Life is full of unexpected moments — some joyous, some heartbreaking. While each and every day is a precious gift, it's not until we lose someone important to us that we remember how short it can be.
Navigating grief can be isolating and difficult to communicate to those around you. And, on the flip side, it can be hard to find an appropriate sympathy gift or the right words to express your deepest condolences to a friend, family member, coworker or someone else in mourning.
In these moments of profound sadness, turn to the wise words of those who've experienced loss themselves because, as painful as it may be, grief is a universal human experience. Below, read sympathy quotes from authors, activists and famous figures that combine the sorrow of what's lost with the beauty of what once was.
If you're not sure what to write in a sympathy card, use these quotes as inspiration — or better yet, copy them word for word. Or perhaps, if you're here to find comfort after a loss of your own, let these words remind you that you're not alone.
- “Grief is the price we pay for love.” — Queen Elizabeth II
- “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” — Helen Keller
- "A great soul serves everyone all the time A great soul never dies. It bring us together again and again.” — Maya Angelou
- “Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.” —Arthur Schopenhauer
- “Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” — Emily Dickinson
- "Never. We never lose our loved ones. They accompany us; they don’t disappear from our lives. We are merely in different rooms." — Paulo Coelho
- “Grief changes shape, but it never ends.” — Keanu Reeves
- “There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery.” — Dante Alighieri
- “We should feel sorrow, but not sink under its oppression.” —Confucius
- “It’s sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew.” — Henry Rollins
- “What is lovely never dies, But passes into other loveliness.” —Thomas Bailey Aldrich
- “Flowers grow out of dark moments.” — Corita Kent
- “Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.” — Marcel Proust
- “The only cure for grief is action.” — George Henry Lewes
- “I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” — Agatha Christie
- “Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys.” — Alphonse de Lamartine
- “The more sympathy you give, the less you need.” — Malcolm Forbes
- “Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. It is originally an unlearned feeling process. Keeping grief inside increases your pain.” — Anne Grant
- “Sympathy is charming, but it does not make up for pain.” — Lillie Langtry
- “Those who weep recover more quickly than those who smile.” —Jean Giraudoux
- “The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.” — C.S. Lewis
- “Sorrow is so easy to express and yet so hard to tell.” — Joni Mitchell
- “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it.” — Helen Keller
- “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” — A.A. Milneworth
- “It is not length of life, but depth of life.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “You can’t truly heal from a loss until you allow yourself to really feel the loss.” — Mandy Hale
- “When the heart grieves over what is has lost, the spirit rejoices over what it has left.” — Sufi
- “When I am lonely, I think of you and all that you brought to my life. Your memory rests gently on my soul.”— Cindy Adkins
- “Grief and love are conjoined — you don’t get one without the other.” — Jandy Nelson, "The Sky Is Everywhere"
- “All things grow with time, except grief.” — Jewish Proverb