By Bill Fox/Columnist
My wife and I recently watched a new series on Netflix called, “Surviving Death.” Over the six, one-hour-long episodes, the series examines signs and evidence that there is something to experience beyond our last breath. The two most interesting programs for us were the stories of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) and the possibility that departed family and friends may try to communicate with us. Could it be then that a visit from a persistent bird or animal could have a deeper meaning? What about flickering lights or a butterfly landing on you or the appearance of dimes? Could these be signs from departed relatives? Sceptics might say that if people are looking hard enough for signs from their departed relatives and friends, then maybe they will see signs…however read on.
An example from one episode centred on Mary Neal, an orthopedic spine surgeon, who had a near-death experience 20 years ago when she was pinned underwater after accidentally kayaking over a steep waterfall. She had drowned and had stopped breathing for over 30 minutes! The NDE she had was vivid, with colours she had never seen before, with a warm embrace that many have reported, and the overwhelming feeling of belonging. As a doctor, she was never inclined to think of consciousness as anything but something bound by the physical status of the brain. But after her experience, her thinking has profoundly changed.
For Mary and scientists it has been frustrating, as they have tried to explain these experiences with what they know scientifically. They find, however, that there is no scientific explanation.
It is astonishing that nearly 85 per cent of children who undergo cardiac arrest have had a near-death experience (NDE)? This rate is more than twice as high as it is for adults, according to the International Association for Near Death Studies (IANDS). So what exactly do children see in heaven and how does it affect their lives? Kids are more likely to see deceased loved ones and pets. They have even seen relatives they’ve never met before, reports IANDS.
Let me offer two personal experiences. Five years ago, my younger brother died. My mom had died several years earlier. For some unknown reason, my brother had a ‘falling out’ with my mom and had not talked to her in several years. So when my brother passed, I went to my dad’s home in Wilmot Creek to get a beautiful picture of my brother and his sheepdog for a memorial. When we arrived we saw two doves on the front porch, one larger than the other. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, only to mention to my wife I had never seen doves around my dad’s home before. I realized when I got home that the correct spelling of those doves is MOURNING! In some way, could they have represented my mom and brother once again reunited? Or was that just wishful thinking? For me there is no doubt that they are happy and reunited again in heaven.
My father-in-law passed away over 20 years ago. Soon after, my wife, who was still grieving, went on a retreat near Cobourg on the shores of Lake Ontario. During a break, she went and sat on some rocks at the water’s edge. She was thinking of her dad and hoping he was fine in heaven and wishing she could have a sign that he was okay. She had her head down when suddenly a group of helium filled balloons came along the shoreline. Denise picked them up picturing her dad laughing. They had a name on the balloons, and as we later researched we found that the name was of a new housing development in Ajax. But how did they go so far along Lake Ontario? We tied those balloons to a chair in our kitchen and they lasted for well over a month as a reminder that grandpa was keeping a look out for us.
I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your stories. With enough responses, I may put them into a future column.