back in the long-ago 1950's, my wife was in her final
year of nurses' training at Johns Hopkins Hospital in
Baltimore. She talks of standing by the bedside of an
elderly woman who had been in a terminal coma for some
time. Suddenly, the woman regained consciousness, sat
up, pointed off into the distance, and said, her face
radiant with joy, "Oh, it's so beautiful!"
With that, she lay back down, and stopped breathing.
have heard many similar stories over the years, some
of which happened before the flood of New Age accounts
which followed the publication of Moody's Life After
Life in 1975. These stories have the cumulative effect
of convincing even the worst skeptic that, when we die,
we do not cease to be but move into a new world from
which our spirits came in the first place.
I heard from an online friend, Mark Dohle, who for years
has had the opportunity of working with terminal patients.
He could write a book about all the things his patients
have told him concerning the next world.
instance, he speaks of Clarence who seemed to be having
"visitors" in his room. He told Mark, as if
it were the most obvious thing in the world, that he
was seeing an angel. Or Michael who was in his eighties.
Mark entered his room one day and saw that Michael was
in ecstasy, his hands folded and his face aglow. He
turned to Mark and said with a beatific smile, "Oh
Mark, you have no idea how beautiful heaven is."
died soon after that and Mark later had a dream in which
he was in a hospital ward. He saw Michael in bed. Mark
says, "His face was again glowing like the sun
and he looked at me, laughed and said, 'I'm OK, Mark,
just resting up.'"
had another patient who was suffering from Parkinson's
and dementia, and who had to be watched twenty-four
hours a day. Shortly after his death, Mark had another
visitation dream. He was in a church fixing some books
when this former patient walked up to him. His face
was suffused with love and compassion, and he looked
at Mark and said, "I love you, Mark; thank you
for all you did. I will pray for you."
patient, Philip, suffered from dementia, yet seemed
to have the ability to deliver messages to some of the
staff members. One lady had lost a brother and was worried
about him, wondering if he was OK. As she was feeding
Philip his breakfast, he suddenly became very clear
and told her that her brother was OK and to stop worrying
about him. No one had ever talked to Philip about her
brother. She came to Mark in tears and told him what
had happened. He told her not to worry, that her brother
had simply found a way to communicate with her.
stories, and countless others like them, remind us that
we live in dual worlds, and that our truest identity
is spiritual rather than physical. We need to remember
this when the things of this world begin to weigh us
down. That other world which is "so beautiful"
is waiting for each one of us, like a heavenly vacation
after a lifetime of hard work.
John W. Sloat 2009