Let’s go to the mail, since we often find insights, faith, and sometimes miracles there.
Doing so — sifting through the mailbag — brings up a question: Do children see into the spiritual world more than can adults? If so, is it because they’re more open? Perhaps the world has not yet blinded them, or perhaps the “veil” is meant, as we go through the trials of life, to thicken.
Those queries are sparked by viewer Joan Clare in Indiana, who wrote:
“I was a hospice social worker for ten years before I retired. Part of my job was to interview the family or friends of the dying person because the unit of service is the patient and family and how the family copes with the dying process and the eventual loss impacts the dying process of the patient.
“So it was that I interviewed an intergenerational family whose last surviving grandfather was dying. When I asked how the young grandson, who lived in the home, would react to the loss, they said they were reassured he and all would cope well.”
And why was that?
“That same grandson’s other grandfather had died when he was about twelve months old,” relates Joan. “Several years after the death, the grandson emerged from his bedroom and said he’d been talking ‘to the man in the box.’ Because the family did not understand what he was talking about, he pointed to a photograph of himself, at about six months of age, in the arms of the deceased grandfather.
“During all ten years of my work, I regularly heard stories of children under the age of five, seeing and often talking to the deceased. To expect that this might happen was something I shared with families who had young children. Sometimes families who were quite skeptical contacted me after the death and happily reported that this had indeed been the experience of their young children!
“It is as though there is a veil between this world and the next which closes after a child passes the age of five or thereabouts.
“Conversely, as a person approaches the end of life, sometimes up to a year in advance, the veil lifts again.
“The person might begin to hear his or her name called, or see and openly speak with those who are deceased. They frequently don’t talk about it unless they are asked and sometimes think others will not believe them or they will be thought delusional or crazy.
“In fact,” continues Joan, “many family members confide that they thought the patient was delusional and felt so happy to know this was a frequent experience, called ‘Near-Death Awareness.’ Frequently hospice workers hear the dying talking to those on the other side who might be encouraging them to ‘come over.’ One patient talked about her husband calling to her to come over, but she wasn’t ready (‘I don’t want to go over the fence, yet,’ she said).
“Another dying patient had a niece sitting by her bedside. She later told me that her auntie, a very old lady with thin, straggly hair, looked up to the ceiling in the corner of the room and raising her arms, lifted the upper part of her body from the bed and fell back dead. The niece followed the gaze of the aunt, and saw the auntie as a very young woman with hair long, dark, and lustrous, wearing a grey shirtwaist dress, being greeted by two women who were beckoning and smiling at her and then lifting her up by the hands. The niece said she did not recognize either of the other two women.
“These are only a few of many, many similar experiences, so many of which were wonderful and very comforting,” Joan assures. “I think if you talked to other hospice workers, they’d tell you more of the very same stories, all similar but all quite unique.”
And all quite a blessing.
On the internet, a woman named Michelle related, “My husband’s father passed away several years before my son was born. He died from the flu, and my husband had always felt guilty because he had been the one to share the sickness with him. We never talked to our son about his grandpa, but one morning he woke and said point-blank, ‘Daddy, Papa Don wanted me to tell you he’s doing fine.’ We asked him to describe his grandpa and he did so to a T, despite never having seen a photo of him. He said he was standing by a fast car with a cloud of smoke around him. This made perfect sense because my father-in-law raced sports cars and smoked heavily all his life.”
Wrote Rosemary Counter in the Washington Post, “