You can pin, like, and share as many inspirational quotes as you want, but, whenever tragedy strikes — whether it affects your home, your country, or the globe — it becomes exponentially more difficult to find comfort in the usual places. We save quotes for heavy hearts that we think will help us in our time of need, but they feel empty and naïve in the moments when we need them most. I hope that the quotes listed below can help someone, especially if that person has been unable to find comfort elsewhere.
If you are suffering, remember: grief is just as valid as any other emotion. Your bereavement is no less worthy of support and sympathy than anyone else's. Don't let anyone tell you that you should "just get over it," because everyone grieves differently and in their own time.
You should also know that negative emotions can be just as healthy as positive ones, so it's a good idea to give yourself the time and permission to acknowledge and explore the sadness and anger that accompany tragedy.
1. "You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive."
— Early Essays by James Baldwin
2. "You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it."
— Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings , in an interview with Claudia Tate
3. "You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time."
— Angela Davis, author of Women, Race, and Class , in a 2014 lecture at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
4. "No person, trying to take responsibility for her or his identity, should have to be so alone. There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep, and still be counted as warriors."
— Sources by Adrienne Rich
5. "No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow."
— In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose by Alice Walker
6. "Though we tremble before uncertain futures / may we meet illness, death and adversity with strength / may we dance in the face of our fears."
— This Bridge We Call Home by Gloria E. Anzaldúa
7. "Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change."
— Malcolm X Speaks by Malcolm X
8. "If you wish to heal your sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of others. They are looking to you for guidance, help, courage, strength, understanding, and for assurance. Most of all, they are looking to you for love."
— Give It to Me by Ana Castillo
9. "Yes. We both have a bad feeling. Tonight we shall take our bad feelings and share them, and face them. We shall mourn. We shall drain the bitter dregs of mortality. Pain shared, my brother, is pain not doubled, but halved. No man is an island."
— Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
10. "I was tired of well-meaning folks, telling me it was time I got over being heartbroke. When somebody tells you that, a little bell ought to ding in your mind. Some people don't know grief from garlic grits. There's somethings a body ain't meant to get over. No I'm not suggesting you wallow in sorrow, or let it drag on; no I am just saying it never really goes away."
— American Pie by Michael Lee West
11. "Keep moving, for it may well be that the greatest song has not yet been sung, the greatest book has not been written, the highest mountain has not been climbed. This is your challenge! Reach out and grab it … If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving."
— Martin Luther King, Jr., in a 1960 address at Spelman College
12. "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing / and rightdoing there is a field. / I'll meet you there. // When the soul lies down in that grass / the world is too full to talk about."
— "Out Beyond Ideas" by Rumi
13. "Light attracts light. But sometimes your light attracts moths and your warmth attracts parasites. Protect your space and energy."
— Warsan Shire
14. "Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person’s face as you pass on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street, and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing."
— No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
15. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
— The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
16. "You are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy."
— The Nutritionist by Andrea Gibson
17. "Children, everybody, here's what to do during war: In a time of destruction, create something. A poem. A parade. A community. A school. A vow. A moral principle. One peaceful moment."
— The Fifth Book of Peace by Maxine Hong Kingston
Image: Alejandro Escamilla/Unsplash