It got me thinking into what others ‘last words’ were and how that reflected their lives before their deaths. Many of the comments are humorous, some sublime and others, as the above quote, a sad goodbye to this life. Some may believe that drawing any kind of conclusions from anyone’s ‘deathbed conversation’ is overblown. They would claim that it is nothing more than the random thoughts flitting through a dying brain; others, myself included, feel that often such comments can reveal not only a glimpse of that persons’ life but perhaps a glimpse of what is next after death. Many are recorded on various websites, but some that I’ve included here can point to how important these last testimonies are.
This is the last of earth! I am content.
~~ John Quincy Adams, US President, d. February 21, 1848
Waiting are they? Waiting are they? Well--let 'em wait.
In response to an attending doctor who attempted to comfort him by saying, "General, I fear the angels are waiting for you."
~~ Ethan Allen, American Revolutionary general, d. 1789
All my possessions for a moment of time.
~~ Elizabeth I, Queen of England, d. 1603
Codeine . . . bourbon.
~~ Tallulah Bankhead, actress, d. December 12, 1968
How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?
~~ P. T. Barnum, entrepreneur, d. 1891
I am ready to die for my Lord, that in my blood the Church may obtain liberty and peace.
~~ Thomas à Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, d.1170
I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.
~~ Humphrey Bogart, actor, d. January 14, 1957
That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted.
~~ Lou Costello, comedian, d. March 3, 1959
Damn it . . . Don't you dare ask God to help me.
To her housekeeper, who had begun to pray aloud.
~~ Joan Crawford, actress, d. May 10, 1977
This by no means is a complete list, just some I parsed from several different websites including “Brain Candy,” “Mental Floss” and “Phrasefinder.” There are some notables I have left out, among them Jesus the Christ (in that case his last words on the cross were not his last words, for he is alive today having risen from the dead). Some that I have heard from other nurses (relating what they’d heard from a patient just as they died) are horrifyingly stark, giving a glimpse of life after death that is not all lollipops, rainbows, and butterflies. The saddest on the above list is that of Joan Crawford; apparently, someone in her hearing was praying and perhaps beseeching her to call out for God. To go into that long not-so-good night with those words on ones’ lips…
There are ample examples of those disciples of Christ who went to their King with joy; Tomas a’ Becket is such an example when faced with his assassins, gave testimony of not only a life well spent but an expectation of far better in the next life. As the two malefactors who were crucified at the same time as Jesus, the world is divided into two camps; those who continue to decry his claims and mock him even as they die, and those who had once been among the mockers, but embraced him as Lord and Savior. There is no middle ground, no great good deed that anyone can do that will assuage the penalty of being born a son or daughter of Adam. Anyone who doesn’t believe in the concept of original sin and the inherent depravity of mankind has never had children (or seen the wild tantrum of a child not getting what they wanted NOW).
The time of our death is not known; often there is no time for any ‘last words’ as death overtakes us. Better to live a life that reflects our values, particularly those of a disciple of Christ and let that be our last testament to the world.