For some of us, the very notion of death frightens us. The pain, the uncertainty, the unanswered questions — it’s enough to drive a person crazy. Can we really know what happens when we die, and can we better prepare to meet this mystery?
We’re familiar with the works of Dolores Cannon, a hypnotherapist who often asked clients in their regression sessions about life after death. She even penned a book, Between Death & Life, describing all the experiences she’s heard through these sessions, and feels it’s essential to reiterate one universal truth — we’re never alone, after we die:
While deep in trance, one of my subjects related the following about life after death, specifically the first experiences of the spirit on the other side: “There is a period of orientation, or re-orientation which could be confusing to some as they figure out where they should go. But they need not worry because help is sent immediately. Usually a handful of souls will come that you have had close karmic connections with in former lifetimes. They are in between incarnations themselves and will be there to greet you.”
If this is true, it can offer many of us relief in the knowledge that even if there is a chance we’ll pass from this plane onto the next alone, we’ll always be greeted on the other side by familiar faces and energies.
Macmillan palliative care nurses at Royal Stoke University Hospital shared with BBC News what people say before they die, expressing their belief it is possible to have a “good death” and explaining why people should not be afraid of passing on.
Asking For Their Favorite Things
A common request that people have is to see their pets for the last time.
“To experience the joy on somebody’s face when they’re dying when their dog’s been in to see them is priceless.”
“We’ve had a Border Collie and an Alsatian cross up on the bed with a gentleman and that was his wish.”
Some people just ask for something simple, like their favourite drink or tea.
Angela Beeson shares the story of an elderly couple who wanted their beds pushed together so they could lie side-by-side, holding hands and singing “Slow Boat to China” together. They ended up passing within 10 days of each other.
Knowing When Their Time Will Come
They’ve also found people who seemed to already know when their time would come. Nicki Morgan says, “We’ve had people say, ‘I’m 80 in a couple of weeks, and I’ll have my 80th birthday, I’ll have my party and then I’ll go,’ and then very strangely we do see that that happens.” One patient said they weren’t afraid to die because they had a glimpse of heaven and it was wonderful.
Ms. Beeson witnessed her aunt “talking” to her deceased grandmother moments before she died, and added that people have said they “have worked really hard and found their retirement was spent in ill health, not doing the things they’d hoped to.” I found this one particularly interesting because society makes us believe that working equates with living and that we can spend our retirement doing all we’ve wished to do.
Ms. Jervis said, “One person said life is too short, do the things that you want, do the things that make you happy.”
Many also mention family and religion, suggesting these ease their anxiety.
The team do stress that it’s important to talk openly about death and prepare in advance for the end of one’s life in order to ease the process. Being surrounded by family also makes a big difference, the nurses say.