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27 Meaningful Quotes About Death and Dying [Famous Death Quotes]

Death is an experience that we will all ultimately face.

And it’s something that can be difficult to comprehend, never mind put into words, especially during times of grief.

Thankfully, throughout history, many people have shared their thoughts on death and dying. The most meaningful of those words ones can provide comfort and inspire reflection.

That’s why I’ve gathered 27 of the best quotes about death for this article, with each quote offering its own unique insight.

Whether you’re looking for something comforting, morbid, or famous, I hope these thought-provoking words resonate with you or the loved one you share them with.


27 Quotes About Death

Comforting Death Quotes

mark twain i do not fear death quote on tree background

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and never suffered the slightest inconvenience from it”

Mark Twain, author and humorist

This impactful quote by Mark Twain suggests that death is not something to fear because we have already experienced a state of non-existence before we were born, and it was not painful or distressing in any way.

“When great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed.”

Maya Angelou, poet and civil rights activist

Maya Angelou expresses that after the death of great individuals, peace slowly begins to emerge in an irregular way.

The presence of these people is felt through a comforting energy and serves as a reminder for us to strive towards being better versions of ourselves.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”

Matthew 5:4, the Bible

This Bible quote assures those in grieving or in sorrow that they will ultimately receive comfort and solace.

“Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them: they can be injured by us, they can be wounded; they know all our penitence, all our aching sense that their place is empty, all the kisses we bestow on the smallest relic of their presence.”

George Eliot, English novelist and poet

According to these impactful words from the renowned novelist George Eliot, our loved ones who have passed away will always be alive in our memories and thoughts.

We can hurt them by forgetting or neglecting them, but we can also honor their memory by cherishing even the smallest reminders of their presence.

“Never say of anything, “I have lost it”; but, “I have returned it.” Is your child dead? It is returned. Is your wife dead? She is returned. Is your estate taken away? Well, and is not that likewise returned? “But he who took it away is a bad man.” What difference is it to you who the giver assigns to take it back? While he gives it to you to possess, take care of it; but don’t view it as your own, just as travelers view a hotel.”

Enchiridion of Epictetus

An important reminded to accept the impermanence of things in our lives.

It encourages a shift in perspective from loss to return, which can help ease the pain of difficult situations such as death.

Quotes About Seeing the Beauty in Death

steve jobs live each day as if its your last quote with candle

“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 forgive life, to be at peace.”

Oscar Wilde, The Canterville Ghost

Wilde expresses the idea that death can be a peaceful and beautiful experience, where one is free from the burdens of time and life.

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

Edvard Munch, Norweigan painter

Edvard Munch suggests that even in death, he will continue to exist through the flowers that grow from his body, symbolizing an eternal cycle of life and death.

His death quote implies a sense of acceptance and transcendence beyond physical existence.

“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.”

Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American writer

The hopes and desires of an individual contain a hidden understanding of the afterlife, just as seeds under snow hold potential for new growth in spring. Trusting our dreams can lead us to a deeper understanding of eternity.

“It’s not contagious, you know. Death is as natural as life. It’s part of the deal we made.”

Mitch Albom, American author and philanthropist

Albom’s words are striking. Death is inevitable. It cannot be avoided. We should accept the natural cycle of life and death with empathy towards those who are experiencing it.

“If you live each day as it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right”

Steve Jobs, Apple Founder

In the wise words of Steve Jobs, if you live your life to the fullest, as if each day is your last, eventually you will be correct in that assumption and have no regrets about how you lived.

Book Quotes About Death and Dying

harry potter death is the next great adventure quote with hogwarts background

“To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

As Dumbledore explains to Harry in the popular book series by J. K. Rowling, for someone who has their life in order and a clear understanding of themselves and the world, death is not something to be feared but instead viewed as a new adventure.

“If we really believe what we say we believe- if we really think that home is elsewhere and that this life is a “wandering to find home”, why should we not look forward to the arrival. There are, aren’t there, only three things we can do about death: to desire it, to fear it, or to ignore it. The third alternative, which is the one the modern world calls “healthy” is surely the most uneasy and precarious of all.”

C.S. Lewis, Letters to an American Lady

This classic quote from C.S. Lewis’ Letters to an American Lady speaks about the common belief that life on Earth is temporary, and our true home lies elsewhere.

It questions why we fear death when it should be something to look forward to since it brings us closer to our real home.

“Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.”

Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Like many other writers on this list, Japanese writer Murakami emphasizes that death is not something separate from life, but rather a natural and inevitable part of it.

He encourages us to empathize with those who are dealing loss of a loved one, while making it clear that death is just another part of our journey through life.

“On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.”

Journal of Henry David Thoreau

In Thoreau’s eye, when a loved one dies, we should see it as our responsibility to continue living not only for ourselves but also in honor of our their life and what they stood for.

We have a duty to carry on their legacy and make sure that their impact is felt even after they are gone.

“Everybody going to be dead one day, just give them time.”

Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

Another author, Neil Gaiman, writes about the inevitably of death. It makes clear that this is where we are heading.

Famous Sayings About Death

happiest life ends before death proverb quote on field background

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

Unknown, Proverb

Although good people will eventually die, their legacy and the impact they made during their life will continue to live on even after they are gone.

“Death is nothing to us. When we exist, death is not; and when death exists, we are not.”

Epicurus, Greek Philosopher

Epicurus makes the meaningful point that death should not be feared because when we are alive, death does not exist and when we die, we no longer exist to experience it.

“The happiest life ends before death.”

Unknown, Chinese Proverb

This Chinese proverb expresses that it is better to live a happy and fulfilling life, no matter how short it may be, than to have a long life filled with misery and unhappiness.

“In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.”

Proverbs 12:28, the Bible

Quotes About Life After Death

voltaire reincarnation quote on cloud background

“The doctrine of reincarnation is neither absurd nor useless. It is not more surprising to be born twice than once.”

Voltaire, French philosopher

Voltaire believes that the concept of reincarnation is not ridiculous or pointless, as it’s no more extraordinary to be born again than to be born once.

“Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life!”

John 5:24, the Bible

This quote from the Bible suggests that those who believe in Jesus and his message will have eternal life and avoid judgment. They have transitioned from a state of spiritual death to one of eternal life.

“Endings are not always bad. Most times they’re just beginnings in disguise.”

Kim Harrison, American author

Harrison shares her insight on death as not being the end of our life, but the start of what lays beyond.

“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor

Well known for his stoicism, Aurelius, suggests that living a good life based on virtues, leaving behind a positive legacy, and being remembered for one’s noble actions are the most important things we should leave behind.

Morbid Quotes About Death

“Death will be a great relief, no more interviews.”

Katharine Hepburn, American actress

A morbid take on death, Katharine Hepburn expresses her distaste for interviews and the relief she will feel once death frees her from having to do them.

“I have often thought upon death, and I find it the least of all evils.”

Francis Bacon, English philosopher

Francis Bacon is stating that, in his opinion, death is not as bad as other things that humans may experience during their lifetime.

“I am prepared to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”

Winston Churchill, English Prime Minister

Well known for being blunt, Churchill expresses his over-confidence in meeting with God, contrasted against his belief that that God might not be ready to deal with him!

“And when I’m lying in my bed
I think about life and I think about death
And neither one particularly appeals to me”

Morrissey, The Smiths

The quote suggests that Morrissey contemplates the meaning of life and death but finds neither option to be desirable.

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Gwen Daniel
Gwen Daniel
Gwen Daniel is a Bachelor of Arts graduate and contributing writer for After Your Time. She shares her thoughts and insights on funerals and death drawing from her background and education. Keep an eye on her articles for fresh perspectives.
Gwen Daniel
Gwen Daniel
Gwen Daniel is a Bachelor of Arts graduate and contributing writer for After Your Time. She shares her thoughts and insights on funerals and death drawing from her background and education. Keep an eye on her articles for fresh perspectives.

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