Marsha Onderstijn is a Dutch animator who studied at St. Joost Kunstacademie, a fine arts university in the Netherlands, specializing in 2D animation. In her hand-drawn piece, "Life of Death," Marsha follows a day with Death, who paradoxically learns to fall in love with life. This moving short animation paints Death as a warm character, interested in the goings on of the living, and even feeling remorse for accidentally killing a flower. Marsha invites the viewer to question any fear of death, with old age happily giving into the release and quiet of the next phase of existence. After all, what is death, but the next phase of life?


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  • Mary

    Death truly is the gateway into the next chapter…a release of this life…

  • Liz

    This is seeping into my soul for expansion ~ amazing heartfelt sweetness of a story!Bless you.

  • evita

    Death is NOT portrayed as a villain or something to be afraid of- the scene where the deer kisses the hand of death and finally embraces death was a poignant one. This film moved me very much.

  • Angelica

    Beautiful illustration of the acceptance of death.

  • Lakshmi

    Portrayal of Death as a compassionate and gentle force. He is just doing his duty. He’s not a villain but a force releasing all beings from their sorrows and pains. Leaves decaying is death. Flowers withering is also death. The birth and death are two sides of a coin. Beautifully portrayed.

  • Usha

    Death our closest companion Beautiful inspiring film

  • Judy

    This is so beautiful. I wish we could see death more often in this gentle view.

  • trisha kammer

    At the end of the video the deer and death hugged and came together just as life and death are connected. Nothing to fear, both are part of living, both are important and both hold our souls.

  • annie

    the gentleness or death's empathic gaze and the inevitability of why not the deer? now? I wanted death to transition back into a newly born deer, but death brings up the deeply personal sense in me, of wanting things to be a certain way, and life and death is also an impersonal event reminding me that things are as they are

  • Elise Rymer

    Why was the deer abandoned by the others?

  • Pam

    Death is gentle and kind. Accept it gracefully as the end of one life moving into another

  • agnes rosario de leon, 70

    one must not fear death but rather live life with zest and gratefulness. once we are living life this way, we can let go and face death calmly.

  • Kathy

    It is so beautifully made and so very gentle. All living creatures deserve to leave this planet pain free and unafraid.

  • TreeHgr

    The deer was ready for death...once given time for more living. Even in spite of the face of death hovering - it was not in constant fear that it's life was soon over. The portrayal seems that the rest of the deer's pack were in a different phase of life - independent from attachment to the one. I would enjoy the alternate scenario of being ready for death, as the next phase of life...when the chance of time and readiness is not extended, when the pack shows dependence. This continues to be my struggle.

  • Tasha

    It's peacefulness, its gentleness, and it's positive approach to death.

  • shadakshary

    accept death gracefully

  • Dede

    How beautiful, perfectly done, the animation, the music, the purpose, When we are born we know we will die, we don’t know when, where, or how but it is inevitable. Embracing our time for our next journey can be a beautiful time. Blessings

  • Mary

    Wow. I don't know what to say...I am moved by the simple, yet powerful beauty of the art, of the music, of the story itself. My mother died in March. My father is in hospice, with nothing to live for, he is dying of a broken heart. He admits he is afraid of Death. I will share this with him (and others). Thank you Marsha and musician and all who created this 'peace'.

  • Barbara J. Williams

    The peace and ease of it and the connection between death and the deer.The nurture of the embrace. During the night a neighbor made his transition and then I found this in my messages. A nephew passed a month ago and I will be sharing this with many others. Thank you.

  • Cynthia

    Death follows life...I loved the expressive eyes of the deer and seeing her move toward dying That it is death who is reluctant ~ as if death travels with us all our life long I also cried when I watched it Thankyou

  • Sylvia

    In the beginning of this video it appears that death is totally unaware of its power. After following the the deer, death seems to learn what living/life is all about. In the end death seems to be confused, sadden that it had the power to end life.

  • Jean

    The beauty, the simplicity, the connections, the music...the love.

  • Patty

    Beautiful! This made me cry.

  • Judy

    Just beautiful. Your art, Marsha, is a gift to us all. Thank you.

  • Jennifer

    I appreciate the gentleness and allowing of death that the film shows. I wish we all could have peace when we transition- that would be such a blessing.

  • Avna


  • Maggie P

    Without fear of death, one can live more intentionally and fuller in life.

  • Sunita

    Graceful acceptance of death. loved the animation. Thank you!

  • Gurudatt Kundapurkar

    Wow, Marsha has understood and represented so very effectively the inevitability of gracefully accepting death. She has her fingers right on the pulse of Nature's fact that where there is beginning the end will follow too, sometime or the other. It is the innate resistance to accepting the unavoidable change that causes anguish and pain to the ordinary. The extra-ordinary few only know that just as they were born without any of their own effort, death too must be beautifully allowed to be an event beyond one's control. A profound concept captured by Marsha so well in the medium of animation, generally used for entertainment. Gratitude, Karmatube, for sharing it.

  • Erika

    Wow... How profound and beautiful!

  • Lyn

    Its gentleness. I held two of my dogs while they were being put to sleep. It was a beautiful experience watching the pain and tension leave their worn out bodies. Like a release.

  • Laura Kay

    I work in hospice and trying to put some words out there for families/patients to bring peace and understanding of the death process and grieving is what I try to do daily. this film offers insight. our culture in the United States fears death and I want to learn more about how other cultures embrace and live more in the moment because of this.

  • Stephanie

    I had seen this video before today. Enjoyed the peaceful way it portrays death, wish that all deaths could be so peaceful.

  • Mani

    Reminds me of Yaksha Prashna in Mahabharata (Vana Parva). Q : What is the greatest wonder? Day after day many people die. Yet the living wish to live forever. O Lord, what can be a greater wonder? Finding solace is key be it thru a romantic video or in these non-sentimental rwords of a guru. " The most defining aspect of life – death – is beyond the grasp of any mind – no matter how intelligent, smart, or intellectual you think you are. It is only because we are mortal that life is playing out the way it does. " . Death is perhaps like changing dress/ shirt (from one to next). Om Shanti

  • Zillah Glory

    The film itself, the progression alone, carries an incredible translation. Having just lost my grandmother to old age, this reaches me deeply. Thank you for the artists.

  • Penny

    Gentleness and compassion of death. It totally changed my perspective. I too am moved to tears.

  • Jeannine

    Moved to tears by this beautiful, deeply truthful depiction of death as part of the life cycle. Death is a true friend to those who are suffering, and, when kept in awareness helps us to treasure life. Death--the kind gatekeeper leading to the next stage of consciousness.

  • Mary

    It is so beautiful. I know that one day I will be grateful for that release.

  • Ted E

    My wife and I wept together as we watched this beautiful piece. What moved us was the gentleness and compassion of both life and death. The two are one connected by touch. Beautifully done and will always be remembered by us both.

  • Barbara

    I am moved to tears by this incredibly beautiful depiction of living and ending. Marsha has given us a wonderful gift with her animation.

  • TParry

    I have been at the hospital the last three days with an individual that I support. He was dying from pneumonia. Many times I wished for him to be taken. This video landed in my email at exactly the right time. He passed last night.

  • Deepak

    Thank you . Very poignantly shown and expressed .

  • Shri

    Very poignant, very true. Animation is superb which gives you different perspective(peaceful) about death and life. Death is very well depicted in animation.

  • Peggy

    This gives me a more peaceful concept of Death is always at my side. Instead of using words like "death is lurking" this inspires me to think "death is accompanying."

  • Z A Boyd

    To do those things that I want to do before death. Do it now! After all, none of us have tomorrow for sure !!!

  • Mary E

    Life embraces death as death lovingly embraces life.

  • Bela


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