Grief and Pain

Photo: "Eerie Tree" by Patricia Petro, 2010It is dangerous to abandon one’s self to the luxury of grief. It deprives one of courage, and even of the wish for recovery.
—Henri-Frederic Amiel

Action is the antidote to despair. —Joan Baez

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
—Kathleen Casey

The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears. —John V. Cheney

You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair. —Chinese proverb

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. —Corrie Ten Boom

The more a thing is perfect, the more it feels pleasure and likewise pain. —Dante

I have had sorrows . . . but I have borne them ill. I have broken where I should have bent. —Charles Dickens

There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope. —George Eliot

At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one’s lost self. —Brendan Francis

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than 10,000 tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. —Washington Irving

We can’t escape life’s difficulties and sorrows by giving up, no matter how much we may want to . . . If you touched a hot stove and it hurt, you wouldn’t lay your hand down and leave it there, you’d move! . . . You’ve got to keep moving, trying, doing SOMETHING in order to end up somewhere better. Kajama (Tuesday, August 6, 2002)

Everyone has sorrows. As most people tend to show the world a happy face, however, we often feel like we’re the only ones who are down. Of course, we set ourselves up for even greater misery
when we decide that we’ve been singled out for misfortune or unhappiness. Instead of bemoaning your fate, begin to look beneath the surface. Wonder at others’ true inner lives, at the challenges they’ve overcome and the sorrows they may be quietly bearing. It will deepen your compassion, and leave you feeling less sorry for yourself. Kajama (Monday, March 3, 2003)

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. —Anne Lamott, Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year

The road through grief is a rocky one. Traveling along it requires courage, patience, wisdom, and hope. —Candy Lightner

They who go feel not the pain of parting; it is they who stay behind that suffer. —Henry W. Longfellow

The soul gives us resilience—an essential quality since we constantly have to rebound from hardship. —Winton Marsalis

The sorrow which has no vent in tear may make other organs weep. —Henry Maudsley

When I think of you,
I die, too.
In my throat, bereft
Like yours, of air,
No sound is left,
Nothing is there
To make a word of grief.
—Edna St. Vincent Millay

The most efficient water power in the world—women’s tears. —Wilson Mizner

Troubles cured you salty as a country ham, smoky to the taste, thick-skinned and tender inside. —Marge Piercy

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the fullest. —Marcel Proust

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are. —Bernice Johnson Reagon

Blessed is the individual who is too busy to worry in the daytime, and too sleepy at night. —Earl Riney

Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form. —Rumi

The sure-fire way to stay depressed is to keep asking yourself: What about me? . . . what about me? . . . what about me? —Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Tuesday, July 2, 2002)

The only refuge from despair is to project one’s ego into the world. —Leo Tolstoy

I just wake up each day in a slightly different place. Grief is like a moving river, so that’s what I mean by “it’s always changing” . . . It’s a strange thing to say because I’m, at heart, an optimistic person; but I would say, in some ways it just gets worse. It’s just that the more time that passes, the more you miss someone. In some ways it gets worse. That’s what I would say. —Michelle Williams

Photo: “Eerie Tree” by Patricia Petro, 2010.