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Photo taken from the Horizons of Reason Blog – Peter Prevos

It’s a silly debate really, but not a silly subject.

I distinguish the two because there are questions that will never be answered [at least not to everyone’s mutual satisfaction], so why enter into an often heated debate about something that is unknowable (until we get there..and even then…).  Opinions expressed are fine, but on this topic, it can sometimes get nasty.

But the question itself is so very important that the religions of the world from Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and more, are built on it, as well as other beliefs that may tangent from traditional ones, but still–ingrained beliefs, they are.

The “silly” part is not that the topic is trivial–to the contrary…

The silly part, IMHO is because these debates can divide us–and why at such a sacred and important passage would we want to be separate?

Even these “in stone” beliefs can blur at the moment of death, and if we’re not open to the possibilities, we may miss amazing things that happen.

My mother, Dagmar, was a confirmed atheist.  She had her “engraved in stone” beliefs that there was no such thing as God, or an afterlife, angels, demons or any non-earthly existence.  She used to say that when you die, you are “splat, like a bug on a rug”.  Hmmm…Not very romantic for my tastes.  She vehemently honored the beliefs of others, but couldn’t embrace them as her own, and in this way was quite the existentialist–finding her own meaning and belief in the human condition alone.

I asked her when she was in the nursing home, after she had made a choice for death–a conscious one, knowing she was not going to recover this time, whether she believed she would see my dad, her husband of 50 years when she got to the other side.  She said, “That’d be nice, but not gonna happen…”, with a wave of the hand, as if to say…”you believe that crap?”

So, how interesting it was when Dagmar, my atheist mom, was only a few days from death when she began to look heavenward and talk to entities unseen.  I mean, long, detailed conversations, though unintelligible to me. Every once in a while during these conversations, she would “light up”, eyes big with a huge smile on her face, and her hands pulled over her heart, in what looked like the most glorious surprise to her.   Still knowing who I was, she kept asking me to clarify where she was.  I knew she wasn’t asking for the mailing address.

So a couple of times I said…”You’re on Earth”.

She smiled with that kind of smile that means…”I know something you don’t”…and got back to her conversations.

I mention this because no matter how much she believed that there was no God, no afterlife, no hubby with whom to reunite, she certainly was engaged in deep connection with something that was not of this realm.  Was she wrong then? Was she hallucinating? I don’t know.

All I know is that I am open to all sorts of possibility.

I had debated with her years before about her beliefs.  I had different views than she –not religious, but spiritual, and I thought my beliefs were “right”.  I remember being angry with her because she was so freakin’ definite about what I saw as very narrow beliefs.

And something changed for her on her deathbed. I don’t know what.

Right or wrong, hallucinations or a conversations with God, himself…

It was just silly to debate.


If you are an individual who is drawn to work with the dying, or a personal or professional caregiver who wants to learn how to “BE” with the dying…

Look and learn here….