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What Happens After the Experience of Death?

As I write this, I am in the outskirts of Washington, D.C. I’m visiting my sister, while my son is preparing to begin his junior year in college. It also happens to be five years to the day that I received one of those 2am phone calls that one never wants to get. My sister called to let me know that one of our younger brothers, Carl Trapp, had suddenly and unexpectedly made his transition. It was devastating news. He was such a great and wonderful spirit who was gone too soon.

On top of that, I was the one who made the call to our mother to tell her that her son had made his transition. It was the most difficult call I have ever had to make. There were no right words to say to let her know her child had died before her. Despite knowing that, as spiritual beings, we never die, as a human being I nonetheless experienced the sting of the crucifixion of my brothers passing.

I am sometimes asked what happens when someone goes through the experience we call death. Many have said that death is simply the separation of a soul from a particular body. The ancients defined “dead” as “not here, present in another place.” Although my brother Carl is no longer physically present, he lives and is now present in another of God’s “many mansions.” His life, and anyone we know that has made their transition, continues in a way that we will one day understand.

Certainly no one on this side of the veil we call death can describe the death experience adequately. However, one writer, Kahil Gibran, brought comfort to me and to many others with these words “On Death” from his book, The Prophet.

Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask now of Death.

And he said:

You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day

cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death,

open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.

Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling,

that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides,

that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountaintop, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

I miss my brother. Yet I know that he lives as an angel on my shoulder; watching over me, protecting me and sending me all manner of good. As the grace of God abides in all of us, I remember that we are always one in Spirit. I bless my brother Carl as he continues to move on with the new experiences in God’s expression of eternal life.

Peace and Blessings,


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