Famous last words

by Henrylito D. Tacio

CHRISTIANS all over the world know that Jesus had spoken seven last words before he died.  But his final words were, “It is finished.”  After saying those words, “He bowed his head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).

Epicurus urges: “Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.”  When a person die, Henry Ward Beecher observes, “Now comes the mystery.”  This is the reason why the last words of those who are dying vary and differ.

“Beautiful,” said writer Elizabeth Barrett Browning when asked by her husband how she felt.  After saying that word, she died.  Inventor Thomas Alva Edison agreed: “It is very beautiful over there.”

Always be ready to meet your Creator, spiritual leaders urged.  That’s why some last words of dying people are directed toward the Almighty.  “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” said Karl XI of Sweden.  “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you,” said Nobel Peace Prize winner Mother Teresa.

“Let me go to the Father’s house,” Pope John Paul II bowed out.  Before him, Pope John Paul I suggested: “I will see you tomorrow, if God wills it.”  American author Edgar Allan Poe cried: “Lord, help my poor soul.” Nat Turner, immediately before he was hanged: “It’s in God’s hands now.”

Dying Michael Faraday was asked, “Have you ever pondered by yourself what will be your occupation in the next world?” Before he took his last breath, he replied: “I shall be with Christ, and that is enough.

Some dying people were concerned of other people than themselves.  Is someone hurt?” asked Robert F. Kennedy to his wife after he was shot and seconds before he fell into a coma. The American senator died in the early morning hours of the next day.  For God’s sake look after our people,” Robert Falcon Scott wrote in his diary before he froze to death.

Others exited this world and delivered funny lines.  “Die, my dear? Why that’s the last thing I’ll do!” declared film actor and comedian Groucho Marx.  Dying is easy, comedy is hard,” playwright George Bernard Shaw said on his deathbed.

Doc Holliday was a consumptive gunfighter. He always thought, and perhaps hoped, that he would die in a fight or “with his boots on.”  He died in a hotel bed from consumption. His last words, after seeing his feet with boots off, were: “This is funny.”

“Friends applaud, the comedy is finished,” music composer Ludwig van Beethoven said. French grammarian Dominique Bouhours said: “I am about to — or I am going to — die: either expression is correct.”

Even in death, some people still asked questions.  “What is the answer?” Gertrude Stein asked Alice B. Toklas.  Where she heard no response, Stein again asked: “In that case, what is the question?  American writer Louisa M. Alcott wondered: “Is it not meningitis?” Writer Boris Pasternak said: “Good-bye . . . why am I hemorrhaging?”

“Am I dying or is this my birthday?” asked Lady Nancy Astor when she woke briefly during her last illness and found all her family around her bedside.  Does nobody understand?” inquired writer James Joyce.

There were those who were very particular with their health.  I can’t sleep,” said Peter Pan author James M. Barrie.  On the contrary, author Lord George Byron said, “Now I shall go to sleep. Goodnight.”

According to some reports, a dying person will see a huge light before he or she will finally succumbed to death.  This must be the reason why the last words of American president Theodore Roosevelt were: “Please put out the light.”  

But author O. Henry (William Sidney Porter in real life) opposed: “Turn up the lights! I don’t want to go home in the dark.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also said: “More light.”  However, the last words of writer Victor Hugo were vague: “I see black light.”

Some recipients of famous last word or words were their life partners.  French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte said: “Josephine…” I love you Sarah.  “For all eternity, I love you,” American president James K. Polk told his wife.  “Don’t let poor Nelly (his mistress, Nell Gwynne) starve,” said Charles II, king of England and Scotland referring to his mistress, Nell Gwynne.

“When I am dead, you will find Philip and Calais engraved on my heart,” said Mary I of England, related to her husband and the loss of Calais to France.  Before he died, Jimmy Steward said “I’m going to go be with Gloria now.

Others still thought of booze.  “I am dying.  I haven’t drunk champagne for a long time.” said Anton Pavlovich Chekhov.  Film actor Humphrey Bogart, who died of cancer, pronounced: “I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis.”  Poet Dylan Thomas uttered: “I’ve had eighteen straight whiskies; I think that’s the record . . .”

There were those who were wrong about their condition.  Hollywood actor Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. said: “I’ve never felt better.”  H.G. Wells assumed: “Go away. I’m all right.” 

There were those who thought of their contribution to this world.  Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci said: “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.”

Some ended their lives by committing suicide.  Stand-up comedian Freddie Prinze left a suicide note and made a series of phone calls to his friends and family.  “I love you, Kathy.  I love the baby, but I need to find peace.  I can’t go on,” he said to his wife via phone and after saying those words, he pulled out a gun from the sofa and shot himself in the head.

Actor George Sanders, in a suicide note, wrote: “Dear World, I am leaving you because I am bored. I feel I have lived long enough. I am leaving you with your worries in this sweet cesspool – good luck.

“I don’t have the passion anymore,” wrote Kurt Cobain in his suicide note.  Referencing a song by Neil Young, he added: “So remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away. Peace, Love, Empathy.”

In his suicide note, Hunter S. Thompson scribbled: “No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt.

Now, are you ready to die?  Listen to the last words of American president Woodrow Wilson: “I am ready.” — ###

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One response to “Famous last words

  1. whatever happened to is it me, Freddie Prinze Jr., anyway?

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