Inspiring and Comforting Quotes

Quotations to Help You Find the Right Words

People can often find themselves tongue-tied if someone they care about is experiencing hardship or loss. If you are ever in this position and don't know what to say, you can express your feelings by sharing quotations that reflect how you feel. In the end, if it strikes a chord with you, it will likely do the same to the loved one you are hoping to comfort.

Sharing quotes—whether in a eulogy, an obituary, on a card, or in a heartfelt note—says that you've taken the time to find the right sentiment to guide a loved one through the complicated stages of loss and grief.

Here are some sayings and passages that meditate on the complex emotions surrounding some of life's most challenging events.

Cancer Diagnosis

Receiving a cancer diagnosis or experiencing a relapse can be a life-changing event—and one that people still struggle to discuss. The listed quotes were chosen to inspire strength and perspective and to let your loved one know they are not alone.

cancer quote
 Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

"Cancer is a word, not a sentence." — John Diamond

"Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." — Carl Bard

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." — Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

"Look to this day for it is life. For yesterday is already a dream and tomorrow is only a vision. But today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope." — Sanskrit proverb

"Some days there won't be a song in your heart. Sing anyway." — Emory Austin

"I keep dreaming of a future, a future with a long and healthy life, not lived in the shadow of cancer, but in the light." — Patrick Swayze

Loss of a Friend

Losing someone you care about can leave you struggling for the words to express what you're feeling. While grief isn't always eloquent, some people find peace in quotes reflecting on the power and persistence of friendship.

friend quote
 Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

"It takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, and a day to love them, but it takes an entire lifetime to forget them." — Author unknown

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." — Henri J.M. Nouwen

"At some of the darkest moments in my life, some people I thought of as friends deserted me—some because they cared about me and it hurt them to see me in pain; others because I reminded them of their own vulnerability, and that was more than they could handle. But real friends overcame their discomfort and came to sit with me. If they had not words to make me feel better, they sat in silence (much better than saying, 'You'll get over it,' or 'It's not so bad; others have it worse') and I loved them for it." — Harold Kushner

"Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart." — Washington Irving

"The bond between friends cannot be broken by chance; no interval of time or space can destroy it. Not even death itself can part true friends." — St. John Cassian

"True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it is lost." — Charles Caleb Colton

Loss of a Mother

Few things are as powerful as the bond between a mother and her child. Those grieving the loss of their mom might be comforted by words expressing the endless and enduring nature of a mother's love.

loss of mother quote
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

"A mom's hug lasts long after she lets go." — Author unknown

"The mother memories that are closest to my heart are the small gentle ones that I have carried over from the days of my childhood. They are not profound, but they have stayed with me through life, and when I am very old, they will still be near." — Margaret Sanger

"Mothers hold their childrens' hands for a short while, but their hearts forever." — Author unknown

"A man loves his sweetheart the most, his wife the best, but his mother the longest." — Irish proverb

"A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary." — Dorothy Canfield Fisher

"A mother understands what a child does not say." — Jewish proverb

"There is no death, daughter. People only die when we forget them." my mother explained shortly before she left me. "If you can remember me, I will be with you always." — Isabel Allende

Loss of a Husband

Losing a spouse or partner has a direct impact on your well-being and can feel like losing a part of yourself. These quotes could provide solace (or maybe a smile) for someone who recently lost their husband.

loss of husband quote
 Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

"To My Dear and Loving Husband:
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, than thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay.
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever[e]
That when we live no more, we may live ever." — Anne Dudley Bradstreet

"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die." — Thomas Campbell

"I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead. He is just away.
With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,
He has wandered into an unknown land
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there.
And you—oh you, who the wildest yearn
For an old-time step, and the glad return,
Think of him faring on, as dear
In the love of There as the love of Here.
Think of him still as the same. I say,
He is not dead—he is just away." — James Whitcomb Riley

"My husband wanted to be cremated. I told him I'd scatter his ashes at Neiman Marcus—that way, I'd visit him every day." — Joan Rivers

"The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday." — Ann Druyan

Loss of a Wife

Everyone feels differently after a death, but experiencing a fear of living alone is a common sentiment after a wife passes away. Knowing others have felt your grief, along with some inspirational words about how they carried on, can offer a bit of solace.

loss of wife
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin 

"A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short." — Andre Maurois

"O my love, my wife!
Death, that hath suck'd the honey of thy breath
Hath had no power yet upon thy beauty." — William Shakespeare

"Heaven will be no heaven to me if I do not meet my wife there." — Andrew Jackson

"One flesh. Or if you prefer, one ship. The starboard engine has gone. I, the port engine, must chug along somehow till we make harbour. Or rather, till the journey ends." — C.S. Lewis

"The sum which two married people owe to one another defies calculation. It is an infinite debt, which can only be discharged through eternity." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Loss of a Child

How can you even begin to describe the feelings of sadness when a child dies? The grief is enough to render anyone speechless. In those moments, reflecting on the kind words of others can help some move forward when the world seems to stand still.

loss of child quote
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

“I love you every day. And now I will miss you every day.” ― Mitch Albom

“We never truly get over a loss, but we can move forward and evolve from it.” — Elizabeth Berrien

"Let your children be as so many flowers, borrowed from God. If the flowers die or wither, thank God for a summer loan of them." — Samuel Rutherford

"Children reinvent your world for you." — Susan Sarandon

"Think of your child then, not as dead, but as living; not as a flower that has withered, but as one that is transplanted, and touched by a Divine hand is blooming in richer colors and sweeter shades than those of earth." — Richard Hooker

“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 the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” — Washington Irving

“It is the capacity to feel consuming grief and pain and despair that also allows me to embrace love and joy and beauty with my whole heart. I must let it all in.” — Anna White

"Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim."

— Vicki Harrison

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal." — Author unknown

Loss of an Infant

Losing a child, no matter how young, can be traumatic and heartbreaking. While no words could ever truly heal a grieving parent, reflecting on these quotes may help console them.

infant loss quote
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." — A.A. Milne

"Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you." — Nicholas Evans

"Gone yet not forgotten,
although we are apart,
your spirit lives within me,
forever in my heart." — Author unknown

"An angel in the Book of Life wrote down my baby's birth.
And whispered as she closed the book, 'Too beautiful for earth.'" — Author unknown

"How very softly you tiptoed into our world, almost silently, only a moment you stayed. But what an imprint your footsteps have left upon our hearts." — Dorothy Ferguson

"There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world." — Author unknown

Pregnancy Loss

Because the majority of miscarriages occur during the first trimester—often before the parents announce their pregnancy—mourning the loss of a pregnancy can be a lonely experience. Sharing and reflecting on words by others who have gone through similar moments of grief and heartache may be a significant comfort to parents.

miscarriage quote
 Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched, but are felt in the heart." — Helen Keller

"Beautiful memories silently kept of a baby we love and will never forget." — Author unknown

“You cannot stop the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can stop them nesting in your hair.” —Eva Ibbotson

"Babies lost in the womb were never touched by fear. They were never cold, never hungry, never alone, and importantly always knew love." — Zoe Clark-Coates

"I held you every second of your life." — Stephanie Paige Cole

Loss of a Military Member

Whether they were a seasoned veteran or a young active-duty member, it's never easy to lose someone who gave so much to their country and community. The following quotes can be used to honor a fallen military member's service and sacrifice.

soldier quote
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived." — George S. Patton

"Soldier, rest! thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking;
Dream of battled fields no more,
Days of danger, nights of waking." — Sir Walter Scott

"They fell, but o'er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save." — Francis Marion Crawford

"Although no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored." — Daniel Webster

"A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." — Joseph Campbell

"Without the brave efforts of all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines and their families, this nation, along with our allies around the world, would not stand so boldly, shine so brightly and live so freely." — Lane Allen Evans

"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." — G.K. Chesterton

Loss of a Grandparent

Even when the death of a grandparent is expected, it can still be a difficult thing for grandchildren to experience. These quotes might resonate with those reflecting on the lives of their grandfathers and grandmothers as they mourn their passing.

grandparent quote
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children." — Alex Haley

"Some of the world's best educators are grandparents." — Charles W. Shedd

"When grandparents enter the door, discipline flies out the window." — Ogden Nash

"You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was." — Irish proverb

"A grandmother is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher, and a little bit best friend." — Author unknown

"We should all have one person who knows how to bless us despite the evidence. Grandmother was that person to me." — Phyllis Theroux

"Because [grandparents] are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations." — Jimmy Carter

"I loved their home. Everything smelled older, worn but safe; the food aroma had baked itself into the furniture." — Susan Strasberg

"Grandmother–grandchild relationships are simple. Grandmas are short on criticism and long on love." — Author unknown

"My grandmother once said grief is the price you pay for love." — Prince William

Loss of a Brother

Losing a brother can have a direct impact on your mental health. During the mourning process, reading others' thoughts on brotherly bonds can be a soothing reminder of how strong that relationship can be.

brothers quote
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

"When brothers agree, no fortress is so strong as their common life." — Antisthenes

"Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet." — Vietnamese Proverb

"A friend is a brother who was once a bother." — Author unknown

"I, who have no sisters or brothers, look with some degree of innocent envy on those who may be said to be born to friends." — James Boswell

"To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time." — Clara Luz Zúñiga Ortega

"We are not only our brother's keeper; in countless large and small ways, we are our brother's maker." — Bonaro Overstreet

"He is my most beloved friend and my bitterest rival, my confidant and my betrayer, my sustainer and my dependent, and scariest of all, my equal." — Gregg Levoy

"Not only had my brother disappeared, but a part of my very being had gone with him. Stories about us could, from then on, be told from only one perspective. Memories could be told but not shared" — John Corey Whalley

Loss of a Sister

The connection one has with a sibling is often innate, hard-fought, and unbreakable, making the loss of a sister that much more heartbreaking for those who experience it. Meditating on the words of others who shared such strong ties, too, may offer a small bit of comfort for those mourning a sister.

sisters quote
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

"Sisters are different flowers from the same garden." — Author unknown

"Our roots say we're sisters, our hearts say we're friends." — Author unknown

"To have a loving relationship with a sister is not simply to have a buddy or a confident... it is to have a soulmate for life." — Victoria Secunda

"A sister is a gift to the heart,
A friend to the spirit,
A golden thread to the meaning of life." — Isadora James

"A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves — a special kind of double." — Toni Morrison

"She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. Some days, she's the reason you wish you were an only child." — Barbara Alpert

"A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost." — Marion C. Garretty

"If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one? Or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone?" — Jodi Picoult

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Cook SA, Salmon P, Hayes G, Byrne A, Fisher PL. Predictors of emotional distress a year or more after diagnosis of cancer: A systematic review of the literaturePsychooncology. 2018;27(3):791–801. doi:10.1002/pon.4601

  2. National Institute on Aging. Mourning the death of a spouse.

  3. Hardy K, Hardy PJ. 1(st) trimester miscarriage: four decades of studyTransl Pediatr. 2015;4(2):189–200. doi:10.3978/j.issn.2224-4336.2015.03.05

  4. Bolton JM, Au W, Chateau D, et al. Bereavement after sibling death: a population-based longitudinal case-control studyWorld Psychiatry. 2016;15(1):59–66. doi:10.1002/wps.20293

By Chris Raymond
Chris Raymond is an expert on funerals, grief, and end-of-life issues, as well as the former editor of the world’s most widely read magazine for funeral directors.