Blogging for Transformation
Betty Eadie writes in the forward to my book Parting Visions of how premonitions and visions have the power to prepare us for the loss of loved ones. The loss of an infant or child can render life meaningless; the knowledge that premonitions are real and not inventions of the mind can restore meaning to what is otherwise a senseless tragedy and descent into an abyss of grief.
I was the Eadie's Pediatrician and cared for Betty's grandchildren. Here is what she wrote about her own premonition when her daughter died of sudden infant death (SIDS) at age 3 months. "Usually I would just hold her until she fell asleep and then put her to bed. I had several children already, and as any parent in that position knows, I needed all the spare time I could get. When I got her to sleep, I finally had some time to myself to rest.
This particular night was different. When Cynthia fell asleep, I held her in my arms for several hours, even though I had other things to do. I felt deeply compelled on this particular night to just hold her in my arms and rock her". Betty told me that she had a sense of great sadness, yet peace. Cynthia died later that night.
Betty writes: Parents have a special bond with their children. I have heard many parents tell of knowing that their children were in trouble, even when they are hundreds of miles away. There is a psychic bond that most parents admit to without hesitation.
I did a scientific study of SIDS with the Southwest SIDS Institute that we published in the medical journals. We documented that frequently parents have vivid dreams, premonitions, visions or strong intuitions prior to their infant's passing. We did a control group of parents who reported on their dreams and fears of SIDS for infants that did not pass, and we showed that there was a provable difference between the two groups. Sadly, the premonitions did not prevent any infants from dying, even when the parents would take their infants to doctors to have them evaluated.
Betty writes: "I believe that premonitions are God's way of telling us about difficult events before they happen so that they will not come as such a surprise to us. God tries to not give us more than we can handle, and one of his ways of doing that is by gracing us with visions that foreshadow events.
He did that with me just a few days before my father died. The visions I had took place in a dream. I was puzzled by them, but after my father died, there was no mistaking what it meant. The vision prepared me for my father's death. Although I was deeply saddened by his death, I realized that the gentle beauty of my dream was to make me understand that my father would soon be gone.
Visions and spiritual experiences happen frequently to those who are dying. Unfortunately these experiences are often ignored or even ridiculed. This is too bad as they have great power to ease the dying experience and heal grief in the living. In fact the healing benefits of these experiences are so great that, as Dr. Melvin Morse points out, if they were a pill they would be prescribed in hospitals everywhere.
It is clear to me that Melvin Morse has followed his spirit in researching this topic. Like many important medical researchers, he is being led in his work by faith, the subconscious knowledge that his work is beneficial to the body, mind and spirit of mankind.
Being led by faith is far more difficult than being led by knowledge." (Thank you Betty for these amazing words of support)
It has not been easy making the transition from the rational logical world of critical medicine to learning to listen to those same patients and learning about their spiritual intuitions. Often the healings I have seen from spritual visions and intuitions is far greater than any medical interventions by our team of doctors and nurses. I recently met the neuroscientist Mona Sabhani who told me she made a similar transition. She says "the old me would have hated the new me". I can relate to that, as I started out my research to prove that Elizabeth Kubler Ross and my to be brother in law Raymond Moody were wrong when their research showed that the dying experience is vibrantly spiritual. My team at Children's Hospital in Seattle thought that we would prove that medications or a lack of oxygen to the brain were the causes of NDEs.
It has often been a hard lonely even painful path. I am guided by the fact that I had personally witnessed experiences that I strongly feel grieving parents need to know. I also want parents to know that science validates their spiritual intuitions, rather than debunking them as is often erroneously believed.
My Mom, who had a powerful near death experience before she passed, always told me that there are no coincidences. I was privileged to be at her bedside while she was in a coma and the doctors were considering stopping her life support. She suddenly opened her eyes and turned to me and said "Incredible". She lapsed back into coma, but then made a full recovery and lived for a few more months, From then on she constantly admonished me "Melvin, there are no coincidences. Pay attention to your life".
It was not a coincidence that I was Betty Eadie's Pediatrician for her grandchildren. Every day I am encouraged and inspired by her words of support for me.
MY HUSBAND SAW THE EXACT SAME THING
Often after death visitations come with their own validation. But we must be open to the idea of spiritual visions and more importantly, willing to talk about them and share with others.
The case of hospice worker Lizabeth Sumner illustrates this point. Lizabeth was a veteran hospice nurse at San Diego Hospice. This down to earth veteran of hospice care had a visitation from one of her young patients, which cannot be dismissed as a “grief induced hallucination” or wish fulfillment. In this case, the fact that another person many miles away shared the same experience makes it even harder to dismiss.
This supernatural story begins in the most natural of ways. Around Valentine’s Day, Lizabeth was busy helping a young boy die. He had a form of heart disease that doctors had already done all they could to prolong his life. Now that the end was near, Jimmy (not his real name) had decided to die at home.
His parents supported his decision to die at home. They had seen him struggle for a long time, and now they just wanted to make him comfortable and surround him with love. Lizabeth came to help. She had taken a special liking to Jimmy and his family. They were tight-knit and caring, and Jimmy showed the confidence and intelligence of a child who was raised by loving supportive parents.
Jimmy and his family gave everything they had to each other in those final days. They celebrated his birthday early as they knew he wouldn’t make it to the actual date. His only birthday wish was to go to dinner in a limousine. Jimmy’s parents couldn’t afford to hire one, so they borrowed a Ford Taurus from a friend and rode around town while Jimmy basked in the front seat as if he were a celebrity. When they stopped for dinner, it was for hot dogs and Slurpees. For a while, Jimmy forgot that this was his last birthday party.
The actual death a few weeks later was not a surprise. His mother said that he got up early that day and made sandwiches for his brother’s school lunches. He told her: “I made them special today as they will need all the energy they can get”. Jimmy weakened as the day progressed. Lizabeth was there, and she saw the fight fading from his eyes. He asked that his favorite music be put on a tape player.
The parents embraced Jimmy. “Come on,” they said. “Come on now, it’s all right Jimmy. It’s okay to let go”. For a moment he would seem to leave his body, then pull back in, but finally he sighed and left his body for good, surrounded by his brothers, parents, pediatrician, and Lizabeth.
Lizabeth’s job was over now. She helped the family make some of the necessary arrangements and waited for the mortuary van to come. She noticed one of Jimmy’s brothers was standing in the front yard. She picked up a basketball and shot hoops with him for a bit. Then she went home.
That was when it happened.
As she drove down the freeway, the windshield was filled with a vision so vivid that she had to pull off to the side of the road.
In this vision, she saw Jimmy, happy, and animated, holding a man’s hand. She couldn’t see the man, but saw that Jimmy was happy. He looked adoringly at the man’s face and had a look of great peace. The vision was as real as any ordinary experience. No words were spoken, but his eyes said it all. “The light was back in his eyes”, Lizabeth said. “I could hear him say, ‘I’m all right now’ although he did not move his lips”.
Lizabeth only told her husband about the vision. She thought of keeping it that way, but at Jimmy’s funeral, thought she should at least tell his family. She pulled his mother aside and told her what she had seen. The woman immediately burst into tears.
“That’s exactly what my husband saw” she said. “Right after Jimmy died, my husband saw the same thing”.
This story captures the power of death related visions and after death visitations. They are paranormal yet very normal events that possess enormous potential for healing. We must begin to take these visions seriously. Studies show that as many as 70% of grieving parents, and 50% of grieving spouses have such experiences yet they are often ignored or trivialized.
And we must have the courage to talk about them. If Lizabeth had not had the courage to tell Jimmy’s mother her vision of Jimmy, the family would not have been able to have the validation that both visions, seen miles apart, brought to this story.
The spiritual experiences and intuitions surrounding the passing of loved ones can be powerful tools to begin the process of healthy grieving. But what if we don’t believe in a God? Or if we do believe and yet nothing is coming through? And what if our pain is so great we simultaneously desperately long for something, some sign, some message from our loved ones who have passed, and yet push away any thought that such a sign or message could be real?
I am a former Pediatric Critical Care Physician and have researched dozens of children's near death experiences. As a result, I have worked with hundreds of grieving parents over the years. Often they are the most skeptical and cynical questioners of my research, for as one father bitterly told me: “What you seem to be selling is just too good to be true.” I welcomed his cynicism, as I understand that the stakes are high: If near death experiences are real, then the entire range of deathbed experiences are real, from premonitions of death to after death communications.
Grieving parents deserve clear honest answers. After I thoroughly addressed his doubts, he shared with me that after his son passed, the family’s Christmas cactus shifted its blooming cycle from late November to the anniversary of his passing in late Spring. “I just thought it was a coincidence” he confided. “Now I know better”.
A Miracle Might be a Parking Spot
One young patient of mine's dying wish to her family was to see the Broadway production of the Lion King that was coming to their city. She watched the movie over and over and over again. “Please, please, can I see the real live Lion King”? Her parents bought tickets, barely able to afford them in a family already devastated by the financial ravages of their daughter’s chronic illness.
Her leukemia relapsed again a week before they were to see the show. She peacefully passed in her sleep only days before the date of their tickets. They were in anguish as what to do about going to the show. It was their daughter’s dying wish, yet by the same token it represented the death of their child, an unbearable horror. Finally, with only minutes to spare before the show started, they jumped into the family car and drove furiously downtown to the theatre. Traffic was a nightmare, the show was sold out, and there were no parking spots to be found. Her father pounded angrily on the steering, shouting his frustration.
And then, a parking spot, directly in front of the theatre opened up. Coincidence? Here is what her father told me: “we don’t believe in all that spiritual mumbo jumbo. At your talk to our parent support group, you told about a boy (who had passed) appearing at the foot of his parent’s bed and saying “I’m OK now, please stop crying”. Well, if that happened to us, we wouldn’t believe it. But when that parking spot opened up, we knew it was our daughter, and she was there with us when we watched the show. Our bereavement is made a little easier as that parking spot meant, for us, our daughter was watching us from the afterlife.
Or a Postcard from the Dentist
At a workshop on bereavement, a woman told me about a “coincidence” in her life that she felt was a message from her husband who had passed. Several days after her husband’s death, she received a postcard from her dentist reminding her of her routine checkup. When she examined the card, she gasped, as the picture on the postcard was of a beach on the Washington State coast that had a special meaning for her and her husband. This is where he proposed to her. They returned to this specific spot again and again throughout their marriage.
She went to her appointment and asked about the postcard. She was told that the dentist simply bought a big batch of postcard depicting hundreds of scenes from around Washington State. It was just a coincidence that she received that particular card. Or proof of patterns of reality that are beneath the surface of our ordinary lives but emerge from time to time to reassure us that we are part of a greater plan. So much of loss involves the devastation of the meaning of our lives, we don’t have a child or a spouse or a parent or a loved one anymore. Finding out that loss is part of a greater pattern can restore meaning to our lives, even if it doesn’t make the loss any less painful.
Or Someone Else's Dream
I was lecturing at a hospice in Vancouver, Canada. The woman who picked me up at the airport wanted to tell me about a dream she had the night before. She said “it had all the features of the lucid dreams you say are so important in recognizing a visionary dream from just a regular dream. But I have no idea what it means.” She told me she had a vividly real dream, as if she was awake, of a young boy playing with a golden retriever. She couldn’t stop watching them, as they wrestled and the boy laughed and rolled around and around with his dog. Suddenly he stopped and looked at her. He said “Hi I’m Matt. Tell my Mom to stop crying. I am ok”.
I gave my lecture and then met with a group of grieving parents that night. We talked about how hard it is to have anything but fury, anger and anguish after the loss of a child. One Mom bitterly told me “how can I have a dream about my son when I can’t even sleep”. I told her about the dream I had heard from the woman who picked me up at the airport. The Mother turned white. “oh my god. That’s my son.”
No healing can occur until we embrace our pain. We cannot do this alone. We need someone else to sit on the edge of the abyss with us. Once I felt my heart was so damaged that I could never heal. I was broken. I was caring for my Mom who was slowly dying of dementia at the time. I clutched her close to me and cried to her “Mom, I am broken. I can never heal”. She cried out to the ceiling: “Lord, my son is broken. Well I am broken too. Heal us Lord”.
I didn’t feel healed that day. I felt heard. Another person knew of my pain. And that was the start of healing. As I felt listened to, I was able in turn to listen, to others, and to the Universe around me.
One day I was riding my bicycle to see my Mom. I was peddling up a steep hill. A young man rushed out of his house and called out to me: “Hey Dude, keep on keeping on. You can make it”. And then he went back inside his house! “What?” I thought. “Did that really happen?”. Then I realized that had I still been consumed with my grief, I would never have heard his words. My Mom’s prayer opened a crack in my heart, to allow the light to come in.
But It's Not Happening for Me: Specific Exercises That May Help
First: see where you are in the process of grieving. The stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I asked Elizabeth Kubler Ross about these stages and she told me that they do not always progress in a linear fashion one after the other. The stages often circle around again and again. Recognize that if we are in the anger and denial phases, we probably are not going to be open to any sort of spiritual intuitions or understandings. In those situations, often the messages come to us indirectly through our friends and family.
Next: Find a ritual that has meaning for both you and the person for whom you are grieving. For one mother, it was to bake cookies at 3:30 every afternoon, as that is when her son came home from school and they would talk. For a father, a conservative Republican, it was reading Wiccan prayers every Sunday morning as that is when he and his son would angrily discuss his son’s then rebellious phase of wanting to be a Wiccan.
Ask your loved one a question: A third step to try: Sit quietly right before bed. Just get comfortable, don’t sit in a special position. Don’t try to guide your thoughts. Whatever you are thinking, reflect on it. Say to yourself “oh, I am thinking about (whatever) again.” Do this as often as needed. Don’t try to quiet your mind, instead, be an interested observer. Pretend you are doing a play by play of your own thought processes. After 10 minutes of this, state out loud a sincere question for your loved one who has passed. Make it short, simple, and out loud. Then go to sleep. When you wake up next, whether that is in an hour or morning, quickly write down your first thoughts in a journal. Continue this for a few weeks, then review your journal with someone you love and can talk to.
Fourth Exercise: Practice left brain distraction techniques: These are any sort of repititious and rhythmic activities that engage the left brain, suppressing our internal noise and chatter. The reason that quilters often had “quilter’s visions” is from the rhymical repetitious movement of their hands. Similar results can be obtained by sorting collections of baseball cards (or whatever you collect), gardening, playing Tetris or any sort of activity which engages the left brain in a repetitious manner. This frees the right brain to connect with the Universe and connect with spiritual intuitions.
DON’T BE A DOUBTER OR A BELIEVER: JUST BE
For those of us who are concrete thinkers, we need our messages to appear as “real” meaning that they appear to us in this reality. Hearing a voice, or a dream, or seeing a ghostly image or an angel may seem fake, just made up by the mind. For others, it is the opposite. A voice, or an angel seems real, and a post card from the dentist with a picture on it just seems like a coincidence.
When I was in crisis and needed a message from the Universe, it came in the form of a real person who just randomly appeared and told me to "keep on keeping on". That may not be how you receive messages, but don't expect them to necessarily come from an angel in white.
Think of it as tuning a radio to the proper frequency. Suspend disbelief and take a few moments to think what form a message would have to take for you to embrace it.
Then be patient.
THE SHARED DYING EXPERIENCE OF CLIFTON FURUKAWA MD AND HIS SON
FROM PARTING VISIONS BY MELVIN MORSE AND PAUL PERRY
“I know what happens after death” Dr. Furukawa told me. He was an internationally recognized allergist as well as a compassionate clinician. He has written textbooks and medical journal articles that have been responsible for many of the advances in Pediatric allergies. I spent six months working with him in his allergy clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital and have discussed many difficult cases of asthma with him.
Still I knew little of his personal life. So I was unprepared for the late night phone call I received from him in which he told me about the out of body experience he had had in relationship to his son’s death.
In a calm and clinical manner Furukawa told me about the pain of watching his son drown at a lake in Washington State. He had taken his son to go crabbing for crawdads, on a glorious summer morning. No clouds were in the sky, as he gazed out at the water, it flowed seamlessly into the sky. It was difficult to separate the two. He parked his car on the ramp that allowed boat entry into the lake, and went down into the water to set traps.
Suddenly, and inexplicably, his son jumped into the car. He smiled and waved at his father. Then tragically, he released the parking brake, laughing and smiling as the car slowly rolled into the lake.
Dr. Furukawa frantically clawed at the doors to the car trying to open them, gesturing to his son to try to open them as well. His son floundered and panicked, accidentally locking the electronic locks. The car continued its slow roll into the lake. He desperately tried everything, pounding on the windows, trying to find something that would break the glass, anything to free his son, but the car eventually became completely submerged under the water.
Beside himself with fear, Dr. Furukawa jumped into the lake and desperately tried to push the car out of the lake back onto land. He felt himself being trapped and pulled under as the car continued to slowly sink. Suddenly he felt as if he was out of his physical body, watching himself. The scene was so vivid that he could see the hairs on the top of his head ad even look around at the mountains and the water.
He felt completely at peace and emotionally detached as, from this puzzling vantage point, he watched himself struggle to save his son. “At this point I had the sort of empathy that one might feel with a patient,” he told me. “I felt sorry about what I was seeing yet I really had no feelings”.
As he watched himself, he became aware that there was a being behind him “watching the two mes”.
Furukawa had a sense that he would die if his struggle continued. As he considered this option, the spirit spoke to him without actually speaking, conveying to him that he had a choice to continue to struggle until he died or to return to his body, which would then be in great emotional agony. He chose to return. He saw his son engulfed by the most brilliant light I had ever seen. “I saw his face, it was aglow with love, he was at peace, even joyful, as I endured unthinkable agony.”
“It was the worst emotional pain I have every experienced,” he told me.
Through the pain of losing his son, Furukawa experienced some positive changes. For one thing, he now has a greatly decreased fear of death. He also sees a greater meaning to life. “Since the death of my son, I think I know what happens when we die”. He told me. “That knowledge has been a great relief to me.
Months later, he was lying in bed with his wife. They had not even begun to process their grief. Suddenly he heard a voice saying “they are all your children”. He knew it was the spirit that came to him when his son passed. He understood this to mean that his work with children was too important for him to have taken what Dr. Furukawa called the “easy way out” to have proceeded to join his son in that light that waits us all when we die.
Contact Dr. Morse at firstname.lastname@example.org