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13 Thoughts on Grief, Loss, and Keeping Your Heart Open

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13 Thoughts on Grief, Loss, and Keeping Your Heart Open

I know how hard it is to keep your heart open after it's been forcibly cracked open. But I also know that it's the only way to heal, connect, and feel joy rising up through the cracks where the light got in.

Here are some thoughts on grief, losing the person you love so much, and keeping them in your heart for as long as you live.

And if you haven't gotten my Healing Brave Manifesto yet (it's free), please get it. The fact that you're here, after everything, is incredible. Somebody should be telling you that... so, I will.

I know how hard it is to keep your heart open after it's been forcibly cracked open. I also know that it's the only way to heal, connect, and feel joy rising up through the cracks where the light got in. Here are some thoughts on grief, losing the person you love so much, and keeping them in your heart for as long as you live.

Thoughts on Grief, Loss, and Opening Your Heart, Even After Everything

1. “I can hear your absence in my soul, loud and luminous, sometimes it’s a hushed echo, lingering low and lurking loose but it never fades, it takes a break but it never breaks away.” — Vazaki Nada

2. “Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated.” – Alphonse de Lamartine

Make this print part of your home, and your healing: "I have not heard your voice in years, but my heart has conversations with you every day."

3. “When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time — the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes — when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever — there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”  John Irving

4. “It is the peculiar nature of the world to go on spinning no matter what sort of heartbreak is happening.” — Sue Monk Kidd

5. “A feeling of pleasure or solace can be so hard to find when you are in the depths of your grief. Sometimes it’s the little things that help you get through the day. You may think your comforts sounds ridiculous to others, but there is nothing ridiculous about finding one little thing to help you feel good in the midst of pain and sorrow!” — Elizabeth Berrien

For 30 precious minutes of solace, get my Healing Heart Space guided meditation.

6. “The simple and bitter truth is, you grieve for your loved ones for as long as you live.” — Narin Grewal

7. “You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”  Anne Lamott

8. “Grief is isolating, but it never leaves you alone. In the moments we wake up crying, the car rides with tears streaming, grief is our companion. When everyone moves on, forgetting our loss, grief remembers.” — Laura Coward

9. “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief… and unspeakable love… I love to see tears of affection. They are painful tokens, but still most holy. There is pleasure in tears — an awful pleasure! If there were none on earth to shed a tear for me, I should be loth to live; and if no one might weep over my grave, I could never die in peace.” — Dr. Johnson (earliest attribution known)

When "just" surviving is the best you can do, remember this: "There is no healing like a soul willing to sit with itself."

10. “People in mourning have to come to grips with death before they can live again. Mourning can go on for years and years. It doesn’t end after a year; that’s a false fantasy. It usually ends when people realize that they can live again, and they can concentrate their energies on their lives as a whole, and not on their hurt, and guilt, and pain.” — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

11. “What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller

12. “I had my own notion of grief. I thought it was the sad time that followed the death of someone you love. And you had to push through it to get to the other side. But I’m learning there is no other side. There is no pushing through. But rather, there is absorption. Adjustment. Acceptance. And grief is not something you complete, but rather, you endure. Grief is not a task to finish and move on, but an element of yourself — an alteration of your being. A new way of seeing. A new definition of self.” — Gwen Flowers

Here's a print for a friend, so they never forget what's still possible for them: "Bloom from your wounds."

13. “The Thing Is

To love life, to love it even

When you have no stomach for it

And everything you’ve held dear

Crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,

Your throat filled with the silt of it.

When grief sits with you, its tropical heat

Thickening the air, heavy as water

More fit for gills than lungs;

When grief weights you like your own flesh

Only more of it, an obesity of grief,

You think, How can a body withstand this?

Then you hold life like a face

Between your palms, a plain face,

No charming smile, no violet eyes,

And you say, yes, I will take you

I will love you, again.”

— Ellen Bass

Take this poetry print home with you, for courage. You'll need it.

. . .

Tell me:

Which of these thoughts on grief really hit home for you?

Tell me in the comments. I'd love to know what speaks to you.

~ Jen

"I have not heard your voice in years, but my heart has conversations every day." - handwritten poetry print on grief and loss by Jennifer Williamson of Healing Brave

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