70 Poignant Quotes on Life & Death to Reflect On

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Death is one topic that many people shy away from discussing. However, until we face this part of life head-on, we won’t ever be ready for its inevitable approach. Reading what others have to say about death might help you with your concerns, questions, and fears.

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If you’re looking for some comforting, inspiring, or wise sayings about this stage of life that everyone faces, read on.

Comforting Quotes About Death

These quotes might leave you feeling better about death than before.

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1. “How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?” – Carson McCullers

Those we love are always alive if we keep them alive in our hearts.

2. “Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation.” – Albert Einstein

Even though we die, we will live on in those we leave behind.

3. “Good men must die, but death cannot kill their names.” – Unknown

We might die, but our legacy may go on forever.

4. “Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality…” – Emily Dickinson

In other words, love is forever.

5. “The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

The dead can live on as long as they are remembered.

6. “Death must be so beautiful. To lie in the soft brown earth, with the grasses waving above one’s head, and listen to silence. To have no yesterday, and no tomorrow. To forget time, to forget life, to be at peace.” – Oscar Wilde

This is a beautiful “rest in peace” quote

7. “The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity.” – Seneca

We just might close our eyes here and open them to live a life eternal.

8. “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Perhaps death is just the beginning of another life to come.

9. “No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.” – Terry Pratchett

Your influence will continue to be felt long after you are gone.

10. “For those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” – Rumi

Death separates us from those we love, but if we love them, they’ll be with us in our hearts forever.

Inspirational Quotes About Death

Be inspired by these quotes from famous people about death and dying.

11. “Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them.” – George Eliot

Remember your loved ones and they’ll always be with you. This is a beautiful quote to read while lighting a candle for someone who died.

12. “How people die remains in the memory of those who live on.” – Dame Cicely Saunders

In other words, live well and die well.

13. “I want to be all used up when I die.” – George Bernard Shaw

Live life to the fullest so you’ll have no regrets when you die.

14. “When it’s time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.” – Henry David Thoreau

Live your life, dream your dreams, and complete that bucket list!

15. “Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.” – Helen Keller

Keller, blind from birth, believed that life after death would be far better than life on earth.

16. “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” – Steve Jobs

Take the leap and try for your dreams before it’s too late and you can’t.

17. “Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace.” – Nelson Mandela

Live a good life so that when it’s time, you’re ready to go.

18. “I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.” – Corazon Aquino

Make your life count and leave a legacy for those who come after you.

19. “Because life is fragile and death inevitable, we must make the most of each day.” – Thomas S. Monson

Make the most out of every day you have so you’ll have no regrets later on.

20. “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 – that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Would life change for you if you lived each day as if it were your last?

Dark Quotes About Death

These quotes will certainly make you think.

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

For some who have lived difficult lives, death is a blessing.

22. “Nothing in life is promised except death.” – Kanye West

Death and taxes are the only two things we are guaranteed to face.

23. “Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Rich, poor, famous, or unknown, death will face us all.

24. “Many people die at twenty-five and aren’t buried until they are seventy-five.” – Benjamin Franklin

You might have died already if you’ve forgotten to live at all.

25. “Every man dies – not every man really lives.” – William Ross Wallace

Will you get to the end and be glad you lived?

26. “Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.” – Mark Twain

Here, Twain suggests that the one in the casket is glad to be there.

27. “Death is a release from the impressions of the senses, and from desires that make us their puppets, and from the vagaries of the mind, and from the hard service of the flesh.” – Marcus Aurelius

No longer do we need to worry about money and bills and illness once death has arrived.

28. “When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.” – Laurie Halse Anderson

If you don’t live, you die a different kind of death.

29. “In the long run, we are all dead.” – John Maynard Keynes

No matter what you make of your life, eventually, you will end up in the same place as everyone else.

30. “Who am I? Not the body, because it is decaying; not the mind, because the brain will decay with the body; not the personality, nor the emotions, for these, also will vanish with death.” – Ramana Maharshi

Maharshi posits that if there is nothing after death, then who are we in life?

Sad Quotes About Death

You might want to pull out the tissues as you read these quotes.

31. “The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” – Harriet Beecher-Stowe

Tell your family you love them and go on that vacation. Live so you have no regrets.

32. "Money can't buy life." – Bob Marley

When it’s time to go, all the money in the world won’t let you stay.

33. "They say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time." – Unknown

You’re not truly dead until your legacy is no longer felt.

34. “The loss of a friend is like that of a limb; time may heal the anguish of the wound, but the loss cannot be repaired.” – Robert Southey

For those who are left behind, death leaves a wound that cannot fully heal.

35. “Grief is the price we pay for love.” – Queen Elizabeth II

Where there is love, there will eventually be loss.

36. “A friend who dies, it’s something of you who dies.” – Gustave Flaubert

When a friend leaves, they take part of you, too.

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37. “When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, [who] weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” – William Tecumseh Sherman

Do not wish for more time. Instead, be thankful for the time you’ve been given.

38. “Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives.” – Andrew Sachs

We all know we’ll die. But will we truly live?

39. “People fear death even more than pain. It’s strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over.” – Jim Morrison

Sometimes, death is welcomed as a relief from pain.

40. “It’s funny how most people love the dead; once you’re dead, you’re made for life.” – Jimi Hendrix

Sometimes, it’s someone’s legacy that is more revered than the person.

Movie Quotes About Death

Movies introduce the topic of death quite often. If you can’t get enough of the topic yourself, consider listening to some songs about death, as well.

41. “Nothing's ever really dead if you look at it right.” – Collateral Beauty 

After all, if someone’s memory is still alive, are they really gone?

42. “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.” – Criminal Minds

Live so that your legacy will continue long after your final goodbyes.

43. “True love never dies. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. A man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in.” – Second Hand Lions

If you keep the ones you love close in your heart, they never really die. 

44. “We live and we die by time, and we must not commit the sin of turning our back on time.” – Cast Away

We only have a limited amount of time. Let’s use the time we have to the fullest.

45. “To die will be an awfully big adventure.” – Finding Neverland

Since you probably don’t know anyone who died and returned to tell you about it, death might just be the biggest adventure you’ll ever take. Are you prepared? 

46. “Dance, dance, dance, until you die!” – Hocus Pocus

Live, dance, create, sing, fulfill those dreams!

47. “I'm not afraid of death. I'm an old physicist...I'm afraid of time.” – Interstellar

After all, it’s time that eventually runs out on us.

48. “I'll get all the sleep I need when I'm dead.” – Road House

You may not get a lot of rest now, but you sure will later on!

49. “You know the Greeks didn't write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: ‘Did he have passion?’” – Serendipity 

Did you live with passion? Did you shoot for your dreams? 

50. “If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them. Buildings burn, people die, but real love is forever.” – The Crow

Treasure the memory of those you love and you’ll have them with you forever.

Religious Quotes About Death

Here is a sampling of quotes about death from a variety of religious figures.

51.  “They, then, who are destined to die, need not be careful to inquire what death they are to die, but into what place death will usher them.” – St. Augustine

St. Augustine is concerned with the ultimate question of what will happen after the point of death.

52. “He whose head is in heaven need not fear to put his feet into the grave.” – Matthew Henry

If you’re looking forward to eternal life in heaven, you need not fear the grave.

53. “Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” – Buddha

Live a good life and you won’t need to fear death.

54. “Death is the dropping of the flower that the fruit may swell." – Henry Ward Beecher

For those who believe in life after death, death is simply what must occur for the next life to arrive.

55. “One has to die to know exactly what happens after death. Although Catholics have their hopes." – Alfred Hitchcock

Many people wonder what happens after death. 

56. “We sometimes congratulate ourselves at the moment of waking from a troubled dream: It may be so the moment after death.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

What if life after death is the most amazing life of them all?

57. “Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever.” Brennan Manning

Perhaps death is not all there is, after all.

58.  “A human being does not cease to exist at death. It is change, not destruction, which takes place.” – Florence Nightingale

For those who believe in life after death, life in the body is exchanged as a soul and the soul doesn’t die.

59. “When it comes time to die, make sure that all you have to do is die.” – Jim Elliot

Make sure you’re ready for death when it comes.

60. “When we finally know we are dying, and all other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have a sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings.” Sogyal Rinpoche

Let the reality that we will all die produce compassion and love for one another.

Atheist Quotes About Death

If you want some non-spiritual quotes, this list is for you.

61. “One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly." – Friedrich Nietzsche

You can still die a dignified death, knowing that you have lived a good life.

62. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail … There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." – Stephen Hawking

For Hawking, death was believed to be a long, eternal sleep.

63. “From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity.” – Thomas Moore

Moore sees his legacy as continuing in the continuation of life that grows from his body.

64. “A normal human being does not want life after death: He wants life on earth to continue.”  – George Orwell

It can be hard to face the fact that life on earth will one day come to an end.

65. “Of course, you don’t die. Nobody dies. Death doesn’t exist. You only reach a new level of vision, a new realm of consciousness, a new unknown world.” – Henry Miller

You always live if death doesn’t really exist.

66. “I don’t believe in the afterlife. I believe this is it, and I believe it’s the best way to live.” – Natalie Portman

For some, it might be simpler to believe that there is nothing after death at all.

67. “I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.” – Stephen Hawking

Life is meant to be lived. Live it to the fullest so you’re prepared for death when it comes.

68. “I know that we’re alive through our offspring. I know that we continue to exist through the earth. Not knowing anything else, I work on the assumption that after death, we go back into the pre-birth phase.” – Ali A. Rizvi

We didn’t know anything before we were born. Rizvi wonders if it might be the same after death.

69. “There probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.” – Stephen Hawking

Though unsure if there is life after death, Hawking prefers to focus on living his life to the fullest rather than figuring out the afterlife.

70. “I’m not scared of dying, because I’m an atheist. I won’t even know I’m dead. Because I’ll be dead.” – Jim Jeffries

Jeffries believes that death leads to nothingness and, if there is nothingness, we won’t know the difference.

Death Is Part of Life

Though death is an aspect of life that no one really likes talking about, it’s never too early to start end-of-life planning. We hope these quotes have provided you with some comfort, encouragement, and a moment or two of meditation on the meaning of life and what comes after.


Sources:
  1. Chang, Rachel. ”14 Inspiring Nelson Mandela Quotes.” News, Biography, 29 January 2021. biography.com
  2. Rivzi, Ali A. “Grief Without Belief.” Death,  Huffpost, 22 October 2013. huffpost.com
  3. “Death Quotes.” Movies, MovieQuotes.com, 2021. moviequotes.com
  4. “Quotes About Death.” Quotes, Christian Quotes, 2021. christianquotes.info

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