By Martha Whitmore Hickman

In case you have suffered the lack of a friend, listed here are energy and considerate phrases to motivate and luxury.

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To watch another suffer is to know the barrier that shuts each of us away by himself. Only individuals can suffer. —EDITH HAMILTON It is all very well to talk about the universality of grief. But at the time of our loss we feel as though we are the only person in the world who has the feelings we have—and we are right. If well-meaning friends say to us, “I know just how you feel,” we inwardly bristle with denial—No, no. You couldn’t know what this is like. Even our closest family members have a different experience than we, and sometimes we stumble all over one another, hurt one another, and feel hurt ourselves because we assume that since we are grieving for the same person, our grief is the same.

JANUARY 23 Life only demands from you the strength you possess. Only one feat is possible—not to have run away. —DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD Sometimes we berate ourselves: Why are we not doing better? Particularly if we are people with any pretense to faith, why can we not muster the resources of faith and be a model of calm acceptance and inner serenity? Because we are human beings and we are hurting. No one worth his or her salt is going to think less of us if we acknowledge the shattering pain this loss has brought.

JANUARY 29 Even desolation is a world to be explored. —SYLVIA TOWNSEND WARNER It is a world we do not want to enter, a world for which we have no hunger. We would turn from it if we could. Yet we find ourselves in it. And our company is a multitude. There is a story of a woman who came to the Buddha seeking help after the death of her child and was told that, for healing, she need only find a mustard seed from a household that had never known sorrow. According to the story, she traveled over all the world in vain, never finding such a household, but found instead—understanding, compassion, friendship, and truth.

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