Floating picture

Dr Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

(1926-2004)

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“At four, she built her first animal clinic in her parents' basement. A storage room where she went to care for cats, rabbits, sparrows and hedgehogs. For years, she played veterinarian on her own. Her sisters preferred their dolls.

 (...) When, at eleven, she was asked what she would like to do later, she wrote:
« I would like to be a researcher, an explorer of unknown areas of human knowledge. I would like to study the nature of life; and above all, to be a doctor. »
(Patrice Van Eersel, 'The dark source')

Once doctor, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross very quickly became interested in the dying (we even nicknamed her "the vulture"!). For what? Because she realizes that no one is interested in them! ☆“These strangers whom I had never met told me about their pain, their isolation. They expressed their anger towards the doctor who did not come down to their level, towards the minister who tried to console them with that worn phrase "It is the will of God", towards the visiting relatives and friends who threw the inevitable "Smile, everything will be better"...

« That one can converse with a dying person, she writes, provokes an icy admiration, a thrill of anguish for this heroic act of gratuity (and emptiness). A beautiful act, we say to ourselves, but vain. »

“Because she has a heart and is a humanist, Elisabeth finds the negligence of her contemporaries unforgivable. Criminal. And stupid, because at the same time, they struggle to prolong the life of the sick as much as possible, thus considerably lengthening the total duration of the agonies, these periods straddling life and death, even though they have made some a lie zone."

 “Medicine can delay death, but often it is simply to prolong the agony."
(Dr. Rober Morisson, 'Scientific American')

For Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a pioneer in supporting people at the end of life, « The dying have always been great teachers, because at the end of their existence, human beings have a more lucid vision of life. They make us understand how precious it is. »
(Patrice Van Eersel, 'The dark source')

From a life of self-sacrifice and study, this great doctor drew immense wisdom and great lessons. She writes in the preamble of one of her books (excerpts):

« By living as if we were going to live forever, we easily put off what we know we have to do. In the meantime, each day is lost.

 « Whether you die young or old is less important than living out the years you've had. By "living" we do not mean frantically accumulating numerous and diverse experiences to catch the imagination of others, but rather live each day as if it were the only one you had left. We mean to find a peace and a force which makes assume the disappointments and the sufferings of the life by always striving to discover the means of accessing its joys: to rejoice in the budding of the leaves in the spring, to marvel at the beauty of the rising and setting sun, of a smile, etc.

 “To rejoice in the chance to live each new day is to prepare for the acceptance of death. Because it is those who have not really lived who take death the hardest. »


In the last sentences of an afterword, she warns:

« Do not frivolously use the time that is yours. May each day make you grow in consciousness. Don't let the illusory urgency of the immediate distract you. »

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Contributions by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross on the theme of:

 Life, everyday life, suffering, despair 

 The way, the awakening, the meditation, the purpose of life 

 Love, relationship, children 

 Death, the afterlife, contacts, suicide...