Wise words

Wise Sayings about Death, Grief, After-Life

“Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” ~ Khalil Gibran

“Let my thoughts come to you, when I am gone, like the afterglow of sunset at the margin of starry silence.”  Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941)

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”  Nelson Mandela

When we have done all we were sent to Earth to do
We enter into a transformation of our very self
Like a cocoon encloses the future butterfly.
And when the time is right
We rise to new life,
Free from pain,
Free of the fears and worries,
Free as a beautiful butterfly,
Finding our home with God.

Mechtild of Magdeburg

God says:
Do not fear your death.
For when that moment arrives
I will draw my breath
And your soul will come to Me
Like a needle to a magnet.

The Bridge – by Carmen Warrington, from the CD Angel Songs

nothing more to do
just be and breathe
nothing more to say
be free and breathe
one more breath
till one last breath
sets you free
to just be

cross the bridge alone
angels guide you home
in the light
reunite with Love
purest Love

be free
blessed be

Edwin Leibfreed – “The Song of the Soul”

For death is but a passing phase of Life;
A change of dress, a disrobing;
A birth into the unborn again;
A commencing where we ended;
A starting where we stopped to rest;
A crossroad of Eternity;
A giving up of something, to possess all things.
The end of the unreal, the beginning of the real.

from Evidence from Beyond- AD Mattson

In the presence of death, have faith that life is like a train. Even though at the end of life it may seem as if you are in a dark tunnel, know that the tracks are still under you. The engine or energy is still pulling you toward the end of the tunnel–into the Realm of Light.


~ The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.

~ The nearer I approach death the more I feel like one who is in sight of land at last and is about to anchor in one’s home port after a long voyage.

~ The last day does not bring extinction to us, but change of place.

~ I cheerfully quit from life as if it were an inn, not a home; for Nature has given us a hostelry in which to sojourn, not to abide.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Look forward to your transition.
It’s the first time you will experience unconditional love.
There will be all peace and love, and all the nightmares and the turmoil you went through in your life will be like nothing.
When you make your transition you are asked two things basically:
How much love you have been able to give and receive
And how much service you have rendered.

And you will know every consequence
Of every deed, every thought, and every word you have ever uttered.
And that is, symbolically speaking, going through hell
When you see how many chances you have missed.

But you will also see how a nice act of kindness
Has touched hundreds of lives that you’re totally unaware of.
So concentrate on love while you’re still around,
And teach your children early unconditional love.

So remember, concentrate on love, and look forward to the transition.
It’s the most beautiful experience you can ever imagine.

The Dragonfly story

In a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a group of water beetles. Once in a while, sadness came to the community when one of the water beetles climbed up the stem of a lily pad, and would never be seen again.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that lily stem. When she reached the top and climbed out of the pond onto the surface of the lily pad, she was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that she decided to take a nap. As she slept, her body changed and when she woke up, she had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with broad wings and a shiny slender body.

Feeling a sudden urge to fly, the dragonfly flapped her wings and took off, doing loops and spins through the sunlit sky. She saw the beauty of a whole new world. In the midst of her joyful flight, she remembered her water beetle friends at the bottom of the pond, and wanted to go back to tell them what fun it was to fly. So the dragonfly swooped down to the water, but she hit the surface of the pond and bounced away.  Now that she was a dragonfly, she could no longer go into the water.

“Well” she thought, “I’ll just have to wait until they become dragonflies too. Then they’ll understand where I went.”
So, she raised her wings and flew off into her joyous new life!

I Believe in the Sun

I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even when I do not feel it.
I believe in God, even when He is silent.

On Grief – Alan McGlashan

The depth of darkness into which you can descend
And still live,
Is an exact measure, I believe,
Of the height to which you can aspire to reach.

from the Film Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Gandalf: No the journey doesn’t end here.  Death is just another path … one that we all must take.
The grey rain curtain of this world rolls back and all turns to silver glass.  And then you see it.
White shores … and beyond, a far green country, under a swift sunrise.

Merri: Well that isn’t so bad

Gandalf: No, no it isn’t.

from Doctor Who – 13th Doctor

Yaz: Have you got family?

The Doctor: No. Lost them a long time ago.

Ryan: How do you cope with that?

The Doctor: I carry them with me. What they would’ve thought and said and done. Make them a part of who I am. So even though they’re gone from the world they’re never gone from me.

Prayer from Doctor Who – 13th Doctor

May the saints of all the stars and constellations bring you hope, as they guide you out of the dark and into the light. On this voyage and in the next. And all the journeys still to come. For now and evermore. 


The Wave [The source of this story is unknown]

A little wave, a he-wave, is bobbing along in the midst of the ocean having a great time.
One day he sees that he’s headed toward the shore and he realizes that he’ll soon be annihilated.
“My God, what’s going to become of me?” he thinks, and he falls into a deep depression.
Another wave, a she-wave comes bobbing along, having a fine time.
She says to the he-wave, “Why are you looking so glum and afraid?”
“Don’t you know?” he says, “You’re going to crash into that shore and then you’ll be nothing!”
“Don’t you know?” she says, “You’re not a wave; you’re part of the ocean.”

There are no words deep enough and tender enough to soften your grief, or to lighten your burden. I know that the stars have all gone out, and the world seems poor and barren. Time, of course, will in some little degree dull the edge of pain. I wish I could write words of meaning enough to lessen your sense of loss. But I cannot. I know how I should feel under like circumstances, and so I know that my words are nothing…  – Robert G. Ingersoll


Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak
Whispers the o’er-fraught heart, and bids it break. – William Shakespeare “Macbeth”


It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live. There is but one reasonable explanation of it. The intellect is stunned by the shock and but gropingly gathers the meaning of the words. The power to realize their full import is mercifully lacking. – Mark Twain’s Autobiography (on Suzy Clemen’s death)


When I am dead, cry for me a little, think of me sometimes, but not too much. It is not good for you to allow your thoughts to dwell too long upon the dead. Think of me now and again as I was in life, at some moment which is pleasant to recall, but not for too long. Leave me in peace, as I shall too leave you in peace. While you live, let your thoughts be with the living. – Native American Ishi people of the Pacific Northwest


We all suffer some unavoidable losses. People we love die, close friends move away, and, despite our best efforts, some of the ventures we undertake don’t work out. What’s a person to do when he or she suffers a bad break? We can complain, but fussing doesn’t change anything. If we accept our losses, we grieve by crying about them. Crying doesn’t help either. That’s why we cry – because nothing helps. But grieving does allow us to bury our dead and to get beyond our disappointments. This leaves room in our hearts that we may be able to fill with love for someone else or hope for some new undertaking, but we cannot hurry our pain to rush our willingness to begin anew. We need to move on in our lives in search of whatever is available that makes us happy, but a major loss leaves a hole in our hearts – a hole that can never be completely refilled. – Sheldon Kopp

“They say that I am dying, but I am not going away. Where could I go? I am here.” – Sri Ramana Maharshi

And Death is our sister,
we praise Thee for Death,
Who releases the soul
to the light of Thy gaze;

And dying we cry
with the last of our breath
Our thanks and our praise.

-the dying words of St. Francis of Assisi


Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
but for the heart to conquer it.
Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved,
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.
Rabindranath Tagore, Indian Poet/Saint


Thanksgiving – Howard Thurman

“Today, I make my Sacrament of Thanksgiving.

I begin with the simple things of the days:
Fresh air to breathe, Cool water to drink, The taste of food.
the protection of houses and clothes, the comforts of home.
For these, I make an act of Thanksgiving this day!

I bring to mind all the warmth of human kind that I have known:
My mother’s arms, The strength of my father, the playmates of my childhood,
the wonderful stories brought to me from the lives of many who talked of days gone by when fairies and giants and all kinds of magic held sway:

The tears I have shed, the tears I have seen;
The excitement of laughter and the twinkle in the eye with it’s reminder that life is good.
For all these I make an act of Thanksgiving this day.”

Steve Jobs:

“Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” Steve Jobs’ sister, Mona Simpson, has revealed his last words before his death. Delivering a eulogy at his memorial service on Oct. 16th she said that he’d looked at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them, before saying his final words: ” Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”


Words at funeral of Matt Golinski’s family in Tewantin 18 March 2012

The Golinski family did not speak to media at the service, but a card prepared by a family friend and distributed to mourners summed up what so many could not find the words to express.
“As we gather here with our heads bowed, our hearts heavy with pain, let Rachael, Starlia, Willow and Sage invite you into their circle to celebrate and relish their power, their passion, their purity and their play,” it read.
“They touched us all differently, softly, they wound themselves into our hearts and our tapestry of life is richer for their weavings.
“The bounce of a curl, the flick of a skirt, the giggle of joy, they play a symphony of delicious sounds that will forever echo within our hearts.
“We ache for what might have been but maybe we can honour them most by living as though each day is the greatest gift.
“They were, and are the light and sound of love and life; I know that nothing will ever extinguish that whisper.”


Life is a journey, but don’t worry, you’ll find a parking spot at the end. – Isaac Asimov

Life is like a game of cards.The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will. – Jawaharlal Nehru

On Death – Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.


The Avowal – Denise Levertov

The Avowal – Denise Levertov

As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain 
and float 
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

This short poem written the day before he died by Raymond Carver

And did you get what you wanted, even so?
I did
And what did you want?
To feel myself beloved
To feel myself beloved on the earth


“You saw me take my first breath, I saw you take your last”.