My client asked me what it was like to die. She wanted to know because she was preparing to undergo a physician-assisted suicide.
Years ago, after spirit showed me the death angel and revealed that the woman sitting across from my desk was going to pass away, I ordered spirit to NEVER show me that again. But this was something different. This person was choosing to end her life, rather than go into spirit as the result of an accident, disease or advanced age.
Ironically, her name was Gloria – in Latin, “praise to God” – and she was a married 48-year-old mother of two teenage children. She had beat cancer three times – but each victory was short-lived. Two rounds of chemotherapy sandwiched around a double mastectomy and radiation had weakened her to the point that her immune system was virtually non-existent.
Now, the cancer had spread to her lungs and bones. Gloria’s oncologist, who had fought tirelessly alongside her patient through all the therapies and temporary remissions, had tears in her eyes when she gave Gloria three, maybe four, months.
I’m tired,” Gloria told me. “Everything hurts all the time. And the morphine makes me feel even worse. I feel like a shell that you’d find on a beach.” Her chuckle was like a gasp. “Maybe if you put your ear to my chest, you’d hear the ocean roar.”
“Dying is…” I said, trying to grasp words that weren’t trite or New Agey.
“No,” Gloria said in a no-nonsense voice. “I’m ready for that. Tell me what happens afterward.”
I took a moment to compose myself. “My understanding is your spirit will be greeted by friends and family members on the other side who have preceded you in passing. You will feel no pain; pain belongs to physical existence. But your spirit will be in a restful state for awhile. Because you’ve been in a weakened state for so long, your illness has drained a lot of your energy. So, it will take awhile to get your energy back up.”
“I always thought that once you die, that’s it. Fade to black. End of movie.”
In my inner ear, I heard the name Eleanor, and passed it on. Gloria remained quiet as I described Eleanor, who then passed on words of understanding. I waited, hoping for confirmation.
“Well,” she finally said, “maybe I’ll come back and let you know.” Then she softly aadded, “I just hope my husband … my children … understand my decision.”
She told me how her family has watched her health steadily go downhill. The helpless looks in their eyes. Yet they were supportive, and her husband pledged to help her in any way he could. But their children were having a hard time accepting her choice. Her youngest son was especially withdrawn.
“He’s judging me for committing suicide, and that makes me feel guilty,” Gloria said.
“I don’t like to use the word ‘commit’ in terms of suicide, and you shouldn’t either. ‘Commit’ has the connotation of committing a crime. I believe people ‘complete’ suicide; it’s a finalization. And as to your son, I believe he’s having trouble trying to process what’s going on. I feel he will come to accept your decision, but it’s going to take some time. He loves you very much, and doesn’t want to let go.”
“Eleanor’s probably disappointed in me.”
“I didn’t hear that from her,” I said. “Judgement is something that happens on this side of life, not in the spirit world. Everyone is accepted in heaven and welcomed with compassion. No one is punished for choices they made. In the spirit world, you’ll review your life choices in light of a greater understanding of human experiences. And no, you won’t go to hell.”
“Hell?” She chuckled. “I’m still not sure if I even believe in heaven.”
We talked for a few minutes more, and after she hung up the phone, I wondered if I had been helpful. And I wondered why, given Gloria’s professed beliefs, why she sought me out for a session.
Then I thought: What would I do if I was in Gloria’s situation? I believe life is precious, but how would my belief change if I’d been given a terminal diagnosis and chronic, severe pain made my life so unbearable that I would do anything to stop it?
Three days later, I received this email:
Thank you for talking with me. I’ve asked my husband to forward this to you. I’m going to be leaving today. The doctor is extremely kind and has explained the procedures very carefully. I know what it means and most likely what I’ll expect is going to happen. Who I’m going to meet, according to you – well, maybe I’ll find a way to let you know. My husband has promised to be by my side and hold my hand as I go sleep. Forgive me if my typing is a little off, as he’s holding my hand right now.
This was several years ago. What jogged my memory was Gloria’s husband recently called, saying he has been dreaming about Gloria, and did that mean anything? In the dreams, she was playing the guitar, something she did quite a bit before her joints began swelling and moving her fingers became too painful.
It could be that Gloria has moved into a new chapter of her life, I suggested. People think death is a final act, but it’s not. And if he liked Gloria’s music, he should tell her. Perhaps she’ll come back and give an encore.
If you have any questions or comments on this subject or on any other spiritual matter, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please visit me again!