Question: Dear Luise: I would like to read your thoughts about an afterlife, if you don’t mind. I am not of any particular religious persuasion but I have been giving it a lot of thought lately and would like to incorporate the thinking of people I respect. You are one of them. Thanks, Mark
Answer: Dear Mark: Well, that’s quite a compliment. I really appreciate your vote of confidence.
Through my long life, my personal perceptions and beliefs about an afterlife have evolved into a kind of comfort-zone of my own making. Part of it has come from my experience as a nurse. It’s a profession that requires the acceptance of death as part of your day-to-day interfacing with patients and their families. I also lost my Mom and two sons in my twenties, so death just kept getting closer and closer to home.
The very fact that this subject interests you is probably an indication that you aren’t convinced that when it’s over…it’s over. That’s an assumption on my part. I have to make them often as I interact with the people who write to me. I would also guess that you are fairly young…which is a great time to start pondering these issues.
I have read many books through the years on this subject, of which three stand out as books I would recommend to others. The first is Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ “On Death and Dying”. It’s a groundbreaker because it contains no basic premises stemming from organized religion. She was a psychiatrist and she reported near-death experiences that had a recognizable pattern.
The second is “Testimony of Light” by Helen Greaves. A former Episcopalian nun contacted her after dying. The book is an account of the nun’s experience. Sanctioned by the Church of England, it is a very interesting concept to wrap your mind around.
The last one, I just recently read and it is perhaps the most challenging. The name of it is “Aaron’s Crossing” by Linda Dewey. You might want to see what these three books offer you in new perspectives and a broader view.
I guarantee these authors will set you to thinking. You sound delightfully open-minded. I can’t imagine a finer attribute when pondering the question “what comes next” and other related thoughts about an afterlife. Blessings, Luise