One of the most frequent questions I get asked is, what happens immediately following death? I’ve had many different answers from the other side, however one of the most amazing experiences and revelations I have ever had in my dealings with the other side is explained in this blog. It involves those brief transitional minutes of time when we have just died, let go of the physical plane, and our spirit has just reached the other side.

Let me start by explaining that this story is about the passing of my father-in-law John. His immediate family had gathered around him during his final hours here, and were at his side as he took his last breath. My husband called me as soon as he passed and asked if I would spiritually ‘check in on him’ to see how he was doing.

As I connected with John’s energy I observed his passed family members who were there to greet him and the reception each member gave him. A brother he seemed particularly close to while alive hugged him like there was no tomorrow (pardon the pun). A second brother greeted him warmly, as did his parents.

All were elated to have John join them, with the exception of one family member; a sister. She stood haughtily off to one side, her arms crossed tightly across her chest and her lips tightly pursed as if she’d been sucking on a lemon. I understood that she felt she had to be there to welcome her brother but she was certainly not happy to see him.

My first revelation was that all is not a bed of roses on the other side where relationships are concerned. If you didn’t like each other on this side, it will be no different over there. The only difference between here and the other side is that except for possibly the initial greeting, you don’t have to endure each other’s presence if you don’t want to.

I saw that they were all standing on a warm, sun-drenched, expansive white sand beach. It was daybreak when my father-in-law passed and the sun was also just coming up over the horizon of this beach. I should mention that my father-in-law’s family and much of his upbringing was in Barbados; the place John had longed to retire to, but unfortunately never did. So it was no surprise to me to see him in thus setting.

Fascinated, I continued to watch as John stepped away from his family, rolled up his pant legs and waded ankle deep into the gentle ocean waves lapping the shoreline. His back was to his family while he fixated totally and completely on the spectacular sunrise.

My next and most profound revelation with observing this process was the realization that when we pass, in those first few moments when we have JUST transitioned, we have the luxury of taking our energy to the one geographical location we loved the most while we were alive. For almost 15 minute I ‘watched’ John soak up those warm morning rays, embrace the sensation of the clear salt water lapping over his feet and deeply inhale the familiar fragrance only the ocean can have.

Except for his sister, who displayed her frustration with the whole process by fidgeting restlessly, his entire family waited happily and patiently off to the side on the beach. It was apparent to me that this is tradition for all of us upon passing, like a rite of passage.

Once John felt that he had savoured the vista enough, he left the water and joined his family once again. They hugged him once more (except his sister) before all turning and walking down the beach together.

I realized while witnessing this scene play out, that we all have those precious minutes just after dying (unless our passing is shockingly sudden, which I will cover in another blog), to spiritually place ourselves in the one location on earth that we loved the most. We are given time to absorb the quintessence of these surroundings with all of our senses. It is our private time to embrace the physical plane, as if we’re filling our very soul and being with those last earthly surroundings.

I relayed this experience and insights to my husband Stanley when he returned home later that day. I asked him about his father’s family, who I had never met, and the dynamics of their relationships.

My husband explained that his dad had been especially close to one particular brother (who gave him the enormous hug). His relationships with his parents and other family members had always been good – with the exception of his one sister. My husband Stanley shook his head and chuckled as he told me that his father and aunt couldn’t stand each other! She was known in the family to be a ‘miserable sourpuss’, which I guess explained the sour expression on her face throughout John’s transition and why she stood on her own.

Subsequently, I have witnessed this phenomenon with other passings and although the locations and family dynamics were different with each one, the sense of serenity and overwhelming love each soul felt for what our physical world has to offer was indescribably moving.

Take a few minutes to think about your favourite place on earth, where you love to be more than anywhere else. Cherish it while you’re alive, share it with someone close to you so they can understand where your heart goes when it stops beating.

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