death - death 3

Death is the golden key that
opens the palace of eternity.

John Milton


The first sign of love to God is not to be afraid of death, and to be always waiting for it.  For death unites the friend to his or her friend-- the seeker to the object which he or she seeks.


When the time comes, I will know that death is a homecoming, not a wrench that leaves a bruise on my spirit.  Death is not the shadow but the light beyond the shadow.  My spirit will return to its resting place in a long, slow glide toward peace.

Scottish meditation

I think on death as the apparent end
of the illusions that encompass us.
They all have a sudden and unexpected end,
that challenges any faith we have pinned to their worth.

Vachel Lindsay


It is a sad weakness in us, after all, that the thought of a person's death consecrates him or her anew to us.  It is as if life were not sacred too, as if it were comparatively a small thing to fail in love and reverence to the brother or sister who has to climb the whole toilsome mountain with us.  It seems as if all our tears and tenderness were due to the one who is spared that hard journey.

George Eliot


Death twitches my ear.
"Live," he says, "I am coming."



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It singeth low in every heart,
We hear it each and all,--
A song of those who answer not,
However we may call;
They throng the silence of the breast,
We see them as of yore,--
The kind, the brave, the true, the sweet,
Who walk with us no more.

John White Chadwick


Our dead brothers and sisters still live for us and bid us think of
life, not death--of life to which in their youth they lent the passion
and glory of Spring.  As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy
begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen
powers and destinies of good and evil, our trumpets sound once
more a note of daring, hope, and will.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


Like Confucius of old, I am so absorbed in the wonder of the earth
and the life upon it, that I cannot think of heaven and the angels.

Pearl S. Buck


From the play Our Town --Emily, a young mother who has died, has come back to earth for one day to spend time with her friends and family, who don't know she's there.


I can't.  I can't go on.  It goes so fast.  We don't have time to look at one another.  I didn't realize.  So all that was going on and we never noticed.  Take me back--up the hill--to my grave.  But first, wait!  One more look.
   Good-by; good-by, world; good-by, Grovers Corners. . . Mama and papa.  Good-by to clocks ticking. . . and Mama's sunflowers.  And food and coffee.  And new-ironed dresses and hot baths. . . and sleeping and waking up.  Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.  (She looks toward the stage manager and asks abruptly through her tears) Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?--every, every minute?

Stage Manager:
No.  (Pause) The saints and poets, maybe--they do some.

I'm ready to go back.

Thornton Wilder


There is no cure for birth or death save to enjoy the interval.

George Santayana


We don't know life:  how can we know death?



The nearer I approach death the more I feel like
one who is in sight of land at last and is about
to anchor in one's home port after a long voyage.




Life may be considered altogether as a dream,
and death as the awakening from sleep.

Artur Schopenhauer


Only familiarity with the thought of death creates true, inward
freedom from material things. The ambition, greed, and love
of power that we keep in our hearts, that shackle us to this life
in chains of bondage, cannot in the long run deceive
the person who looks death in the face.

Albert Schweitzer
"Thoughts for Our Times"


Without a reminder of death, we tend to take life for granted, often becoming
lost in endless pursuits of self-gratification.  When we keep death at our fingertips,
it reminds us not to hold on to life too tightly.  Maybe we take ourselves and our
ideas a little less seriously.  We let go a little more easily.  When we recognize
that death comes to everyone, we appreciate that we are all in the same boat,
together.  This helps us to become a bit kinder and gentler with one another.

Frank Ostaseski
The Five Invitations

A person may by custom fortify him or herself against pain, shame
and suchlike accidents; but as to death, we can experience it
but once, and we are all apprentices when we come to it.

Michel de Montaigne

There is nothing that Nature has made necessary which is more easy
than death; we are longer coming into the world than going out of it;
and there is not any minute of our lives wherein we may not reasonably
expect it.  Nay, it is but a moment's work, the parting of the soul and
body.  What a shame is it then to stand in fear of anything
so long that is over so soon!

Lucius Seneca


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


It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary,
and so universal as death should ever have been
designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.

Jonathan Swift

The fear of death is indeed the pretense of wisdom, and not real
wisdom, being a pretense of knowing the unknown; and no one
knows whether death, which people in their fear apprehend
to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.



Practically all the progress that humans have made
is due to the fact that they are mortal. . . .
If there were no death, life would become a thing
stagnant, monotonous, and unspeakably burdensome.

Robert W. Mackenna

When his great friend Hui-Tzu heard that the sage Chuang Tzu's wife had died, he immediately went to console him.  But when he arrived at Chuang Tzu's house he found him singing and drumming on an old tub in front of his wife's coffin.

Hui Tzu was shocked, and said, "When a wife has lived with her husband and raised children, and then dies in old age, it would be difficult to hold back tears.  But isn't it a bit extreme to sing and drum?"

Chuang Tzu said, "No, it's not.  When she first died, it was impossible for me not to mourn for her like everyone else.  But then I reflected on the very beginning of her existence when she had not yet been born.  Not only had she no life, but she had no bodily form; not only had she no bodily form, but she had no breath.

"Because of the intermingling of yin and yang, there ensued a change, and she had breath; another change, and there was her bodily form; another change, and there came birth and life.  Now there is another change, and she is dead.  The relation between these things is like the procession of the four seasons from spring to summer, from autumn to winter.

"Now she lies at peace in her coffin, and if I were to fall about sobbing and wailing, it would look as if I did not understand the ways of destiny.  I therefore controlled myself."


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As we climbed up the mountain and came to where I thought
the horizon would be, it had disappeared--another horizon was
waiting further on.  I was disappointed, but also excited in an
unfamiliar way.  Each new level had revealed a new world.
Against this perspective, death can be understood as the final horizon.
Beyond there, the deepest well of your identity awaits you.  In that
well, you will behold the beauty and light of your eternal face.

John O'Donohue

Life is a great surprise.  I do not see why death
should not be an even greater one.

Vladimir Nabokov


Death is the final event, at least for our bodies.  Of course the belief
that there is some kind of existence after death is, psychologically, a very
powerful concept that can bring consolation or fear.  But the lure of heaven
or the threat of hell robs life of its profound mystery and unplumbed depths,
because as long as there is an imagined future more important than this
moment, the present remains relatively shallow.

Richard Moss


Dying is a wild night and a new road.

Emily Dickinson




Fear dying if you must.  It takes us from the only life we know,
and that is a worthy loss to mourn.  But do not fear death.
It is something too great to celebrate, too great to fear.  Either
it brings us to a judgment, so it is ours to control by the kind
of life we live, or it annihilates us into the great rhythm of nature,
and we join the eternal peace of the revolving heavens.

Kent Nerburn


For the first four years after she died, I felt like an orphan.
Then one night she came to me in a dream, and from that moment on,
I no longer felt her death as a loss.  I understood that she had never
died, that my sorrow was based on an illusion. . . . The reality of my
mother was beyond birth or death.  She did not exist because of birth,
nor cease to exist because of death.  I saw that being and non-being
are not separate. . . . Being able to see my mother in a dream, I realized
that I could see my mother everywhere.

Thich Nhat Hanh


The grave is the first stage of the journey into eternity.


Death has always been pictured as a dark angel, as a
sinister figure.  I wonder if the metaphor of going home
to a mother, to a father, isn't a better and more accurate one.

Norman Vincent Peale

There is no death.  Only a change of worlds.

Chief Seattle


The grave is but a covered bridge leading
from light to light, through a brief darkness.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow



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The act of dying is also one of the acts of life.

Marcus Aurelius


Death is the enlightener.  The essential thing concerning it must be that it
opens the closed eyes, draws down the veil of blinding mortality,
and lets the person see spiritual things.

Phillips Brooks


We have come to look upon life as a conflict with death--the intruding
enemy, not the natural ending--in impotent quarrel with which we spend
every stage of it.  When the time comes for youth to depart, we would
hold it back by main force.  When the fervour of desire slackens, we
would revive it with fresh fuel of our own devising.  When our sense
organs weaken, we urge them to keep up their efforts.  Even when our
grip has relaxed we are reluctant to give up possession.  We are not
trained to recognize the inevitable as natural, and so cannot give up
gracefully that which has to go, but needs must wait till it is snatched
from us.  The truth comes as conqueror only because
we have lost the art of receiving it as guest.

Rabindranath Tagore


death - death 3

I believe that whether we can live a truly satisfying life to the
end depends to a considerable extent on how we view death.
Sadly, many older people are anxious and fearful about death.
But, as a Buddhist, I find it helpful to compare the cycles of life
and death to the daily rhythms of waking and sleeping.  Just as
we look forward to the rest sleep brings after the efforts and
exertions of the day, death can be seen as a welcome period
of rest and re-energizing in preparation for a new round of
active life.  And just as we enjoy the best sleep after a day in
which we have done our very best, a calm and easy death can
only follow a life lived to the fullest without any regrets.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day

If we have lost someone who is very close to us and we are grieving, the
concentrations on emptiness and signlessness help us look deeply and see
the ways in which they still continue.  Our loved one is still alive within us
and around us.  They are very real.  We have not lost them.  It is possible to
still recognize them in a different form or in even more beautiful forms than
in the past.  In the light of emptiness and interbeing we know they have not
died or disappeared: they continue in their actions and in us.  We can still
talk to them.  We can say something like, I know you are there.  Im
breathing for you.  Im smiling for you.  Im enjoying looking around with
your eyes.  I am enjoying life with you.  I know that you are still there
very close to me, and that now you continue in me.

Thich Nhat Hanh
The Art of Living


Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

John Donne



This novel was written as a tribute to my mother and the town she grew up in--Crested Butte, Colorado, a mountain coal mining town.  The town of her youth bore no resemblance to the CB of today, though, and the town that I visited when I was young was filled with run-down houses and buildings.  It was a dying mining town until it was turned into a ski resort, and the town of the novel is an idea of what it might have become with a few more decades of neglect, when a trio of creatures escapes from a sealed-off mine intent on exacting revenge upon the people of the town.  They've been living in the mine and caverns for sixty years, and they're really, really angry.
A horror novel on this kind of website?  Of course, because reading can be fun, too.  It's not a gore-fest (I really do dislike those), but more a study of how people react to adversity, and how the sins of our fathers sometimes do come back to haunt us many, many years later.
$2.99 on Kindle.



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