In my present state of life, the question of whether or not we survive death has become of great interest to me. If we don’t, then I’m never going to know, so that doesn’t really bear much thinking about. But if we do, then I have a lot of questions about how to prepare, how to understand the life I am taking with me, and where I might be going.
A couple of days ago, something happened that I consider beautiful and valuable. We were told a story about a man’s death that went like this: he was in his bed and was expected to die at any time. There was a nurse at his side, and family members were coming in and out of the bedroom to say their goodbyes. Among them was a little two year old child. When he toddled into the bedroom, he pointed up toward the ceiling and shouted “Granddad! Granddad!” At the same instant, the nurse said, “He has just expired.”
I think that the little one saw him leaving, literally rising out of this life, and was too innocent not to simply announce it. Later, of course, he’ll stop seeing such things as he’s told they don’t happen and he sees that the adults around can’t see them. But right now, he has given me a precious insight, him and his grandfather, whom I don’t even know.
At a discussion group we regularly attend, Whitley told this story. Some of the best minds in our community attend, and as a whole the group is very intellectually and spiritually advanced. But I wondered, as Whitley spoke, if there was a single person in that room who could have seen what the little boy saw. We lose that precious innocence. We go blind. And then, fumbling in the dark as we are, we worry that all of the effort we have put into this life may be without any final meaning for us.
I don’t think so, and I have many reasons for believing that the little boy was, very simply, telling the truth.
Here’s another great example:
Back in 2008, as I mentioned in my diary Ordinary People, Australian psychic Glennys McKay was in town. After visiting the Getty Museum we were on our way to dinner when Whitley, always somewhat skeptical of psychics, asked Glennys if she could see any dead people in the car.
She said yes, there was a dead person with us—in fact, this dead person was connected to him. She paused, then added, ‘he’s wearing a tuxedo and playing a piano.’ Whitley said nothing. Then she added, ‘he’s holding up a violin. He says his name is Milton.’
My dear husband almost drove off the side of the road. Incredibly, unbelievably, he had known an older boy called Milton when he was a child. This boy had lived across the street, and his endless practicing of the Beethoven Violin Concerto had been a big factor in giving Whitley his lifelong love of classical music. Milton had later become a member of the San Antonio Symphony and had, of course, often performed wearing a tuxedo.
There was no way Glennys could have known this. Whitley himself had not thought of Milton in 30 years at least. (He was long dead.) Glennys is one of those rare and very powerful psychics who can sometimes name names like that.
Now that I can no longer live in the comfortable illusion that life is going to just sort of go on forever, stories such as these are important to me, and in a very new way. In ordinary life we say to ourselves, ‘someday I’ll be face to face with the mystery of death.’ It is a beautiful and holy thing to realize that, for oneself, that day could be tomorrow.