Death quotes

Death may be the greatest of all human blessings - Socrates

These quotes are collected and categorized by Peter Hunter (


Death is only a launching into the region of the strange Untried; it is but the first salutation to the possibilities of the immense Remote, the Wild, the Watery, the Unshored. - Herman Melville

The longing for order is at the same time a longing for death, because life is an incessant disruption of order - Milan Kundera

Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat. - Ralph Ellison

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. - Steve Jobs

La Petite Mort

In each thing there is an insinuation of death. Stillness, silence, serenity are all apprenticeships. - Federico Garcia Lorca

Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most. - Frank Ostaseski

Death is terrifying because it is so ordinary. It happens all the time. - Susan Cheever

But every moment of life is the last; every poem is a death poem. Why then should I write one at this time. In my last hours, I have no poem. - Matsuo Basho

Definition of Petite Mort: "the brief loss or weakening of consciousness" and in modern usage refers specifically to "the sensation of post orgasm as likened to death." (WIKI)


All stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you. -Ernest Hemingway

Death is only the end if you assume the story is about you - Welcome to Night Vale

When a man no longer confuses himself with the definition others have given him. He is at once universal and unique. Lose yourself to improve yourself. Only when we shed all self-definition do we find who we really are. - RZA

From the perspective of many wisdom traditions, death is seen as the ultimate moment for the complete liberation of the mind from all entanglements, all sorrows, all separateness. - Joan Halifax


We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all. - Joan Didion


The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have. - Søren Kierkegaard

When we worked with people on their deathbed, we would often hear the following three complaints: I wish I had gotten divorced earlier; I wish I had taken a job for love of the work, not money; I wish I had played and enjoyed myself more. - Ondrea Levine

Life and death are of supreme importance. Time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost. Let us awaken, awaken. Do not squander your life. - Michael Stone

Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the small uncaring ways. - Stephen Vincent Benet

We're all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn't. - Charles Bukowski


The nature of civilization everywhere was such that, even with the Greeks, it diverted people’s minds away from the reality of death. - Antal Szerb

It is very difficult to feel convinced that death could happen at any moment. We tend to feel that since we have survived so far, our continuation is secure. But thousands of people die every day, and few of them expected to. - Sangye Khadro

Something has happened to me as a result of my meanderings through consciousness over the past 30 years that has changed my attitude towards death. A lot of the fear that denial of death generated has gone from me. Death does not have to be treated as an enemy for you to delight in life. Keeping death in your consciousness as one of the greatest mysteries and as the moment of incredible transformation imbues this moment with added richness and energy that otherwise is used up in denial - Ram Dass (Link)

Let them sleep by Rumi

Those who don't feel this Love pulling them like a river, those who don't drink dawn like a cup of spring water or take in sunset like supper, those who don't want to change, let them sleep.
This Love is beyond the study of theology, that old trickery and hypocrisy. I you want to improve your mind that way, sleep on.
I've given up on my brain. I've torn the cloth to shreds and thrown it away.
If you're not completely naked, wrap your beautiful robe of words around you, and sleep.
- Rumi

Compas for life

So the beauty of the practice is that we can evaluate our lives even before we are on our deathbed. If we are not living the life we wish to live, how can we change that now, while there is still time? - Ondrea Levine

Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received- only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. - Francis of Assisi

If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life - and only then will I be free to become myself. - Martin Heidegger

There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels. - Sutta 6, Dhammapada

If you want to take care of tomorrow, take better care of today. We always live now. All we have to do is entrust ourselves to the life we live now. - Dainin Katagiri

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - Mahatma Gandhi

You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think. - Marcus Aurelius

At the time of death we don’t want to be sad… It is now, while we are alive, that we have to think about it. In this way, we have to think about it correctly, and to make the right preparation… - Ribur Rinpoche

When people know they are going to die, that last year is often the most loving, most conscious, and most caring — even under conditions of poor concentration, the side effects of medication, and so on. So don’t wait to die until you die. Start practicing now. - Stephen Levine

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. - Steve Jobs

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. - Steve Jobs

While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die. - Leonardo da Vinci

Sooner or later, I hate to break it to you, you're gonna die, so how do you fill in the space between here and there? It's yours. Seize your space. - Margaret Atwood

Since death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing? - Pema Chodron


Analysis of death is not for the sake of becoming fearful but to appreciate this precious lifetime. - Dalai Lama

Not success. Not growth. Not happiness. The cradle of your love of life … is death. - Stephen Jenkinson

Seeing your fear can heighten the sense of gratitude for the preciousness of human birth and the opportunity to practice. - Pema Chodron

Every day I wake up not-dead is a gift - Eric Sun


We’re not going to take any of these unimportant things with us after we die. - Allison Choying Zangmo

No matter your circumstances, you will end up losing everything you love, you will end up aging, you will end up ill and the problem is that we need to figure out how to make that all be alright. - Jane Hirshfield

When we die, we go alone-- no one, not even our closest, dearest loved one, can accompany us. And being unable to accept this and let go of our attachment to our loved ones will cause our mind to be in turmoil and make it very difficult to have a peaceful death. - Sangye Khadro

I mean, whatever kills you kills you, and your death is authentic no matter how you die.- Jerry Garcia

Lev dit eget liv, thi du vil dø din egen død - romersk ordsprog

Life is a spark between two identical voids, the darkness before birth and the one after death. - Irvin D. Yalom

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. - Vladamir Nabokov

I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us. I also know that if we are to live ourselves there comes a point at which we must relinquish the dead, let them go, keep them dead. - Joan Didion


I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. - Mark Twain

We die only once, and for such a long time - Moliere

Just the reality of it

Ere long, alas! this body will lie upon the earth, unheeded and lifeless, like a useless log. - Sutta 41, Dhammapada

No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow. - Euripides

Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust. - Shakespeare

When you look at a corpse you can always sense your own breath better. - Zona Gale

Before long you'll be no one, and nowhere. Like all the things you see now. All the people living. - Marcus Aurelius

Another way to get a sense of your life moving continuously towards death is to imagine being on a train, which is always traveling at a steady speed-- it never slows down or stops, and there is no way that you can get off. This train is continuously bringing you closer and closer to its destination: the end of your life. - Sangye Khadro

I'm writing this book because we're all going to die. - Jack Kerouac

No matter how much you've been warned, Death always comes without knocking. Why now? is the cry. Why so soon? It's the cry of a child being called home at dusk. - Margaret Atwood

Even the worst moments and the weariest journeys must come to an end. - Baroness Orczy

I mean, whatever kills you kills you, and your death is authentic no matter how you die. - Jerry Garcia

Verden knækker os alle / the world breaks us all - Ernest Hemmingway (1899-1961)

Death takes no bribes - Benjamin Franklin

When I was a girl, the idea that the British Empire could ever end was absolutely inconceivable. And it just disappeared, like all the other empires. - Doris Lessing

Other mentions

The world is alive and no living thing has any remedy. That is our fortune. - Roberto Bolano

I hope the leaving is joyful; and I hope never to return. - Frida Kahlo

When you are dead, you do not know that you are dead. All of the pain is felt by others. The same thing happens when you are stupid. - Jack Nicholson

I Ishøj Storcenter mødte jeg engang en ældre krumbøjet mand, der krabbede sig frem med sin rollator. Idet vi passerede hinanden, sagde han: »Jeg har fået min dom«. Jeg kiggede uforstående på ham, og han fortsatte: »Alderdom«. Vi grinede begge, og jeg gav ham ret: Han havde fået livets strengeste straf.

  • Ib Ulbæk

David Rehling
»Jovist, som allerede de gamle romere konstaterede: ’Døden er vis, kun timen er usikker’. Forvisningen om døden kan også være trøst: Det får dog en ende alt sammen – på et eller andet tidspunkt.

Gennem mine egne levede 70 år er jeg nået frem til, at viden om livets skrøbelighed er en tilskyndelse til at få mest muligt ud af det. Som Mogens Brandt skriver i forordet til en af sine kogebøger: ’Det drejer sig ikke om at leve længere, men om at leve mere.’

Når man passerer de 60, er det ikke panikken, der skal gribe en, men beslutsomheden: Hvad er det, du vil med resten af dit liv? For nogle er det tid sammen med familien eller genoplivning af gamle venskaber. Selv synes jeg, at jeg lever livet mest intenst ved at cykle de dejligste steder på Jorden med den, jeg er gladest for at være sammen med: at gøre tilværelsen til en fælles pilgrimsrejse. Altid på vej, altid noget at se frem til – om det så bare er et godt måltid ved dagens slutning.«

Døden siger til ridderen i Ingmar Bergmans film Det syvende segl: »Jeg har gået ved siden af dig i noget tid« Døden vandrer altid ved vores side.

slår hjertet, og for hvert slag harjeg lidt mere erindring at bære med mig. For hvert slag er jeg et skridt nærmere døden. Jeg bærer min historie med mig som sneglen sit hus på ryggen. Den er mit tilflugtssted og min byrde ...

... Vi vil aldrig formå at løsrive os fra vores fortid og vores forventninger til fremtiden, hvad de så end måtte indeholde af velsignelser og skæbnesvangre ulykker. For mit vedkommende er det desværre mest ulykkerne, jeg tænker på, og forestillingen om doden, der hjemsoger mig. For mig findes der intet nu, der ikke er ved at briste under vægten af alt det lort, der allerede er sket, for mig findes der ingen ren væren løsrevet fra tid og sted. Min dod og mit første minde begravet i hver eneste vejrtrækning."

  • Fra Islands digtsamling

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