When the Experiences of Others Aren’t Quite Enough

David Olinger - For Blog

Most contributors to The Meaning of Forever Project believe that love and life continue after death of the physical body—because experiences with their own dearly departed have proven it for them. Some have even died and come back to tell about what the academic world now refers to as their Near-Death Experiences (NDE’s).
But—much as many of us want to believe there is more to life than what we see before us—we aren’t all fortunate enough to be given convincing glimpses of “the other side”. In this short piece, David writes about how it feels to want to believe but how, for him, the evidence falls just-that-much too short of the mark.

“My father died of a heart attack a number of years ago.

“It wasn’t his first heart attack. He described his first to me after coming home from the hospital. That started with feeling like a horse was standing on his chest. It hurt like hell, and he nearly died.

“But he had a revelation before returning to life. He saw a great white light before him, and it gave him peace. He was not a religious man, but he did not fear dying after that.

His story gave me some peace as well.

“I had entered college planning to be a Methodist minister, but as I studied religious philosophy, I felt my faith slipping away like grains from a torn bag. I stopped going to church, except at family reunions where my mother’s two brothers were both Methodist ministers. One of the brothers told me he made that choice after seeing the ghost of his kid brother and chasing him into a South Dakota barn.

“All I know, after all these years, is how little I understand life and death. I know that within my own body, the space between proton and electron is comparable to a soccer ball in a stadium. My daughter tells me that astronomers believe the universe is expanding faster than the speed of light. I can’t imagine a beginning or end of time.

“A fortune cookie wisdom taped to our refrigerator asserts the only certainty is that nothing is certain.

“But I still take comfort in my father’s story. I have talked to others who related similar near-death experiences, and I noticed a strange white light and ghostly figures in late Van Gogh paintings.

“When my time as David Olinger ends, I hope to see that same light myself.”

The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories from people who have had comforting experiences with departed loved ones–either human or animal–that have shown them how love and life continue regardless of whether there is a physical container for it.

In our next blog post, Dr. Joan Olinger will review a book by Dr. Mary C. Neal, an orthopedic surgeon from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, whose Near-Death Experience changed the way she lives her life. Joan will be reviewing Dr. Neal’s second book about her experience, called 7 Lessons From Heaven: How Dying Taught Me To Live A Joy-Filled Life.

“Many questions people may have about what happens after death may be answered by this book,” says Joan in her review.  


Lori’s Mom Finds an Unconventional Way to Send Her Love

Lori and the Toilet

In this story, Lori tells how her Mom’s sense of humour plays an important part in letting Lori know that the love between mother and daughter continues long after the mother’s physical passing.

My mother and I were extremely close. I love and miss her dearly. I know she is never too far from me. She sends me signs all the time.

I recall talking with her before she got really sick. She let me know that she was not afraid of dying. She told me that, when she was a little girl, she became quite ill and was pronounced dead briefly. She said death was not scary, it was peaceful and calming. I knew she was reassuring me that, when the time came, she would be fine.

I asked that she send me a sign after death to let me know she was okay. She took on a mischievous grin and I quickly said, “Don’t you dare come as a ghost!”

She laughed and assured me she wouldn’t. “I know you pay attention to your dreams,” she said, “so I’ll visit you there.”  

My mother visits me often, but dreams aren’t her only method. She had a wonderful sense of humour and continues to give us laughs long after her death. One of her favourite words was “toilet”. Don’t ask me why. It just was. She would say the word and laugh, then make you say it. She said it would just roll right off the tongue.

One day, long after my mother’s passing, I had trouble with the toilet in my townhouse unit. Instead of calling maintenance, I decided to fix it myself. (My father was not a handy man at all, so Mom and I would often tackle repairs before calling in the experts.)

This day, I was focused on the problem at hand, trying to figure out the issue and how I could repair it. Out of nowhere, I heard my mother’s voice: “TOILET!” it said. I started to chuckle. The voice came again. “Say it with me: TOILET!”

I laughed. “Hi Mom! Look at me, I’m fixing my toilet! There I said it with you!”

So, I was able to fix the toilet—and to enjoy an auditory visit with Mom at the same time.

      The Meaning of Forever Project continues to accept stories of comforting experiences with loved ones who have passed on, and of near-death experiences that have helped to show the continuation of life beyond the physical body. You can email your story to us at themeaningofforever@gmail.com and you can find more about our project on our Facebook page, and our Meaning of Forever Website.