I have mixed feelings about Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. She was a pioneer in improving how Western societies handle death and dying, but she also held some flaky New Age opinions about death that don't fit how I see the Universe.
However, her book To Live Until We Say Goodbye, which my wife found for me, contains this extraordinary quote: "Death is staring too long into the burning sun and the relief of entering a cool, dark room."
Dr. K-R didn't write that: her patient Beth, a former New York model who died of cancer at 42 in 1977, when I was eight years old, was the one who did.
Long time reader, first time commenter here. I love this quote and the thought expressed in the post in general.
It reminded me of this New Yorker piece (long but worthwhile) on a related subject:
https://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/02/100802fa_fact_gawande (dunno how to make it an HTML link, sorry)
which was rated in the New Yorker's top ten stories for 2010.
Thanks James. I linked to that article in my Endgame post a few weeks ago. I'm glad you reiterated it—anyone interested in the topic of how we approach death in the time of modern medicine should read it.
if death means a cessation of awareness how can you experience relief?
Although I am open to religious ideas, I do believe death is nothingness. You die, dissolve into the earth and that is it.
I agree, but I look at it as being ready to die, or perhaps the process of dying (when it's not too unpleasant) as the relief. The process of living with cancer has sometimes felt like "staring too long into the burning sun" to me, for sure.