Monday, March 25, 2013

Famous and Not So Famous Last Words

This, wonder.
-Charlotte Joko Beck, Zen teacher, d.2011

Am I dying...or is this my birthday? (when she woke briefly and looked at everyone standing 'round her bed)
-Lady Nancy Astor, d. 1964        

(reply to her husband
who asked how she felt)
-Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, writer, d. 1861

I must go in, the fog
is rising.
-Emily Dickinson, poet,
d. 1886

I see black light.
-Victor Hugo, writer, d. 1885

Does anybody understand?
-James Joyce, writer, d. 1941     

Nothing matters. Nothing matters.
-Louis Mayer, film producer, 
d. 1957

-Henry David Thoreau, writer/naturalist, d. 1862

Either that wallpaper goes, 
or I do.
-Oscar Wilde, writer, d. 1900

Go away, I'm alright.
-H.G. Wells, novelist, d. 1946

Now comes the mystery.
-Henry Ward Beecher, clergyman
d. 1887

Doctor, do you think it could have been the sausage?
-Paul Claudel, poet, d. 1955

That was a great game of golf, fellers.
-Bing Crosby, singer/actor, d. 1977

God, I'm bored.
-St. John Philby, writer, d. 1960

God bless...God damn.
-James Thurber, author,

I wish I'd drunk
more champagne.
-John Maynard Keynes,
economist, d. 1946

So little done, so much 
to do.
-Cecil John Rhodes,
businessman, d. 1902

Love one another.
-George Harrison,
musician, d. 2001

There is...another...Sky Walker.
-Yoda (status unknown)

*copyrighted photos 


  1. I have no idea what my last words will be. I supposed it will depend on the circumstances, but I doubt they're be as memorable as these gems.

    1. From cradle to grave...the big mystery!

  2. These are so fascinating! I love Emily Dickinson's and George Harrison's last words... I was with my mother when she died. Her last words were, "I hope they hurry up."

    1. Wonder what was going through her mind on that one, Barbara. Very interesting.

  3. So enjoyed your post of famous and not so famous last words Monica!

    1. Thank you, Sadhiv. Feel free to share on Oops, if you'd like.
      I appreciate your stopping by.

  4. "Either that wallpaper goes, or I do!" - so very, very Wilde. I think I remember my mother saying those very words to my dad about the flocked pink roses on our bathroom wallpaper, but I could be mistaken...

    1. I remember my mother changing the wall paper frequently as we were growing up; what a job, but she was good at it!

  5. How perfect that the last one in the list comes from the ever-elusive and wise Yoda.

    1. Interesting how each response is a reflection of an individual's character, and/or religious beliefs, some funny, others dire.

  6. I don’t believe the half of them! How could anybody be so funny, clear-headed, concise, intelligent, lucid, etc. etc. on their absolute death bed? Where’s the death rattle, the last sigh, he final indignity?

    These are gorgeous, could they have been prettified by the nearest and dearest or possibly a literary editor?

  7. Oh yes, I'm sure. I'll probably say something like, "it's been swell" or maybe a simple "thank you!"

  8. I got chills reading these, Monica! I've never thought about my last words, just my final thought. I want to die without regrets, knowing that I gave all the most significant dreams in my life a chance. I'm curious. What inspired you to write this post?

  9. I am working on a memoir, and one of my Feb. posts (Of Breath and Bones) is an exerpt about my father's death; I paralleled his passing with the cold, stark landscape encountered on a trip to Kaktovik, Alaska. So I was thinking of that, with regret that I wasn't there at the moment of his passing, imagining what he would have said (perhaps one of his signature puns).
    Thank you for taking a look, Jacqueline.

  10. I loved this post. I, being a critical care nurse through part of my career, was at the bedside of many people who died. Last words? I don't think so. More like, what was the last thing he said to you before he became so ill? Different last words for different people.
    I am convinced that as we let go of this world, another comes into view and that is our focus at death....and that process can be swift or very slow. But letting go seems to be a major part of dying, from what I have observed.
    There was one strange expression of words from a male patient who did not seem so very ill. He was not even in ICU. He was standing in the room as his nurse made his bed, and he suddenly said to her, "Nurse, you better let me sit down. I am going to die." She sat him on the chair and he fell dead. Of course we tried to resuscitate him but THERE WAS NO FLICKER! Not even a smidget of electrical activity in his heart before or after defibrillation. He was so dead. It does not usually happen so completely so quickly. We all wondered what happened and how did he know?

  11. I've always admired people in the health care business whose job it is to mop up after the rest of us; what a privilege to be present with someone who is dying...and at the same time, assist in the often unpleasant tasks of struggle and indignity often experienced during those last days. Your story is fascinating...there must be many like it among nurses; a testament to the great mystery that is still in our midst; I often wonder if science will answer all the questions in time, or will mystery still prevail?