“Money is money; death is death; the living are the living; the living were the future.”
The precise and pregnant expression is taken from H. E. Bates’s short story The Ox. This line serves to signify the resolve of Mrs. Thurlow, who is the main character of the story, to make a fresh bid to build up her future anew. After the death of her husband and the loss of her saving, Mrs. Thurlow, though initially shocked and distressed, recovered herself and proposed to start afresh. This is indicated by the story-teller here.
Mrs. Thurlow’s hard-saved money was lost. Her husband was sentenced to death. The loss of her hard-saved money or the death of her husband was, no doubt, deeply shocking and distressing to her. But she realized that nothing could be more important than life, living beings. Her children were alive and they were much more important than such dead matters as the loss of her money or the death of her husband. Her living sons constituted her future. She must live and work again for that very future.
Mrs. Thurlow’s undying spirit comes out here. She remained yet enterprising even after her husband’s death and the loss of all her hopes about the restoration of her lost money. She seemed to have been inspired by the belief that living beings were much more important than dead matters. Life, indeed, is greater than all losses.