death - death 2

Death is not putting out the light.
It is only extinguishing a lamp
because the day has come.

Rabindranath Tagore


All human beings are like travelers floating down the eternal river of time, embarking at a certain point and disembarking again at another point in order to make room for others waiting below the river to come aboard.

Lin Yutang

In the Buddhist approach, life and death are seen as one whole, where death is the beginning of another chapter of life.  Death is the mirror in which the entire meaning of life is reflected.

Sogyal Rinpoche

We've discovered that the earth isn't flat; that we won't fall off its edges, and our experience as a species has changed as a result.  Maybe we'll soon find out that the self isn't "flat" either, and that death is as real and yet as deceptive as the horizon; that we don't fall out of life either.



Naturally, the first thing the doctors told me about the accident was that even if she survived she'd never be the same; she might be paralyzed or have permanent brain damage.  And do you know, in my maternal selfishness the only thing I cared about was that she should stay alive; it didn't matter in what state.  Indeed, pushing her wheelchair, washing her, spoonfeeding her, looking after her as my life's sole purpose--that would be the best way to expiate my guilt.  If my love had been genuine, if I had loved her with all my heart, I would have prayed for her death.  But in the end Someone loved her more than I did:  late in the afternoon on the ninth day, that vague smile disappeared from her face and she died.

Susanna Tamaro


Surely death acquires a new and deeper significance when we regard it
no longer as a single and unexplained break in an unending life, but as
a part of the continuously recurring rhythm of progress--as inevitable,
as natural and benevolent as sleep.

J. McTaggart


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It is too bad that dying is the last thing we do,
because it could teach us so much about living.

Robert M. Herhold

Death is the end of a stage, not the end of the journey.
The road stretches on beyond our comprehension.

Oliver Lodge

When any living thing has come to the end of its cycle, we accept that end
as natural.  When that intangible cycle has run its course it is a natural
and not unhappy thing that a life comes to its end.

Rachel Carson

Embrace your death. . . . Cherish your awareness of death as a gift from the universe.

Brian Swimme

To die should be the most interesting journey
of all the journeys a person can take.

Jan Willem van de Wetering

Die every day.  Be reborn again every day.

Nikos Kazantzakis

Let life be beautiful like summer flowers
and death be like autumn leaves.

Rabindranath Tagore

What a simple thing death is, just as simple
as the falling of an autumn leaf.

Vincent van Gogh


Ideally, every human being ought to live each passing moment of his
or her life as if the next moment were to be his or her last.  We ought
to be able to live in the constant expectation of immediate death and
to live like this, not morbidly, but serenely.

Arnold Toynbee


Since we live with death, we ought to think of it while living.
To settle accounts, to draw a balance, is important and useful.
The pastors should make it clear that it can be anyone's turn next;
that everyone's turn comes at some point; that to prepare oneself is good.

Peter Noll



When the leaves fall, the whole earth is a cemetery pleasant
to walk in. . . . How beautifully they go to their graves!  How
gently lay themselves down and turn to mould.  They teach us
how to die.  One wonders if the time will ever come when people,
with our boasted faith in immortality, will lie down as gracefully and
ripe--with such an Indian-summer serenity will shed our bodies.

Henry David Thoreau


Perhaps the best cure for the fear of death is to reflect that life
has a beginning as well as an end.  There was a time when you were not:
that gives us no concern.  Why then should it trouble us that a time will
come when we shall cease to be?  To die is only to be
as we were before we were born.

William Hazlitt


Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I lay me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be:
Home is the sailor, home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

Robert Louis Stevenson


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For myself, I do not need to look in terms of survival after death.
I feel myself to be a part of the known properties of the earth's family,
and that is enough.  One day, the breath I have been privileged to use
will become again a part of the earth's family being. . . . If there is another
place to catch up with the "breath," I hope it will be as challenging as
it has been here; but if it does not exist, it is enough that I have lived.

Eileen D. Garrett

We are spirits.  That bodies should be lent us while they afford us pleasure,
assist us in acquiring knowledge or in doing good to our fellow-creatures,
is a kind of benevolent act of God.  When they become unfit for these purposes
and afford us pain instead of pleasure, instead of an aid become an encumbrance
and answer none of these intentions for which they were given, it is equally
kind and benevolent that a way is provided by which we
get rid of them.  Death is that way.

Benjamin Franklin


A human life has seasons much as the earth has seasons, each time
with its own particular beauty and power.  And gift.  By focusing on
springtime and summer, we have turned the natural process of life
into a process of loss rather than a process of celebration and
appreciation.  Life is neither linear nor stagnant.  It is movement
from mystery to mystery.  Just as a year includes autumn
and winter, life includes death, not as an opposite but as
an integral part of the way life is made.

Rachel Naomi Remen

Death is a challenge.  It tells us not to waste time.  It tells us
to tell each other right now that we love each other.

Leo Buscaglia

In the Mahabharata, a Hindu sacred text, one of life's great mysteries
is said to be how ordinary mortals go through their lives surrounded
by death, yet they don't believe they will die.  The meaning of this
observation is that although we know intellectually that we are going
to die, we do not live as if that were a reality; we do not consciously let
the real certainty of death guide us in how we choose to live day by day.

Richard Moss


There are so many little dyings every day, it doesn't matter which on of them is death.

Kenneth Patchen

I have died so little today, friend, forgive me.

Thomas Lux


For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun.

Khalil Gibran

Why is it we are afraid of death?--as most people are.  Frightened of what?  Do please observe your own fears of what we call death-- being frightened of coming to the end of the battle we call living.  We are frightened of the unknown, what might happen; we are frightened of leaving the known things, the family, the books, the attachment to our house and furniture, to the people near us.  We are frightened to let go of the things known; and the known is this living in sorrow, pain, and despair, with occasional flashes of joy; there is no end to this constant struggle; that is what we call living--of that we are frightened to let go. . . . Can one die to everything that is "known," psychologically, from day to day?  Can one die, psychologically, to all one's past, to all the attachments, fears, to the anxiety, vanity, and pride, so completely that tomorrow you wake up a fresh human being?

J. Krishnamurti
The Master came, because it was his time to be born; he went,
because it was his time to go away.  Those who accept the natural
course and sequence of things and live in obedience to it
are beyond joy and sorrow.

Chuang Tzu

death - death 2

Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows. . . and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.

John Muir

Death not merely ends life, it also bestows upon it a silent completeness, snatched from the hazardous flux to which all things human are subject.

Elizabeth Arden

No one who is fit to live need fear to die. . . . To us here, death is the most terrible word we know.  But when we have tasted its reality, it will mean to us birth, deliverance, a new creation of ourselves.

G.S. Merriam


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Among our people, how we live and conduct ourselves in the year
following the death of a loved one is very critical.  We believe that
how you are and how you behave and handle your emotions during
that time is how you will be as a person for the rest of your life.  We
believe this because we know that all of life doesn't end
because one life did.  Life goes on.

Joseph M. Marshall III


I am standing on the seashore.  A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.  She is an
object of beauty and strength.  I stand and watch her until at length
she is only a ribbon of white cloud just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.  There!  She is gone!  But someone at my
side says, "Gone where?"  From our sight, that is all.  She is just as
large in mast and hull and spar as when she left our side, and just
as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in us, not in her.  Just at the moment when you
say "There!  She is gone!" other voices are ready to take up the glad
shout:  "There she comes!"  And that is what we call dying.



A little girl lost a playmate in death and one day reported to her family
that she had gone to comfort the sorrowing mother.  "What did you
say?" asked her father.  "Nothing," she replied.  "I just
climbed up on her lap and cried with her."

Charles Swindoll
Killing Giants, Pulling Thorns

Death is nothing at all.  It does not count.  I have only slipped
away into the next room.  Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly
together is untouched, unchanged.  Whatever we were to each
other, that we are still.  Call me by the old familiar name.  Speak
of me in the easy way which you always used.  Put no difference
in your tone.  Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.  Laugh
as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.  Let my name be ever the
household word that it always was.  Let it be spoken without an
effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.  Life means all that
it ever meant.  It is the same as it always was.  There is absolute
and unbroken continuity.  What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?  I am but
waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
just round the corner.  All is well.

Henry Scott Holland

I feel strongly that we've got to tell children about death, and
stop protecting them and giving them concepts that we are
immortal.  We act as if we believe that we are.  Freud said a
lot of really nice things and one thing that he said was so many
of our problems and our inability to live stem from the belief
that we will never die.  We think we have forever.  If you think
about it in the back of your mind, you always think it's the other
person who dies, not you.  Well I have news for you.  We are all
going to die!  That is the most democratic thing that has ever
happened.  No matter who you are, how wealthy you are, how
illustrious you are, how many degrees you have, how fouled
up you've made your life, you're going to die.

Leo Buscaglia
Living, Loving, and Learning


If you don't know how to die, don't worry; Nature will tell you
what to do on the spot, fully and adequately.  She will do this
job perfectly for you; don't bother your head about it.

Michel de Montaigne