This well-know poem by Emily Dickinson seems to be suggesting that the speaker (undoubtedly Emily Dickinson herself) was so preoccupied with other things that she never stopped to think about the fact that she was mortal and was going to have to die someday just like everybody who had gone before her. But then when she reached a certain age and had seen several loved one die, she was forced to begin thinking about mortality. This was when Death, metphorically, stopped for her and picked her up in his carriage. After her first recognition of her mortality, the truth remained with her for the rest of her life. She learned to live with it, to accept it, and to realize that it was not such a terrible thing after all. The more she meditated on the fact of Death, the more she came to realize that it only represented the end of one stage of existence and that her soul, after all, was immortal. Death was like a kindly man, someone who had known her all her life, who had stopped to give her a pleasant ride into eternity. She describes an aspect of death which has been treated by earlier poets like William Shakespeare and John Donne, and even much earlier in the Psalms of David in the Old Testament. ENotes contains extensive coverage of "Because I could not stop for death" in the reference materials.