Death 2    

Quotes for
the Journey:


People living deeply
have no fear of death.

Anais Nin

Death is by no means separate from life. . . . We all interact with death every day, tasting it as we might a wine, feeling its keen edge even in trifling losses and disappointments, holding it by the hand, as a dancer might a partner, in every separation.       -Eugene Kennedy

Death is simply a shedding of the physical body, like the butterfly coming out of a cocoon. . . . It's like putting away your winter coat when spring comes.       -Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross


Master Tanzan, on the day of his death, called upon his assistant to send a batch of identical postcards.  Each one said simply:  "I am departing this world.  There will be no further messages.  Tanzan."       -traditional Zen Buddhist story

Science says: "We must live," and seeks the means of prolonging, increasing, facilitating and amplifying life, of making it tolerable and acceptable; wisdom says:  "We must die," and seeks how to make us die well.        -Miguel de Unamuno
We treat death as a tragedy, as an ending of the good times.  But what if we could think of it as it really is in nature, a process of physical change, an inevitable transformation, something you cannot alter and so must accept?  Then it's possible to look directly at it instead of turning away in fear, to examine it instead of shunning it in denial.       -Mark Forstater

I am not going to die.  I'm going home like a shooting star.       -Sojourner Truth

Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.
-George Bernard Shaw
The deep pain that is felt at the death of every friendly soul arises from the feeling that there is in every individual something which is inexpressible, peculiar to him or her alone and is therefore absolutely and irretrievably lost.
-Artur Schopenhauer
Do not fear death, but welcome it, since it too comes from nature.  For just as we are young and grow old, and flourish and reach maturity, have teeth and a beard and grey hairs, conceive, become pregnant, and bring forth new life, and all the other natural processes that follow the seasons of our existence, so also do we have death.
   A thoughtful person will never take death lightly, impatiently, or scornfully, but will wait for it as one of life's natural processes.        -Marcus Aurelius

We find by losing.  We hold fast by letting go.  We become something new by ceasing to be something old.  This seems to be close to the heart of that mystery.  I know no more now than I ever did about the far side of death as the last letting-go of all, but now I know that I do not need to know, and that I do not need to be afraid of not knowing.  God knows.  That is all that matters.        -Frederick Buechner


So proud she was to die
It made us all ashamed
That what we cherished, so unknown
To her desire seemed.

So satisfied to go
Where none of us should be,
Immediately, that anguish stooped
Almost to jealousy.

Emily Dickinson

The idea of full dress is preparation for a battle comes not from a belief that it will add to the fighting ability.  The preparation is for death, in case that should be the result of the conflict.  Every Indian wants to look his or her best when they go to meet the Great Spirit, so the dressing up is done whether an imminent danger is an oncoming battle or a sickness or injury at times of peace.      -Wooden Leg (Cheyenne)
It is equally pointless to weep because we won't be alive a hundred years from now as that we were not here a hundred years ago.        -Michel de Montaigne
If some persons died, and others did not die, death would indeed be a terrible affliction.       -Jean de la Bruyere

Death stands above me, whispering low
I know not what into my ear;
Of his strange language all I know
Is, there is not a word of fear.

Walter Savage Landor


Our creator would never have made such lovely days and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.       -Nathaniel Hawthorne


Winter is on my head but eternal spring is in my heart.  The nearer I approach the end, the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the world to come.  For half a century I have been writing my thoughts in prose and verse; but I feel that I have not said one-thousandth part of what is in me.  When I have gone down to the grave I shall have ended my life's work; but another day will begin the next morning.  Life closes in the twilight but opens with the dawn.        -Victor Hugo


He is not dead, this friend; not dead,
Gone some few, trifling steps ahead,
And nearer to the end;
So that you, too, once past the bend,
Shall meet again, as face to face, this friend
You fancy dead.

Robert Louis Stevenson


We are born for a higher destiny than that of earth; there is a realm where the rainbow never fades, where the stars will be spread before us like islands that slumber on the ocean, and where the beings that pass before us like shadows will stay in our presence forever.        -Edward Bulwer-Lytton


The Reaper
and the Flowers
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
And the flowers that grow between.

"Shall I have naught that is fair?" saith he;
"Have naught but the bearded grain?
Though the breath of these flowers is
sweet to me,
I will give them all back again."

He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
He kissed their drooping leaves;
It was for the Lord of Paradise
He bound them in his sheaves.

"My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,"
The Reaper said, and smiled;
"Dear tokens of the earth are they,
Where he was once a child.

"They shall all bloom in fields of light,
Transplanted by my care,
And saints, upon their garments white,
These sacred blossoms wear."

And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
The flowers she most did love;
She knew she should find them all again
In the fields of light above.

Oh, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The Reaper came that day;
'T was an angel visited the green earth,
And took the flowers away.

Death 2   

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."      -Virgil
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.
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
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.       -Cicero
There is no cure for birth or death save to enjoy the interval.       -George Santayana
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

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.       -Plato
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
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
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."

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

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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
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

Death 2   

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