Death- a lot of people’s thoughts

July 19, 2006

Your own death
I’m not afraid of dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.Woody Allen

“Don’t send me flowers when I’m dead. If you like me, send them while I’m alive.” After the operation which saved his life. Brian Clough

Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome. –Isaac Asimov

This fear of dying is going to kill me.

Somebody said they don’t mind death itself, only the idea of dying. Well I do mind the idea of death and I mind it a bloody lot. Some other bastards will walk hand in hand in forests, guzzling all the the fine food and wines banging all the  fabulous women I won’t even be able to see. And there’ll be computers that will order your favourite pizza for you and put the cat out at night. How can I not mind the idea of dying?

I’m not afraid of death; but dying scares the hell out of me.

Every day I think about dying. About disease, starvation, violence, terrorism, war, the end of the world. It helps keep my mind off things. Roger McGough

I wouldn’t mind dying. It’s the business of having to stay dead that scares the shit out of me. –R. Geis

From nowhere we come, into nowhere we go. What is life? It is a flash of a firefly in the night. It is a breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is as the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. –last words of Chief Isapwo Muksika Crowfoot

I’m not scared of dyin’ and I don’t really care
if it’s peace you find in dyin’
well then let the time be near.
And when I die
and when I’m gone
there’ll be one child born
and a world to carry on.
Laura Nyro

When I Am Dead, My Dearest
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale
Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight
That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.

~Christina Rossetti

I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. Winston Churchill

Boy, when you are dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you are dead? Nobody.
J. D. Salinger

They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice… that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person. Arthur Schopenhauer

The deprivation of nonexistence endured by the unborn is as great as that suffered by the dead  birth is simply death in reverse. RA Wilson

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.

When I was young my head was filled with thoughts of truth, sex, love, money,  happiness and death. Now I realise all except one are illusions.

I answer the heroic question “Death, where is they sting?” with “It is here in my heart and mind and memories. Maya Angelou

The death of a loved one

The death of an elderly person is much more to saddening than that of an infant.

Compare losing a blank piece of paper and a page of memoirs.

But of course it had hurt. It had hurt before, in the worst, rupturing way, knowing there would be no more you but the universe would roll on just the same, unharmed and unhampered. –Stephen King, “The Long Walk”

Sometimes it is right for you to put your grief in the shade of a healing light; sometimes it is better to let your grief be your master; follow your heart. If you allow yourself to grieve which means to be your truest self – to trust yourself – to not hold back from being completely honest – you will be that much closer to understanding more about the enigma of life and of truly recognizing the impact that person had on your life – the good, the bad and the things that will always be a part of you.

Charlie Daniels:
A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You’re free at last.
written en route to the funeral for his friend, Ronnie Van Zant of the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Since every death diminishes us a little, we grieve – not so much for the death as for ourselves. Lynne Caine

Life and death

Death is the sound of distant thunder at a picnic. ~ W. H. Auden

Life is like falling out of a plane. At fist you think you can fly. Then you
believe you have a parachute. Only when you are three quarters of the way down down you discover you haven’t.

The Function of death is to put tension into life.. All our pleasurable experiences contain a faint yet terrible element of the condemned man’s last breakfast. John Fowles

Life is too short to worry about life being too short

Learn as if you were going to live forever. Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.

“Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering – and it’s all over
much too soon.”

Live every day as if it were your first. Live every day as if it were your last.

Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.~ Norman Cousins

In our hearts, we all know that death is a part of life. In fact, death gives meaning to our existence because it reminds us how precious life is.

Life is a high wire act- be sure you have a safety net.

I said to Life, I would hear Death speak. And Life raised her voice a little higher and said, You hear him now.
–Kahlil Gibran

Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death– James F. Bymes

We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love. –Madame de Stael

Love drags you inexorably along the path of death.

Everything you have you’re afraid of losing. Every one you love you’re afraid will die.The more you cling to life the more death casts its shadow over it.

What’s the point of life? For most people, it’s simply to avoid suffering and boredom. Death, very obligingly, gives you the chance to achieve your objective once and for all.

Nothing to clutch in life.
Nothing to fear in death.

Death may be the greatest of all human blessings. –Socrates

Most people think life sucks, and then you die. Not me. I beg to differ. I think life sucks, then you get cancer, then your dog dies, your wife leaves you, the cancer goes into remission, you get a new dog, you get remarried, you owe ten million dollars in medical bills but you work hard for thirty five years and you pay it back and then one day you have a massive stroke, your whole right side is paralyzed, you have to limp along the streets and speak out of the left side of your mouth and drool but you go into rehabilitation and regain the power to walk and the power to talk and then one day you step off a curb at Sixty-seventh Street, and BANG you get hit by a city bus and then you die. Maybe. –Denis Leary

Time rushes towards us with its hospital tray of infinitely varied narcotics, even while it is preparing us for its inevitably fatal operation.
Tennessee Williams

My prayer to the Lord every day, is this–I have been a great sinner. I do not deserve Heaven. Let me stay here. Andres Segovia

Every time the clock ticks or a tooth falls out, you know you’re dying.

Once you accept your own death, all of a sudden you’re free to live. Saul Alinsky

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. Johnny Carson

I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. –Woody Allen

Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Susan Ertz

I don’t want immortality, imagine just going on for every and ever- it would be hell. I just don’t want to die.

I don’t believe in the after life, although I am bringing a change of underwear. –Woody Allen

From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity. Munch Edvard

I don’t mind dying- as long as I’ll still be around to attend my funeral.

Immortality – a fate worse than death. Edgar Shoaff

My young son asked me what happens after we die. I told him we get buried under a bunch of dirt and worms eat our bodies. I guess I should have told him the truth – that most of us go to Hell and burn eternally – but I didn’t want to upset him. Jack Handy

Death in general
A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic
–Joseph Stalin
Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves on totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have.– James Baldwin

It’s not, as I thought, that death creates love. More that love knows death. Therefore tears, therefore poems, therefore the long stone sobs of cathedrals that speak to no ferret or fox, that prevent no massacre. –Anne Stevenson, “Himalayan Balsam”

“When one has a picture taken, the photographer says, ‘Perfect! Just as your are!’ That is death. ‘Life is a movie. Death is a photograph.'”
–Susan Sontag

He is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death.
–H.H. Munroe

Last night I dreamed I woke up in heaven. All that perfect peace and radiant light- it was hell.

Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, “Did you bring joy?” The second was, “Did you find joy?”
–Leo Buscaglia

Some men are alive simply because it is against the law to kill them.
–Edward W. Howe

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.

The silence that guards the tomb does not reveal God’s secret in the obscurity of the coffin, and the rustling of the branches whose roots suck the body’s elements do not tell the mysteries of the grave, but the agonized sighs of my heart announce to the living the drama which love, beauty, and death have performed.
–Kahlil Gibran

Even very young children need to be informed about dying. Explain the concept of death very carefully to your child. This will make hreatening him with it much more effective. P.J. O’Rourke

You ask for a poem.
And so I write you a tragedy about
How a blade of grass
Becomes more and more difficult to offer,

And about how as you grow older
A blade of grass
Becomes more difficult to accept.

As I get older this poem holds more meaning for me. Along with everything else, your choices diminish with age until, finally, you may be left with only one choice.

Death is Nature’s way of recycling human beings

Solitude, though it may be silent as light, is like light, the mightiest of
agencies; for solitude is essential to man. All men come into this world alone and leave it alone.
–Thomas De Quincey

God might have arranged things so that everybody died peacefully when they actually wanted to die. But, oh no, that would be too soft wouldn’t it?

Let Me Die a Youngman’s Death
Roger McGough

Let me die a youngman’s death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death

When I’m 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party

Or when I’m 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber’s chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides

Or when I’m 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one

Let me die a youngman’s death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
‘what a nice way to go’ death


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