Why I Believe in an Afterlife?

The bonds of love are what connect us to the other side.

John Edward 

Is there an afterlife?  Most Americans seem to think so.  In fact, according to a 2014 CBS poll, three in four Americans believe in some form of an afterlife.  Some closed-minded skeptics will tell you that those who believe in life after death are naïve and desperate to be reunited with their loved ones.

IMG7708_retouchThese same skeptics will say that the evidence for survival after death is merely circumstantial and subjective.  However, many who have had a near-death experience and still more who have had other forms of spiritual experiences strongly disagree—myself included.

Recently, I had dinner with a friend and we chatted about my research and the afterlife.  My friend who I would describe as an open-minded skeptic told me that she is open to the possibility of an afterlife not because of what I write in my books but rather because of who she knows I am as a person.  In her words, “I knew the person you were before your experience.  I know how much it changed you and I also know you would never make this up.”

She’s right, of course, I would never just make this up.  Interestingly, some atheists argue that there is no evidence for a heaven or an afterlife.  But for many of us who have had near-death experiences (NDEs) and other spiritual experiences, these phenomena are indeed proof.

Numerous people around the world who have had an NDE report being conscious after their body ceased functioning.  My book Visits to Heaven highlights many such accounts from around the globe.  The following are excerpts from two examples:

I knew that I had always known him as he looked at me and simply asked, “Are you ready to come?” I then exclaimed in surprise, “Already?” At that moment I remembered that my soul chose to come to Earth. I remembered who I was before I was born and that we are not here by random accident nor are we here as victims.  We come here not only to learn and grow but also to give and to receive love in the physical and so much more.

Martha Cassandra St. Claire, MA

I remember slowing down, without my choice, at the entrance to this beautiful lighted place and was amazed to discover my mother and grandmother standing to the right and greeting me with so much love.  They communicated to me in some way, certainly without words or hearing, but clearly inside my mind.  I was astonished to see them healthy, happy, middle-aged, and so full of love and recognition for me. . .

I then passed into the place of Light: rolling hills, grass, flowers, and blue skies vibrant with color. What amazed me were the intensity, brilliance, and clarity of the color. It seemed to be coming from within each aspect of the landscape.  The grass glowed green. It was so beautiful. It was so very beautiful.

Joyce Hawkes, PhD

In addition to NDEs, countless others have reported deathbed visions, divine interventions and afterlife communication accounts.  My book Visits from Heaven highlights the story of one mom who recounts hugging her deceased daughter.

One night just before her sixteenth birthday, I walked into my room and sat at the edge of my bed.  When I looked up, Tanya was there! She didn’t say anything, but her eyes expressed so much love and she had the most beautiful smile.

Tanya wrapped her arms around me.  I put my right hand on her left arm. She was cool yet not cold, solid but not quite hard. My hand did not go through her, but it was just so different; it felt kind of like touching “Jello-O.”

The texture of her skin startled me. There are no words to describe what her arm felt like.  I drew a quick breath, and then Tanya gave me the most beautiful loving smile.  She just backed away and was gone.  I can’t even begin to convey how much her “visit” meant to me.

Carol Rhodes

In 2003, my husband’s deceased friend and former boss came to me in a vivid dream with a message for his grieving wife.  The message was confirmed by his family leading me to research the possibility of life after death.  At the time I was a young, happy mother of two toddlers and I was admittedly not thinking about the afterlife or whether or not I would see my loved ones again.

In fact, I had never even met my husband’s former boss and had no reason to have such a dream.  So to the skeptics who claim that those who believe are gullible and biased, nothing could be further from the truth.  I believe in an afterlife not because I am afraid of death.  I believe because my experience gave me a glimpse of the afterlife and now I know.

Stephen Hawking once said, “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail.  There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”  Everyone certainly has a right to their own opinions.  But luckily I, too, don’t believe in fairy stories and I’m not afraid of the dark.

If you have an NDE, afterlife communication or other spiritual experience to share, please feel free to contact me at josievarga@comcast.net.  You are also welcome to visit my website at http://www.josievarga.com. Thank you! 

Lucid Just Before Death?

Death may simply be an alteration in consciousness, a transition for continued life in a non-material form.”  Edgar Mitchell

We’ve seen it again and again.  A terminally ill patient has been unresponsive for days yet just before his death he suddenly becomes lucid and is able to communicate.  Is this just a coincidence or is there something more going on?

CallfromHeavenCoverTerminal lucidity is a term used to describe the unexpected return of mental coherence and responsiveness in a patient who was previously incoherent.  Family members and even some medical personnel may see this as a sign of recovery only to find that death is imminent. Is there a logical explanation for this phenomena and how can this be explained to the patient’s grieving family?

First off, it is important to understand that terminal lucidity is nothing new.  In fact, one of the most incredible cases on record occurred in 1922 with a woman named Anna Katharina Ehmer (1895-1922).  Ehmer was severely disabled and lived in a mental institution located in central Germany.  Reportedly, she never spoke a word her entire life until the day she died when she suddenly began singing for about 30 minutes before she passed. Since then many such cases have been reported and science is finally starting to study the phenomena.

While working on my book, A Call from Heaven: Personal Accounts of Deathbed Visits, Angelic Visions, and Crossings to the Other Side/New Page Books, 2017, I had the honor of interviewing Professor Alexander Batthyany, PhD who is conducting a study on terminal lucidity involving patients with Alzheimer’s disease.  His findings have thus far suggested that normal cognition can occur despite a nonfunctional brain. Batthyany is a professor at the University of Vienna in Austria where he teaches courses in the behavioral sciences and philosophy.

As you may know, Alzheimer’s disease kills nerve cells in the brain and patients eventually lose normal brain functioning and suffer from memory loss.  Yet, in many cases, many become coherent right before death with no known changes in the brain.  The nerve cells, for example, don’t suddenly become alive allowing patients to say their final goodbyes yet these cases of terminal lucidity are clearly happening.

Thus far, science has no explanation for this.  Professor Batthyany has called these deathbed phenomena “close to a miracle,” however, he admits, “I am not sure whether miracle is a good word but it is deeply mystifying given what we know about the relationship between mental function and brain integrity.” (A Call from Heaven: Personal Accounts of Deathbed Visits, Angelic Visions, and Crossings to the Other Side/page 26).

But maybe the answer is not a scientific one but a spiritual one.  Perhaps a higher source is allowing those on their deathbed to bid a proper goodbye to their loved ones.  Regardless of which stance we take, we cannot deny that these deathbed phenomena are taking place.

One of the most recent cases on record involves a doctor by the name of Scott Haig in New York.  An orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Haig wrote about a patient named David who passed from lung cancer which eventually spread to his brain leaving him both motionless and speechless.

David’s brain, he explained, was completely destroyed.  Yet just before his death, David suddenly woke up and was able to converse with his family.  He said his final goodbyes and after about five minutes he went comatose again and passed within the hour.

Interestingly David’s wife was a nurse at the same hospital and witnessed the occurrence.  Doctors may not understand how these cases of terminal lucidity are taking place.  We also don’t know why many experience it while others don’t.  But of more importance is the fact these cases are happening and are, in fact, very real.

A biologist named David Searles once said, “Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of ocean.” It may look like the end when we are looking at the horizon because that is as far as our eyes can see.   But when we die we will all come to know that death is only a transition.  It is not an end but rather a new beginning that is not limited by the constraints of a dying body.

As an author and afterlife researcher for over 15 years, I have been asked many times if dealing with the death of a loved one is easier for me given my stern beliefs in an afterlife.  My answer is always the same.  Yes, it’s easier but, no, it’s not easy.  Losing my loved ones hurts but I do find comfort in the knowledge that life continues.  I do find comfort in the knowledge that the bond of love is the one thing that transcends death.  Nothing is stronger.

Advice about Life: A Final Facebook Post

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John F. Kennedy

Why is it that we don’t appreciate what we have until we don’t have it anymore?  Why can’t we see the value in what we already have?  We are always thinking of the next best thing and wanting more.  In fact, what we had in the past and what we want in the future get so blurred and distorted that we can’t focus on what’s right there in front of us until it’s gone. 

On January 4, 2018, Holly Butcher, a 27-year old from Grafton, Australia, passed away from a rare bone cancer known as Ewing’s sarcoma.  Just before her death, she wrote a sad but inspiring message to her friends and family.  Below are her wise words taken from her final Facebook post.

So why is it so hard to appreciate what we already have?  I think Holly said it best:


Holly Butcher (Facebook photo)

It’s a strange thing to realise and accept your mortality at 26 years young. It’s just one of those things you ignore. The days tick by and you just expect they will keep on coming; until the unexpected happens. I always imagined myself growing old, wrinkled and grey—most likely caused by the beautiful family (lots of kiddies) I planned on building with the love of my life. I want that so bad it hurts.

That’s the thing about life; it is fragile, precious and unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a given right.

I’m 27 now. I don’t want to go. I love my life. I am happy. I owe that to my loved ones. But the control is out of my hands.

I haven’t started this ‘note before I die’ so that death is feared—I like the fact that we are mostly ignorant to its inevitability. Except when I want to talk about it and it is treated like a ‘taboo’ topic that will never happen to any of us. That’s been a bit tough. I just want people to stop worrying so much about the small, meaningless stresses in life and try to remember that we all have the same fate after it all so do what you can to make your time feel worthy and great, minus the bullshit.

I have dropped lots of my thoughts below as I have had a lot of time to ponder life these last few months. Of course it’s the middle of the night when these random things pop in my head most!

Those times you are whining about ridiculous things (something I have noticed so much these past few months), just think about someone who is really facing a problem. Be grateful for your minor issue and get over it. It’s okay to acknowledge that something is annoying but try not to carry on about it and negatively affect other people’s days.

Once you do that, get out there and take a freaking big breath of that fresh Aussie air deep in your lungs, look at how blue the sky is and how green the trees are; it is so beautiful. Think how lucky you are to be able to do just that—breathe.

You might have got caught in bad traffic today, or had a bad sleep because your beautiful babies kept you awake, or your hairdresser cut your hair too short. Your new fake nails might have got a chip, your boobs are too small, or you have cellulite on your arse and your belly is wobbling.

Let all that shit go. I swear you will not be thinking of those things when it is your turn to go. It is all SO insignificant when you look at life as a whole. I’m watching my body waste away right before my eyes with nothing I can do about it and all I wish for now is that I could have just one more Birthday or Christmas with my family, or just one more day with my partner and dog. Just one more.

I hear people complaining about how terrible work is or about how hard it is to exercise. Be grateful you are physically able to. Work and exercise may seem like such trivial things … until your body doesn’t allow you to do either of them.

I tried to live a healthy life, in fact, that was probably my major passion. Appreciate your good health and functioning body even if it isn’t your ideal size. Look after it and embrace how amazing it is. Move it and nourish it with fresh food. Don’t obsess over it.

Remember there are more aspects to good health than the physical body. Work just as hard on finding your mental, emotional and spiritual happiness, too. That way you might realise just how insignificant and unimportant having this stupidly portrayed perfect social media body really is. While on this topic, delete any account that pops up on your news feeds that gives you any sense of feeling shit about yourself. Friend or not. Be ruthless for your own well-being.

Be grateful for each day you don’t have pain and even the days where you are unwell with man flu, a sore back or a sprained ankle, accept it is shit but be thankful it isn’t life threatening and will go away.

Whine less, people!  And help each other more.

Give, give, give. It is true that you gain more happiness doing things for others than doing them for yourself. I wish I did this more. Since I have been sick, I have met the most incredibly giving and kind people and been the receiver of the most thoughtful and loving words and support from my family, friends and strangers; more than I could ever give in return. I will never forget this and will be forever grateful to all of these people.

It is a weird thing having money to spend at the end when you’re dying. It’s not a time you go out and buy material things that you usually would, like a new dress. It makes you think how silly it is that we think it is worth spending so much money on new clothes and ‘things’ in our lives.

Buy your friend something kind instead of another dress, beauty product or jewelry for that next wedding. 1. No-one cares if you wear the same thing twice 2. It feels good. Take them out for a meal, or better yet, cook them a meal. Shout their coffee. Give/buy them a plant, a massage or a candle and tell them you love them when you give it to them.

Value other people’s time. Don’t keep them waiting because you are shit at being on time. Get ready earlier if you are one of those people and appreciate that your friends want to share their time with you, not sit by themselves, waiting on a mate. You will gain respect too! Amen sister.

This year, our family agreed to do no presents and despite the tree looking rather sad and empty (I nearly cracked Christmas Eve!), it was so nice because people didn’t have the pressure of shopping and the effort went into writing a nice card for each other. Plus imagine my family trying to buy me a present knowing they would probably end up with it themselves . . . strange! It might seem lame but those cards mean more to me than any impulse purchase could. Mind you, it was also easier to do in our house because we had no little kiddies there. Anyway, moral of the story—presents are not needed for a meaningful Christmas. Moving on.

Use your money on experiences. Or at least don’t miss out on experiences because you spent all your money on material shit.

Put in the effort to do that day trip to the beach you keep putting off. Dip your feet in the water and dig your toes in the sand. Wet your face with salt water.

Get amongst nature.

Try just enjoying and being in moments rather than capturing them through the screen of your phone. Life isn’t meant to be lived through a screen nor is it about getting the perfect photo . . . enjoy the bloody moment, people! Stop trying to capture it for everyone else.

Random rhetorical question. Are those several hours you spend doing your hair and makeup each day or to go out for one night really worth it? I’ve never understood this about females.

Get up early sometimes and listen to the birds while you watch the beautiful colours the sun makes as it rises.

Listen to music… really listen. Music is therapy. Old is best.

Cuddle your dog. Far out, I will miss that.

Talk to your friends. Put down your phone. Are they doing okay?

Travel if it’s your desire, don’t if it’s not.

Work to live, don’t live to work.

Seriously, do what makes your heart feel happy.

Eat the cake. Zero guilt.

Say no to things you really don’t want to do.

Don’t feel pressured to do what other people might think is a fulfilling life… you might want a mediocre life and that is so okay.

Tell your loved ones you love them every time you get the chance and love them with everything you have.

Also, remember if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable. I know that is said all the time but it couldn’t be more true.

Anyway, that’s just this one young gal’s life advice. Take it or leave it, I don’t mind!

Oh and one last thing, if you can, do a good deed for humanity (and myself) and start regularly donating blood. It will make you feel good with the added bonus of saving lives. I feel like it is something that is so overlooked considering every donation can save 3 lives! That is a massive impact each person can have and the process really is so simple.

Blood donation (more bags than I could keep up with counting) helped keep me alive for an extra year—a year I will be forever grateful that I got to spend it here on Earth with my family, friends and dog. A year I had some of the greatest times of my life.

..’Til we meet again.



 I share Holly’s inspiring, beautiful words and dedicate this blog in her memory.  As Holly said life is unpredictable and “each day is a gift, not a given right.”  Appreciate what you already have before you don’t have it anymore. Go out and enjoy the breathtaking sunset and if you can, watch the sun rise again and again.

Get Ready for a Heavenly Deposit

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2 (KJV)

Angels, those wonderful spiritual beings who perform God’s will, appear everywhere in the Bible.  Sometimes these angels have taken human form.  So if it was possible for angels to walk among us then wouldn’t it seem fair to assume that they can still walk among us today?

This month I had the honor of attending the East Coast Premiere of Heavenly Deposit starring George Vincent and Kristina Denton.   The film tells the heartwarming story of a struggling, jobless actor named Peter Ranos who loses all faith until a divine encounter turns his life around.  The film is based on real events involving Vincent and his wife Christina Svoronos.

An actor for more than 20 years, he started out working in theater before landing a recurring role on the popular Soap Opera, One Life to Live.  I was first introduced to him by a mutual friend who called and told me that I had to meet him because we had something in common.  I never realized then how true that statement would be or just how much I would be able to relate to him and his spiritual experience.

As a young boy, he had denied the existence of God after his father’s untimely death.  And as an adult, he lived with the belief that everything was up to him, never wanting to ask for help.  But everything changes when he and his wife Ellie (Kristina Denton) are about to lose their home.  On the verge of complete despair, he finally cries out to God for the first time since his father’s death.

I’m going to out on a limb here and say he probably didn’t think anyone was listening.  But, as they say, God works in mysterious ways.

Speaking of his spiritual beliefs prior to his experience, he admits, “I was lukewarm about my faith.  I knew God was there, but I just felt like he was too busy for me.  But as the film shows, accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior turned my life around. I went from being hopeless to being hopeful.”

His joblessness and stubborn pride also created many marital problems yet his wife Christina said she never let go of her faith.    “I never gave up hope,” she explained.  “I was always hopeful that things would work out.  I have always believed in God but I feel my walk with him has gotten stronger and more pronounced.  These days, I find myself praying daily and being more grateful for his guidance.”

Reflecting on her past struggles, Christina said she believes everything happens for a reason and we are meant to hopefully learn and grow from them.  “Our issues are so relatable yet many think they are the only ones struggling. I believe God uses people to help others.  We went through this experience to be able to make a film and help others who may be experiencing similar things.”

Soon after his spiritual awakening, Vincent began to share his story with anyone who would listen and was humbled by the overwhelming support he received.  One day while talking to a man who happened to be a minister Vincent was encouraged to make a film and share his story with the world.  Needless to say, making a movie is not an easy task and he had never before even written a screenplay.

(Left to Right) Rick Irvin, Kristina Denton, George Vincent and Christina Svoronos

Yet time and again the universe seemed to be pulling him toward making this film a reality.  In fact, he noted, many coincidences or what I prefer to call “Godincidences” occurred throughout the whole process. When he shared his story with fellow actor and producer Rick Irvin he found the encouragement he needed.  The two met in 2013 while working on another film project in which Vincent was the lead actor and Irvin was the producer.  Irvin recalled, “We met for coffee one day and I told him that I only wanted to produce faith based content from that point on.  That’s when George decided to share his amazing story with me.”  Irvin was immediately drawn to the story and told his friend, “Time to write the script.”

From then on, Vincent went to work on writing the screenplay and the pair joined forces producing and directing.  Both will tell you that securing the funds to make the movie was by far the most challenging part.  However, with a little trust in the divine, things started to fall into place and they found some investors who wanted to help bring the story to film.

When meeting Irvin, I was struck by his genuine and kind demeanor.  I felt a connection to him that I could not immediately explain but perhaps it’s because we both share a kindred desire to help others and make a difference. “George’s story is very relatable and I knew the audience would be able to go on this emotional journey with him while watching the film. I wanted to be involved because I wanted to make a film that uplifts the Lord. Sharing a personal testimony has much more power behind it than anything I could make up.”

As the author of several books highlighting personal spiritual accounts, I certainly couldn’t agree more.  Heavenly Deposit is truly a heartfelt film that shows just how far our faith can take us.  We need only trust.

Kristina Denton gives a brilliant performance as Peter’s wife, Ellie Ranos.  “The story really captivated me,” she said.  “It’s so universal and relatable.  I loved the writing, too.  It’s refreshing to have material so well written to work with. When I learned that this was based on George and Christina’s real experience, I was so moved that they were courageous enough to share it.

“I connected with their story so much.  I felt like I really understood where they were coming from, having been through my own financial struggles.  I was so honored to be selected to portray Christina and share her journey through this film.”

Fortunately for Denton, her life has given her many reasons to believe in a higher power.  She has been blessed, she explained, with many signs and her role serves as a validation of her own spiritual beliefs.

In one pivotal scene, Peter (George Vincent) hears a voice telling him to go to the bank.  Once there, he is greeted by a man who gives him a life-changing message.  Who was this man?  Although this was my favorite scene and I would love to share more details, I won’t give it away.  Vincent, however, did share that this stranger knew things about him he couldn’t possibly have known. “I had never seen him before and haven’t since.  It was so surreal.  One moment he was there and then the next moment he was gone.”

Having known Vincent before he began to make this movie a reality, I watched the film not only with pride in his impressive accomplishment but also with a certainty I know all too well.  For more than 15 years I have explored a variety of metaphysical phenomena including afterlife communication, near-death experiences, divine interventions and deathbed phenomena.  For me, watching the film was a knowing beyond knowing and a heavenly reminder that I am on the right path.  Like Vincent, I too listened to my inner voice.

Denton explained this well when she said God sends us lessons in many forms but we need to be open to receiving them.  “Once Peter surrendered, he was finally able to receive the help he so desperately needed.  The moments when we are most vulnerable in life seem to be when we’re the most open to receiving the messages we need to hear.”

Vincent was born and raised in New York and comes from a loving, Greek household.  His parents, he said, instilled in him the core values of family, working hard and living a life of integrity.  Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the word angel is derived from the word angelos which means messenger in Greek.  For George Vincent is truly a messenger and his message is called Heavenly Deposit.

Soon to be released on May 28, Heavenly Deposit will be available on digital download on platforms like FandangoNow, Red Box, On Demand, VUDU, Christian Cinema.com and others.  It’s also available on DVD for pre-order at Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy.  For more information or to see the official trailer, please visit www.heavenlydeposit.com.

Connecting with Your Loved Ones

Unable are the loved to die.  For love is immortality.”  Emily Dickinson

People have been communicating with their deceased loved ones since ancient times.  The Ancient Egyptians, for example, believed that the world between the living and the deceased was actually very much connected.  And what’s more they believed their loved ones on the other side could intervene with the land of the living.  In fact, they even wrote letters to their loved ones with specific requests.

backyardskyIn modern times, inventors Guglielmo Marconi and Thomas Edison were both known to have attempted to create an apparatus which would allow for communication with those on the other side.   People are always asking me if it’s possible to communicate with their loved ones or how to initiate communication. And if it is possible, then why haven’t they received any signs.

First off, yes, it is very much possible.  They communicate in a variety of ways.  You don’t have to be a medium to communicate with your loved one.  Going to a reputable medium can certainly make it easier but it is not necessary.  Just yesterday, I was facing the mirror in my bathroom when I suddenly saw an image of my Godmother Lucy in my mind.  In my mind, I could see her standing behind me.  I turned around to look in that direction and could sense her presence.  I spoke to Lucy out loud and then proceeded to go down the stairs to my kitchen.

Suddenly, my home alarm began to chime for no reason.  In fact, it did so three times in a row.  My alarm was not on so the motion sensor would not have been activated.  However, the alarm does sound when someone either opens the door or certain windows regardless of whether it is on or not.  At first, I panicked thinking someone entered the house.  But when I checked my doors and windows, they were all closed.  I realized then that this was a sign from my Godmother Lucy acknowledging her presence.

However, signs from our loved ones are usually subtle and it is unrealistic to expect communications such as these all the time.  Since they no longer have the benefit of a physical body, they will communicate by using their energy.  When this happens, they will most often make their presence known through thoughts.

I don’t mean thoughts that you would expect.  For example, you are looking at a photo of your loved one and your mind is full of thoughts of them.  When our loved ones communicate, the thoughts seemingly appear out of nowhere.

Unfortunately, many people tend to ignore these thoughts and when they do they often miss the message.  At my godmother’s funeral, I clearly heard her (by thought) tell me to put a picture of my two daughters in her casket.  I was so sure of what I heard that I did what I was told.  A few years later, a medium told me that my godmother wanted to thank me for the pictures.

If you want a sign, just ask.  Talk to your loved ones.  You may even choose to ask for something specific.  Obviously, you won’t always get a response but our loved ones on the other side can and do hear us.  Once you ask, pay attention and try not to expect too much.  I was once given a reading by a friend who is medium.  I was given a message for someone else.  I was told that this person wanted to acknowledge the Lazy Boy. When I relayed the message, I was told very cynically that while there was indeed a recliner, it was not a Lazy Boy.

I mention this because while it’s important to be skeptical, it is also equally important to be open minded.  If you are too closed-minded, you will frequently miss the signs when they do occur.

As I’ve said many times, dreams are the easiest place for our loved ones to visit us.  Our subconscious is relaxed and open and we are not overwhelmed by the everyday distractions of our conscious mind.  Before going to bed, talk to your loved one or hold an object of theirs in your hand.  This can often help you to connect with their energy or even receive messages by thought.

There is a beautiful Eskimo proverb that states, “Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.”  And perhaps those stars are always within reach.  We need only wish upon them.

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas when I Asked for a Visit from Heaven

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year but, for those who have lost loved ones, it is also the most painful.  For many it is a difficult reminder of the missing present under the tree or the empty chair at the table.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I wanted to do something a little different and share a poem I wrote as a reminder that our loved ones are always with us.  I hope this in some way will help to ease your pain and lift your spirit in the knowledge that love never dies.  Happy Holidays! HolidayPhoto2018

T’was a week before Christmas, when memories of you occupied my mind,

Tears filled my eyes for all you left behind.

Not a creature was stirring as I got down on my knees,

In hopes for a visit from heaven to fill my heart with glee.


Finding it hard to partake in all the holiday cheer,

My heart so empty, everything so unclear.

Trying so hard to cope but everything is so different,

Without you, life just feels so empty and insignificant.


So on my knees I prayed for a visit from heaven,

The clock read just passed 11:00.

Please let me know that you are still near,

That your love for me is still dear.


When all of a sudden, I heard your sweet voice,

My heart raced as I rejoiced.

“I am happy and with the angels,

Sometimes I even sing with the archangels.



“Someday we will be together again,

Until then. . . 

Please try not to be so blue,

Be happy and live your life anew.

Know that I will always love you and

Have never really left you.”


The moment seemed so surreal,

Yet I sprang to my feet knowing it was so real.

I felt the warmth of your spiritual embrace,

The room now full of your undying love and beautiful grace.


Grateful for your heavenly sign,

I gave thanks to the divine.

With new-found strength to cope,

My heart so full of faith and hope.


I now have a reason,

To rejoice this holiday season.

No longer do I walk in solitude,

Those precious memories of you fill me with such gratitude.


When suddenly as before,

I heard your sweet voice so clearly once more.

Reaching down on me from above,  

“Merry Christmas with all my love.”  

With this gift, your comforting voice,

I shall rejoice. . . 

Until we meet again. 

You CAN Hear Your Loved Ones and They CAN Hear You!

Love is the vital core of the soul.  And of all you see, only love is infinite.” Rumi

Celine Dion lost her husband Rene Angelil to cancer in January 2016. Since then, she has publicly stated that she can still feel his presence, still talks to him and can even hear him at times.  I recently read an article which noted that her remarks often prompted ridicule and referred to these experiences as bereavement hallucinations.

It went on to explain that between 30 and 60 percent of the grieving experience such hallucinations.  hearingWhile I agree that the grieving have such experiences, they are not hallucinatory.  These visits from heaven or afterlife experiences are real.  The first year of death, it is reported that the bereaved are 75 percent more likely to receive a sign from their loved one.  In fact, another recent study reported that 80 percent believe in the afterlife or heaven.

I would love the opportunity to sit down and talk to Celine Dion because I would certainly tell her that she is not hallucinating.  It is possible to hear those on the other side and what’s more, they can hear us.

Just last night I spoke to my sister’s friend who lost her husband 18 years ago.  The subject turned to my books and I asked her if she believed in spiritual phenomena.  She went on to tell me that she has often sensed her husband’s presence and will never forget one night in particular.

“After my husband passed,” she told me, “I would often pray for protection since I was living alone.  One night I was sleeping and clearly heard in my head, ‘Get up. Turn on the lights.’ I was startled at first but just stayed in bed and brushed it off.  I then heard it again, ‘Get up.’ At that point, I wondered what was going on but still did not get out of bed.

“Then suddenly, I heard very loudly in my head, ‘GET UP.  TURN ON THE LIGHTS.’  I then quickly jumped out of bed and started turning on all of the lights in the house.”

She went on to tell me that nothing happened after that but she hadn’t sensed that it was her husband.  We spent some time talking about the experience and I reminded her that she had said that she prayed for protection around the house.  As she told me the story, I sensed that the source of the voice was an angel or spirit guide.  There had to be a reason for this sudden warning.  Since she explained to me that her home is in a secluded area, I told her that there may have been someone on her property and turning on the lights scared them away.  Of course, there is no way to know for sure.

Many have come to me with their experiences over the years.  In one case, a woman had recently lost her husband and was sleeping.  She suddenly clearly heard her deceased husband’s voice telling her to close the garage door.

She had no idea what to make of it at first because in her mind her garage door was already closed.  Feeling her husband’s presence, however, and certain that she had heard his voice, she got out of bed to investigate.  Lo and behold, the garage door was wide open.  An intruder could have walked right into the house.

So, again, these so-called bereavement hallucinations are not illusions or fantasies.  While I cannot say that every afterlife experience is real, I will say that many if not most are.  The two experiences I mentioned above are known as clairaudience (clear hearing) which basically means the ability to hear spirit, intuitive information or those in the higher realms, such as your loved ones.

I have received many messages in this way over the years which I have always found so fascinating.  As many of you already know, I have had bilateral hearing loss since birth.  Recently I paid a visit to an audiologist who fitted me with digital hearing aids.  When I put them in my ears, I was completely confused because I was hearing sounds I had never heard before.  Even the sound of my own voice was different.

Having said this, can you imagine what it’s like for me to get messages from spirit clairaudiently and have no doubt whatsoever in what I am hearing?  Whenever I receive messages from spirit, I hear it so clearly despite my hearing impairment.

The question that I often get is what exactly does this sound like?   Most of the time it sounds like your own voice.  In other words, you hear it internally as if you’re thinking to yourself.  This is also known as telepathic communicating and is most often soft and subtle.  Our loved ones and others in spirit form do not want scare us.  However, in the case of warnings like those mentioned, it can be strong and blatant.

Although hearing with your inner ear is more common, it is also possible to hear a loved one’s actual voice with our outer ear.  For example, I was once told a story about a woman who lost her husband.  A few hours after his death, she heard her husband’s voice as though he was standing right next to her telling her to check his coat pocket.  The voice was very clear and she did as she was told.

She soon discovered that there was money in her husband’s coat pocket.  Apparently, he had gone to the bank that morning to withdraw cash and wanted to make sure his wife knew where the money was. Again, she heard his actual voice.

If you are anxious to hear from your loved one, put the intention out there.  Talk to them and let them know that you want a sign from them.  Keep in mind, however, that you will not hear anything if you are not truly listening.  I’ve found, for example, that I am most apt to hear spirit when I am more relaxed and not trying to do a million things at once.  Remember, three simple steps:

*Ask/Set the Intention

*Quiet Your Mind

*Be Open and Listen

Last night as we were discussing my research and my books, I told my sister’s friend how difficult it was for me in the beginning.  I explained that I was often ridiculed by my family, friends and colleagues.  In response, she looked at me and asked, “How were able to get passed all of that and still do what you do?”

I wasted no time with my response, “Because I know what I experienced was real.”