This is the fourth blog in the Life After Loss series:
Soul Survival – Do You Believe in Life After Death?
“It’s amazing, Molly…the love inside, you take it with you.”
– Patrick Swazye’s character, Sam, to Demi Moore’s character, Molly, in Ghost
Do you believe in some sort of life after death?
C.S. Lewis once said that he never had any doubts about people surviving death, but when his wife died, he was no longer certain. Why? Because it was so important to him that she be living.
When it comes to the belief in the possibility of some sort of life after death – i.e. the soul/spirit/essence/consciousness of a deceased person living on in some capacity after the death of their body – C.S. Lewis expressed it this way (as told by Anthony de Mello in his book, Awareness; The Perils and Opportunities of Reality):
It’s like a rope. Someone says to you, ‘Would this bear the weight of a hundred twenty pounds?’
You answer, ‘Yes.’
‘Well, we’re going to let down your best friend on this rope.’
Then you say, ‘Wait a minute, let me test that rope again.’
You’re not so sure now.
In other words, before we lose someone near and dear to us, the possibility of some sort of afterlife may not be that important. In theory, we may or may not believe it.
Sure, it’s an interesting concept to think about, read about, watch movies and plays about, and discuss – but if all our loved ones are still right here with us, then what happens after they die isn’t usually too high on our radar of stuff to worry about.
But when we do LOSE a loved one, boy oh boy…now we’re concerned! I mean, where the heck did they – the essence of them – go?
Or is dead really…dead? When the body dies, is that really the end?
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, then perhaps you may have found yourself asking these types of questions.
I certainly did after John died.
But here’s the thing: what I experienced right after his death is, in retrospect, pretty incredible in terms of evidence to support the possibility that something lives on after the death of our bodies.
As I mentioned in an earlier Life After Loss blog, I was able to spend the last day of John’s life with him in the ICU, holding his hand and comforting him as best I could as the medical team prepared his body for organ removal.
As for what happened next, here’s an excerpt from A Widow’s Awakening (I am “Adri” and John is “Sam”):
Just after midnight, an operating room becomes available. I watch as a group of nurses and technicians prepare Sam’s body for the transfer. One person temporarily detaches him from the respirator while another manually forces air into his lungs though a device that looks like a plunger. I want to scream. He’s leaving me and there’s not a goddamn thing I can do about it.
They wheel Sam out of his room and down the hall. I follow behind, right into the OR. When I turn around and see that several family members have followed us in, I scream at them instead: “Get out! Leave us alone!”
The medical personnel stare at me. But my crew of supporters high-tail it out of the operating room. I walk up to Sam, lean over and kiss him on the lips. “I love you.”
Then I take a deep breath, give him one last wave, turn around and walk out into the hallway full of family and friends.
But then an amazing thing happened. I awoke the next morning at 5:30 to see a large reddish orange light framing my entire bedroom window. When the organ removal coordinator called me a few hours later to update me on which of John’s organs were able to be donated (heart, kidneys and pancreatic islets), I asked her if she knew what time John’s heart was removed.
I could hear her flipping through her notes on the other end of the line.
“Here it is,” she says. “His heart was removed at 5:30 this morning.”
I actually saw that red light two more times in the months following John’s death: once in my bedroom again – but hovering on the night stand right beside my head, which freaked me out.
But then, as the years passed, I no longer saw the light as red. Rather, I saw a white light.
In fact, it wasn’t even me who saw the white light one night above my head about three years after John’s death. I was a rustic retreat in Bragg Creek and there were several women staying in a room with bunk beds. I had slept in a top bunk bed and when I woke up the next morning, the woman in the lower bunk bed, diagonal to me, asked me how I’d slept.
“Fine,” I said.
“Oh,” she said. “Well, I woke up in the middle of the night and saw the reading light above your head was on, so I figured you couldn’t sleep.”
Puzzled, I looked above my head then back at the woman.
“There’s no reading light up here,” I said.
“Well,” was her reply, “there was some sort of white light above your head in the middle of the night.”
In light of all I experienced since John’s death, I strongly suspect something does live on after the death of our bodies. The fact that it is often some sort of light that’s seen, after the death of a person, is interesting.
In John’s case, it makes sense that his light was red at first because I highly doubt his soul was at peace, after being taken so suddenly in the prime of life.
Whereas, as time passed, I think his soul did find peace with his sudden death, which perhaps explains why it later appeared as a white light.
“Your soul is that part of you that is immortal,” writes Gary Zukov, in his book, The Seat of the Soul. “Love is the energy of the soul…but love is not a passive state. It is an active force. It is the force of the soul. Love does more than bring peace where there is conflict…it brings Light.”
I watched the movie, Ghost, the other night. I hadn’t seen it in years. This time, however, I didn’t find it heart-breakingly sad.
Rather, I was intrigued by the way the film tackled the subject matter of life after death…and found much of what the characters experienced weirdly similar to what I have personally experienced over the years – and not just the white light at the end, when Patrick Swazye’s soul was finally at peace and able to move on.
The film also touched upon the idea that animals can see or sense the soul of a departed person, as well as the possibility that the soul of a departed person can temporarily exist in a living person for the purpose of communicating something important to a loved one (Whoopi Goldberg was fabulous as the medium!).
But those are subject matters to perhaps tackle in future blogs…
What is your experience with and/or belief about life after death? Do you think the soul lives on, in some way, after the death of the body?
For further info about the Life After Loss blog series, please click here.
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Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.
6 thoughts on “Soul Survival – Do You Believe in Life After Death?”
I most definitely believe the soul lives on after the death of our bodies. Always have, but not until the death of my husband at age 24, with a 2 month old baby, did I really explore further with much research, as in reading books, discussing with people of all different walks of life, etc. 17 years later I still don’t have a concrete solid block of ideals that I teach my kids, this is what happens when we die, as some religions have, but more so I tell them I believe this and that, others believe different but really we won’t know for sure until we get there ourselves.
I would like to share an experience that I had about 4 months after my husband died. I had been reading books on near death experiences, angel visitations and medium work. As I had never explored anything like that before (I was raised in a very old fashioned, traditional and strict religious family where that would be considered ‘from the devil’, so although I no longer attended that church from the age of 18 on, its not like I had another set of beliefs. I just didn’t think much about anything in the way of the afterlife) this was all new to me. I remember wanting to have any experience where I would receive some sort of sign or communication from the other side, more particularly directly from my late husband.
I was awakened one night with a message spoken to me directly in both ears more CLEARLY than I have ever heard ANYTHING! As I was receiving this I thought to myself, I’m not dreaming. Nope, I’m wide awake. See? I can look around the room, move my arm. This is really happening! And it was most definitely my husbands voice! I did not have any visions, no light and no actually ‘ghost appearance’. He just spoke to me and said, “you know I’ll always love you, Jack…” And he said something else but because I was so surprised and excited that this was really happening to me, I immediately forgot what the other thing was that he said. I was really hoping it would come to me or that I would get another visit. But unfortunately I didn’t.
About 2 or 3 months later, still on a quest for answers, I had a reading from a medium. It was at a psychic fair so I was really not expecting a very valid or concrete experience (sorry but that was all still new to me at that point). So I spoke to the greeters at the door and said that I would like to speak to a medium. They pointed me in the direction and said you need to go talk to that lady. So I paid my money and just listened. She said she had a male presence there, about 6 foot 4, broad shoulders, dark hair, blue eyes and a great smile. She described my husband to a tee except the color of his eyes which were brown. Then she went on to give me details of his accident. Everything was spot on! There was no doubt in my mind this was legit. There is no way anyone could guess those things. She went on to tell me that she saw another man in my life and a son (which I do have. 2 sons in fact). But at the time I was not interested in hearing about future events. She ended with asking me if I had anything I wanted to say. And I said yes. I had an experience where he came to me with a message and I only caught the first part. Even before I could finish telling her the whole story, she said. “I’ll take care of you!” And I immediately remembered that, that was what he said. The whole message was ‘you know I’ll always love you Jack and I’ll take care of you’.
Our daughter who is nearly 17 now has had many experiences and visits from her father and, unfortunately to her, others but we won’t delve into that today.
WOW!! Both those experiences are incredible. Thank you SO much for sharing, Jac! You have given me lots to think about…
Yes I believe they are with us after they have crossed over. I lost my 23 year old son suddenly in 2012. May last year I met a medium who told me many things which I knew could only be him but what knocked my socks off was she told me there was an anniversary looming and he wanted me to know he would arrange for me to receive yellow flowers and please know they were from him. A couple of months later it was his death anniversary. I never told anyone what the medium had said to me as I wanted to know if it would happen. On the eve of his anniversary my other sons turned up on my doorstep carrying a huge bunch of yellow sunflowers. My son’s girlfriend had bought them for me and passed them on to my son to give to me. She didn’t even care for sunflowers yet felt compelled to get them for me for his anniversary. This confirmed that my son is still here with us. Sometimes we just get lost in the hurly burly and forget but there are always signs that our loved ones are close by. We just need to remember to look. I tend to see sunflowers at various times now when I am thinking of him. And being sunflowers I think of them as flowers from my son watching over me (sonflowers). Forever my very favourite flower. Love always, Vicki
OH WOW!!!! That is an incredibly beautiful and powerful story about the sunflowers. Thank you so much for sharing that with me. But I am so very sorry to hear you lost your 23-year old son.
Please take care and big hugs to you, Vicki!
My husband died June 21, 2015. I have had many unexplained things happen, but he did tell me if he could, he would let me know that he was with me. This past July I went to Ontario to visit some friends, it was early morning and I was walking around the inside of their house, I went to look out the window & suddenly there was no floor, I was falling down the steps. I thought I need to right myself so that I can protect myself. At the bottom of the stairs was a solid brick fireplace, I would have been seriously hurt & or died if I hit it.I never got to the bottom, I don’t remember walking back up the steps, no broken bones, no sprains with the exception of two thumbprints on the inside of each arm, as if someone had stopped my fall. Later that morning there was an angel feather under the chair where I was sitting. I know it was my husband Rob whose thumbprints were there. Even in death, he is looking out for me. ~ Sallie
WOW!!! That is an amazing and beautiful story, Sally! Thank you so very much for sharing it with me…it was exactly what I needed to hear today 🙂