Death is the heartache no one can heal, memories are keepsakes no one can steal. Beautiful memories are all we have left, of the ones we loved and will never forget. Softly the leaves of memory fall, gently we gather and cherish them all. Planted deep in memory’s garden and watered daily with tears, memory has a magical way of keeping loved ones near. Unknown grieving poem from the 1950s
Every week IDT (Interdisciplinary team) meetings would end with a small prayer in remembrance of patients who had died at the hospice house over the past week. The chaplain would read out a name and staff were welcome to say something personal about their experience caring for this person. It was a ritual meant to help all of us who saw death on a daily basis never lose the compassion for each individual we served. To see them as people and acknowledge the significance of their being and of their loss. It also served to allow staff to recognize their own grief because you never want to ‘toughen up’ your heart and ‘get used’ to the pain and suffering your patients and their families experience. It is a fine line to walk, risk becoming too attached and burn out, or become less attached and uncaring. At the very end of the meeting a sympathy card would be passed around the table for all of us to sign and then send out to the grieving family. This was the part that was most difficult for me. What to say?
Putting down into words all the feelings we want to express is hard for most of us. We look for the right card that hopefully has the message we feel already written inside. Sometimes we want to reach out again weeks or months after a death with a note that says I haven’t forgotten, I remember them, and I remember you. If, like me you stumble with finding your own words to express how sincerely you wish to convey your sympathies, perhaps this list may be of help…
Your lost friends are not dead, but gone before, advanced a stage or two upon that road which you must travel in the steps they trod. Aristophanes
The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living. Marcus Tullius Cicero
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. Khalil Gibran
As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death. Leonardo da Vinci
Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75. Benjamin Franklin
I’m not afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens. Woody Allen
Memories… let them fill your mind, warm your heart, and lead you through.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.
Sent with love and remembrance
When reason fails, pray for peace. We will be praying with you
While there is no way we can feel your pain, we do feel your loss as we have known “name of deceased” for many years. Peace and love to you and your family during this sorrowful time
Gone from our sight but never gone from our hearts
Words can’t express how saddened we are by your loss
What is lovely never dies, but passes into another loveliness, star dust or sea foam, flower or winged air. Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Only a moment you stayed, but what an imprint your footprints have left on our hearts. Dorothy Ferguson
He spoke well who said that graves are the footprints of angels. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
A great soul serves everyone all the time. A great soul never dies. It brings us together again and again. Maya Angelou
If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever. Alfred Lord Tennyson
There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart. Mahatma Gandhi
There are some griefs so loud they could bring down the sky, and there are griefs so still none knows how deep they lie, endured, never expended. May Sarton
Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. Rossiter Worthington Raymond
Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.
Did you find these helpful? Do you have any quotes that you would recommend?