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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Elderly couple holding hands

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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English

Caring for dying patients, I am often asked the same questions. “My father’s face is just glowing when he speaks about heaven—why?” or “One day when my mom was telling me about what she was seeing with her glimpse of heaven, her face became so soft—how does that happen?”

It may be a wife or husband asking the question as they are with their loved ones just as they die. Their skin seems to glow like the sun or become very youthful again. It may be a brother or sister who watches the face of their loved one change into a countenance of radiance and peace.

When you see it, you cannot deny what you are looking at. I once was caring for a mother whose son was in the service. He stayed with her the night she was dying and when he called to tell me she had passed he said, “She looks as young as she did when I was a little boy, like a shining angel.”

This week at morning Mass, the scripture about the Transfiguration of Christ was read aloud and explained. The priest reminded us that Jesus went up on the mountain, now called “the Mount of the Transfiguration,” with Peter, James and John. While there, Elijah and Moses appeared for all to see, and Jesus spoke with them.

Out of the clouds came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son on whom my favor rests; hear him.” The scripture reflects that Jesus became radiant before them and His clothes turned dazzling white. He said this happened because Jesus was listening to the voice of his Father in heaven at that time.

I could not help but think about the patients in my care, who on their deathbeds, were telling us about heaven, seeing Jesus, angels and those who had died before them; now they too were radiant and beautiful. How often in after-death experiences people tell you their loved ones wore a “white” we have no word for or that they were radiant as the sun.

Perhaps when you are with God, your countenance reflects the beauty and radiance of heaven itself. St Thomas Aquinas said that the Transfiguration, among other things, reflected the perfection of heaven.

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How does a glimpse of heaven transform those who are close to death?

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Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris
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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisAug 13, 2012

The Glow We Receive from Heaven

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Many years ago, I became fast friends with a lovely elderly woman from our church. I had once laid hands on her prayed for her when she was ill and the memory never left her. She felt that she received some kind of healing during that prayer time and it cemented our friendship from that moment on.

She’d had polio as a child, and went on to live a full and happy life; now she was beginning to decline. In her weakened and fragile circumstances, she was less and less able to hold up her head, the area of her body most affected by her illness in youth. Ultimately it became necessary for her to wear a neck brace to hold her head up at all. She had a wonderful husband and daughter who loved her dearly and wanted above all else for her to be free of the ravages of her early-life illness and to be peaceful as she was dying.

One evening while I was visiting with her, walking her to the bathroom and back, she suddenly stopped. Facing me, with her hands on my shoulders and my arms around her waist, she laid her head on my shoulder and stayed perfectly still for quite a few minutes.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful If God would take me from this spot, in this way, right now?” she said. Standing there she felt safe, unafraid, peaceful and ready to leave. She knew God was close by and spoke about it often. She just wanted not to linger, to be able to leave with grace and dignity. She was so weary and ready to go to her eternal home, and I really believe she was already experiencing heaven in those precious moments. God enabled her to do just as she asked, a night or so later, in the company of friends.

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Standing there she felt safe, unafraid, peaceful and ready to leave.

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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisJul 30, 2012

Entering Heaven with Joy, Grace and Dignity

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I had been visiting Alex, a gentleman in my neighborhood, for several weeks. Alex was in the end stages of advanced lung cancer with all of its accompanying discomforts.

His wife was having difficulty with the idea of him dying in their home. He wanted to stay there to die, and with all the support they had in place, it would be easy for him to do so. But he did not want to upset his wife, and she wanted him to be at peace. It was a struggle for them.

As he was getting closer to his time of dying, he began to speak with me about what was in store for him. He had been a believer all his life but now, at the end, he had questions. Had he been good enough, would his loved ones be in heaven, would they recognize them?

He spoke about the war years, about being far away for long periods of time, not always living by the golden rule. His sorrow was so genuine, and we spoke many times about how we do not earn our way into heaven, how Jesus opened the gates of heaven for us by His death on the cross.

We may know this truth very well, but when we are dying the things we have done that we know are not pleasing to God often rear their ugly heads. It is immensely comforting to be reminded that Jesus did not come for the righteous but for the sinner. Christ’s words take on a new life and meaning when spoken to the dying. Who better to hear from?

Two days before Alex’s death, he called and asked to see me. He was declining for sure but did not look at all as if his death was imminent. “Please sit down,” he said. “I have something to tell you.

“My brothers were here today, all three of them. They all served in different parts of the service. Two died during the war, but the other one lived a long life and died only recently. They all looked so young and handsome, just like they did years ago. They said that it’s time for me to come with them. They looked so radiant and happy and I think I will go with them.”

Alex died beautifully the next day after seeing his brothers and knowing they were waiting for him. He was at peace; so many of his questions were answered by their visit. How good God is to allow His children to receive all the comforts He knows will bring them peace, each receiving exactly what he or she needs to be able to die unafraid.

Alex’s wife was able, in the end, to be with him at home when he died and where he wished to be.

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He was at peace with death after seeing his brothers at the end.

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Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris
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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisJul 16, 2012

The Comfort of Heaven

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There is a famous French children’s story about a juggler who offers his gift of juggling to the Christ Child. I remember hearing the story years ago and it is one of those lovely memories that have just stayed with me.

We often had terminally ill children in our hospice program. Sometimes they were dying from the end stages of a chronic illness they had dealt with all their lives, like muscular dystrophy or cystic fibrosis. Sometime newborn babies with hearts that would never sustain their little lives died in our program. One special child comes to mind, as much for the memory of him as for the nurse that cared for him. This baby was born with only a partial brain stem and the dilemma that immediately came up was between allowing him to die in the hospital or taking him home to be with his family until God called him to heaven.

The family chose the latter, and his parents and siblings immediately welcomed him into their family. The baby cried a great deal and it was hard to figure out exactly how to make him comfortable. The woman assigned to oversee the home care was as full of love and life as I have ever encountered in any nurse before or since. Her avocation was being a clown, dressing up in a complete clown outfit when visiting her patients, which always brought gales of laughter from both the patient and the family. They couldn’t wait for her visits.

One day she stopped by to see the baby who had been assigned to her care. He seemed inconsolable when she entered his nursery. His parent had done everything to comfort him, to no avail. Picking the baby up in her arms and laying him in her lap, she began to gently sway her legs back and forth in a rhythmic motion. He immediately stopped crying, nestled into her arms and fell asleep.

God allowed this fantastic nurse to know exactly what to do to comfort this child. She visited him much more often than one usually visits a patient, but everyone knew that she was chosen to be “a clown of God,” and He used her mightily in this very special way. She kept her clown outfit at her fingertips until he was safely in heaven just a few weeks later.

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God allowed this fantastic nurse to know exactly what to do to comfort this child.

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Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris
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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisJul 9, 2012
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A Clown of God

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A woman wrote to me recently about the death of her 85-year-old husband. He had been ill for some time with many medical concerns.

The night before he died, she and a friend were sitting by his bedside, playing soft music and quietly talking. “Suddenly we saw him lifting his arms up as if praising God or greeting a relative or friend,” she said. “Then he put his arms down for a while.

“Shortly after this he raised his arms again and clapped very quietly. Both times, he was very much awake and looking up. He did not speak a word, but I could tell he was seeing something indescribable and beautiful,” she said. He passed away gently the next morning.

“Is this common with people facing death?” she asked. “It was like he wanted to go to heaven. He was a devout believer and I think he may have been seeing angels who were there to take him home.”

I will share what I told her: that this is a very common phenomenon seen more often than not by those who are tending the dying.

The time between earthly life and eternal life is impossible to understand, but I firmly believe God allows His children to experience the beauty of heavenly things before they arrive there. You hear this over and over again in end-of-life and hospice circles. It is impossible to either ignore or deny its validity.

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In the time between earthly and eternal life, God allowed him to see heaven's beauty.

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Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris
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A woman wrote to me recently about the death of her 85-year-old husband. He had been ill for some time with many medical concerns.

The night before he died, she and a friend were sitting by his bedside, playing soft music and quietly talking. “Suddenly we saw him lifting his arms up as if praising God or greeting a relative or friend,” she said.

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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisJun 25, 2012

"Like He Wanted to Go to Heaven"

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Mysterious Ways: Dad's Special Note

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A daughter receives a long desired gift from her father who just passed away.

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A woman of science is given a glimpse of the afterlife through her near-death experience.

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Brett LeveridgeJun 4, 2012

A grieving widow is comforted by a unexpected reminder of—and from?—her departed husband.

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Brett LeveridgeJun 4, 2012

Very often, husbands and wives coming to us for care in hospice programs are in their 80s or 90s. Very often, too, they are each others’ caregivers, as family members have already died or live far away.

It is always a great challenge for the hospice staff when they meet couples together all their lives and now, very often, dying together. The kindness, concern and compassion between these couples are heart stopping, and the delicacy of hospice involvement needs much thoughtful and tender attention.

Anna and Warren were one such couple. They had been married for 68 years, had two sons, one of whom had died during World War II and the other of whom was in a nursing home more than 2,000 miles away following a severe stroke. They had worked hard all their lives, raised their children, ran a business together until they no longer could and now were caring for each other in their last years.

Anna was 90, had had rheumatic fever as a child and was delicate all her life; now she was just weary, sleeping most of the time. She did not have a disease per se, just a “worn out” body, as she would say and ready to go home to heaven. Warren was 92 and in the last stages of lung disease, on oxygen most of the time. They spoke together often of their circumstances and had no trouble expressing their desire to go home to the God who had given them life to begin with. “When I know she is safe in heaven, I will leave too,” Warren often said. Hospice nurses have seen this often enough to know that it was true.

Anna began to sleep more and more, requiring less attention from Warren, and they could often be seen napping in their bed together when I came by for a visit. Then one day, Anna just didn’t wake up and Warren knew that he had kept his promise to be with her until the end. As the hospice nurse, I knew that he now felt free enough to leave too, and after all the arrangements were made, Warren took to his bed, resting peacefully, eating very little and unafraid.

We stayed in close touch by phone and I visited him often but knew that one day I just might stop by to find him already in heaven. When he did not answer my phone call early one morning, I stopped by to see him. I arrived just as he was awake enough to take my hand and squeeze it, smile and then leave. I was grateful to God that he now had the two of them together in heaven with Him. And I was so grateful to have known them.

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“When I know she is safe in heaven, I will leave too.”

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Life after Death blogger Trudy Harris
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Glimpses of Heaven
Trudy HarrisMay 21, 2012

The Two of Them Together in Heaven

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A friend, who refused to take no for an answer, wins one last genial debate from the world beyond.

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Brett LeveridgeApr 23, 2012