100 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes on Death and Dying

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, M.D. (1926-2004) was a Swiss-born psychiatrist, pioneer in Near-death studies and author of the transformative book, “On Death and Dying” (1969).

In this seminal work, she introduced the now famous Five Stages of Grief™, a pattern of adjustment including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

This model has been broadly adopted in corporate training for change and loss.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Credit: Wikipedia

A renowned lecturer, Kübler-Ross delivered the influential Ingersoll Lectures at Harvard University on death and dying.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, she helped establish over 50 hospices worldwide, including the world’s first prison hospice in Vacaville, California, in 1985.

A 2007 inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, she also received 20 honorary degrees and taught countless students in death and dying courses.

After retiring in 1994, she penned four more books including “On Grief and Grieving,” and lived out her remaining years in Arizona.

Her son established the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation in 2005 to continue her legacy.

Let’s go through the best list of quotes from Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

Best Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes


Fear and Guilt are the only enemies of man. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


When life puts you through a tumbler, it’s your choice whether you come out polished or crushed. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


Memories are the only real gifts we can leave our children. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


Negativity can only feed on negativity. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


We cannot look at the sun all the time, we cannot face death all the time. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


Those who learned to know death, rather than to fear and fight it, become our teachers about life. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Beautiful people do not just happen. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


The more you learn, the harder the lessons get. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Old age is not synonymous with being ‘glad to die.’ ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

When you spend your life doing what you love to do, you are nourishing your Soul. It matters not what you do, only that you love whatever you happen to do. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


We all have to go through the tumbler a few times before we can emerge as a crystal. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Famous Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes

People after death become complete again. The blind can see, the deaf can hear, cripples are no longer crippled after all their vital signs have ceased to exist. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

How do geese know when to fly to the sun? Who tells them the seasons? How do we, humans know when it is time to move on? As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within if only we would listen to it, that tells us certainly when to go forth into the unknown. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


In our grief process, we are moving into life from death, without denying the devastation that came before. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

We point to our unhappy circumstances to rationalize our negative feelings. This is the easy way out. It takes, after all, very little effort to feel victimized. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Inspiring Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes

Death is a graduation. When we’re taught all the things we came to teach, learned all the things we came to learn, then we’re allowed to graduate. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


Our only purpose in life is growth. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Children who die young are some of our greatest teachers. We are allowed to die when we have taught what we came to teach and when we have learned what we came to learn. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

When I die I’m going to dance first in all the galaxies… I’m gonna play and dance and sing. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Inspirational Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes

Everything in this life has a purpose, there are no mistakes, no coincidences. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


I’m going to dance in all the galaxies. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

We think sometimes we’re only drawn to the good, but we’re actually drawn to the authentic. We like people who are real more than those who hide their true selves under layers of artificial niceties. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

I always say that death can be one of the greatest experiences ever. If you live each day of your life right, then you have nothing to fear. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

To love means not to impose your own powers on your fellow man but offer him your help. And if he refuses it, to be proud that he can do it on his own strength. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

I’m not okay, you’re not okay, and that’s okay. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

There is no mistaking love. You feel it in your heart. It is the common fiber of life, the flame that heats our soul, energizes our spirit, and supplies passion to our lives. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


There is no problem that is not actually a gift. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Motivational Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes

There is within each one of us a potential for goodness beyond our imagining; for giving which seeks no reward; for listening without judgment; for loving unconditionally. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Lots of my dying patients say they grow in bounds and leaps, and finish all the unfinished business. But assisting a suicide is cheating them of these lessons, like taking a student out of school before final exams. That’s not love, it’s projecting your own unfinished business. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

The five stages – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Your sorrow is the inevitable result of circumstances beyond your control. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

It is the denial of death that is partially responsible for people living empty, purposeless lives; for when you live as if you’ll live forever, it becomes too easy to postpone the things you know that you must do. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Top Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes

I look for mystery and try to decipher it while knowing it is an impossible task. I look for memory, where Mystery lies. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

If you truly want to grow as a person and learn, you should realize that the universe has enrolled you in the graduate program of life, called loss. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

However healthy you think you are, remember that vegetarians die too. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Live, so you do not have to look back and say: God, how I have wasted my life. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Death is not painful. It is the most beautiful experience you will have. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Every individual human being born on this earth has the capacity to become a unique and special person, unlike any who has ever existed before or ever will exist again. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

I was educated in line with the basic premise: work work work. You are only a valuable human being if you work. This is utterly wrong. Half working, half dancing – that is the right mixture. I myself have danced and played too little. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

How do the geese know when to fly to the sun? ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

If we could see that everything, even tragedy, is a gift in disguise, we would then find the best way to nourish the soul. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

I have learned there is no joy without hardship. There is no pleasure without pain. Would we know the comfort of peace without the distress of war? ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

My patients taught me not how to die, but how to live. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Birth is not a beginning and death is not an ending. They are merely points on a continuum. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

When we face the worst that can happen in any situation, we grow. When circumstances are at their worst, we can find our best. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it were the only one we had. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

If, on the other hand, you listen to your own inner voice, to your own inner wisdom, which is far greater than anyone else’s as far as you are concerned, you will not go wrong, and you will know what to do with your life. Then time is no longer relevant. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

It’s not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather our concern must be to live while we’re alive. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


The ultimate lesson is learning how to love and be loved unconditionally. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

We bring a deeper commitment to our happiness when we fully understand, that our time left is limited and we really need to make it count. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Great Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes

I am an artist because the knot is so powerful I just can not, nor want to be, anything else or do anything else. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Should you shield the valleys from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their canyons. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

It is important to feel the anger without judging it, without attempting to find meaning in it. It may take many forms: anger at the health-care system, at life, at your loved one for leaving. Life is unfair. Death is unfair. Anger is a natural reaction to the unfairness of loss. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Death is but a transition from this life to another existence where there is no more pain and anguish. All the bitterness and disagreements will vanish, and the only thing that lives forever is love. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Wise Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Dying is something we human beings do continuously, not just at the end of our physical lives on this earth. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

The opinion which other people have of you is their problem, not yours. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Dying is an integral part of life, as natural and predictable as being born. But whereas birth is cause for celebration, death has become a dreaded and unspeakable issue to be avoided by every means possible in our modern society. Perhaps it is that. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

I think that as you evolve spiritually, automatically your body tells you what is acceptable for your body and what is not. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Dying is nothing to fear. It can be the most wonderful experience of your life. It all depends on how you’ve lived. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

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. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Powerful Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes

Grief will happen either as an open healing wound or a closed festering wound, either honestly or dishonestly, either appropriately or inappropriately. But emotions will be expressed. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Death is the final stage of growth in this life. There is no total death. Only the body dies. The self or the spirit, or whatever you may wish to label it, is eternal. You may interpret this in any way that makes you comfortable. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

If we make our goal to live a life of compassion and unconditional love, then the world will indeed become a garden where all kinds of flowers can bloom and grow. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

When you learn your lessons, the pain goes away. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Consciously or not, we are all on a quest for answers, trying to learn the lessons of life. We grapple with fear and guilt. We search for meaning, love, and power. We try to understand fear, loss, and time. We seek to discover who we are and how we can become truly happy. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Thought-Provoking Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes

Learning lessons is a little like reaching maturity. You’re not suddenly more happy, wealthy, or powerful, but you understand the world around you better, and you’re at peace with yourself. Learning life’s lessons is not about making your life perfect, but about seeing life as it was meant to be. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.


You may not get what you want, but God always gives you what you need. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Live, so you do not have to look back and say: God, how I have wasted my life. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

I think modern medicine has become like a prophet offering a life free of pain. It is nonsense. The only thing I know that truly heals people is unconditional love. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

It is my conviction that it is the intuitive, spiritual aspects of us humans-the inner voice-that gives us the ‘knowing,’ the peace, and the direction to go through the windstorms of life, not shattered but whole, joining in love and understanding. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

We make progress in society only if we stop cursing and complaining about its shortcomings and have the courage to do something about them. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

So these were the 100 top Elisabeth Kubler-Ross quotes and sayings on death and dying.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Elbert Hubbard quotes and Edwin Louis Cole quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar