The Death card rarely signifies an actual physical passing, though it can. Limiting the card’s symbolism to physical death would sacrifice much of its value. We suffer many deaths throughout our lives, and it’s these losses that our fez-capped skeleton symbolizes. Death represents a large and irrevocable change that significantly alters the path we are on. Our way of life as we have known it is over, and that can be unutterably sad.
Loss is, however, only half of Death’s equation. The other piece of the puzzle is symbolized in the fistful of flowers the little skeleton clutches: the promise of new life. While the sadness that accompanies a loss as large as the one that Death symbolizes is intense, the passing of a period of our lives does not have to be only sad. The freedom and opportunity for exploration offered by Death can be exciting: a chance at a new life entirely.