Accustom yourself to believing that death is nothing to us, for good and
evil imply the capacity for sensation, and death is the privation of
all sentience; therefore a correct understanding that death is nothing
to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life a
limitless time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality. For
life has no terrors for him who has thoroughly understood that there are
no terrors for him in ceasing to live. Foolish, therefore, is the man
who says that he fears death, not because it will pain when it comes,
but because it pains in the prospect. Whatever causes no annoyance when
it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation.
Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing
that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are
not. It is nothing, then, either to the living or to the dead, for with
the living it is not and the dead exist no longer.
–Epicurus, “Letter to Menoeceus”