Finding comfort after a loss
Grief, simply put, is adjusting to a loss. It can be the loss of a loved one, a dream, a job, or a faith. It can be big or small, last for hours or years, feel as sharp as the cut of a knife or dull as a deep bruise. No matter the specific circumstances, grief is always normal.
“Grief isn’t an illness. It’s not a sign something went wrong. It’s actually a sign something is going right,” says licensed social worker and psychotherapist Abigail Nathanson, a professor of grief and trauma. “Grief is simply a part of having relationships. We’re hardwired to seek out relationships, and we’re hardwired to mourn when they end.”
Knowing that grieving is both expected and understandable is the first step to coping with the pain. “The goal of grief is not ‘How do I stop being sad?’ but ‘How do I carry this and still live my life in a meaningful way?” says Nathanson.
There is no one “right” way to grieve, nor is there a prescription for getting through it. However, there are some things that many people find helpful during the process, she says. One of the most beneficial things for people mourning any loss is to find a community of others who understand and can sympathise. One way to do that is through reading mourning quotes from people who have loved and lost and lived to talk about it.
Mourning quotes to help you cope
Find a way to memorialise loved ones
“What is lovely never dies but passes into other loveliness—stardust or seafoam, flower or winged air.” —Thomas Bailey Aldrich, writer and poet
The reason gravestones exist is to help people remember their loved ones who have passed on, but grave markers aren’t the only way to honour someone’s memory. Plant their favourite flower, scatter their ashes at their favourite place, or simply go somewhere that reminds you of them.
Look for meaning
“The timing of death, like the ending of a story, gives a changed meaning to what preceded it.” —Mary Catherine Bateson, author
Some people find it helpful to their grieving process to look for a greater meaning from their loved one’s life or loss. What did they contribute to the world? To you? Cultural or religious traditions can help in this regard, like what you can learn about grieving from Day of the Dead.