There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.
~ Oliver Sacks
St. Peter talking to man who is standing at the Pearly Gates of Heaven.
No, no, that’s not a sin, either. My goodness, you must have worried yourself to death.
~ Charles Barsotti, The New Yorker Collection, 9/13/1993
Everyone must leave something behind when he dies… A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do… so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawn and a real gardener is in the touching… The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.
~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away.
~ Steve Jobs
Death comes for us all; even at our birth… death does but stands aside a little. And everyday he looks toward us and muses somewhat to himself whether that day or the next he will draw nigh.
~ Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons