So my editor has been encouraging me to amp things up a little with third-party quotes, which do come in handy when you’re writing a whole chapter about the death of your parents. Not to get all heavy on you in an otherwise horrendous time of heaviness for everyone… The point is, there’s a lot of beauty here. There’s beauty in everything when you look hard enough.

“You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” ~Alan Watts

“Nobody owns life, but anyone who can pick up a frying pan owns death.” ~William S. Burroughs

“Many have died; you also will die. The drum of death is being beaten. The world has fallen in love with a dream. Only sayings of the wise will remain.” ~Kabir

“Everyone is so afraid of death, but the real Sufis just laugh. Nothing tyrannizes their hearts. What strikes the oyster shell does not damage the pearl.” ~Rumi

“There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start.”
~Shel Silverstein, A Light in the Attic

“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.” ~John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany

“There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.” ~Lou Reed

“In the chain of events, it is arbitrary to be sentimental about the passing of any one link.” ~Johnny Rich, The Human Script

“It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—it still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” ~Anne Lamott

“How surely are the dead beyond death. Death is what the living carry with them. A state of dread, like some uncanny foretaste of a bitter memory. But the dead do not remember and nothingness is not a curse. Far from it.” ~Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” ~John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

“Immortality is the stupid invention of the living.” ~Charles Bukowski

“The physical body will pass. But this part in the middle, that’s the only reality.” ~George Harrison

“Again. I beg everything again.” ~Max Porter, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers

“If you take your wife on a sea voyage, buy her a round-trip ticket no matter what your plans may be.” ~Alfred Hitchcock (haha)

“The worst type of crying wasn’t the kind everyone could see—the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me… our souls contained more scar tissue than life.” ~ Katie McGarry

“We die only once, and for such a long time.” ~Moliere

“But grief is a walk alone. Others can be there, and listen. But you will walk alone down your own path, at your own pace, with your sheared-off pain, your raw wounds, you denial, anger, and bitter loss. You’ll come to your own peace, hopefully, but it will be on your own, in your own time.” ~Cathy Lamb, The First Day of the Rest of My Life

“Sorrow can be a bully.” ~Amy Waldman, The Submission

“We are dancing in the hollow of nothingness. We are one flesh, but separated like stars.” ~Henry Miller

“Watch the ones whose only option left is to lean into the questions. The ones who are uninhibited by the unknown because they’ve jumped into that gaping hole and found themselves, by grace, unswallowable. Watch the ones who willingly stand with Feist and say, “I feel it all” even when it scares the shit out of them. It’s not brave to have answers.” ~ Mandy Steward

“This will be the most bizarre split second of your entire life. It’s like walking down the street and stepping off a curb you didn’t see coming. Just for a moment, time moves through some kind of warp while your confused foot thinks, Wait— I was expecting the ground but I feel nothing but air. Then suddenly the hovering ends with a rude stomp as time comes hurling back, snapping itself back into place, but in this case along with one appalling realization: You are now a motherless person.” ~Me


Written by Anne Clendening
Anne Clendening was born and raised in L.A. She's a yoga teacher, a writer and occasionally slings cocktails in a Hollywood bar. She could eat chocolate cake for every meal of the day. She has a huge fear of heights and flying. And fire. She wishes she could speak French, play her guitar better and make cannoli. She's probably listening to The Dark Side Of The Moon right now, kickin’ it with her boxer dog and her hot Australian husband ★