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The Alphabet of Grief: Words to Help in Times of Sorrow: Affirmations and Meditations

Andrea Raynor

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Perhaps the first thing we can do is to acknowledge that there is, in reality, no such thing as living in the past. If there were, many brokenhearted people would be hopping the first train there. We are always living in the present moment; that’s all we have. But the present is not empty. Our internal sanctuaries cannot be robbed of what has already been or the treasure trove of memories we bring to everything we do and all that we see. Yesterday may be a time to which we can never go back, but it is also the guardian of what can never be taken from us—each moment shared and every tender word exchanged. We will always have these. When we are grieving, however, reaching for things in the past can be like stuffing our pockets with make-believe gold. We think the real gold lies behind us when, in reality, it lies within.”

“Death can prompt a slamming of the interior door. We don’t want to open it because doing so means living without the ones we love. Prayer helps loosen the lock. It allows oxygen to flow back into our spirits after being depleted by grief. We take that first deep breath when we accept what has happened. In doing so, we are no longer suffocated by our yearning for the past. Grateful for all that has been, for the beauty and love we have known, we can begin to live again.”

“When we stop asking why and instead begin to find our why, we can start mapping out our how. And something will begin to heal inside of us. Some people are afraid of healing. They mistakenly think healing means letting their loved ones go and leaving them in the past. This is not true. As we heal, we are better able to carry our loved ones with us because our arms are open. We are open. And in that openness the energy and love that is our son or daughter, our husband or sister will begin to seep in the cracks of our parched and weary hearts.”

“Those we love will always be a part of us. Will we miss them? Of course we will! It is terribly painful to begin the journey of living without them. But refusing to take even one wobbly step toward a new way of experiencing all they have left us does not honor them and will not bring them close again. It may take time, maybe years, for us to take that first step out of the darkness of despair and the shadows of the past into the dawn of a new present. But when we do, we will not be disappointed. Our loved ones are waiting for us there, not just in the future when we join them in what is to come, but in the present, where their loving energy can still be felt.”

“The theologian Karl Barth said, “Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.” If we can access our gratitude for having known and loved those we have lost, perhaps we can begin again to experience joy.”

“The flame of love can never dwindle unless we insist on confining it to the past.”

“Our spirits are embroidered with silver threads stitching us to our loved ones. They are adorned with the jewels of every moment shared and all that we cherished about them. By our choosing to live on, they can live on. If we dissolve into the darkness of despair, they cannot shine. Our loved ones do not want us to stop living because they have died; they want us to live. They want us to bring them with us into each new day so that a part of them can remain on earth through the stories we share. After a time, however long that is (and it is different for different people), sorrow ceases to be a tribute to the deceased. It distracts from their stories and puts the focus on us, on our pain, on our lives. They have not moved on from us; they are living within and beyond us. And we have not moved on from them when we take a step toward happiness, acceptance, and peace. We live on together when we live on in love.”

“Our loved ones, however they might have died, are not constrained to their last moments on earth. They simply aren’t. So we should not keep them there either.”

“Memories are precious, but they are part of the past. The things we treasure, whether a facet of a memory, a particular aspect of a loved one, or a tangible talisman, we carry with us—always. They continue to inform us about our loved ones and remind us that life is ongoing, that we can still learn from those who have died and can still feel their presence. The smell of Old Spice will forever be my grandfather. My bony wrists and the veins in my hands are remnants of my grandmother. These small things are treasures that will never lose their value and cannot be taken from me.”

“Maybe the best way to reach for God is to reach for one another.”

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