I have just finished an excellent read, the newly released Opening Heaven's Door, written by award-winning journalist and novelist Patricia Pearson, wherein she explores extraordinary experiences people have had as they approached the boundary between life and death. Those near death, palliative care staff, scientists, and theologists, all weigh in. The author successfully blends first-hand experiences with thorough scientific research, which can only help move the public conversation on this topic into a healthier and more positive dimension. Perhaps, in the near future, someone like my friend Nancy*, who received a tremendously comforting message from her father shortly after he died, can freely share that experience with her family and other friends, rather than feel the need to keep quiet lest they sully it with any one, of many, dismissive "explanations". She confided to me that she was unwilling to risk having the gift of her deceased father's precious words ripped away from her. When addressing this issue, the author includes this quote from a medical school professor emeritus: "Perceiving a spiritual being, whether loving or cruel, has become an illegal experience." I am hopeful that sooner, rather than later, our collective voices will rise to shatter this sad commentary on our culture.
* name changed to protect privacy