Life is a great surprise. I do
not see why
be an even greater one.
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.
is a wild night and a new road. -Emily
It was not until after the coming of Christ
time and humans could breathe freely. It was not until
after him that people began
to live toward the future. Humans do not
die in a ditch like a dog--but at home
history, while the work toward
the conquest of death is
in full swing;
they die sharing in this work.
is not the enemy of life, but its friend, for it is the
knowledge that our years are limited which makes them so
precious. It is the truth that time is but lent to us
which makes us, at our best, look upon our years as a
trust handed into our temporary keeping.
-Joshua Loth Liebman
If we really believed that those who
are gone from us were as truly alive as ourselves,
could not invest the subject with such awful depth of
gloom as we do. If we could imbue
our children with
distinct faith in immortality, we should never speak of
people as dead,
but passed into another world. We should
speak of the body as a cast-off garment, which
had outgrown; consecrated indeed by the beloved being
that used it for a season,
but of no value within itself. -Lydia Maria Child
There is, I know not
how, a certain presage, as it were,
of a future existence;
and this takes the deepest root,
and is most discoverable,
in the greatest geniuses
and most exalted souls.
I believe in the
of the soul because
I have within me immortal longings.
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.
Death is the golden key
opens the palace of eternity. -John Milton
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,
Day by Day
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?
No. (Pause) The saints and poets, maybe--they do some.
I'm ready to go back.
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
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
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
A person may by custom
fortify him or herself
against pain, shame and suchlike
but as to death, we can experience it but once,
and we are all apprentices when we come to it.
-Michel de Montaigne
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.
We don't know life:
how can we know
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. -Seth
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
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
is too bad that dying is the last thing we do, because it could
teach us so much about living. -Robert M.
is the end of a stage, not the end of the journey. The road
stretches on beyond our comprehension.
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
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
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
Beyond there, the deepest well of your identity awaits you. In
well, you will behold the beauty and light of your eternal face.
Life may be considered
altogether as a dream,
and death as the awakening
from sleep. -Artur
impossible that anything so natural, so necessary,
and so universal as
death should ever
have been designed by Providence as an evil to
Krishnamurti, one of the most revered spiritual teachers of this
century, once asked a small group of listeners what they would say
to a close friend who is about to die. Their answers dealt
with assurances, words about beginnings and endings, and various
gestures of compassion. Krishnamurti stopped them
short. There is only one thing you can say to give your
deepest comfort, he said. Tell him that in his death a part
of you also dies and goes with him. Wherever he goes, you go
also. He will not be alone. -Larry Dossey,
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