Sunday, August 29, 2010


This blog is mostly dedicated to questions and answers as concerns the near-death phenomenon and related subjects. I am deeply concerned with sustainability, eco-gardens, real seeds (not the Monsanto kind), and how to protect our food and farms. So, occasionally, I'll carry something about those subjects, too. This time, though, I received two stories about the coming of death and manifestations after death, that are so touching I want very much to share them with you. ~PMH

The first is an e-mail from Oswald, and the second is an article Eben wrote.


Dear Dr. Atwater:

In March of this year, I sent the following three e-mails to my children about my wife Joan, who died on February 24, 2008, after a marriage of 55 years. She appeared in my bedroom at 4:00 am on March 3, 2010 looking her natural self and bathed in light. Is this unusual?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010: "I spoke to Sheila today and told her about seeing Joan around 4 this morning. I woke up, opened my eyes, and there she was - standing in full view by the standard lamp near the wardrobe, bathed in light, looking at a notebook not unlike our little phone book, solidly three-dimensional, not at all ethereal, intent on what she was doing, her body moving in keeping with what she was doing. I stared for a moment, thought I would not like to disturb her, or be caught staring at her, so I closed my eyes for a few seconds. When I opened them again, she was gone and the room was in darkness, except for the glow from pilot lights and modem."

Sunday, March 14, 2010: "It will not surprise you to hear that not a day passes without my thinking about March 3rd. Nothing remotely like this has ever happened to me before. Quite frankly I never thought it ever could, though there have been days during Quaker meetings for worship when I would open my eyes and wonder whether I would see Joan there, just as Dorrett had seen Helen in meeting for worship, standing beside her, completely herself, after she died. With me, too, it just seemed perfectly natural that Joan should be there; and since she was always such a caring, loving person, her presence was as reassuring and comforting as it has always been."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010: "I have to tell you that I continue to reflect on what I saw on March 3rd. It was not a dream. It was not an "out-of-body" experience - since I remained firmly rooted to my bed throughout. It was an external event with a clearly defined series of observations. I woke up, opened my eyes, saw what I did, had a few thoughts about it, closed my eyes, then opened them again. A very ordinary sequence of movements and an extraordinary glimpse into another dimension of time and space. Why I was privileged to see this I do not know, but it has been a truly humbling experience. The prevailing memory is that there was so much light. Joan bathed in light. It brings to mind the countless stories of people who have had near-death experiences, about which there are numerous websites. What it says for me is that Joan is alive and well and enjoying what she now does. Perhaps even an angel?"

I would be grateful for your views on this episode. Your "The Big Book of Near-Death Experiences" has been very helpful. Thank you, Oswald


If you're wondering what I said to Oswald, please know that I assured him that his sighting of his beloved wife is fairly normal. These types of sightings and other related "visitations" are far more common than we are told. I suggested that he read "Hello from Heaven," a wonderful book about this type of thing based on careful, objective interviews by Bill Guggenheim and Judith Guggenheim.


(Explanation: Eben is in his eighties and has had a series of heart attacks, so many that his doctors are puzzled as to why he is still alive. Eben has always been a visionary: as a city planner he designed a green belt walkway around Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Rivanna River, during a time when nobody did anything like that for city residents. His goal is to write a book, "little stories" as he calls them, about his long life. His book is almost finished. Here is an article he wrote about it.)

For the last three years I have enjoyed writing little stories of my family and personal adventures in my life as a gift to my family. As a mound of manuscripts piled up from my computer, with stories that have been generated by the thoughts and recollections of events I have enjoyed from the past, I have been encouraged by my three children to put them together in a small book that will preserve them for future readers, family, and friends.

Yesterday (Monday, March 29, 2010) my three dear children had nearly finished preparing my manuscript for publication. My daughter, a professor who teaches advanced English composition at a university near Richmond, had led the challenge of preparing my nearly 100 stories (a lifetime of adventures!) for taking it to the printers. Teamed up with her two brothers, Gary and Greg, they had put the finishing touches necessary to get it ready for printing as a polished, finished work. She has had years of experience as a teacher, English professor, and editor who has gotten her own works published in distinguished journals.

Her brother Gary was similarly experienced in the latest technologies in publishing electronic manuscripts on the Internet. Their younger brother, Greg, was "in the loop" for local sources of the technologies necessary to make our plans come to reality: 20 printed, bound copies for family and local friends, and unlimited access to free copies on the Internet. Gary had, the day before, completed the electronic scanning of my 100+page manuscript with the scanner available here at the Jefferson Heights office.

Gayla, over the last week, led a last-minute search of our voluminous collection of family photographs for an attractive addition of color and black and white photos to spice up the text. All week we had given sysyphean efforts to get everything ready for the "printing." Gayla took the entire text with improvements to Richmond, after making final changes to the electronically-stored text! (These changes should greatly improve the professional appearance of the text.)

About 12:00 noon, Monday, I finally called Gayla with my two pages of new text on Gary. I fumbled an attempt to send it to her as an e-mail enclosure. We switched to a verbatim transmission by phone, with Gayla writing it down word-for-word.

I realized that, in a very real sense, we were racing to beat my possible passing! The Hospice nurses were, almost literally, waiting outside my door. They would be here tomorrow.

I looked up and saw that my grandfather clock had just stopped:

The pendulum now hung inert. Fragments of the nursey rhyme about the Grandfather's clock sprang instantly to mind:

"My grandfather's clock, where it stood on the shelf,
Tick, tock, tick, tock.

90 years without stumbling,
Tick, tock, tick, tock.

90 years without fumbling,
Tick, tock, tick, tock.

But it stopped short, never to go again
When the old man died."

This failure of my grandfather clock, a precious inheritance from my dear "Uncle" Dimick," I had never experienced before.

With stunned surprise, I instinctively checked my pulse to make sure I was still alive and conscious, rose from my chair, walked over to the clock, opened the glass door, and started the pendulum back into its familiar swing.


I want to live to be 100, I thought, and returned to my work in progress.

Tears of gratitude flowed for those three heroes I call "my kids." How proud their mother would have been of them this day!

(I encourage every senior citizen, if at all possible, to either write a book about their life, or at least record on paper or CD some of their stories. This is so important. Even if family is gone, those stories are still history, contributions to the life of community as it passes to the next generation. Our histories, our thoughts, what we did or didn't do, all of it matters. . . because we matter. Hear me when I say: write your book! Thank you, PMH)


Take Action for better food and farm policy

Please sign this petition. I did, and I hope you will, too. ~PMH

If you're interested in better food & farm policy, consider taking 30 seconds to sign the petition to the US Department of Justice asking them to fully enforce pro-competition laws already on the books and break up the corporate monopolies that have hijacked our food system-- destroying the livelihoods of farmers across the country, bringing us the monstrosities that we know as factory farms (or CAFOs), and making our food supply less safe and more prone to price spikes like those that sparked the 2008 global Food Crisis. This is only one part of a large problem, but it is a significant part.

2010 IANDS Conference - Mysteries of Near-Death Experiences

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