As a teenager, a book by George Ritchie fell into my life. It wasn't an ordinary non-fiction re-telling or a novel, but was the first book of its genre I ever knew about. It was a man's nine minute experience with death and his journey within that nine minutes. The story is extraordinary.
Years later, as an adult, another after-death experience book fell into my lap, Betty Eadie's Embraced by the Light. It was also a compelling, and to me, a believable experience.
Both works were seminal because I'd always had hope that life extends beyond this limited three dimensional world. The authors' experiences fell on fertile soil. My hope is shared by many as both books became bestsellers.
Now that the near-death experience was out of the bag, other people started talking and sharing their stories. A trusted friend told of "seeing the white light," during an operation when the surgeon "lost him." I relish in these stories.
And then my own father passed on, and his experiences in the three days it took him to fully leave the earth, convinced me even more of a beyond. Before Dad came so close to the end of life, he scoffed at the stories I shared, at the beliefs that sustained me. Not yet ready to leave, he was shooing away personages who were waiting at the foot of his bed. He was curious to know who the man was who wouldn't leave. My sister pulled out a photo album to show him images of relatives who'd passed on. As she pointed to each one, he'd shake his head no, until...
His eyes widened and he sat straight up in bed, and said, "That's him."
It was my mother's father whom he'd never met.
After that, Dad stayed in his deep sleep only to say a few more words.
My cousins had a similar experience with their own father, but their story is not mine to tell. What I can share is that in a moment before his imminent death, after a son cried out in discouragement, their father rose and said he was with a sibling who'd passed on 60 years before and he clearly said, "It is glorious, glorious."
I believe his words with all my heart and hope