving their mothers and fathers and children behind, leaving their umbilical cords underneath the soil, leaving the bones of their ancestors in the earth, leaving everything that makes them who and what they are, leaving because it is no longer possible to stay. They will never be the same again because you cannot be the same once you leave behind who and what you are, you just cannot be the same.
NoViolet Bulawayo (We Need New Names)
Up till then he had been looking at the Lion's great front feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself. "My son, my son," said Aslan. "I know. Grief is great. Only you and I in this land know that yet. Let us be good to one another.
C.S. Lewis
God! You'll do anything to avoid it.' Avoid what?' my mother said. The past,' Caroline said. 'Our past. I'm tired of acting like nothing ever happened, of pretending he was never here, of not seeing his pictures in the house, or his things Just because you're not able to let yourself grieve.' Don't,' my mother said, her voice low, 'talk to me about grief. You have no idea.' I do, though.' Caroline's voice caught, and she swallowed. 'I'm not trying to hide that I'm sad. I'm not trying to forget. You hide here behind all these plans for houses and townhouses because they're new and perfect and don't remind you of anything.' Stop it,' my mother said. And look at Macy,' Caroline continued, ignoring this.' Do you even know what you're doing to her?' My mother looked at me, and I shrank back, trying to stay out of this. 'Macy is fine,' my mother said. No, she's not. God you always say that, but she's not.' Caroline looked at me, as if she wanted me to jump in, but I just sat there. 'Have you even been paying the least bit of attention to what's going on with her? She's been miserable since Dad died, pushing herself so hard to please you. And then, this summer, she finally finds some friends and something she likes to do. But then one tiny slipup, and you take it all away from her.' That has nothing to do with what we're talking about,' my mother said. It has everything to do with it,' Caroline shot back. 'She was finally getting over what happened. Couldn't you see the change in her? I could, and I was berely here. She was different.' Exactly,' my mother said. 'She was-' Happy,' Caroline finished for her. 'She was starting to live her life again, and it scared you. Just like me redoing the beach house scares you. You think you're so strong becasue you never talk about Dad. Anyone can hide. Facing up to things, working through them, that's what makes you strong.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
A Second Childhood.” When all my days are ending And I have no song to sing, I think that I shall not be too old To stare at everything; As I stared once at a nursery door Or a tall tree and a swing. Wherein God’s ponderous mercy hangs On all my sins and me, Because He does not take away The terror from the tree And stones still shine along the road That are and cannot be. Men grow too old for love, my love, Men grow too old for wine, But I shall not grow too old to see Unearthly daylight shine, Changing my chamber’s dust to snow Till I doubt if it be mine. Behold, the crowning mercies melt, The first surprises stay; And in my dross is dropped a gift For which I dare not pray: That a man grow used to grief and joy But not to night and day. Men grow too old for love, my love, Men grow too old for lies; But I shall not grow too old to see Enormous night arise, A cloud that is larger than the world And a monster made of eyes. Nor am I worthy to unloose The latchet of my shoe; Or shake the dust from off my feet Or the staff that bears me through On ground that is too good to last, Too solid to be true. Men grow too old to woo, my love, Men grow too old to wed; But I shall not grow too old to see Hung crazily overhead Incredible rafters when I wake And I find that I am not dead. A thrill of thunder in my hair: Though blackening clouds be plain, Still I am stung and startled By the first drop of the rain: Romance and pride and passion pass And these are what remain. Strange crawling carpets of the grass, Wide windows of the sky; So in this perilous grace of God With all my sins go I: And things grow new though I grow old, Though I grow old and die.
G.K. Chesterton (The Collected Poems of G. K. Chesterton)
For Someone Awakening To The Trauma of His or Her Past: For everything under the sun there is a time. This is the season of your awkward harvesting, When the pain takes you where you would rather not go, Through the white curtain of yesterdays to a place You had forgotten you knew from the inside out; And a time when that bitter tree was planted That has grown always invisibly beside you And whose branches your awakened hands Now long to disentangle from your heart. You are coming to see how your looking often darkened When you should have felt safe enough to fall toward love, How deep down your eyes were always owned by something That faced them through a dark fester of thorns Converting whoever came into a further figure of the wrong; You could only see what touched you as already torn. Now the act of seeing begins your work of mourning. And your memory is ready to show you everything, Having waited all these years for you to return and know. Only you know where the casket of pain is interred. You will have to scrape through all the layers of covering And according to your readiness, everything will open. May you be blessed with a wise and compassionate guide Who can accompany you through the fear and grief Until your heart has wept its way to your true self. As your tears fall over that wounded place, May they wash away your hurt and free your heart. May your forgiveness still the hunger of the wound So that for the first time you can walk away from that place, Reunited with your banished heart, now healed and freed, And feel the clear, free air bless your new face.
John O'Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings)
A song of despair The memory of you emerges from the night around me. The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea. Deserted like the dwarves at dawn. It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one! Cold flower heads are raining over my heart. Oh pit of debris, fierce cave of the shipwrecked. In you the wars and the flights accumulated. From you the wings of the song birds rose. You swallowed everything, like distance. Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank! It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss. The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse. Pilot's dread, fury of blind driver, turbulent drunkenness of love, in you everything sank! In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded. Lost discoverer, in you everything sank! You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire, sadness stunned you, in you everything sank! I made the wall of shadow draw back, beyond desire and act, I walked on. Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost, I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you. Like a jar you housed infinite tenderness. and the infinite oblivion shattered you like a jar. There was the black solitude of the islands, and there, woman of love, your arms took me in. There was thirst and hunger, and you were the fruit. There were grief and ruins, and you were the miracle. Ah woman, I do not know how you could contain me in the earth of your soul, in the cross of your arms! How terrible and brief my desire was to you! How difficult and drunken, how tensed and avid. Cemetery of kisses, there is still fire in your tombs, still the fruited boughs burn, pecked at by birds. Oh the bitten mouth, oh the kissed limbs, oh the hungering teeth, oh the entwined bodies. Oh the mad coupling of hope and force in which we merged and despaired. And the tenderness, light as water and as flour. And the word scarcely begun on the lips. This was my destiny and in it was my voyage of my longing, and in it my longing fell, in you everything sank! Oh pit of debris, everything fell into you, what sorrow did you not express, in what sorrow are you not drowned! From billow to billow you still called and sang. Standing like a sailor in the prow of a vessel. You still flowered in songs, you still brike the currents. Oh pit of debris, open and bitter well. Pale blind diver, luckless slinger, lost discoverer, in you everything sank! It is the hour of departure, the hard cold hour which the night fastens to all the timetables. The rustling belt of the sea girdles the shore. Cold stars heave up, black birds migrate. Deserted like the wharves at dawn. Only tremulous shadow twists in my hands. Oh farther than everything. Oh farther than everything. It is the hour of departure. Oh abandoned one!
Pablo Neruda
April 11, 2004 Does anyone know where I can find a copy of the rules of thought, feeling, and behavior in these circumstances? It seems like there should be a rule book somewhere that lays out everything exactly the way one should respond to a loss like this. I'd surely like to know if I'm doing it right. Am I whining enough or too much? Am I unseemly in my occasional moments of lightheartedness? At what date and I supposed to turn off the emotion and jump back on the treadmill of normalcy? Is there a specific number of days or decades that must pass before I can do something I enjoy without feeling I've betrayed my dearest love? And when, oh when, am I ever really going to believe this has happened? Next time you're in a bookstore, as if there's a rule book. 11:54 p.m. Jim
Jim Beaver (Life's That Way)
May I be an enemy to no one and the friend of what abides eternally. May I never quarrel with those nearest me, and be reconciled quickly if I should. May I never plot evil against others, and if anyone plot evil against me, may I escape unharmed and without the need to hurt anyone else. May I love, seek and attain only what is good. May I desire happiness for all and harbor envy for none. May I never find joy in the misfortune of one who has wronged me. May I never wait for the rebuke of others, but always rebuke myself until I make reparation. May I gain no victory that harms me or my opponent. May I reconcile friends who are mad at each other. May I, insofar as I can, give all necessary help to my friends and to all who are in need. May I never fail a friend in trouble. May I be able to soften the pain of the grief stricken and give them comforting words. May I respect myself. May I always maintain control of my emotions. May I habituate myself to be gentle, and never angry with others because of circumstances. May I never discuss the wicked or what they have done, but know good people and follow in their footsteps. [Prayer to practice the Golden Rule]
Eusebius
What madness, to love a man as something more than human! I lived in a fever, convulsed with tears and sighs that allowed me neither rest nor peace of mind. My soul was a burden, bruised and bleeding. It was tired of the man who carried it, but I found no place to set it down to rest. Neither the charm of the countryside nor the sweet scents of a garden could soothe it. It found no peace in song or laughter, none in the company of friends at table or in the pleasures of love, none even in books or poetry. Everything that was not what my friend had been was dull and distasteful. I had heart only for sighs and tears, for in them alone I found some shred of consolation.
Augustine of Hippo
You know what happens when someone dies?' Delia said suddenly, startling me a bit. I kept putting together my sandwich, though, not answering: I knew there was more. 'It's like, everything and everyone refracts, each person having a different reaction'...'When Wish died, it just knocked the wind out of me. Truly. It's like that stupid thing bert and Wes do, the leaping out thing, trying to scare each other: it was the biggest gotcha in the world.' She looked down at the sandwiches. 'I'd just assumed she'd be okay. It had never occurd to me she might actually just be... gone. You know?'...'And then she was,' Delia said, her hand on the bread bag. 'Gone. Gotcha. And suddenly I had these two boys to take care of, plus a newborn of my own. It was just this huge loss, this huge gap, you know'...'Some people... they can just move on, you know, mourn and cry and be done with it. Or at least seem to be. But for me... I don't know. I didn't want to fix it, to forget. It wasn't something that was broken. It's just ... something that happened. And like that hole, I'm just finding ways, every day, of working around it. Respecting and remebering and getting on at the same time.' I envied Delia. At least she knew what she was up against. Maybe that's what you got when you stood over your grief, facing it finally. A sense of its depths, its area, the distance across, and the way over or around it, whichever you chose in the end.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
And it was pointless...to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and for the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell...for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you were. All your grief hasn't changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You're left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is to go on or not. But if you go on, it's knowing you carry your scars with you.
Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain)
We can never know in the beginning, in giving ourselves to a person, to a work, to a marriage or to a cause, exactly what kind of love we are involved with. When we demand a certain specific kind of reciprocation before the revelation has flowered completely we find our selves disappointed and bereaved and in that grief may miss the particular form of love that is actually possible but that did not meet our initial and too specific expectations. Feeling bereft we take our identity as one who is disappointed in love, our almost proud disappointment preventing us from seeing the lack of reciprocation from the person or the situation as simply a difficult invitation into a deeper and as yet unrecognizable form of affection. The act of loving itself, always becomes a path of humble apprenticeship, not only in following its difficult way and discovering its different forms of humility and beautiful abasement but strangely, through its fierce introduction to all its many astonishing and different forms, where we are asked continually and against our will, to give in so many different ways, without knowing exactly, or in what way, when or how, the mysterious gift will be returned.
David Whyte
They say that people who live next to waterfalls don't hear the water. It was terrible at first. We couldn't stand to be in the house for more than a few hours at a time. The first two weeks were filled with nights of intermittent sleep and quarreling for the sake of being heard over the water. We fought so much just to remind ourselves that we were in love, and not in hate. But the next weeks were a little better. It was possible to sleep a few good hours each night and eat in only mild discomfort. [We] still cursed the water, but less frequently, and with less fury. Her attacks on me also quieted. It's your fault, she would say. You wanted to live here. Life continued, as life continues, and time passed, as time passes, and after a little more than two months: Do you hear that? I asked her one of the rare mornings we sat at the table together. Hear it? I put down my coffee and rose from my chair. You hear that thing? What thing? she asked. Exactly! I said, running outside to pump my fist at the waterfall. Exactly! We danced, throwing handfuls of water in the air, hearing nothing at all. We alternated hugs of forgiveness and shouts of human triumph at the water. Who wins the day? Who wins the day, waterfall? We do! We do! And this is what living next to a waterfall is like. Every widow wakes one morning, perhaps after years of pure and unwavering grieving, to realize she slept a good night's sleep and will be able to eat breakfast, and doesn't hear her husband's ghost all the time, but only some of the time. Her grief is replaced with a useful sadness. Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. Mine was. Yours is. Your great-great-great-grandchildren's will be. But we learn to live in that love.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated)
She turned suddenly, and before I could react, framed my face with her hands and pressed her lips to mine. I froze, mostly in shock, but after a moment my body uncoiled and I closed my eyes, relaxing into her. I remembered this; the feel of her lips on mine, cool and soft, the touch of her fingers on my skin. I remembered her scent, those long nights when we would lie under the cold, frozen stars, dreaming in each other’s arms. For a second, my body reacted instinctively. I started to pull us closer, to wrap my arms around her and return the kiss with equal passion…but, then I stopped. I remembered this perfectly; every shining moment with Ariella was forever etched into my mind. What we’d had, what we’d shared, everything. I’d built a shrine to her in my memories, carefully tended with grief and anger and regret. I knew every inch of our relationship, the passion, the feeling of emptiness when we weren’t together, the longing and, yes, the love. I had been in love with Ariella. I remembered what she’d meant to me once, what I’d felt for her then… …and what I didn’t feel for her now.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey, #4))
Don't you understand how Cho's feeling at the moment?" [Hermione] asked. "No," said Ron and Harry together. Hermione sighed and laid down her quill. "Well, obviously, she's feeling very sad, because of Cedric dying. Then I expect she's feeling confused because she liked Cedric and now she likes Harry, and she can't work out who she likes best. Then she'll be feeling guilty, thinking it's an insult to Cedric's memory to be kissing Harry at all, and she'll be worrying about what everyone else might say about her if she starts going out with Harry. And she probably can't work out what her feelings toward Harry are anyway, because he was the one who was with Cedric when Cedric died, so that's all very mixed up and painful. Oh, and she's afraid she's going to be thrown off the Ravenclaw Quidditch team because she's been flying so badly." A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said, "One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode." "Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have," said Hermione nastily, picking up her her quill again.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
Talk to me about the truth of religion and I'll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand. Unless, of course, you can literally believe all that stuff about family reunions 'on the further shore,' pictured in entirely earthly terms. But that is all unscriptural, all out of bad hymns and lithographs. There's not a word of it in the Bible. And it rings false. We know it couldn't be like that. Reality never repeats. The exact same thing is never taken away and given back. How well the Spiritualists bait their hook! 'Things on this side are not so different after all.' There are cigars in Heaven. For that is what we should all like. The happy past restored.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this because it is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life. Every time I have set out to translate the book (or story, or hopelessly long essay) that exists in such brilliant detail on the big screen of my limbic system onto a piece of paper (which, let’s face it, was once a towering tree crowned with leaves and a home to birds). I grieve for my own lack of talent and intelligence. Every. Single. Time. Were I smarter, more gifted, I could pin down a closer facsimile of the wonders I see. I believe, more than anything, that this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself.
Ann Patchett (This is the Story of a Happy Marriage)
I want you to think of two different situations. First, remember times when you've felt your best, at the top of your game, alive and vibrant. Pay attention to your posture, the muscles in your face, your breathing. Then, I want you to think of occasions where you've felt sick or anxious. Don't just think of people. Think of activities. This will help us reveal what makes you happy. Pay attention to how your body responds to these scenarios - it will serve as your biggest indicator in the future when you're actually doing things." This woman was damn brilliant. "And remember, it's okay to feel sad, but just try to limit your bouts with it to an hour a day. Let it all out, give yourself that time to heal, nurture and comfort yourself. You won't heal unless you grieve. Grieving is good." "Good grief?" "Yes. It takes courage to grieve.
Stephanie Klein (Straight Up and Dirty)
No one else. It was me who had to carry myself over the finish line, and all I needed to remember when I felt like not trying was that that feeling wouldn't last forever. Forever. I used to believe it didn't exist. One word has terrified me as a child and it haunted me. But now I knew, and many small ways, but it was real, But it didn't scare me anymore. Forever wasn't a little girl cowering in the closet. Forever wasn't the shadows sitting in the back of the class. Forever wasn't doing what I thought Carl and Rose wanted instead of what I needed to do with my life. Forever wasn't believing I was some kind of replacement daughter and that I was letting them down. Forever wasn't being the one who needed protection. Forever wasn't pain and grief forever wasn't a problem. Forever was my heartbeat and it was the hope tomorrow held. Forever was the glistening silver lining of the dark cloud, no matter how heavy and thick it was. Forever was knowing it moments of weakness didn't equate to an eternity of them. Forever was knowing that I was strong. Forever was Carl and Rosa, Ainsley and Kira, Hector and Rider. Jaden would always be a part of my forever. Forever was in the fire-breathing dragon inside me that had shed the fear like a snake shedding skin. Forever was simply a promise of more. Forever was a work in progress. And I couldn't wait for forever.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (The Problem with Forever)
Let me tell you the truth about the world to which you so desperately want to return. It is a place of pain and suffering and grief. When you left it, cities were being attacked. Women and children were being blasted to pieces or burned alive by bombs dropped from planes flown by men with wives and children of their own. People were being dragged from their homes and shot in the street. Your world is tearing itself apart, and the most amusing thing of all is that it was little better before the war started. War merely gives people an excuse to indulge themselves further, to murder with impunity. There were wars before it, and there will be wars after it, and in between people will fight one another and hurt one another and maim one another and betray one another, because that is what they have always done. And even if you avoid warfare and violent death, little boy, what else do you think life has in store for you? You have already seen what it is capable of doing. It took your mother from you, drained her of health and beauty, and then cast her aside like the withered, rotten husk of a fruit. It will take others from you too, mark me. Those whom you care about--lovers, children--will fall by the wayside, and your love will not be enough to save them. Your health will fail you. You will become old and sick. Your limbs will ache, your eyesight will fade, and your skin will grow lined and aged. There will be pains deep within that no doctor will be able to cure. Diseases will find a warm, moist place inside you and there they will breed, spreading through your system, corrupting it cell by cell until you pray for the doctors to let you die, to put you out of your misery, but they will not. Instead you will linger on, with no one to hold your hand or soothe your brow, as Death comes and beckons you into his darkness. The life you left behind you is no life at all. Here, you can be king, and I will allow you to age with dignity and without pain, and when the time comes for you to die, I will send you gently to sleep and you will awaken in the paradise of your choosing, for each man dreams his own heaven.
John Connolly (The Book of Lost Things)
Here sighs and cries and shrieks of lamentation echoed throughout the starless air of Hell; at first these sounds resounding made me weep: tongues confused, a language strained in anguish with cadences of anger, shrill outcries and raucous groans that joined with sounds of hands, raising a whirling storm that turns itself forever through that air of endless black, like grains of sand swirling when a whirlwind blows. And I, in the midst of all this circling horror, began, "Teacher, what are these sounds I hear? What souls are these so overwhelmed by grief?" And he to me: "This wretched state of being is the fate of those sad souls who lived a life but lived it with no blame and with no praise. They are mixed with that repulsive choir of angels neither faithful nor unfaithful to their God, who undecided stood but for themselves. Heaven, to keep its beauty, cast them out, but even Hell itself would not receive them, for fear the damned might glory over them." And I. "Master, what torments do they suffer that force them to lament so bitterly?" He answered: "I will tell you in few words: these wretches have no hope of truly dying, and this blind life they lead is so abject it makes them envy every other fate. The world will not record their having been there; Heaven's mercy and its justice turn from them. Let's not discuss them; look and pass them by...
Dante Alighieri
Arobynn continued to pin her with that lover’s gaze. “Nothing is without a price.” He brushed a kiss against her cheekbone, his lips soft and warm. She fought the shudder that trembled through her, and made herself lean into him as he brought his mouth against her ear and whispered, “Tell me what I must do to atone; tell me to crawl over hot coals, to sleep on a bed of nails, to carve up my flesh. Say the word, and it is done. But let me care for you as I once did, before … before that madness poisoned my heart. Punish me, torture me, wreck me, but let me help you. Do this small thing for me—and let me lay the world at your feet.” Her throat went dry, and she pulled back far enough to look into that handsome, aristocratic face, the eyes shining with a grief and a predatory intent she could almost taste. If Arobynn knew about her history with Chaol, and had summoned the captain here … Had it been for information, to test her, or some grotesque way to assure himself of his dominance? “There is nothing—” “No—not yet,” he said, stepping away. “Don’t say it yet. Sleep on it. Though, before you do—perhaps pay a visit to the southeastern section of the tunnels tonight. You might find the person you’re looking for.” She kept her face still—bored even—as she tucked away the information. Arobynn moved toward the crowded room, where his three assassins were alert and ready, and then looked back at her. “If you are allowed to change so greatly in two years, may I not be permitted to have changed as well?
Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
This is my attempt to make sense of the period that followed, weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I had ever had about death, about illness, about probability and luck, about good fortune and bad, about marriage and children and memory, about grief, about the ways in which people do and do not deal with the fact that life ends, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself. I have been a writer my entire life. As a writer, even as a child, long before what I wrote began to be published, I developed a sense that meaning itself was resident in the rhythms of words and sentences and paragraphs, a technique for withholding whatever it was I thought or believed behind an increasingly impenetrable polish. The way I write is who I am, or have become, yet this is a case in which I wish I had instead of words and their rhythms a cutting room, equipped with an Avid, a digital editing system on which I could touch a key and collapse the sequence of time, show you simultaneously all the frames of memory that come to me now, let you pick the takes, the marginally different expressions, the variant readings of the same lines. This is a case in which I need more than words to find the meaning. This is a case in which I need whatever it is I think or believe to be penetrable, if only for myself.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Hey you, dragging the halo- how about a holiday in the islands of grief? Tongue is the word I wish to have with you. Your eyes are so blue they leak. Your legs are longer than a prisoner's last night on death row. I'm filthier than the coal miner's bathtub and nastier than the breath of Charles Bukowski. You're a dirty little windshield. I'm standing behind you on the subway, hard as calculus. My breath be sticking to your neck like graffiti. I'm sitting opposite you in the bar, waiting for you to uncross your boundaries. I want to rip off your logic and make passionate sense to you. I want to ride in the swing of your hips. My fingers will dig in you like quotation marks, blazing your limbs into parts of speech. But with me for a lover, you won't need catastrophes. What attracted me in the first place will ultimately make me resent you. I'll start telling you lies, and my lies will sparkle, become the bad stars you chart your life by. I'll stare at other women so blatantly you'll hear my eyes peeling, because sex with you is like Great Britain: cold, groggy, and a little uptight. Your bed is a big, soft calculator where my problems multiply. Your brain is a garage I park my bullshit in, for free. You're not really my new girlfriend, just another flop sequel of the first one, who was based on the true story of my mother. You're so ugly I forgot how to spell. I'll cheat on you like a ninth grade math test, break your heart just for the sound it makes. You're the 'this' we need to put an end to. The more you apologize, the less I forgive you. So how about it?
Jeffrey McDaniel
It is, I suppose, the common grief of children at having to protect their parents from reality. It is bitter for the young to see what awful innocence adults grow into, that terrible vulnerability that must be sheltered from the rodent mire of childhood. Can we blame the child for resenting the fantasy of largeness? Big, soft arms and deep voices in the dark saying, "Tell Papa, tell Mama, and we'll make it right." The child, screaming for refuge, senses how feeble a shelter the twig hut of grown-up awareness is. They claim strength, these parents, and complete sanctuary. The weeping earth itself knows how desperate is the child's need for exactly that sanctuary. How deep and sticky is the darkness of childhood, how rigid the blades of infant evil, which is unadulterated, unrestrained by the convenient cushions of age and its civilizing anesthesia. Grownups can deal with scraped knees, dropped ice-cream cones, and lost dollies, but if they suspected the real reasons we cry they would fling us out of their arms in horrified revulsion. Yet we are small and as terrified as we are terrifying in our ferocious appetites. We need that warm adult stupidity. Even knowing the illusion, we cry and hide in their laps, speaking only of defiled lollipops or lost bears, and getting lollipop or a toy bear'd worth of comfort. We make do with it rather than face alone the cavernous reaches of our skull for which there is no remedy, no safety, no comfort at all. We survive until, by sheer stamina, we escape into the dim innocence of our own adulthood and its forgetfulness.
Katherine Dunn (Geek Love)
From Orient Point The art of living isn't hard to muster: Enjoy the hour, not what it might portend. When someone makes you promises, don't trust her unless they're in the here and now, and just her willing largesse free-handed to a friend. The art of living isn't hard to muster: groom the old dog, her coat gets back its luster; take brisk walks so you're hungry at the end. When someone makes you promises, don't trust her to know she can afford what they will cost her to keep until they're kept. Till then, pretend the art of living isn't hard to muster. Cooking, eating and drinking are a cluster of pleasures. Next time, don't go round the bend when someone makes you promises. Don't trust her past where you'd trust yourself, and don't adjust her words to mean more to you than she'd intend. The art of living isn't hard to muster. You never had her, so you haven't lost her like spare house keys. Whatever she opens, when someone makes you promises, don't. Trust your art; go on living: that's not hard to muster.
Marilyn Hacker
Tonight I Can Write Tonight I can write the saddest lines. Write, for example, 'The night is starry and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.' The night wind revolves in the sky and sings. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too. Through nights like this one I held her in my arms. I kissed her again and again under the endless sky. She loved me, sometimes I loved her too. How could one not have loved her great still eyes. Tonight I can write the saddest lines. To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her. To hear the immense night, still more immense without her. And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture. What does it matter that my love could not keep her. The night is starry and she is not with me. This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance. My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer. My heart looks for her, and she is not with me. The same night whitening the same trees. We, of that time, are no longer the same. I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her. My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing. Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses. Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes. I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her. Love is so short, forgetting is so long. Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her. Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer and these the last verses that I write for her.
Pablo Neruda (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair)
Dear Son, I would call you by name, but I’m waiting for your mother to decide. I only hope she is joking when she calls you Albert Dalbert. For weeks now I have watched your mother zealously gather her tokens for this box. She’s so afraid of you not knowing anything about her, and it bothers me greatly that you’ll never know her strength firsthand. I’m sure by the time you read this, you’ll know everything I do about her. But you’ll never know her for yourself and that pains me most of all. I wish you could see the look on her face whenever she talks to you. The sadness she tries so hard to hide. Every time I see it, it cuts through me. She love you so much. You’re all she talks about. I have so many orders from her for you. I’m not allowed to make you crazy the way I do your Uncle Chris. I’m not allowed to call the doctors every time you sneeze and you are to be allowed to tussle with your friends without me having a conniption that someone might bruise you. Nor am I to bully you about getting married or having kids. Ever. Most of all, you are allowed to pick your own car at sixteen. I’m not supposed to put you in a tank. We’ll see about that one. I refuse to promise her this last item until I know more about you. Not to mention, I’ve seen how other people drive on the roads. So if you have a tank, sorry. There’s only so much changing man my age can do. I don’t know what our futures will hold. I only hope that when all is said and done, you are more like your mother than you are like me. She’s a good woman. A kind woman. Full of love and compassion even though her life has been hard and full of grief. She bears her scars with a grace, dignity, and humor that I lack. Most of all, she has courage the likes of which I haven’t witnessed in centuries. I hope with every part of me that you inherit all her best traits and none of my bad ones. I don’t really know what more to say. I just thought you should have something of me in here too. Love, Your father (Wulf)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Kiss of the Night (Dark-Hunter, #4))
The soul, in its loneliness, hopes only for "salvation." And yet what is the burden of the Bible if not a sense of the mutuality of influence, rising out of an essential unity, among soul and body and community and world? These are all the works of God, and it is therefore the work of virtue to make or restore harmony among them. The world is certainly thought of as a place of spiritual trial, but it is also the confluence of soul and body, word and flesh, where thoughts must become deeds, where goodness must be enacted. This is the great meeting place, the narrow passage where spirit and flesh, word and world, pass into each other. The Bible's aim, as I read it, is not the freeing of the spirit from the world. It is the handbook of their interaction. It says that they cannot be divided; that their mutuality, their unity, is inescapable; that they are not reconciled in division, but in harmony. What else can be meant by the resurrection of the body? The body should be "filled with light," perfected in understanding. And so everywhere there is the sense of consequence, fear and desire, grief and joy. What is desirable is repeatedly defined in the tensions of the sense of consequence.
Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)
My dearest friend Abigail, These probably could be the last words I write to you and I may not live long enough to see your response but I truly have lived long enough to live forever in the hearts of my friends. I thought a lot about what I should write to you. I thought of giving you blessings and wishes for things of great value to happen to you in future; I thought of appreciating you for being the way you are; I thought to give sweet and lovely compliments for everything about you; I thought to write something in praise of your poems and prose; and I thought of extending my gratitude for being one of the very few sincerest friends I have ever had. But that is what all friends do and they only qualify to remain as a part of the bunch of our loosely connected memories and that's not what I can choose to be, I cannot choose to be lost somewhere in your memories. So I thought of something through which I hope you will remember me for a very long time. I decided to share some part of my story, of what led me here, the part we both have had in common. A past, which changed us and our perception of the world. A past, which shaped our future into an unknown yet exciting opportunity to revisit the lost thoughts and to break free from the libido of our lost dreams. A past, which questioned our whole past. My dear, when the moment of my past struck me, in its highest demonised form, I felt dead, like a dead-man walking in flesh without a soul, who had no reason to live any more. I no longer saw any meaning of life but then I saw no reason to die as well. I travelled to far away lands, running away from friends, family and everyone else and I confined myself to my thoughts, to my feelings and to myself. Hours, days, weeks and months passed and I waited for a moment of magic to happen, a turn of destiny, but nothing happened, nothing ever happens. I waited and I counted each moment of it, thinking about every moment of my life, the good and the bad ones. I then saw how powerful yet weak, bright yet dark, beautiful yet ugly, joyous yet grievous; is a one single moment. One moment makes the difference. Just a one moment. Such appears to be the extreme and undisputed power of a single moment. We live in a world of appearance, Abigail, where the reality lies beyond the appearances, and this is also only what appears to be such powerful when in actuality it is not. I realised that the power of the moment is not in the moment itself. The power, actually, is in us. Every single one of us has the power to make and shape our own moments. It is us who by feeling joyful, celebrate for a moment of success; and it is also us who by feeling saddened, cry and mourn over our losses. I, with all my heart and mind, now embrace this power which lies within us. I wish life offers you more time to make use of this power. Remember, we are our own griefs, my dear, we are our own happinesses and we are our own remedies. Take care! Love, Francis. Title: Letter to Abigail Scene: "Death-bed" Chapter: The Road To Awe
Huseyn Raza
And when I look around the apartment where I now am,—when I see Charlotte’s apparel lying before me, and Albert’s writings, and all those articles of furniture which are so familiar to me, even to the very inkstand which I am using,—when I think what I am to this family—everything. My friends esteem me; I often contribute to their happiness, and my heart seems as if it could not beat without them; and yet—if I were to die, if I were to be summoned from the midst of this circle, would they feel—or how long would they feel—the void which my loss would make in their existence? How long! Yes, such is the frailty of man, that even there, where he has the greatest consciousness of his own being, where he makes the strongest and most forcible impression, even in the memory, in the heart of his beloved, there also he must perish,—vanish,—and that quickly. I could tear open my bosom with vexation to think how little we are capable of influencing the feelings of each other. No one can communicate to me those sensations of love, joy, rapture, and delight which I do not naturally possess; and though my heart may glow with the most lively affection, I cannot make the happiness of one in whom the same warmth is not inherent. Sometimes I don’t understand how another can love her, is allowed to love her, since I love her so completely myself, so intensely, so fully, grasp nothing, know nothing, have nothing but her! I possess so much, but my love for her absorbs it all. I possess so much, but without her I have nothing. One hundred times have I been on the point of embracing her. Heavens! what a torment it is to see so much loveliness passing and repassing before us, and yet not dare to lay hold of it! And laying hold is the most natural of human instincts. Do not children touch everything they see? And I! Witness, Heaven, how often I lie down in my bed with a wish, and even a hope, that I may never awaken again! And in the morning, when I open my eyes, I behold the sun once more, and am wretched. If I were whimsical, I might blame the weather, or an acquaintance, or some personal disappointment, for my discontented mind; and then this insupportable load of trouble would not rest entirely upon myself. But, alas! I feel it too sadly; I am alone the cause of my own woe, am I not? Truly, my own bosom contains the source of all my pleasure. Am I not the same being who once enjoyed an excess of happiness, who at every step saw paradise open before him, and whose heart was ever expanded towards the whole world? And this heart is now dead; no sentiment can revive it. My eyes are dry; and my senses, no more refreshed by the influence of soft tears, wither and consume my brain. I suffer much, for I have lost the only charm of life: that active, sacred power which created worlds around me,—it is no more. When I look from my window at the distant hills, and behold the morning sun breaking through the mists, and illuminating the country around, which is still wrapped in silence, whilst the soft stream winds gently through the willows, which have shed their leaves; when glorious Nature displays all her beauties before me, and her wondrous prospects are ineffectual to extract one tear of joy from my withered heart,—I feel that in such a moment I stand like a reprobate before heaven, hardened, insensible, and unmoved. Oftentimes do I then bend my knee to the earth, and implore God for the blessing of tears, as the desponding labourer in some scorching climate prays for the dews of heaven to moisten his parched corn.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (The Sorrows of Young Werther)
THOMASINA: ....the enemy who burned the great library of Alexandria without so much as a fine for all that is overdue. Oh, Septimus! -- can you bear it? All the lost plays of the Athenians! Two hundred at least by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides -- thousands of poems -- Aristotle's own library!....How can we sleep for grief? SEPTIMUS: By counting our stock. Seven plays from Aeschylus, seven from Sophocles, nineteen from Euripides, my lady! You should no more grieve for the rest than for a buckle lost from your first shoe, or for your lesson book which will be lost when you are old. We shed as we pick up, like travellers who must carry everything in their arms, and what we let fall will be picked up by those behind. The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it. The missing plays of Sophocles will turn up piece by piece, or be written again in another language. Ancient cures for diseases will reveal themselves once more. Mathematical discoveries glimpsed and lost to view will have their time again. You do not suppose, my lady, that if all of Archimedes had been hiding in the great library of Alexandria, we would be at a loss for a corkscrew?
Tom Stoppard (Arcadia)
The Pomegranate The only legend I have ever loved is the story of a daughter lost in hell. And found and rescued there. Love and blackmail are the gist of it. Ceres and Persephone the names. And the best thing about the legend is I can enter it anywhere. And have. As a child in exile in a city of fogs and strange consonants, I read it first and at first I was an exiled child in the crackling dusk of the underworld, the stars blighted. Later I walked out in a summer twilight searching for my daughter at bed-time. When she came running I was ready to make any bargain to keep her. I carried her back past whitebeams and wasps and honey-scented buddleias. But I was Ceres then and I knew winter was in store for every leaf on every tree on that road. Was inescapable for each one we passed. And for me. It is winter and the stars are hidden. I climb the stairs and stand where I can see my child asleep beside her teen magazines, her can of Coke, her plate of uncut fruit. The pomegranate! How did I forget it? She could have come home and been safe and ended the story and all our heart-broken searching but she reached out a hand and plucked a pomegranate. She put out her hand and pulled down the French sound for apple and the noise of stone and the proof that even in the place of death, at the heart of legend, in the midst of rocks full of unshed tears ready to be diamonds by the time the story was told, a child can be hungry. I could warn her. There is still a chance. The rain is cold. The road is flint-coloured. The suburb has cars and cable television. The veiled stars are above ground. It is another world. But what else can a mother give her daughter but such beautiful rifts in time? If I defer the grief I will diminish the gift. The legend will be hers as well as mine. She will enter it. As I have. She will wake up. She will hold the papery flushed skin in her hand. And to her lips. I will say nothing.
Eavan Boland
O, that this too too solid flesh would melt Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely. That it should come to this! But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two: So excellent a king; that was, to this, Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother That he might not beteem the winds of heaven Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth! Must I remember? why, she would hang on him, As if increase of appetite had grown By what it fed on: and yet, within a month-- Let me not think on't--Frailty, thy name is woman!-- A little month, or ere those shoes were old With which she follow'd my poor father's body, Like Niobe, all tears:--why she, even she-- O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason, Would have mourn'd longer--married with my uncle, My father's brother, but no more like my father Than I to Hercules: within a month: Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married. O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not nor it cannot come to good: But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.
William Shakespeare (Hamlet)
THE DREAM THAT MUST BE INTERPRETED This place is a dream. Only a sleeper considers it real. Then death comes like dawn, and you wake up laughing at what you thought was your grief. But there's a difference with this dream. Everything cruel and unconscious done in the illusion of the present world, all that does not fade away at the death-waking. It stays, and it must be interpreted. All the mean laughing, all the quick, sexual wanting, those torn coats of Joseph, they change into powerful wolves that you must face. The retaliation that sometimes comes now, the swift, payback hit, is just a boy's game to what the other will be. You know about circumcision here. It's full castration there! And this groggy time we live, this is what it's like: A man goes to sleep in the town where he has always lived, and he dreams he's living in another town. In the dream, he doesn't remember the town he's sleeping in his bed in. He believes the reality of the dream town. The world is that kind of sleep. The dust of many crumbled cities settles over us like a forgetful doze, but we are older than those cities. We began as a mineral. We emerged into plant life and into animal state, and then into being human, and always we have forgotten our former states, except in early spring when we slightly recall being green again. That's how a young person turns toward a teacher. That's how a baby leans toward the breast, without knowing the secret of its desire, yet turning instinctively. Humankind is being led along an evolving course, through this migration of intelligences, and though we seem to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream, and that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.
Rumi (The Essential Rumi)
This poem is very long So long, in fact, that your attention span May be stretched to its very limits But that’s okay It’s what’s so special about poetry See, poetry takes time We live in a time Call it our culture or society It doesn’t matter to me cause neither one rhymes A time where most people don’t want to listen Our throats wait like matchsticks waiting to catch fire Waiting until we can speak No patience to listen But this poem is long It’s so long, in fact, that during the time of this poem You could’ve done any number of other wonderful things You could’ve called your father Call your father You could be writing a postcard right now Write a postcard When was the last time you wrote a postcard? You could be outside You’re probably not too far away from a sunrise or a sunset Watch the sun rise Maybe you could’ve written your own poem A better poem You could have played a tune or sung a song You could have met your neighbor And memorized their name Memorize the name of your neighbor You could’ve drawn a picture (Or, at least, colored one in) You could’ve started a book Or finished a prayer You could’ve talked to God Pray When was the last time you prayed? Really prayed? This is a long poem So long, in fact, that you’ve already spent a minute with it When was the last time you hugged a friend for a minute? Or told them that you love them? Tell your friends you love them …no, I mean it, tell them Say, I love you Say, you make life worth living Because that, is what friends do Of all of the wonderful things that you could’ve done During this very, very long poem You could have connected Maybe you are connecting Maybe we’re connecting See, I believe that the only things that really matter In the grand scheme of life are God and people And if people are made in the image of God Then when you spend your time with people It’s never wasted And in this very long poem I’m trying to let a poem do what a poem does: Make things simpler We don’t need poems to make things more complicated We have each other for that We need poems to remind ourselves of the things that really matter To take time A long time To be alive for the sake of someone else for a single moment Or for many moments Cause we need each other To hold the hands of a broken person All you have to do is meet a person Shake their hand Look in their eyes They are you We are all broken together But these shattered pieces of our existence don’t have to be a mess We just have to care enough to hold our tongues sometimes To sit and listen to a very long poem A story of a life The joy of a friend and the grief of friend To hold and be held And be quiet So, pray Write a postcard Call your parents and forgive them and then thank them Turn off the TV Create art as best as you can Share as much as possible, especially money Tell someone about a very long poem you once heard And how afterward it brought you to them
Colleen Hoover (This Girl (Slammed, #3))
It’s to do with knowing and being known. I remember how it stopped seeming odd that in biblical Greek knowing was used for making love. Whosit knew so-and-so. Carnal knowledge. It’s what lovers trust each other with. Knowledge of each other, not of the flesh but through the flesh, knowledge of self, the real him, the real her, in extremis, the mask slipped from the face. Every other version of oneself is on offer to the public. We share our vivacity, grief, sulks, anger, joy ... we hand it out to anybody who happens to be standing around, to friends and family with a momentary sense of indecency perhaps, to strangers without hesitation. Our lovers share us with the passing trade. But in pairs we insist that we give ourselves to each other. What selves? What’s left? What else is there that hasn’t been dealt out like a pack of cards? Carnal knowledge. Personal, final, uncompromised. Knowing, being known. I revere that. Having that is being rich, you can be generous about what’s shared – she walks, she talks, she laughs, she lends a sympathetic ear, she kicks off her shoes and dances on the tables, she’s everybody’s and it don’t mean a thing, let them eat cake; knowledge is something else, the undealt card, and while it’s held it makes you free-and-easy and nice to know, and when it’s gone everything is pain. Every single thing. Every object that meets the eye, a pencil, a tangerine, a travel poster. As if the physical world has been wired up to pass a current back to the part of your brain where imagination glows like a filament in a lobe no bigger than a torch bulb. Pain.
Tom Stoppard (The Real Thing)
The moon is always jealous of the heat of the day, just as the sun always longs for something dark and deep. They could see how love might control you, from your head to your toes, not to mention every single part of you in between. A woman could want a man so much she might vomit in the kitchen sink or cry so fiercly blood would form in the corners of her eyes. She put her hand to her throat as though someone were strangling her, but really she was choking on all that love she thought she’d needed so badly. What had she thought, that love was a toy, something easy and sweet, just to play with? Real love was dangerous, it got you from inside and held on tight, and if you didn’t let go fast enough you might be willing to do anything for it’s sake. She refused to believe in superstition, she wouldn’t; yet it was claiming her. Some fates are guaranteed, no matter who tries to intervene. After all I’ve done for you is lodged somewhere in her brain, and far worse, it’s in her heart as well. She was bad luck, ill-fated and unfortunate as the plague. She is not worth his devotion. She wishes he would evaporate into thin air. Maybe then she wouldn’t have this feeling deep inside, a feeling she can deny all she wants, but that won’t stop it from being desire. Love is worth the sum of itself and nothing more. But that’s what happens when you’re a liar, especially when you’re telling the worst of these lies to yourself. He has stumbled into love, and now he’s stuck there. He’s fairly used to not getting what he wants, and he’s dealt with it, yet he can’t help but wonder if that’s only because he didn’t want anything so badly. It’s music, it’s a sound that is absurdly beautiful in his mouth, but she won’t pay attention. She knows from the time she spent on the back stairs of the aunts’ house that most things men say are lies. Don’t listen, she tells herself. None if it’s true and none of it matters, because he’s whispering that he’s been looking for her forever. She can’t believe it. She can’t listen to anything he tells her and she certainly can’t think, because if she did she might just think she’d better stop. What good would it do her to get involved with someone like him? She’d have to feel so much, and she’s not that kind. The greatest portion of grief is the one you dish out for yourself. She preferred cats to human beings and turned down every offer from the men who fell in love with her. They told her how sticks and stones could break bones, but taunting and name-calling were only for fools. — & now here she is, all used up. Although she’d never believe it, those lines in *’s face are the most beautiful part about her. They reveal what she’s gone through and what she’s survived and who exactly she is, deep inside. She’s gotten back some of what she’s lost. Attraction, she now understands, is a state of mind. If there’s one thing * is now certain of, it’s house you can amaze yourself by the things you’re willing to do. You really don’t know? That heart-attack thing you’ve been having? It’s love, that’s what it feels like. She knows now that when you don’t lose yourself in the bargain, you find you have double the love you started with, and that’s one recipe that can’t be tampered with. Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.
Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic (Practical Magic, #1))
You were right to end it with us,” I said harshly. “And I’m not willing to do it again.” He stared at me, shocked. My words were a lie, of course. Part of me wanted to try again, to endure anything to be with him. But I couldn’t stop thinking about Maddie. Couldn’t stop thinking about the hurt she would go through. It was ironic, really. Last time, he’d gone out of his way to hurt me purposely because it was for the greater good. Now I was doing the same for both of them, saving her from heartache and him from more grief with me. We were in an endless cycle. “You can’t mean that. I know you can’t.” His face was a mixture of incredulity and pain. I shook my head. “I do. You and me are a disaster. What we did during this stasis...it was wrong. It was disgraceful. Immoral. We betrayed someone who loves both of us, who wishes nothing but the best for us. How could we do that? What kind of precedent is that? How could we expect to have a solid relationship that was built on that sort of sordid foundation? One that was built on lies and deceit?” Saying those words hurt. It was tarnishing the beauty of these precious few days we had, but I needed to make my case. Seth was silent for several moments as he assessed me. “You’re serious.” “Yes.” I was a good liar, good enough that the person who loved me most couldn’t tell. “Go back to her, Seth. Go back to her and make it up to her.” “Georgina...” I could see it, see it hitting him. The full weight of betraying Maddie was sinking in. His nature couldn’t ignore the wrong he’d done. It was part of his good character, the character that had gone back to save Dante, the character that was going to make him leave me. Again. Hesitantly, he extended his hand to me. I took it, and he pulled me into an embrace. “I will always love you.” My heart was going to burst. How many times, I wondered, could I endure this kind of agony? “No, you won’t,” I said. “You’ll move on. So will I.” Seth left not long after that. Staring at the door, I replayed my own words. You’ll move on. So will I. In spite of how much he loved me, how much he was willing to risk, I truly felt he’d go back to Maddie, that he’d believe what I said. I’d driven home the guilt, made it trump his love for me. You’ll move on. So will I. The unfortunate part about being a good liar, however, was that while I could get other people to believe my words, I didn’t believe them myself.
Richelle Mead (Succubus Heat (Georgina Kincaid, #4))
I circled the site before I came in. If there's anyone within five kilometers, I'll eat my quiver." Halt regarded him, eyebrow arched once more. "Anyone?" "Anyone other than Crowley," Will amended, making a dismissive gesture. "I saw him watching me from that hide he always uses about two kilometers out. I assumed he'd be back in here by now." Halt cleared his throat loudly. "Oh, you saw him, did you?" he said. "I imagine he'll be overjoyed to hear that." Secretly, he was pleased with his former pupil. In spite of his curiosity and obvious excitement, he hadn't forgotten to take the precautions that had been drilled into him. THat augured well for what lay ahead, Halt thought, a sudden grimness settling onto his manner. Will didn't notice the momentary change of mood. He was loosening Tug saddle girth. As he spoke, his voice was muffled against the horses's flank. "he's becoming too much a creature of habit," he said. "he's used that hide for the last three Gatherings. It's time he tried something new. Everyone must be onto it by now." Rangers constantly competed with each other to see before being seen and each year's Gathering was a time of heightened competition. Halt nodded thoughtfully. Crowley had constructed teh virtually invisible observation post some four years previously. Alone among the younger Rangers, Will had tumbled to it after one year. Halt had never mentioned to him that he was the only one who knew of Crowley's hide. The concealed post was the Ranger Commandant's pride and joy. "Well, perhaps not everyone," he said. Will emerged from behind his horse, grinning at the thought of the head of the Ranger Corps thinking he had remained hidden from sight as he watched Will's approach. "All the same, perhaps he's getting a bit long in the tooth to be skulking around hiding in the bushes, don't you think?" he said cheerfully. Halt considered the question for a moment. "Long in the tooth? Well, that's one opinion. Mind you, his silent movement skills are still as good as ever," he said meaningfully. The grin on Will's face slowly faded. He resisted the temptation to look over his shoulder. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" he asked Halt. THe older Ranger nodded. "He's standing behind me, isn't he?" Will continued and Halt nodded once more. "Is he...close enough to have heard what I said?" Will finally managed to ask, fearin teh worst. This time, Halt didn't have to answer. "Oh, good grief no," came a familiar voice from behind him. "he's so old and decrepit these days he's as deaf as a post." Will's shoulders sagged and he turned to see the sandy-haired Commandant standing a few meters away. The younger man's eyes dropped. "Hullo, Crowley," he said, then mumbled, "Ahhh...I'm sorry about that." Crowley glared at teh young Ranger for a few more seconds, then he couldn't help teh grin breaking out on his face. "No harm done," he said, adding with a small note of triumph, "It's not often these days I amange to get the better of one of you young ones." Secretly, he was impressed at teh news that Will had spotted his hiding place. Only the sarpest eyes could have picked it. Crowley had been in the business of seeing without being seen for thirty years or more, and despite what Will believed, he was still an absolute master of camouflage and unseen movement.
John Flanagan (The Sorcerer of the North (Ranger's Apprentice, #5))
Do not despise your inner world. That is the first and most general piece of advice I would offer… Our society is very outward-looking, very taken up with the latest new object, the latest piece of gossip, the latest opportunity for self-assertion and status. But we all begin our lives as helpless babies, dependent on others for comfort, food, and survival itself. And even though we develop a degree of mastery and independence, we always remain alarmingly weak and incomplete, dependent on others and on an uncertain world for whatever we are able to achieve. As we grow, we all develop a wide range of emotions responding to this predicament: fear that bad things will happen and that we will be powerless to ward them off; love for those who help and support us; grief when a loved one is lost; hope for good things in the future; anger when someone else damages something we care about. Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. Perhaps males, in our society, are especially likely to be ashamed of being incomplete and dependent, because a dominant image of masculinity tells them that they should be self-sufficient and dominant. So people flee from their inner world of feeling, and from articulate mastery of their own emotional experiences. The current psychological literature on the life of boys in America indicates that a large proportion of boys are quite unable to talk about how they feel and how others feel — because they have learned to be ashamed of feelings and needs, and to push them underground. But that means that they don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, or to communicate them to others. When they are frightened, they don’t know how to say it, or even to become fully aware of it. Often they turn their own fear into aggression. Often, too, this lack of a rich inner life catapults them into depression in later life. We are all going to encounter illness, loss, and aging, and we’re not well prepared for these inevitable events by a culture that directs us to think of externals only, and to measure ourselves in terms of our possessions of externals. What is the remedy of these ills? A kind of self-love that does not shrink from the needy and incomplete parts of the self, but accepts those with interest and curiosity, and tries to develop a language with which to talk about needs and feelings. Storytelling plays a big role in the process of development. As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves. As we grow older, we encounter more and more complex stories — in literature, film, visual art, music — that give us a richer and more subtle grasp of human emotions and of our own inner world. So my second piece of advice, closely related to the first, is: Read a lot of stories, listen to a lot of music, and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others.
Martha C. Nussbaum