30 Death Anniversary Quotes for a Son or Son-in-Law


When your son died, you may have received cards, plants, meals, and other gifts from your extended family and friends. Some of them may have also reached out to you on the first anniversary of your son’s death. Unfortunately, fewer probably remembered the second, third, or twenty-third anniversary.

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As you approach another death anniversary, you may be frustrated that none of your friends or family members seem to remember this important date. You might want to share a quote on your social media pages to let others know that this particular day is harder than most. 

Here are some quotes to share on the death anniversary of your son or son-in-law. 

1 Year Death Anniversary Quotes for a Son

You may be dreading the first death anniversary of your son. This date marks the end of “firsts” (your first Mother’s Day without your son, his first birthday in Heaven, etc.). This date may cause you to feel a wide variety of emotions, and you may be wondering what to do and what to say

Please understand that everyone’s grief is different. However, here are some quotes about life, death, and grief that may ring true to your situation.

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1. “The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.” – Ulysses S. Grant

Perhaps you want to spend the day focusing on those who offered support, love, and encouragement immediately following the death of your son.

2. “In a world of such beauty as birds in flight, surely I can come to feel at home again, even after my loss.” – Martha Whitmore Hickman

Hickman wrote several self-help books. 

3. “He that conceals his grief finds no remedy for it.” – Turkish Proverb

Pretending that you are over your grief will not help you learn to live with it.

4. “Grief makes one hour ten.” – William Shakespeare

You may feel like the last year felt more like ten years. 

5. “Grief drives men into habits of serious reflection, sharpens the understanding, and softens the heart.” – John Adams

You may feel like you have fundamentally changed since the loss of your child.

6. “Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

We like these honest words from poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.

7. “This is what I have learned: Within the sorrow, there is grace. When we come close to those things that break us down, we touch those things that also break us open.” - Wayne Muller

Muller wrote the book A Life of Being, Having and Doing Enough

8. “The road through grief is a rocky one. Traveling along it requires courage, patience, wisdom, and hope.” – Candy Lightner

Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

9. “Sorrow makes us all children again – destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We love this quote by this transcendentalist thinker and writer.

10 Year Death Anniversary Quotes for a Son

You may be shocked to discover 10 years have passed since the death of your son. What will you do on this significant anniversary? Here are some quotes about grief that you may appreciate as you face this date.

10. “I think of the trees and how simply they let go, let fall the riches of a season, how without grief (it seems) they can let go and go deep into their roots for renewal and sleep....Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.” – May Sarton

You may not be ready to hear these words from Sarton. However, please note that she is not suggesting that you let go of the memories of your son. Instead, this quote suggests that you let go of the pain of grief.

11. “Grief is still my advisor; sometimes it is a friend and reminds me of my humble place in the universe; opening life to the mysterious gifts of awe and gratitude. At other times it casts me down and turns my heart of stone.” – Beth W. McLeod

McLeod is the author of Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss, and Renewal.

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12. “Ah, woe is me! Winter is come and gone, // But grief returns with the revolving year.” – Percy Bysshe Shelly 

Shelly was the father of Mary Shelly, the author of Frankenstein.

13. “I have emerged from the tunnel of grief into the light. Life is better. Not the same, but good and getting better all the time.” – Dr. Joyce Brothers 

Brothers died in 2013. 

14. “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” – Henry Havelock Ellis

We love this quote because it reminds us that your grief will never completely disappear.

15. “Today I have a choice. I can think about the past and mourn my losses or I can embrace the future and live in hope.” – Anonymous

You may not be ready to embrace the future on the death anniversary of your child.

Religious Death Anniversary Quotes for a Son

Your faith probably plays a significant role in how you view death. Here are some quotes about death and grief from a religious perspective. 

16. “Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He’s going to be up all night anyway.” – Mary C. Crowley

Crowley wrote several books, including Daily Devotions for Women.

17. “While we are mourning the loss of our friend, others are rejoicing to meet him behind the veil.” – John Taylor

The phrase “behind the veil” was often used during the Victorian era when speaking about the afterlife. 

18. “I can assure you that those who have already passed have not only made it to the Other Side, but are in a state of bliss.” – Sylvia Browne

Browne is the author of Journal of Love & Healing.

19. “Tears are God’s gift to us. Our holy water. They heal us as they flow.” – Rita Schiano

You may look at crying differently now that you have heard tears referred to as “our holy water.”

20. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

This is a beautiful reminder of how to live through difficult times. 

21. “It is the will of God and Nature that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life; ’tis rather an embryo state, a preparation for living; a man is not completely born until he be dead: Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals?” – Benjamin Franklin

You might appreciate this Christian view of death by one of the fathers of our country.

Non-Religious Death Anniversary Quotes for a Son

Here are some quotes about death that don’t mention God or the afterlife.

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22. “And Joy is Everywhere; // It is in the Earth’s green covering of grass; // In the blue serenity of the Sky; // In the reckless exuberance of Spring; // In the severe abstinence of gray Winter; // In the Living flesh that animates our bodily frame; // In the perfect poise of the Human figure, noble and upright; // In Living; // In the exercise of all our powers; // In the acquisition of Knowledge; // in fighting evils… // Joy is there Everywhere.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Tagore is described as a poet, writer, playwright, composer, philosopher, social reformer, and painter. 

23. “Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” – Emily Dickinson

We love this quote from a poem written by the Belle of Amherst.

24. “I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Anne Morrow Lindbergh was an aviator and wife of Charles Lindbergh.

25. “There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.” – Unknown

This practical view of death may be what you need to hear today.

Condolence Quotes to Share With a Loved One on Their Son’s Death Anniversary

What do you say to someone who has experienced a heartbreaking tragedy? Here are some quotes about grief you might want to share with a friend on the death anniversary of their son.

26. “Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, May looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.” – Unknown

Hopefully, this will give some solace to your friend who is hurting.

27. “Grief and sadness knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger than common joys.” – Alphonse de Lamartine

Have you also lost your son? You may feel a close connection to others with similar experiences.

28. “Grief is a journey, often perilous and without clear direction, that must be taken. The experience of grieving cannot be ordered or categorized, hurried or controlled, pushed aside or ignored indefinitely. It is inevitable as breathing, as change, as love. It may be postponed, but it will not be denied.” – Molly Fumia

Fumia wrote Safe Passage: Words to Help the Grieving.

29. “A cut finger is numb before it bleeds; it bleeds before it hurts, it hurts until it begins to heal; it forms a scab and itches until finally, the scab is gone and a small scar is left where once there was a wound. Grief is the deepest wound you ever had. Like a cut finger, it goes through stages, and leaves a scar.” – Unknown 

We hope you appreciate this description of grief.

30. “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak // Whispers the o’er fraught heart and bids it break.” – William Shakespeare 

Perhaps your friend needs reminding that you can provide a listening ear.

When Words Aren’t Enough

While our intentions are good, we understand that some of these platitudes may irritate you. Please know that those around you may not know what to say when offering sympathy messages on the loss of a child

Whether you lost your son last year or twelve years ago, you might consider joining a grief support group or talking with a pastor or counselor.

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