Life After Death

When we contemplate the afterlife, we might imagine a paradise of angels and loved ones who have gone before us--a blissful place. Imagining the beauty of heaven can be of great comfort at a time of grief, offering hope that life after death is not just a wish but a promise fulfilled.
Surgeon and bestselling author Mary C. Neal

Dr. Mary C. Neal Recalls Her Inspiring Near-Death Experience

In this series of videos, surgeon and bestselling author Dr. Mary C. Neal recounts in detail the near-death experience she went through in 1999 and how it has impacted her life in the years since.

Heaven

Do You Have Questions About Heaven?

Revelations from the author of a new book about her near-death experience.

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Entertainer Arthur Godfrey

Guideposts Classics: Arthur Godfrey on God's Mysterious Gifts

In this story from March 1950, beloved entertainer Arthur Godfrey recalls a time when his life was changed by a divinely inspired dream.

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Little Yellow Angel

Little Yellow Angel

A feathered friend becomes a source of comfort.

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An artist's rendering of a glowing heavenly light hovering over a patient's bed

A Spiritual Director on Inspiring 'Sunset Moments' of the Dying

Spiritual director Ann Satterfield talks about mysteries and miracles that can occur at the end of life on this earth.

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The Science Behind a Broken Heart

Is there science behind the phenomenon of couples dying together? 

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Glimpses of Heaven: Sometimes Christmas Comes Early

Glimpses of Heaven: Sometimes Christmas Comes Early

Glimpses of Heaven author Trudy Harris shares a touching true story about this sacred time of year.

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Dr. Raymond Moody, the dean of near-death-experience (NDE) studies

Dr. Raymond Moody: The Secrets of the Afterlife

Mysterious Ways sat down with Dr. Raymond Moody, known as the dean of near-death-experience (NDE) studies, to discuss the great beyond, the “nonsense of dying” and his own trip to the outskirts of eternity.

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Dr. Raymond Moody

Dr. Raymond Moody on Life and the Afterlife

What has this NDE expert and author of the best-selling Life After Life learned about the afterlife?

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Darryl "The Miracle Man" Perry

'The Miracle Man' Who Went to Heaven and Came Back

Doctors couldn't explain how Darryl "The Miracle Man" Perry came back to life. But he knew it was all God's doing.

6 tips for responding to the words of the dying.

5 Ways to Respond to the Last Words of the Dying

In Part 3, linguist Lisa Smartt shares some wisdom for family, friends and caregivers.

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Speech patterns in the words of the dying reveal more about life after death.

5 Characteristics of the Last Words of the Dying

In Part 2, linguist Lisa Smartt uncovers patterns of speech that reveal more about life after death.

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The meaning of the last words of the dying.

The Words of the Dying–Part 1

Her father's death moves a linguist to explore the meaning of the mysterious final words of the dying.

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Winged angels line the path to heaven

Escorted to Heaven by Angels

Be inspired by these tales of heavenly guides bringing comfort and reassurance to people in the final hours of their lives and to the loved ones who are saying goodbye to them.

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Several years ago, when one of our sons was still a teenager, he was sitting with a friend downtown near the river. A man in his mid-thirties passed by and looked at him.

Pointing to the jail nearby, he said, “Son, I have been over there in that jail for several days and I need to get home to my family in Tennessee; can you help me?” Assuming the man would use the money for drugs or alcohol, he offered to walk him to the bus terminal and buy his ticket. He asked the agent if the ticket was redeemable; assured that it was not, he purchased one. As the man approached the stairs of the bus, he turned and said, “I will never forget your kindness.” My son told me later that “it was like Jesus himself was looking right at me.”

When people have had this kind of experience of seeing Jesus, they are certain he was right there in front of them. Often, as a patient is dying, they say that they are filled with warmth, light and love, which they feel is God. They seem so peaceful and happy and are totally unafraid.

When a patient named Fred told me that Jesus had been standing in the corner of his room, looking very gently at him, his words, his description and the look on his face left no doubt in my mind that he had indeed seen him. He died a day or two later.

When a good friend’s husband died recently, she told me she got into bed a little while later for comfort and when she looked up, Jesus was standing in her room looking tenderly at her. She says the memory of that moment will never leave her. Her heart was broken at the loss of her husband and God simply came to assure her of his presence and his love.

Glimpses of heaven happen more frequently than we know. Sometimes we even try to explain them away. This is a mistake; it is like a good friend knocking on our door to bring us a gift of love and support and we simply don’t answer the knock. But they are given to us at those moments when God knows we need them most.

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When he told me that Jesus had been standing in his room, the look on his face left no doubt that he had indeed seen him.

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Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris
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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisJul 8, 2013

"It Was Like Jesus Was Looking Right at Me"

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I recently had a conversation with a friend whose mother had died within the past month; it was not an easy death for her or those who loved her.

She had always been a very happy, positive, upbeat person, even through her illness, but near the end of her life she developed what we often refer to as “terminal agitation.” During those last few days, she tossed and turned a great deal, seemed to be in great discomfort and was angry at all those who tried to help her. This was distressing both for the patient and for those around her who knew her so differently.

People often wonder if this experience means their loved one was frightened at the end or saw something that caused them to worry; sometimes loved ones even worry the person close to death is afraid of not going to heaven. When the brain is getting less oxygen than it normally does, as is the case many times when someone is near their time, they often behave in this way. They are often not even aware of it and cannot control it, and it comes across as frightening to those around them. I have explained this phenomenon so many times that I have lost count, and it comforts loved ones who are experiencing just this kind of reaction, but God in his infinite mercy often handles it his own way.

This friend explained to me that about one week after her mom died, she had a wonderful dream of her. She looked beautiful, was smiling and happy and conveyed to her daughter that she was in a joyful place and enjoying herself immensely. No words spoken by well-meaning medical people, friends or pastors gave her the peace that this dream did. It was simply the best gift she could have ever received.

How well God knows each of us to allow this kind of understanding to come to us after he has taken a loved one to heaven with him. We are blessed that our father knows us so well and cares about us to this degree all the time. We belong to God from our first moment until we are safely with him in heaven. Like it or not, we belong to him.

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How well God knows each of us to allow this kind of understanding after he has taken a loved one to heaven.

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Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris
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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisJun 24, 2013

Comforted After Her Mother's Difficult Death

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I had in my care a handsome young husband and father. He was built like an athlete, loved being a scratch golfer and lived life to the fullest. His wife loved him very much and there was nothing she would not do for him and their two precious little girls.

His diagnosis of malignant melanoma came not too long after they married. They supported each other in all the best ways possible, and she saw to it that he accomplished as many items on his “bucket list” as humanly possibly. Just a few weeks before his death, she bundled him up early in the morning, before the sun was up, and surprised him with a hot-air balloon ride that he had wanted for years.

He was fiercely independent and arranged all of his own funeral services and burial, which left the funeral director scratching his head when he was adamant about the fact that his coffin needed to be lined with the Florida Gators’ blue and orange colors.

They spoke openly about his impending death, even taking the girls to the cemetery to see his burial site, next to the lake with the beautiful swan and beneath a huge oak tree. He died with his wife holding, loving and comforting him to the end.

A short while later she called to tell me of an experience she had the night of his death. It seems she had gotten into bed and was not yet asleep when she clearly saw him walking across a bridge in the distance. As he left the bridge, he turned to look at her and waved.

That moment will never leave her; she knew then that he was all right and would be happy in his new life. She knew too that she would be able to handle things, no matter how hard, because he would always be with her. I see her from time to time, and she has found peace and joy again.

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After his death, she knew that he was all right and that he would always be with her.

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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisJun 18, 2013

A Wave from the Bridge to Heaven

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A reader named Shannon Watts of Modesto, California, sent us a story about her grandmother Eileen, who passed away after the aggressive return of her breast cancer.

I never forgot the story, because my own grandmother died similarly, and both Grandma Eileen and my Mam-maw were big card players. Like Shannon Watts, I often pleaded with my grandmother, “Just one more game.” Far as I can tell, neither of these grandmothers ever said no!

Grandma Eileen, “the glue of the family,” repeatedly told everyone not to worry about her, even when she was at her weakest. She knew she would soon be safe in heaven. On their last visit together, Shannon and Grandma Eileen played cards, of course. Eileen passed away on April 5, 1998, one day shy of her 72nd birthday.

The morning of Eileen’s funeral, Shannon’s cousin called to tell her not to miss the Family Circus comic in the newspaper. The strip that day showed a little girl sitting on her bed talking to her brothers. “Shh!” the caption read, “Eileen’s talking to me. She’s my guardian angel.”

Shannon believes that was God’s assurance that Eileen was with him in heaven, where surely she has found at least one other enthusiastic card player. One near and dear to my heart.

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Grandma repeatedly told everyone not to worry about her. She knew she would soon be safe in heaven.

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Angels on Earth blogger Colleen Hughes
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A reader named Shannon Watts of Modesto, California, sent us a story about her grandmother Eileen, who passed away after the aggressive return of her breast cancer.

I never forgot the story, because my own grandmother died similarly, and both Grandma Eileen and my Mam-maw were big card players...

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All About Angels
Colleen HughesJun 12, 2013

"She's My Guardian Angel"

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When I first began in hospice care, I was doubtful when patients spoke to me about visiting with loved ones who had already died, hearing beautiful music and seeing angels when they were close to death.

As a nurse, I wanted to find concrete explanations for their experiences. But in short order, having heard them again and again, I started to really listen to these stories. Regardless of their age, spiritual background, experience or education, many people had very similar stories to tell.

They always described the angels as at least eight feet tall, male, very beautiful and voluminously dressed in a shade of white for which we did not have a name. The angels appeared at different times of day or night, and sat or stood nearby without saying a word; patients were always happy to see them and sad when they went away. When my own mother asked about the old man sitting in the corner of her room watching her, I suggested it would be just like her to have an old guardian angel. To which she answered, “That’s who he is” and was perfectly content with that thought.

One morning, the nurse who had been on duty the night before in our hospice center came to my office. She had been working for us for several months and had heard these stories from her patients a few times herself. She tentatively asked, “Has anyone ever told you they saw angels in the garden?” I told her I certainly had, from both nurses and patients.

She looked instantly relieved and explained that during the night, she had glanced outside at the surrounding gardens and was quite sure she was looking at many angels. Of course she questioned herself and looked out several windows to be sure she wasn’t just tired and seeing things. She said that they were lovely, seemed very peaceful and natural there and appeared to be just waiting.

When someone she had been caring for died during the night, the nurse felt sure that the angels she had seen in the garden were there to take the patient to heaven. What a wonderfully comforting thought and experience.

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The angels were at least eight feet tall, male, very beautiful and dressed in a shade of white for which we did not have a name...

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Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris
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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisJun 10, 2013

Angels in the Garden

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A very dear friend recently had her faith tested in a way she never could have imagined. Through the experience, she was intimately touched by God’s grace in a brand new way.

Her husband of many years had been diagnosed with cancer of the bladder, and although he was treated successfully for a long time, it seemed things were changing for the worse. 

His doctors suggested he travel a good distance to run a few more tests; fortunately they had family there, which made everything so much better. Surrounded by children and grandchildren, he rallied for a while as so many people do when in the presence of pure love, and he would have done anything to get better and stay with them. But this was not to be.

He wanted to be at home, so he was cared for there by a hospice team. Needless to say he had the most loving attention possible, with family coming and going day and night. They were wonderful with their dad and grandpa who had loved them so much. He was simply getting back all the love he had given away in his lifetime.

He declined very gently, and one day while my friend was out of the room for just a moment, her husband left. We see this happen often when someone loves very deeply and does not want their loved one to see them die. When she entered the room and sat down to hold his hand she was stunned. His face was radiant, he looked at least 20 years younger than he had moments before, his mouth had closed and a tender smile was on his lips. It was a miracle and one she will never forget. She was touched by the intimacy of God’s grace and felt Him with her as never before.

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It was a miracle, one she will never forget. In her her husband's death she encountered the peace that passeth all understanding.

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Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris
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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisJun 3, 2013

Comforted by God's Grace

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There is a tailor in my community whom I turn to for her services. One day she looked particularly sad and I asked how she was doing.

She told me that her 94-year-old mother had died recently and she had many questions about what had taken place prior to her death. She and her family did not know whom to ask, and it weighed heavily on their hearts.

It seems that about a month before she died, she let her family know she no longer needed to eat any more. The family was so accustomed to loving her through the good foods they prepared for her that they felt helpless in the face of this new situation.

She spoke often of seeing and visiting with her own mother, father, grandparents, uncles and many other relatives. They came to her at different times of the day. She told all those caring for her what they had said. She was so happy to spend time with her family who had gone to heaven before her, and although she felt very peaceful when they left, she greatly looked forward to their next visit.

I explained to the tailor that this was a very common occurrence for those who are about to enter eternity and how blessed she and her family were to have been able to hear of this experience from her own mother’s lips. Her face lit up with a huge smile and a peace I had not seen there for quite some time.

Hearing this explanation, which she was anxious to share with others in her family, allowed her to feel joy again and to be happy about her mother’s experience. Words can truly matter, and that is why I ask the Holy Spirit often for the words to bring comfort to others.

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Her mother was so happy to see her own mother, father and grandparents who had gone to heaven before her.

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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisMay 27, 2013

Finding Peace After Her Mother's Death

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A daughter who dreams of her departed father learns that her mother, too, has received assurances from beyond.

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Brett LeveridgeMay 16, 2013

Best-selling author and neurosurgeon Eben Alexander talks about how his beliefs have changed since his near-death experience, his time in heaven, and what he’s doing now.

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Brett LeveridgeMay 13, 2013
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Dear Trudy,
I want to tell you about the recent loss of my father.

Dad was a very strong Christian who would preach to those caring for him.  Once he asked an orderly in the hospital. “Son,” he said, “do you have a personal relationship with God?”

“No one has ever asked me that question before,” the orderly replied.

One afternoon Dad was surrounded by everyone who was most dear to him except for his only son, who was praying he would reach him in time to say goodbye. He had an expression on his face that could only be described as pure radiance. He told my sister that what he was looking at was just so beautiful—too beautiful for our words. She asked him what he thought he was looking at, and asked him to try to describe it.

He answered very clearly, “I am looking at heaven, but there are no words on this earth that would let me really tell you about it.” He kept saying, “It is so beautiful,” over and over again.

My brother arrived just in time for a hug and for Dad’s request that he take good care of our mother. He died within minutes, with a very peaceful look on his face.

I had a wonderful serene feeling about his leaving. I was not sad; I felt his passing was an assurance and celebration of a life well lived that was now rewarding him.

We joked about the fact that he actually had his own sermon preached at his funeral service, even though he was already in heaven—witnessing until his last breath. It was so obviously planned by God and not by man and that fact was lost on no one.

Thank you for letting me share my story. 

Sincerely,
A Comforted Daughter


Dear Comforted,
In all the years I have been caring for terminally ill and dying patients, the explanation about how heaven looks is always exactly the same: peaceful, beautiful, exquisite, filled with a sense of pure love and joy. In one way or another, each person says that “there are no words.”

How good God is to prepare such a gift for his children for all eternity. He only asks us to love and follow him; he will take care of the rest.

Sincerely,
Trudy Harris

Trudy gets so many questions from Guideposts readers, we decided to make her answers a regular feature on her blog. If you have a story about a “glimpse of heaven,” please share it with us. Send it to glimpsesofheaven@guideposts.org.

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“I am looking at heaven, but there are no words on this earth that would let me really tell you about it.”

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Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris
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I want to tell you about the recent loss of my father. Dad was a very strong Christian and was preaching to an orderly who was caring for him on his deathbed in the hospital. “Son,” he said, “do you have a personal relationship with God?” “No one has ever asked me that question before,” the orderly replied...

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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisApr 22, 2013

The Beauty of Heaven Is Beyond Words

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