What We Have Once Enjoyed We Can Never Lose . . . All That We Love Deeply Becomes a Part of Us

Helen Keller? Anne Sullivan? Sherokee Ilse? Kathy R. Floyd? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The loss of a companion is heartbreaking. The following viewpoint has provided solace to many:

What we have once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.

These words have been attributed to the deaf-blind social activist Helen Keller, but I have been unable to find a citation. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: In 1929 Helen Keller published the book “We Bereaved” for individuals experiencing grief. The passage below contains two sentences that overlap the statement under investigation, and QI conjectures that these sentences were altered over time to yield the modern statement. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. A sunset, a mountain bathed in moonlight, the ocean in calm and in storm—we see these, love their beauty, hold the vision to our hearts. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.

Interestingly, Keller decided to communicate the idea of the enduring presence of the departed via a passage filled with visual imagery.

Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading What We Have Once Enjoyed We Can Never Lose . . . All That We Love Deeply Becomes a Part of Us

Notes:

  1. 1929, We Bereaved by Helen Keller, Quote Page 2, Leslie Fulenwider Inc., New York. (Verified with scans)