Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Quotes

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, 1926 – 2004

Born: 8 July 1926, Zürich, Switzerland
Died: 24 August 2004, Scottsdale, Arizona

Elisabeth Kübler was the first of three identical triplets, she knew she wanted to pursue a medical career from early childhood against her father’s wishes. After high school she volunteered in a hospital in Zurich, then worked with refugees from WW II. Visiting the Nazi concentration camp at Majdanek she discovered butterflies carved into the wooden walls and adopted the butterfly’s transition from chrysalis to adult as a symbol of the release of the soul at death. She received a medical degree at the University of Zurich, married Emmanuel Ross, and moved to the US. Working in a hospital in New York City she was appalled at the treatment of the dying, seeing doctors routinely conceal the gravity of patients’ conditions from them and their families. She took a position at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1962, completed a degree in psychiatry the following year. She developed programs to emotionally support the dying and their families. In 1965 she moved to the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. Here she started a program featuring interviews with the terminally ill to break through to nurses and doctors. Her work lead to the breakthrough book On Death and Dying in 1969, featuring the five stages of the Kübler-Ross model: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. This was the first of at least twenty books on the subject. She is credited with much of the growth of the hospice movement in the US, and most medical schools include her work on the required reading list. She established a hospice in Escondido, California and was the cofounder of the American Holistic Medical Association. She conducted workshops on the care of AIDs patients and treated many infants born with the syndrome. She moved the hospice to her own farm in Virginia in 1990 to reduce her traveling, but in 1995 she suffered a series of strokes and her Virginia home was destroyed by a fire believed to have been set by those opposed to her work with AIDs patients. She died at home of natural causes at age 78.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross quotes:

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 Kubler-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 Kubler-Ross

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

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

For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death.
    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Guilt is perhaps the most painful companion of death.
    Elisabeth Kubler-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 Kubler-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 Kubler-Ross

I’ve told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation.
    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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

If you live each day of your life right, then you have nothing to fear.
    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

In Switzerland 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 Kubler-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 Kubler-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 Kubler-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 — that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself, and know that everything in this life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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

Live, so you do not have to look back and say: ‘God, how I have wasted my life.’
    Elisabeth Kubler-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 within.
    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

People in mourning have to come to grips with death before they can live again. 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 Kubler-Ross

Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would not see the beauty of their carvings.
    Elisabeth Kubler-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. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassions, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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

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

Those who have been immersed in the tragedy of massive death during wartime, and who have faced it squarely, never allowing their senses and feelings to become numbed and indifferent, have emerged from their experiences with growth and humanness greater than that achieved through almost any other means.
    Elisabeth Kubler-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 Kubler-Ross

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

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 Kubler-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 Kubler-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 Kubler-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 Kubler-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 Kubler-Ross

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

You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.
    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

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