Hello S.E. friends, Gwen with you today. I’ve been absent for a while because of a move across the country. Now that I’m settled, it’s good to be sharing ideas with you again.
You may recall that my prior post focused on the last moments of life. Today I continue that thread and look into the concept of life after death. Through our characters, many of us touch into this mystical realm when we include a death scene. Perhaps there’s a re-encounter with deceased loved ones or angels, then again, if we don’t like our character, maybe he or she faces a judgement. We write what our story needs and sometimes what we as writers need.
On a personal note, when I was a child, my mom told me a story that stirred an interest in the heavenly world. She relayed that my great aunt was on her deathbed when suddenly she sat up, reached out, and said, “Oh look, the angels have arrived,” and with those words she succumbed.
Did she see angels? My mom never doubted that she did, and when mom described the scene, she always mentioned how beautiful my aunt was as she took her last breath. This story of angels coming for my aunt found a special place in my child’s heart. Eventually, it led me to dig deep and research the life after death phenomenon, the findings of which eventually were expressed in my stories.
Have you had a similar journey and wondered, could it be? Could it be that life extends beyond death? Though our religious faith may answer that question for many of us, let’s look at some of the research evidence.
Dr. Raymond Moody, MD, PhD is famous for his in-depth research into near-death experiences. His work with thousands of individuals, who officially died then came back to life, opened the door to the scientific basis for life after death. When he began his research, he was both a skeptic and an atheist. He claims neither now. And his conclusion? Consciousness survives death.
Many have written memoirs describing their near death experience (NDE). But there are two physicians who have greatly influenced my understanding and writing – orthopaedic spine surgeon Dr. Mary Neal and neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander. Their personal accounts and subsequent analyses are stunning. Both have added notable credibility to this topic.
In reading the books of the above three doctors and several memoirs of people reporting a NDE, certain universal characteristics emerge that are useful for writers to know. Those who have died and then returned to life, often describe situations that include:
- Floating above their body and viewing the scene around their unconscious form
- Ascending through a dark tunnel and moving towards light
- Meeting spiritual beings
- Encountering a loving presence
- Reuniting with deceased relatives and friends and sometimes beloved pets
- Experiencing a connectedness with all of creation
- Viewing scenes of one’s life and assessing what has been learned or not
- Believing the experience to be more real than physical life, and post-NDE
- Feeling unconditional love for everyone.
These characteristics are not exhaustive, but they are common. A couple of years ago, I met a gentleman who had experienced two NDEs. He recounted his fatal heart attacks with vivacious joy and explained that he had no fear of death. “I’ve already died twice,” he said, “and it was simple. Coming back was the hardest part of the experience because I wanted to stay.” I asked why, and he referred to an all-consuming love and then added, “It was beautiful in ways I cannot adequately explain.” This man’s experience echoes that of countless others.
How about you? Have you experienced a NDE or written about life after death? I’d love to know your experience and thoughts on this. Won’t you share with all of us?
Till our next visit, all the best!