We See Dead People...but Just Don't Realize It

posted by Jeffrey on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at 7:41 AM

*I've moved, and my posts have come with me! Check out my new blog at www.jeffrey-davis.net/blog/*

In the past few days several things have transpired causing me to wonder, "what if 'Heaven' wasn't another place, but instead, another realm?" What if the after-life, or rather life as it continues after our physical container ceases to function, is moving and living all around us, in the same place, but on a different plane of existence...the most real plane.

I think back to my grandad, Bubba, who suffered through more than a year as his physical body slowly shut down. Towards the end of his body's existence, he began carrying on conversations and attempting to interact with people that weren't there. A detail I had previously over-looked regarding this strange behavior was who he was talking to. He never talked to anyone who was still alive, always people who were dead. You would think that since his wife and immediate family were the people who dominated his consciousness that he would naturally attempt to interact with my mom, for example, when she was absent. No. It was always dead people. Something even freakier...this seems to be the norm for elderly people who's bodies are failing slowly. Makes one wonder doesn't it?

Here's my theory. Jesus said that God is spirit and we must worship him in spirit and in truth. You may have noticed in this post that I refer to death in a slightly different way than most people. That is because I feel that humans are spiritual beings contained in an earthly, physical, body. When the body dies or ceases to function, the spirit lives on. I'm coming to realize that the spiritual reality is more real than our current physical reality. At any rate, God is spirit. We are spirit. What if as the body begins to fail, people begin to see through their spirit and not with their eyes (though they seem to perceive it to be physical sight)? What if, as their consciousness drifts between the physical and spiritual, they see the spirit of others who's bodies have failed? The strange thing is that though they may be seeing the spiritual, they attempt to interact with these people in the physical realm by talking to them, reaching out for them, etc.

So the question is, how do you interact with something that is spiritual. Perhaps we could glean still from our elderly friends and family as we observe how they attempt to interact with the spiritual beings that they encounter. What if we could learn how to interact with God in greater reality, since he is spirit, as we watch them grope for this understanding somewhere between the two realms? Of course to do so we would have to actually pay attention to them and not say foolish things like, "oh they're just not really there anymore" or "it's just the medication".

On a slightly more vague note (as if there could be one), my Bubba and many others, as they grew nearer to death, had begun to speak of "that man over there" or "that man over there in the corner". It is always the exact same wording. Anybody else had this happen with someone they watched struggle to the end of their physical existence?

Weird post, I know.

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Blogger Slartibartfast said...

What a wonderful post!

Do you know Stonewall Jackson's last words? He was in his near-death delerium, ordering his troops into positions, preparing for battle. Then he relaxed and said:

"Let us cross over the river, and rest under the shade of the trees."

Then he died.

Somehow, reading his last words gives me great comfort.

November 15, 2006 10:17 AM

Blogger Kat Coble said...

Through a glass darkly...

I've always thought of Heaven as a brighter, cleaner reality. To me the best allegory of heaven is found in the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia--The Last Battle.

As to seeing men in the corner, I've always believed that there are angels who come to ease the crossing for those who are heaven-bound.

November 15, 2006 10:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the research literature, this phenomenon is called Nearing-death Awareness (NDA). One of the best books on the subject is "Final Gifts," written by Maggie Callanan and Patricia Kelley, hospice nurses.

This research is closely related to the research on near-death experiences (NDEs). During the past 30 years, NDEs have been the focus of many scientific studies at universities and medical centers throughout the U.S. and around the world. You can read about it on the website of the International Association for Near-Death Studies at www.iands.org. In particular, you might want to check under the Research tab for published papers outlining new findings from the most current research.

I recently attended a 4 day conference on NDEs at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston that reviewed in detail 30 years of research on NDEs. Audio files and DVDs of the presentations should be available soon on the website above.

November 15, 2006 9:33 PM

Blogger Chelsie said...

i've expressed similar thoughts lately, much to a wide-eyed, 'deer in the headlights of truth' response (it becomes familiar after a while ;) ... my aunt was sharing about her niece's death...in intense grief, she (and a couple more of her out-of-state family members) were accompanied briefly by what they described as soft light. It provided comfort, as if their loved one was present. If focus on love and the deceased instead of self allowed them to see/feel the physically dead, maybe merely stripping away self-concern leads us to see what is also no longer bound by selfishness-a spiritual reality here and now. heaven, is it? :)

November 26, 2006 1:23 PM


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