15 Quotes About Grief From Books To Help You Feel A Little Less Alone

by E. Ce Miller
Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A little over a month ago, I was in the unpleasant position of having to put my 10-year-old pet rabbit to sleep. Now, I know what you’re (probably) thinking — because I thought it, too: Are rabbits even supposed to live past 10-years-old? In a world full of mess and devastation, how heartbreaking can the death of what had to have been the oldest-living pet rabbit in the history of domestic lagomorphs actually be? Add to those suspicious musings my confession that I honestly didn’t even like this rabbit that much (I mean, fine, I loved him — but I wasn’t like, in love with him. He’d been chewing my laptop cords, scratching holes in the carpet at all hours of the night, and pooping directly on the floor next to his litter box, for years) and any sense of loss I might have felt about the departure of my four-legged friend becomes downright questionable.

And yet, when the condolence card from the vet came, inscribed with some literary quotes about loss and a story about how my recently-departed critter would be waiting for me to join him across some bridge upon the eventuality of my own demise, I lost it.

My point is, we all experience loss at varying degrees throughout our lives — some great losses and some relatively small (but no less filled with feeling) ones. And when we’re in the grips of those feelings, there are plenty of beautiful book quotes about loss to turn to, to help put those feelings into words. To comfort you, uplift you, and make you feel a little less alone, check out these 15 quotes from your favorite authors about loss.

"Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you'll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you'll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room."

"No journey out of grief was straightforward. There would be good days and bad days."

― Jojo Moyes, After You

"I am stronger than I am broken."

"A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty."

"The heavier the burden, the closer our lives come to the earth, the more real and truthful they become."

"What I really fear is time. That’s the devil whipping us on when we’d rather loll, so the present sprints by, impossible to grasp, and it is suddenly past, at past that won’t hold still…"

"If you live in the dark a long time and the sun comes out, you do not cross into it whistling. There’s an initial uprush of relief at first, then a profound dislocation."

― Mary Karr, Lit

"In the cycle of nature there is no such thing as victory or defeat; there is only movement."

"Grief does not change you. It reveals you."

"You are never stronger... than when you land on the other side of despair."

― Zadie Smith, White Teeth

"And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore."

"Yet it would be your duty to bear it, if you could not avoid it. It is weak and silly to say you cannot bear what it is your fate to be required to bear."

― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

"I’ve lived through Hitler, Stalin, the Cold War, the British Empire, segregation, apartheid, God knows what. The world will survive this, and with a tiny bit of luck, so will everyone you love."

― Kamila Shamsie, Burnt Shadows

"It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything."

― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

"We went our separate ways, but within walking distance of one another."

― Patti Smith, Just Kids