Grief Toolkit: Helpful Phrases

My hope is that anyone experiencing deep grief can somehow encounter my “grief toolkit” here.  I am going to list the tools that I used as I was with my husband, Roger, during his cancer diagnosis.  These tools aren’t a panacea for grief.  The truth is that, quite possibly, if you are the grieving person, the emotions that you are experiencing are the most intense and painful that you have ever known.  This can be if you are grieving the actual loss of a person, a pet, anticipating the loss of someone, or undergoing the loss of a relationship or a job.  There are so many ways that we experience loss, yet oftentimes we don’t understand our own coping mechanisms (or what we can do) when the pain hits.

All phrases are from Joan Halifax’s “Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death“.  She is amazing and the book is amazing.  I read it over and over and over when Roger was facing the end of his life.

My personal favorites:

1. May I be honest with myself and others about my experience of suffering and loss.

2. May I find the inner resources to be present with my sorrow.

3. I forgive myself for mistakes made and things left undone.


Phrases for dying person: (p.162)

1. May I accept my anger, fear, and sadness, knowing that my heart is not limited by these feelings.

2. May all those I leave behind be safe and peaceful.

3. May I remember my consciousness is much vaster than this body as I let go of this body.

4. May I be open to the unknown as I leave behind the unknown.

5. May I live and die in ease.


Phrases for caregivers: (p. 100)

1. May my love for others flow boundlessly.

2. May the power of loving-kindness sustain me.

3. May I find the inner resources to truly be able to give.

4. May I remain in peace and let go of expectations.

5. May I offer my care and presence unconditionally, knowing it may be met by gratitude, indifference, anger, or anguish.

6. May I offer love, knowing that I cannot control the course of life, suffering, or death.

7. May I see my limits compassionately, just as I view the suffering of others.

8. May I accept things as they are.


Questions? Contact me at

[email protected]

Comments are closed.