Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. (8 July 1926 - 24 August 2004) Psychiatrist and author.

Sourced

  • As far as service goes, it can take the form of a million things. To do service, you don't have to be a doctor working in the slums for free, or become a social worker. Your position in life and what you do doesn't matter as much as how you do what you do.
    • As quoted in Another Door Opens (2006) by Jeffrey A. Wands. p. 29

On Death and Dying (1969)

  • We have to ask ourselves whether medicine is to remain a humanitarian and respected profession or a new but depersonalized science in the service of prolonging life rather than diminishing human suffering.
    • Ch. 2
  • There is not much sense in suffering, since drugs can be given for pain, itching, and other discomforts. The belief has long died that suffering here on earth will be rewarded in heaven. Suffering has lost its meaning.
    • Ch. 2
  • Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death.
    • Ch. 9
  • Watching a peaceful death of a human being reminds us of a falling star; one of a million lights in a vast sky that flares up for a brief moment only to disappear into the endless night forever.
  • Those who have the strength and the love to sit with a dying patient in the silence that goes beyond words will know that this moment is neither frightening nor painful, but a peaceful cessation of the functioning of the body.
'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.

Death: The Final Stage of Growth (1975)

  • 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.
    • Ch. 2
  • Those who have been immersed in the tragedy of massive death during wartime, and who have faced it squarely, never allowing their senses and feelings to become numbed and indifferent, have emerged from their experiences with growth and humanness greater than that achieved through almost any other means.
    • Ch. 5
  • Dying is something we human beings do continuously, not just at the end of our physical lives on this earth.
    • Ch. 6

Sourced

You will begin to realize that every word and every deed affects your life and has also touched thousands of lives.
  • After your death, when most of you for the first time realize what life here is all about, you will begin to see that your life here is almost nothing but the sum total of every choice you have made during every moment of your life. Your thoughts, which you are responsible for, are as real as your deeds. You will begin to realize that every word and every deed affects your life and has also touched thousands of lives.
  • Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding its cocoon. It is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh, and to be able to grow.
  • Dying is nothing to fear. It can be the most wonderful experience of your life. It all depends on how you have lived.
For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death.
  • For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death.
  • I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, word, and thought throughout our lifetime.
  • I didn't fully realize it at the time, but the goal of my life was profoundly molded by this experience— to help produce, in the next generation, more Mother Teresas and less Hitlers.
  • I say to people who care for people who are dying, if you really love that person and want to help them, be with them when their end comes close. Sit with them - you don't even have to talk. You don't have to do anything but really be there with them.
  • I've told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation.
  • If you live each day of your life right, then you have nothing to fear.
  • It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we're alive— to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.
  • 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, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
Everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
  • Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
  • People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
  • People in mourning have to come to grips with death before they can live again. Mourning can go on for years and years. It doesn't end after a year, that's a false fantasy. It usually ends when people realize that they can live again, that they can concentrate their energies on their lives as a whole, and not on their hurt, and guilt and pain.
  • Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their carvings.
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths...
  • The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
  • The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.
  • There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub.
  • There is no joy without hardship. If not for death, would we appreciate life? If not for hate, would we know the ultimate goal is love? … At these moments you can either hold on to negativity and look for blame, or you can choose to heal and keep on loving.
  • Those who learned to know death, rather than to fear and fight it, become our teachers about life.
  • Throughout life, we get clues that remind us of the direction we are supposed to be headed… if you stay focused, then you learn your lessons.
  • We make progress in society only if we stop cursing and complaining about its shortcomings and have the courage to do something about them.
  • We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear.
  • We run after values that, at death, become zero. At the end of your life, nobody asks you how many degrees you have, or how many mansions you built, or how many Rolls Royces you could afford. That’s what dying patients teach you.
  • When you learn your lessons, the pain goes away.
  • When we have done all the work we were sent to do, we are allowed to shed our bodies, which imprisons our soul like a cocoon encloses the butterfly and when the time is right we can let go of it. Then we will be free of pain, free of fears and free of worries— free as a beautiful butterfly returning home to God.
  • When we have passed the tests we are sent to Earth to learn, we are allowed to graduate. We are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our souls.
  • You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.

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