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Monday, November 2, 2009

Last Words

Time can seem to move slowly, until you look back and are shocked at how much has passed by. The fact is, 70 years is about 25,567 days -- not an infinite number by any means. King David writes "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalms 90:12, NIV). Good advice.

I was thinking about this brevity of time, and what people have said when they come to the end of this world. Following are some last words, in no particular chronology. Some are funny, some sad, some thoughtful.

*

I'll be in Hell before you start breakfast!
"Black Jack" Ketchum, notorious train robber

Now, now, my good man, this is no time for making enemies.
Voltaire (attributed), when asked by a priest to renounce Satan

Voltaire died a terrible death. His nurse said: "For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness."

Don't worry...it's not loaded...
Terry Kath, rock musician in the band Chicago Transit Authority as he put the gun he was cleaning to his head and pulled the trigger.

Is someone hurt?
Robert F. Kennedy

Die, my dear? Why, that's the last thing I'll do!
Groucho Marx

Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven't said enough!
Karl Marx

I have a terrific headache.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

I have not told half of what I saw.
Marco Polo

Since the day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking towards me, without hurrying.
Jean Cocteau

Dammit... Don't you dare ask God to help me.
Joan Crawford

Lord help my poor soul.
Edgar Allan Poe

I don't have the passion anymore, and so remember, it's better to burn out than to fade away. Peace, Love, Empathy.
Kurt Cobain. Kurt Cobain (in his suicide note)

It's very beautiful over there.
Thomas Edison

Now why did I do that?
General William Erskine, after he jumped from a window in Lisbon, Portugal in 1813

Don't worry, relax!
Rajiv Gandhi, Indian Prime Minister, to his security staff minutes before being killed by a suicide bomber attack.

LSD, 100 micrograms I.M.
Aldous Huxley
To his wife. She obliged and he was injected twice before his death.

Let me go to the Father's house.
Pope John Paul II

Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you.
Mother Teresa

Don't disturb my circles!
Archimedes

They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance.
General John Sedgwick, Union Commander in the U.S. Civil War, who was hit by sniper fire a few minutes after saying it

Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius. Will you remember to pay the debt?
Socrates

My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go.
Oscar Wilde

There are no more other worlds to conquer!
Alexander the Great

So, now all is gone—Empire, Body and Soul!
Henry the Eighth

Let us pass over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees.
Stonewall Jackson

I don't know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton

I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.
Leonardo Da Vinci

I desire to go to Hell and not to Heaven. In the former I shall enjoy the company of popes, kings and princes, while in the latter are only beggars, monks and apostles.
Niccolo Machiavelli

Why, yes! A bulletproof vest.
James Rodges, a murderer on being asked for a final request before a firing squad

On a wall in Austria a graffiti said,
"God is dead, --Nietzsche!"
Someone else wrote under it, "Nietzsche is dead! --God."

Go away...I'm all right.
H.G. Wells

I am about to, or I am going to, die; either expression is used.
Dominique Bouhours, French grammarian

I failed!
Jean Paul Sartre

O Allah! Pardon my sins. Yes, I come.
Mohammed the prophet

Now comes the mystery.
Henry Ward Beecher

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
Crowfoot, American Blackfoot Indian Orator

I have taken care of everything in the course of my life, only not for death, and now I have to die completely unprepared.
Cesare Borgia

I am in flames!
David Hume

It is very beautiful over there.
Thomas Edison

I am still in the land of the dying; I shall be in the land of the living soon.
John Newton, author of the hymn "Amazing Grace"

Up until this time, I thought that there was no God neither Hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am delivered to perdition by the righteous judgment of the Almighty.
Sir Thomas Scott

A Chinese Communist, who delivered many Christians to their execution, came to a pastor and said: "I’ve seen many of you die. The Christians die differently. What is their secret?"

Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!
Stephen, the first Christian martyr

*

HEAVEN
In childhood's days our thoughts of Heaven
Are pearly gates and streets of gold,
And all so very far away;
A place whose portals may unfold
To us, some far-off distant day.

But in the gathering of the years,
When life is in the fading leaf,
With eyes perchance bedimmed by tears,
And hearts oft overwhelmed with grief,
We look beyond the pearly gate,
Beyond the clouds of grief's dark night,
And see a place where loved ones wait,
Where all is blessedness and light.

And over all we see the face
Of Him who'll bring us to our own
Not to a far-off distant place,
For Heaven is, after all, just Home!

--Sue H. McLane

3 comments:

Philangelus said...

Solanus Casey: I commend my soul to Jesus Christ.

What makes that remarkable is that he'd told others that he wanted to be aware for the moment of death so he could consciously give everything to Jesus. I believe he'd been in and out of consciousness the whole day or several days,but while a nurse was straightening something in the room, he opened his eyes, said that, and died.

I think the most common last words are "Oh NO!"

Anne Lang Bundy said...

These are so very poignant. I think Thomas Edison was the one to bring me to tears.

I pray that no matter the manner of my death, my last breath shall be to say "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Some of these are very moving, especially Mother Teresa's.

Thanks for sharing them.