I am doing something different this time with my column on near-death experiences and related topics. What follows are two stories, all of them true.THE FIRST STORY - This comes from Ken Prather of the "Reaching for Joy" ministries. Ken is a near-death experiencer. More about him and the ministries he offers is in the Marketplace Section of my website at http://www.pmhatwater.com. I just have this to share with all of you, because today I visited the Other Side with one of my Hospice patients, and we brought back some Light for his family.
I was called by Hospice early this morning to see if I would come out to the Hospice Home and counsel with a gentleman who was getting ready to cross over any day. He was extremely scared of crossing. He had no beliefs or faith, but most of all he had no Spirituality. I guess that's when the Chaplin decided it was time to call in the last line of defense - so that's when I came into the picture. After I had been there for about thirty minutes or so, the gentleman looked at me and said, "Is there really an afterlife?" It was then I felt the same energy as I did when I was on the Other Side, during the time I was on life support. At that time, I was allowed to go in and out of my physical being at will, or you might say that I could, or that I was in two places at one time. One had time, one didn't! So I looked at this gentleman and said, "Take my hand, close your eyes, and we shall take a journey together." We experienced the Light to begin with and all the love that it has to offer, and then we found ourselves in a beautiful garden filled with Angelic Light Beings everywhere, sort of like a welcome committee you might say. Flowers, flowers, and more flowers, and then the trees that could talk. We had two beings walk up to us, and this gentleman said to one of the beings, "Isn't your name Louise?" The Light Being said, "Yes, it is. I'm the sister you never knew." Then just like that I opened my eyes and looked at the gentleman in bed who was still sound asleep. RIGHT! Someone walked into his room and it was his sister. I introduced myself, and the gentleman opened his eyes. His sister said, "Sorry to wake you up." The man replied, "You didn't wake me up. I was on the Other Side with this kind gentleman." The lady just looked at me and smiled, and it was then he said to his sister, "By the way, Louise said to tell you hello." His sister almost fainted and had to sit down. Louise was the name that their mother had given to a stillborn child four years before this man was ever born, and he had no clue that she ever had existed. Nobody had ever told him! I got ready to leave the room. The sister was still numb. For the first time in weeks, this man smiled. As I walked out the door, he said to me, "Thank you for the sneak preview. I'm not afraid anymore." Welcome to my world. Priceless!Note: I can certainly attest to the ministry of Ken Prather. He is severely handicapped by the mugging and beating that killed him. You would never know that, though, for he leads children on tours of the local zoo, brings animals into school classrooms, leads many recovery activities for medical patients - yet what he does for hospice patients is among his best work and the most miraculous. Ken is also a shaman who is one with nature and the natural world. We are blessed to have him among us, reminding us all of the Oneness which links us together in the web of life.THE SECOND STORY -
My husband Terry awoke suddenly on Monday morning, November 6th, and flung his arm towards the phone that sits on the nightstand near his side of our bed. In doing this, he toppled a neat pile of papers, billfold, and comb to the floor. After he picked everything up and restacked it, he looked at the clock - it was about 5:08 am. His father died at 5:13 am; the call came shortly thereafter. We both know that his sudden reach for the phone before it rang was his soul's way of preparing him for the call. His father was saying goodbye the only way he could. Although he had been in declining health, he seemed to be doing fine and was well and happy. The heart attack was unexpected and caught everyone by surprise. Quick. No pain. What many call a "good death." We buried him the following Monday at a military cemetery. It was what he wanted. Just before this happened, I was in Raleigh, NC, meandering through a bookstore after giving several talks in the city. I was told by the bookstore owner that there had been a sudden rash of suicides by young boys and teenagers in the area. A woman nearby smiled, then began to say that her son took his life only months before and she had found the body. He preferred the drug high to living in this world sober. I held her for a long time and let her tears empty the pain in her soul. These two events remind me how intertwined life and death are, and especially during the Holiday season. With the explosion of colored lights, merry music, and oh, so many parties and concerts, we are also called upon to hesitate and look around. Tucked in amidst the joy are tragedies that silently hold to themselves. I believe it is our privilege, all of us, to embrace the many sides of life at each moment and name them holy. Whether your Holiday celebrations this year are happy or said, there are prayer teams at churches, 800-prayer lines aplenty, and the open arms of understanding and the willingness to listen that those of us who will can provide. Holidays are really a time of light, and in that Light that knows no shadow, we affirm the Presence of Source/The God of our Being - in our lives and in our deaths.Blessings to all, PMH
Dealing with the Death of a Pet
QUESTION: "Hi, my name is Lynn and I am having a difficult time right now because of my precious dog, Bandit. We will have to put him to sleep soon and it is almost more than my heart can bare to do this. Do you think that I will see him again, and do you think it wrong to put him to sleep if he can hardly walk? I can tell that he is becoming afraid, also. He has to go down several steps to go "potty" and he has fallen several times. My husband has to help him back up the steps, and I see fear on Bandit's face. Bandit has a large growth on his chest, growing up under the right arm. He also has one in his rectum (excuse me for saying this word). Bandit is 15 years old. We have had him since he was taken from his mother. "When I was a little child, my Mother had epilepsy very bad and I was always afraid that I would find her dead. I have never gotten over that. I think about death a lot, but I want to think about life. I am afraid. I am saved and I pray, and I'm sorry to say that I have fear of death. I had it on my mind so much as a child, I guess that I carried it into my adulthood. (I am 56 years of age.) I want to have that inner peace that comes from knowing you go to heaven when you die or someone you love dies. My Mother did die. God worked many miracles when it happened. The white dress appeared at the funeral home that she said she wanted to be buried in (the funeral home said they had never seen one like it). The day she died, a white casket had just arrived, just as she wanted. It was a beautiful day, actually three beautiful days, unseasonably warm for March. I had wanted a certain pastor to be at her funeral but he lived in Canada, so I never asked him. He just happened to be in North Carolina visiting a church there. I didn't have to ask him to come. I remember that day that I started to pray and ask God for this pastor to be at Mom's funeral, but didn't have the faith to ask. I always wanted to please my Mother in every way. God made it possible.
"Why do I still have problems in this way, regarding death? Is there anything I can do on my part to free myself of this? Of course, I know with God's help all things are possible. I am legally blind and very lonely. I have a good husband and I am thankful for that. It has just been an adjustment since I stopped driving a few years back. My old friends seldom call. I need new ones, don't I? Pray that God will help me live the abundant life in Him. Thank you for listening. God bless you and keep you." ....Lynn
ANSWER: Putting an animal to sleep when it is time is a merciful and wonderful and loving thing to do. Animals know when they are ready to die, and I have found that people do, too. Your dog is frightened only because you are. Pets absorb the emotional state of their owners, and often their owner's attitudes, as well. They are like human children in that they sponge in whatever the atmosphere is that surrounds them. Plus, animals can read your mind. They see and respond to the pictures and images we process in our brain. You can talk to them non-verbally and they will hear you and respond. Animals are telepathic. You don't need eyes to know what your pet is doing; you know because you are telepathic, too. Telepathy is part of the love bond between you and Bandit. It is a normal and natural way of communication and very much okay.
Instead of worrying about your dog, pray for him, talk to him, rehearse the dying process with him by doing it in mental pictures - like a visualization exercise. Get my book, "We Live Forever." If you can't read it, maybe your husband will do it for you. There is a part in the book that gives instructions for "empathic experiences" - which is what I am talking about. That exercise works as well with animals as it does with humans. Prepare your dog this way. Hold him as the injection is administered. Let him know how much you love him and that it is okay to leave his body and go on into the Light, God's Light. He will still be alive. It's just that he won't be wearing a physical body any more. He will understand, perhaps better than you do. Many times our pets are wiser and more knowing than we are.
Did it ever occur to you that Bandit is bestowing upon you a great gift? He is giving you his death, so that you can find peace with the process of dying, the finality of casting off one's body and continuing on in the Other Worlds beyond death. Your Mother gave you such a gift when she died, and the Universe and all that is Holy and Sacred appeared for her and against all odds. This happened to ensure your Mother received the best possible funeral she could have. She did this for you. Yes, she did. And Bandit is doing the same thing. With Bandit's help, I know you will finally move past many if not all of your fears. I suspect he may come back after he has died, at least for an appearance or two, just to make certain you get the point - that death ends only the bodies we wear. It does not end us. We go on.
What your Mother went through when you were but a child was very traumatic for you. It is no wonder you have death fears. Yet, as I have said before, look at when she actually died and the conditions of her funeral. You have ample proof that your prayers then were answered and your Mom died in peace and beauty. Bandit is no different. He, too, will pass peacefully and in the great love that has filled his days. Remember this. Death can be a gift to us, a passage that reveals much truth and great love and beauty. Take heart in that and bless Bandit as he moves on. Many blessings, PMH
ANNOUNCEMENT: It looks like I will soon have a publisher for the NDE Sourcebook, the largest, most complete encyclopedia ever written on the near-death experience, and its aftereffects and implications. In essence the book will be a rewrite and update of the former Idiot's Guide to Near-Death Experiences, although with a new title, some new cartoons, and lots of new material. Be certain to watch my website at www.pmhatwater.com for the big announcement. To all those listeners of Dave Bennett and Cindy Griffith-Bennett's radio talk show, who wrote in and told the publisher why the book should be done, to all of you I say thank you. Numbers of e-mails received has never been revealed to me. All the publisher would say is "I was flooded with them." Your willingness to express yourself made a giant difference!!! Without your e-mails, I do not think I could have interested anyone in the book.
That means that the entire winter will be spent with me working on the manuscript day and night. And that means I may have to cut down on e-mail traffic. Please continue to submit your questions for these columns, though, as I will continue to write them. Thanks again, PMH