Exploring the mystery of death & what comes after

June 10, 2014

life_after_death_by_techbehr-d6mvor2-1This continues my series on matters of spirit and the afterlife conference I attended last week.

I draw my friends from all parts of life and they hold a variety of beliefs. Some believe as I do and others don’t.  Here are a few of the response I got to posts that mentioned I was at the Afterlife Awareness Conference in Portland last week:

I have trouble with this, Carol.

Do you really believe in angels?

Show me the scientific proof.

You don’t have to agree with me to be my friend.

And I might or might not be willing to discuss spirituality with you.

But here, on real estate I own and manage, I’m willing to relate bits and pieces of my story and the process by which I arrived at my beliefs. Because it WAS a process.

We buried my mother on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1999. When I looked at her dead body in the hospital and at the funeral home, my first thought was, “She’s not in there.” Of course.

Life after deathMy second thought was, “Where IS she?”

Because I knew she had to be somewhere. How did I know this? In a way, I deduced it.

I’ve always looked at the world around us, the universe — the complexity with which it was structured — and known there had to be a master designer. Had to be. It was only logical. There had to be a start of all things and quite frankly, there was not a way that religion explained it to my satisfaction. Nor did science. Because there had to be a beginning and it had to come from something. Some Thing.

I am a logical person. I looked for evidence. Proof. But I knew that science does not explain everything right now. Can not.  I wish it could. But here’s what I concluded:

flatworldFor all our advanced technology, I knew at a core level that we are still very primitive with a long way to go. In ancient times the sun was thought to revolve around the earth. The earth was thought to be flat. Many things were thought back then that have been
proven wrong.

Our today will be someone’s “back in the day.”

Our Google Glass and smartphones and all of our modern conveniences will seem as primitive as the original typewriter one day.

THAT is a fact.

So I had to believe that one day we would know more abut how the world began, but probably not in my lifetime.

And then there was that problem: Where did Mom go after she died?

If I thought that Some Thing started the world, it was hard to believe that the world and its inhabitants weren’t here for a purpose.  It wasn’t just “fade to black,” I thought. Couldn’t be.

None of the religions had an answer I accepted, not even the Catholicism in which I was raised. I didn’t believe people burned in hell. I didn’t believe in Satan. I didn’t believe we floated around on clouds.

But I did know that little spark that was ourselves–our selves– went…somewhere.

I’d read Raymond Moody’s first work on near-death experiences in the mid-70s, but I was so young back then and death was a concept that wouldn’t touch me for a few years. It was nice to know what this doctor had found, the narrative stories of dying and coming back,  but it had nothing to do with ME. Or my dead mother.

medium_image_847_1Flipping channels one day I found a show called Crossing Over. A medium I’d never heard of called John Edward “read” people and their dead relatives came through. My brow furrowed. Could this be real? Was he a fake? I think I watched every single one of his shows over time, staring at the screen, trying to suss out what was going on.

After several years of narrowed eyes and late nights (his show was scheduled past my bedtime), I concluded he was real.

So I started looking into him. I found that he’d been tested along with two other mediums in a triple blind study conducted by Dr. Gary Schwartz at the University of Arizona. The study’s conclusion was that chance did not explain how these mediums got the info they were transmitting and yes, there is scientific evidence of an afterlife. (At the time, I never dreamed I’d be standing in a hotel lobby in my nightclothes discussing his research with him. But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

I’m not sure I really bought it, even after looking at the research. So I started seeing John Edward. I saw him in a group of 2000 and nothing happened for me. In a group of 300, I got read. In a group of 50 I got read. In a group of 11 the information given to someone I was with related to me. It was mostly uncannily accurate; I concluded that he WAS the real deal.

“How do you know he didn’t look you up?” you ask.

Well, first of all, he’d have to look pretty deep in to find evidence that my grandfather played the organ in church in Sicily in the early 1900s. I doubt there’s any easily found evidence of that. Among other things he told me.

But also, it’s just impractical. He is, after all, not Theresa Caputo. He’s been tested in a triple blind study by an academic researcher.

I read about cold readings and hot readings and scams. The naysayers’ explanations did not explain my experiences. They also didn’t explain why we are here, which is, after all, the core question. It is the CORE QUESTION.

I saw a few other well-regarded mediums, as well and my confidence in my conclusion grew.

More tomorrow on my journey to my beliefs. And a reading list is coming, for those of you interested in exploring this idea further.

41 comments on “Exploring the mystery of death & what comes after
  1. Carol thank you so much for sharing the process you went through to come to your beliefs. Very interesting piece!

  2. Katie Paul says:

    Oooh this is so interesting. I can’t wait to read the rest of your story.
    My own search for answers to this life and the next is yet to reach a satisfying conclusion. I look forward to your take on things.

  3. Keep going, don’t leave me hanging on the edge of my seat!

  4. Fascinating to read about your beliefs and what you are learning. Science cannot explain miracles, such as why people get well for no medical reason. Life isn’t black or white. I believe what I believe because of who I am, as do you.

  5. kim tackett says:

    Carol, I have really, really enjoyed (and learned from) these posts. At the moment I am very engaged with a dear aunt who is in the process of dying…though at the moment I am thinking of her as crossing over. You’re absolutely right (at least I believe you are) that it’s personal and it’s a process.

  6. This fascinates me. I watched John Edwards several times but then because of my Christian beliefs (which still hold firm and strong and keep ME strong), I stopped watching. But… I still wonder… I look forward to your next piece. This is a beautiful, intriguing path you’re on, Carol. Thank you for sharing it.

  7. Janie Emaus says:

    I am a semi believer. And can’t wait to read more of your story.

  8. chuck house says:

    I sort of didn’t believe until the moment my dying mother ‘saw the light’. She was fully lucid, very clear, and very specific. Unnerving unless you can open your thoughts to the issues you are so bravely addressing here. Thank you!

    • I have done so much exploration–your story is not unusual, just not the fairy tale way we were taught. Which I’ve learned is really not what happens at all. If you, an engineer no less! saw it…have you read any of Gary Schwartz’ work? I think his undergrad was in engineering.

  9. This is a very personal journey and I am honored that you are sharing it with all of this. I believe that is what makes friendships stronger is having different beliefs but still supporting and encouraging each other. I totally believe in John Edwards I have seen him often and have always dreamed of having a reading from him. I have a grandmother who died at 23 in 1942 with some very serious mysteries involved and I lost my father when he was only 46. I also believe that they look over us and keep us from dangerous situations because I have felt it and seen it happen. Can’t wait to read more!

  10. Karen says:

    I’m finding your journey fascinating–it seems you and I have reached some similar conclusions, although I’m sure we’d differ on the details. My ultimate conclusion is, “We can’t know.” That said, I’ve had some experiences that have led me to believe there is a great deal more to life than meets the eye. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

  11. Haralee says:

    Very interesting. I am a firm believer and also a believer in what people want to believe.

  12. Lana says:

    I’m loving this series – thanks for sharing. When my mother in law passed away a few months ago, we were with her at that moment. Suddenly she just wasn’t “there” anymore, and I knew her soul had left and gone somewhere else. Such a fascinating subject. Can’t wait to read more – I’m learning so much!

  13. I’m not very spiritual and, like you, I’m very logical. So it’s interesting to me that you explain “spiritual” in such a logical manner. The truth is that I’m also realistic and open minded. There are things that we just know, we “feel”. Is it possible that other people feel in a deeper way? Yes, I believe so.

    • I think we’re probably alike in that way. That’s why when I felt my first (and until last week my only) woo-woo experience it freaked me out. I’m just not that way. And when I had another one last week, I thought, “could I be making this up?” That was my first thought. So, i”m not exactly a pushover, either.

  14. Kimberly says:

    I was hesitant to even read this blog…but ultimately felt compelled. As a faithful believe in God, I agree with much of what you said: There must be a master designer. Science does not have proof of everything, nor can it explain everything…but then neither does religion. We are here with a purpose. Our “selves” do go somewhere when our earthly bodies die. But there are other things with which I disagree: I believe the Bible when it tells us there is a hell. I believe in Satan…again, because the Bible tells us of his existence, and his ultimate demise.

    But to get to the crux of your post…let’s address mediums. I do believe there are people who communicate with the spirit world. The Bible addresses this, and clearly warns to not get involved with them. Even if they are not using their abilities for harm or deceit, the spirit world with which they are communicating is clearly under Satan’s influence, and can be used to deceive or harm…which are his only & ultimate goals.

    I’m not here to be a nay-sayer, or preach to you…I just want you to know that I am saying a prayer of protection for you. I personally do not believe there is anything to be gained by seeking answers through a medium. I am all in favor of your seeking answers! I just pray that you will find those answers in a safe, truthful manner. And to me, that can only be done by spending time seeking out answers in God’s Word and in a personal relationship with Him. God is the Author of peace and hope, Carol. I promise, if you seek Truth, He will reveal it. 🙂

    • Thank you, Kimberly. I take your response in the spirit in which it was intended, although I have come to some different conclusions about the details, and am not at all a Biblical literalist. Nonetheless, your desire to keep me safe is so appreciated!

  15. Ruth Curran says:

    I think we need to cherish the connection that we have with all that is and yes, question, explore, and dig but, at the end when the “real answer” alludes us, practice acceptance of where we and those round us are in our development.

    • We’ll all find out eventually….although if it’s “fade to black” we won’t… 😉 … I believe knowledge comes through exploration not only of what is but of what is possible….and everyone’s journey is their own. I honor that. I love that you didn’t say “tolerance.” I hate that word and want to ban it, because it implies there is something to be tolerated. “Acceptance” is so much more accurate!

  16. Diane says:

    Carol, this is absolutely fascinating!I have my beliefs about life here and life hereafter. I, too have had my journey. Thank you for carrying us along on yours!

  17. I am looking forward to your reading list. I wish I could find a trustworthy medium in my area.

  18. Wow. This is a bit mind blowing. Thanks for taking the time to write about life after death and mediums. I am a mixed bag person–valuing evidence-based research but believing in angels, life after death and intuition. I am often either conflicted or a contradiction. Interesting.

  19. I am loving reading all about this conference and everything you’re learning and experiencing. Can’t wait for your reading list so I can explore some more.

  20. Ryder Ziebarth says:

    This is an incredibly fascinating post and an inspiring journey you are taking us on. I know too, that what we call the spirit lives on, and I too, have always been wondering where. I thought perhaps it was in a place dear to my living heart–the fields , the beaches, the flowers, my daughter. But I do know it is somewhere and although I do believe its ‘lights out for the body,’ I truly do trust in my heart of hearts that the soul — our sprite– continues on. I have a very strong sense of a higher power, my own God as I understand the concept, and I could not live in this world without that belief.It gives me courage, hope and strength.I cannot believe that this life is all for naught. Thank you for this wonderful work!

    • I love sharing it–in a way I make sense of it as I see the words on the page. I don’t think it’s as mysterious as it might seem and it’s been my experience that if you seek, you definitely find. But it takes an open mind. And heart.

  21. What a journey you are on Carol! Thanks for sharing so much of what you are learning.

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