None of us knows what will happen after death, but I believe—if you look deep inside, deep in your soul—you will know you have always existed and always will. Spirit is eternal. If you think back, you'll remember you never felt as if you didn't exist before you were born into this life. Rather, you felt as if you always existed and always will. That's why this death will not be an ending. You may not have life as you know it once you die, but you will continue. If you have lost a loved one, he still continues. The dying still exist. Now when someone I know is dying, I don't say goodbye anymore, I just say...until we meet again. Marianne Williamson always reminds those at her lectures about A Course in Miracles that birth is not a beginning and death is not an ending. There is a shift from the body identification to the spiritual identification.
I was so gratified after the last article I wrote about how many people were willing to share their stories about deathbed visions on Oprah.com, Facebook and Twitter. These people who decided to share their stories online are a validation that our loved ones live on. And for each person who shared a story online, there were probably hundreds to thousands who have stories they didn't share.
We must continue to examine the meaning of death because death is central to the meaning of life. If death is an enemy that triumphs over us when our lives end, if death is a horrible trick of nature that defeats us and our health, then our lives are meaningless. But if we understand that we are born, we flourish and when our time comes we die physically but not spiritually, we will live our lives from a meaningful place and live our deaths in a meaningful way.
No one can really claim to understand death, unless they have actually died. We're only observers until our time comes. What I teach about death is what I have learned from it. While my medical training touched on the subject, I learned most of what I know about death from the countless people I have had the privilege of caring for, and sharing with, in these most precious, final moments. What I know for sure is that love is a house that even death cannot knock down.
David Kessler is the author of Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms (May 2010), as well as the co-author with Elisabeth Kübler Ross of On Grief and Grieving and Life Lessons. Visit his website for more help and resources.
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