Most of us fear death, but there are some of us who embrace it. I have known of those poor beings suffering from chronic illness who longed for death’s icy touch while those around them begged their god for mercy. I have a close relative who was recently diagnosed with an illness, and unfortunately her vital organs are shutting down as a result. She will not live to see a final Christmas this year.

She seems to have accepted her fate, and is even speaking with family members about life insurance policies, burial plots, and funeral services. This may mean that she is at peace, content that she lived her life the best way that she could, and that she’s satisfied with how it all turned out. I hope so. I am not sure I would feel the same if I knew I had but a short time left on this earth – I would feel that I had not accomplished anything, and that is a horrible thought to have about oneself at one’s death.

Below you will find several quotes from the late Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist who wrote a lot on death and dying, including the 5 stages which are mentioned in the first quote. When I first read about Ms. Kubler-Ross, it was in a health book when I was in high school, and a woman who had just learned that she had cancer went through the 5 stages in textbook form before she even realized she was doing so. She wrote an essay about this that was covered the 5 stages as she went through them, as well as those people who were in her life (many of whom could not handle the fact that this woman was dying).

I hope this post helps anyone out there who may be going through the same situation as my family.

The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief.

When I came to this country in 1958, to be a dying patient in a medical hospital was a nightmare. You were put in the last room, furthest away from the nurses’ station. You were full of pain, but they wouldn’t give you morphine. Nobody told you that you were full of cancer and that it was understandable that you had pain and needed medication.

People after death become complete again. The blind can see, the deaf can hear, cripples are no longer crippled after all their vital signs have ceased to exist.


It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth – and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.

Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words will know that this moment is neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body. 

For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death.

I say to people who care for people who are dying, if you really love that person and want to help them, be with them when their end comes close. Sit with them – you don’t even have to talk. You don’t have to do anything but really be there with them.

Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.

It is difficult to accept death in this society because it is unfamiliar. In spite of the fact that it happens all the time, we never see it.

Death is staring too long into the burning sun and the relief of entering a cool, dark room. 

I always say that death can be one of the greatest experiences ever. If you live each day of your life right, then you have nothing to fear.

Dying is something we human beings do continuously, not just at the end of our physical lives on this earth.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no death the way we understood it. The body dies, but not the soul.

For years, I have been stalked by a bad reputation. Actually, I have been pursued by people who have regarded me as the ‘Death and Dying’ Lady. They believe that having spent more than three decades in research into death and life after death qualifies me as an expert on the subject. I think they miss the point.

Death is not painful. It is the most beautiful experience you will have.

I was destined to work with dying patients. I had no choice when I encountered my first AIDS patient. I felt called to travel some 250,000 miles each year to hold workshops that helped people cope with the most painful aspects of life, death and the transition between the two.

Those who learned to know death, rather than to fear and fight it, become our teachers about life. 

I’ve told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation. 

I hope they did that for her. It’s a beautiful way to celebrate one’s life even after one’s death.


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