The next quotes come from chapter 18: "That Day and Hour No One Knows: Death Comes Suddenly."
In the final words of those for whom death comes as a surprise, the last remark is often about some trivial matter. The end arrives with no time for sad good-byes, profound observations or even one last, heartfelt prayer. ...
Sometimes the last words are more poignant. Those about to die may attempt to reassure loved ones, and perhaps themselves, that everything is just fine. Or they may express an innocent expectation that the routine will continue, the work will be done, the loved ones will be seen again. Tomorrow seems guaranteed. ...
In each case of sudden departure we hear words that well could be our own one day, a sober warning that death continues to appear unannounced. These declarations press us to consider: how would I spend this hour if I knew it was my last?Saint John Nepomucene Neumann (1811-1860) was the Bohemian-born Redemptorist bishop of Philadelphia. He said to a friend only hours before he dropped dead on a city sidewalk: "I feel as I never felt before. I have to go out on a little business, and the fresh air will do me good. A man must always be ready, for death comes when and where God wills it."
Knute Kenneth Rockne (1888-1931), the famous American football coach for the University of Notre Dame, was a late convert to the Catholic faith. He said to a fellow passenger boarding a plane: "I suggest you buy some reading material. These planes make an awful racket and just about shut off most conversation."
The plane crashed. His body was found with a rosary in his hands.
Roger Touhy (1898-1959), an Irish-American mobster and bootlegger, was gunned down in Chicago soon after his release from prison. As he waited for the ambulance, he said: "I've been expecting it. The bastards never forget!"