I recently lost my mother, who passed on at the age of 87, as an amazing woman who lived a fascinating and very full life.
Sometimes we lose a loved one, and it causes us to grieve, and to wonder about death. We experience death differently based on our relationship with the one who dies, and also based on the teachings (or absence of teachings) with which we were raised.
I have experienced death personally a number of times. The most prominent was, of course, when I was 28 and my 34 year-old husband died suddenly of a cerebral aneurysm. As a minister and an on-call chaplain, I have been with people and their family members when they were dying, and when they died. I was with my father when he died. I was with my mother before and after her death, but not at the time of her death. I was with my beloved border collie when she died. Being present during a person (or animal’s) transition can feel overwhelming, and also very sacred.
Watching my late husband die 27 years ago was incredibly difficult, as he went into a state called “de-cerebrate posturing,” which occurs when the brain is flooded with blood, along with “sonorous breathing” which sounded horrible. He sounded, looked, and moved like a zombie. At the time, even though I did not believe in any sort of actual devil, it looked to me as though God and the devil were fighting over his soul. And then, without having ever read or heard of such an experience, I saw a blue-ish white vapor float up above his body, near his belly-button. In other words, I saw his soul leave his body and go up. I felt very reassured that it went “up.” (I have since then read that it is sometimes possible to “see” the soul leave the body as a blue-ish white vapor.)
I have also experienced a sense of the presence of loved ones who have passed on, sometimes just in the form of a message, suggestion, or guidance. With my late husband, I have experienced some very meaningful connections of varying kinds – challenging, uplifting, and humorous. The challenging one occurred only two years after he died, when he came to me in a dream and confessed something hurtful he had done. I believe the dream was a real experience of his soul contacting mine, as a necessary part of his processing of his karma.
The next time I experienced connection with my late husband was 12 years after he died. He was a tenor soloist named David, and our main hobby together was singing, especially in church, and often Easter songs. 12 years later, the church I served as an associate minister had a choir director named David, who was also a tenor, and who sang a solo that particular Sunday. I burst into tears, and couldn’t stop crying for awhile, which left me feeling inwardly mortified, since I was sitting “up front” in the chancel of the church.
Later that afternoon, I sat to meditate and to ask for understanding as to why, after 12 years of managing without him, I suddenly grieved David. The message I received or perceived was that David had become a “Being of Light,” who had chosen to work through all of his past life karma (a process that entails, in part, what Christians refer to as a “day of judgment,” although it can take years!). He had chosen to work off karma and to attain an enlightened state by doing something that was mentioned in the book “What Dreams May Come;” he chose to be sent to rescue souls who had become lost in unhappy astral realms, which may be referred to in a variety of ways, such as “the outer darkness.” Through this horrifyingly challenging work, David had become a “Light Being.”
The third major interaction I had with my late husband was when I was driving from Michigan to Texas for my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary and my niece’s wedding in 2010. I was just south of Dallas on I-35, when I sensed that David was letting me know that he had come back into my life to help me with my finances. So, I responded by saying (out-loud in the car!): “If you’re back in my life, then I want to see your name in big, bold, all-capital letters on one of these many Texas billboards!”
Well, I saw many signs, and many names, but not yet David’s. When I got to the outskirts of Austin, it was dark. There I saw a sign for a hotel that said saint something, but not David. I remarked, again out-loud, “That was not Saint David, and besides, you were not a saint! And neither was king David a saint – he slept with Bathsheba and he had her husband killed at war!”
A few minutes later, I had to choose between the lower stretch of I-35 that has many exits, or the upper stretch of I-35 from which I expected to be able to see the capitol building lighted up at night. Just as I drove up the ramp, I saw on my right, in red neon, all-capital letters, a sign reading: “Saint David’s Hospital.” I groaned and laughed and said, “You got me!”
Well, I have come to believe much of what I was taught by the Self-Realization Meditation Healing Centre in England where I did many of my spiritual studies. My own experiences, have confirmed many of these teaching; both personal experiences, as well as when working with church members and clients.
I believe that death is a transition, and that we will go to one of several places. We may go to a heavenly astral realm where we see loved ones, and then usually process our karma, and usually become reincarnated after that process. Or, we may stay “stuck” here in the physical plane if our focus in life was very materialistic or if we are filled with fear or other strong emotions such as vengefulness. If we believe that we “deserve to go to hell,” we may go to some unhappy place which will be shaped in part by our own expectations. If we believe that there is nothing more after this earthly life, we may get stuck in outer darkness, or a gray-ish state of being, without really knowing what is going on. Wherever we are, Higher Beings may come along and assist us with our transition.
Death is a transition in which we move from the restrictions of this lifetime, to the possibilities for renewing life on a spiritual plane. We can also renew connections with loved ones, who often were not just loved ones in this lifetime, but also part of our “soul group,” that is, a group of people with whom we have chosen to share many lifetimes, lessons, spiritual paths, and spiritual growth. Many of us have parents, grandparents, siblings, partners, friends, and children who are part of our soul group.
Death is not something to be feared, but to be embraced for all the potential it brings with it. In death, we are often guided or accompanied by angelic beings, and we may be greeted by an Ascended Master when we reach a vibrational state which comes closer to matching a higher astral realm. In death, we may grow closer to that which is Divine, that which is sacred, that which created us and loves us unconditionally and eternally.
Death is a journey which can become a journey from darkness into light, and from light, into more light, as well as from limited consciousness, to unlimited consciousness. May you be at peace with the death of your loved ones. May you anticipate your own death with peace as well.
Love and Light,