It’s hard for me to believe that I will die. Because I’m bubbling in a frigid freshness. My life is going to be very long because each instant is. The impression is that I’m still to be born.

Clarice Lispector, Água Viva

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, it’s the universal protest against Time.

Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood

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.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Personally, I don’t endorse the notion of mortality. It’s fine for other folk, but I disapprove of the concept for me and my loved ones.

Sue Grafton, V Is for Vengeance

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. . . . In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

Richard Dawkins

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. . . . [It’s] 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

Accepting death doesn’t mean that you won’t be devastated when someone you love dies. It means you will be able to focus on your grief, unburdened by bigger existential questions like “Why do people die?” and “Why is this happening to me?” Death isn’t happening to you. Death is happening to us all.

Caitlin Doughty

Death would be a complete knowingness, but what frightened him was this: not knowing beforehand what it was he would know.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

Nothing is more creative than death, since it is the whole secret of life. It means that the past must be abandoned, that the unknown cannot be avoided, that “I” cannot continue, and that nothing can be ultimately fixed. When a man knows this, he lives for the first time in his life. By holding his breath, he loses it. By letting it go he finds it.

Alan Watts

The death I should prefer would be to break my neck off the back of my horse at a full gallop on a fine day.

Fanny Kemble

Me, I’m living under a sword. . . . An old wino’s disease, which could lay me in the grave most anytime. Not that I mind too much; I’ve done everything I ever wanted to do. But . . . as you know, one would like to continue doing the good things over and over again, so long as there’s pleasure in it.

Edward Abbey

I believe, in spite of everything, we all half expected to escape. More than half expected, believed completely. Thought it would come to everyone else, but pass us by. Without us, without me, how’s anything else to exist?

Jessamyn West, “The Linden Trees”

It is sacrilege to attempt analysis of birth or love or death. Death and birth, the mysteries! Love, the revelation!

Katherine Cecil Thurston, Max

I live now on borrowed time, waiting in the anteroom for the summons that will inevitably come. And then — I go on to the next thing, whatever it is. One doesn’t luckily have to bother about that.

Agatha Christie

I hope the exit is joyful — and I hope never to come back.

Frida Kahlo

Life is a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire