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“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
As the third anniversary of my big 2020 tragedy approaches, I think of the above quote all the time.
While the sheer intensity of the grief has changed in three years, I continue to cycle through the above five stages every single day.
Sometimes, I think life has flown by over the past three years. At other times, I feel it has stood still.
I go back and look through the many articles I have written on grief and loss (enough to publish as a short novella now) and I genuinely cannot believe how much time has gone by and I am still here.
I still miss the ones I lost in 2020. I still go to bed and wake up in the morning thinking about them. I still remember them every time something good or bad happens to me. I still feel, yearn, and miss them every single day. And I have finally made peace with the fact that I am always going to feel that way.
But even as life has moved on and for the most part I am doing okay now, big moments like anniversaries are tough. I’ve needed some support and clarity for myself, and these quotes on handling grief and mourning the loss of loved ones have been helpful to me.
And if they help you in the process, that would be the icing on the cake.
“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it ’til it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
“You can never forget the person who died. It’s impossible. You can, however, release the pain and remember the deep love. You can continue to love the deceased while living.” ~ Chelsea Hanson, The Sudden Loss Survival Guide
“Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” ~ J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
“There are no happy endings. Endings are the saddest part, so just give me a happy middle and a very happy start.” ~ Shel Silverstein
“When one person is missing, the whole world seems empty.” ~ Pat Schweibert, Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss
“The weird, weird thing about devastating loss is that life actually goes on. When you’re faced with a tragedy, a loss so huge that you have no idea how you can live through it, somehow, the world keeps turning, the seconds keep ticking.” ~ James Patterson, Angel
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touches some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.” ~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
“So it’s true, when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.” ~ E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly
“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes a part of you, step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.” ~ Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere
“It sucks that we miss people like that. You think you’ve accepted that someone is out of your life, that you’ve grieved and it’s over, and then bam. One little thing, and you feel like you’ve lost that person all over again.” ~ Rachel Hawkins, Demonglass
I hope, unlike me, that you’re not going through loss, pain, and grief during this holiday season. But if you are, please know that there are many of us in the same boat as you—and I hope reading through these quotes helps you even a little bit.
We will always feel the pain of our loss. But knowing that others have been or are going through the same helps us feel less lonely and alone. Godspeed.