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Death has an energy. It is thick as sludge, heavy as iron, and pulls you down into yourself like an imploding building.

VICTORIA LAURIE, Death Perception

Death is a process, not an event, despite medical and legal imperatives to give it a date and hour.

JAMES W. GREEN, Beyond the Good Death

Death is not a self-evident phenomenon. The margins between life and death are socially and culturally constructed, mobile, multiple, and open to dispute and reformulation.


Death--some form of termination--is the universal ending of all living things; but only man, by virtue of his verbally reportable introspective life, can conceptualize his own cessation.

EDWIN SHNEIDMAN, A Commonsense Book of Death

Whether or not enlightenment is possible at the moment of death, the practices that prepare one for this possibility also bring one closer to the bone of life.

JOAN HALIFAX, Being with Dying

Death tripped down the corridor, changing step, struck out here and there, danced pirouettes; often I felt his breath on my face when he was miles away; often I fell asleep and dreamed while he stood leaning over my bed.

ARTHUR KOESTLER, Dialogue with Death

Death will get you sober.

ELIZABETH ZELVIN, Death Will Get You Sober

Even if those who take their own lives feel they have no choice--indeed, they often tragically believe their family and friends will be better off without them--the death rarely appears inevitable to those left behind. Feelings of anger and guilt and abandonment invade them, as if love should or could have prevented what happened. Survivors relive, over and over, the last days and months, even years, before the suicide, seeing now the signs that were missed, which they believe they should have recognized.

SUSAN STERLING, "The Quilt People"

In accepting death as inevitable, we don't label it as a good thing or a bad thing. As one of my teachers once said to me, "Death happens. It is just death, and how we meet it is up to us."

JOAN HALIFAX, Being with Dying

When death occurs, death as you know it, the universe embraces you and takes you to its heart.

ROSEMARY ALTEA, A Matter of Life and Death

If thou hadst a good conscience thou wouldst not greatly fear death.

THOMAS A. KEMPIS, The Imitation of Christ

There is no single best kind of death. A good death is one that is "appropriate" for that person. It is a death in which the hand of the way of dying slips easily into the glove of the act itself. It is in character, ego-syntonic. It, the death, fits the person. It is a death that one might choose if it were realistically possible for one to choose one's own death.

EDWIN SHNEIDMAN, A Commonsense Book of Death

Now death is death! and yet is not one death
Another death? Stabbing is not the same
As shooting! Would you say a strangled man
Was drown'd? The end is one, the means are many,
And there the difference lies!


The death anxiety of many people is fueled ... by disappointment at never having fulfilled their potential. Many people are in despair because their dreams didn't come true, and they despair even more that they did not make them come true. A focus on this deep dissatisfaction is often the starting point in overcoming death anxiety.

IRVIN D. YALOM, Staring at the Sun

Life is hard, but death is even harder.

PETER KREEFT, Between Heaven and Hell

Death cannot touch the higher consciousness of man ... it can only separate those who love each other so far as their lower vehicles are concerned; the man living on earth, blinded by matter, feels separated from those who have passed onwards, but ... there is no such thing as Death at all.

ANNIE WOOD BESANT, Death--and After

Death, I am told, is as easy and as simple as going to sleep and then awakening. Our etheric body slips out of the physical body, carrying the mind with it, and we awake to our new surroundings to find our friends and relations ready to help and instruct us in our new life. Death is simply the severance of this etheric body or structure from the physical body. The physical body returns to earth, and the etheric body, controlled by the mind, continues to function in the etheric world which, though within and also without the physical, yet cannot be appreciated by us so long as we are inhabitants of the physical body. Our range of sight and touch is too confined for us to appreciate these finer vibrations.

J. ARTHUR FINDLAY, On the Edge of the Etheric

What happens when the thought of death occurs, this very simple and basic thought about death, that I will most certainly die, and that you will most certainly die, is that all these other questions are stripped down to basic, that the very basis for knowledge and existence is shivering, whether one is trembling in tears for another or oneself shivering in anxiety and awe. Hence, at the end we return to the place where we began, at the graveside.


Death is not earnest in the same way the eternal is. To the earnestness of death belongs precisely that remarkable capacity for awakening, that resonance of a profound mockery which, detached from the thought of the eternal, is an empty and often brash jest, but together with the thought of the eternal is just what it should be, utterly different from the insipid solemness which least of all captures and holds a thought with tension like that of death.


Death is a Pepsi truck with no place to go. Dying is wham, feeling like the world's biggest fuck-up and being jerked up and out of it all. Like a puppy being lifted out of its box by the nape of its neck. Like a chess piece being removed from the board by an angry player. Wham, jerk, gone.

DAN SIMMONS, Lovedeath

Each heart has its graveyard, each household its dead,
And knells ring around us wherever we tread,
And the feet that awhile made our pathway so bright
Pass on to a land that is out of our sight.

MARY T. LATHRAP, "Unfinished Lines"

On every blessing lent to man
Are traces of the Grave.

WILLIAM B. TAPPAN, "Beauty in the Grave"

It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more.

J. K. ROWLING, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Death is the fate no one can escape. The question, then, is, How does one die? A person can die like a hero or like a coward. The difference is that the hero can face death without fear, whereas the coward can't.


In every cradle decked with rosy wreath
Lurk germs of death.


Health care is, at its core, about improving the odds of life in its struggle against death. Of extending that game which we will all lose, each and every one of us unto eternity, extending it another year or month or second.

KEITH OLBERMANN, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Oct. 7, 2009

Death, like birth, is one of nature's mysteries, the combining of primal elements and dissolving of the same into the same.


Death fosters life that life may suckle death.

SRI AUROBINDO, Vasavadutta

Think what you like. There are people who die by remaining alive and others who gain life by dying.


To die alone, on rock under sun at the brink of the unknown, like a wolf, like a great bird, seems to me very good fortune indeed.

EDWARD ABBEY. "The Dead Man at Grandview Point", Desert Solitaire

The death for the driver was egregiously bad: being impaled is never anyone's exit of choice.

JEFF ABBOTT, The Last Minute

A dead man's shroud has no pockets.

KEN ALSTAD, Savvy Sayin's

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