Finding Our Own Peace In Life And Death

There is much about life and death that I do not understand. I trust in the process because I believe in God. I don’t feel I have to “know” everything. Just because we can’t explain something, does not mean it does not exist. I do feel I need to be open to learn.

It’s no secret that my brother’s death has had a profound affect on my family, and on me personally. What I have not spoken about is how it has changed my perception of death and the thereafter. I haven’t spoken about that to many people, only those I trust most. Many of my friends have  been accepting and supportive as long as my beliefs did not differ from theirs. There are those who prefer to comfort me through scripture and there are those who really talk to me allowing me  to explore these feelings and ideas.

For two days prior to my brother’s death he saw and spoke with dead people. No, he was not delusional. He could carry on a completely lucid conversation with those around him, including people who had been dead for years. An elderly gentleman who had been a childhood neighbor and deceased for a good thirty-five years visited with him several times. My deceased aunt took him for a walk through a field of flowers. An uncle who had died two weeks prior to my brother came to visit him – my brother had no knowledge of our uncle’s death until that visitation. A woman who looked like my brother’s wife, Ana, kept coming to him, concerned for Ana’s welfare after Monte’s death. His father in law came by with a photograph he’d had made for his daughter. My brother was shocked that the woman in the photograph was the woman who had been visiting him. She was his father in law’s mother -a woman Monte had never met nor seen before. A gentleman who had lived and died in the house before my brother bought it asked for his help in crossing over. He wanted my brother to help him find Jesus. My brother was a Christian and had been calling to Jesus to take him home. He was ready for the pain to end. My brother visited with Jesus a few times, and was confident Jesus would come back for him when he was ready. 

My brother died in complete peace. His physical body died in the presence of his loved ones, living and deceased. I think he was ushered home with unconditional love and absolute compassion. These are things we only pretend to experience in this earthly realm. I think there is a much deeper connection that we will not experience until death.

I’d never experienced this part of the life/death process. I always felt the veil was thin between worlds, but never questioned crossing over. In all honesty, the thought of our loved ones coming to comfort my brother, ease his transition, and assist him in crossing over has provided me with a great deal of comfort. I realize this conversation may make some uncomfortable or even make them scoff. Nevertheless, I wanted to share my brother’s experience with you since his experience has had such a profound affect on my views.

A few days before my brother’s death, my other brother and I were having a telephone conversation in which we both expressed how we wished we had told him to send us a sign that he had crossed over and all was well. I relayed this conversation to one of my sisters who also wished she had expressed this desire to our brother. She called my brother’s wife who asked him if he could fill our request. He replied, “Yes, but they haven’t told me what the sign is.” The next day he told his wife to let us know that the sign was peace. My brother died a day or so later. Upon hearing of his illness, we each had experienced anger, confusion, anxiety, and many other emotions. Upon his death, we each felt at complete ease because we knew he was no longer suffering, and we each in our hearts felt he had been chauffeured home by our other loved ones.

Still each of the three of us secretly searched for signs of peace. I literally looked for the “peace sign” designed in nature or drawn on buildings and even expected it to pop up while I browsed the internet. No such thing happened for any of us. I looked for doves, white feathers, and any tangible signs of peace that I could find. Still, nothing. Then, I thought maybe I should just stop looking. However, I was at complete ease within my heart. Finally, we spoke and saw that we were all experiencing the same process. We conclude that the peace we felt was what my brother was speaking of. It’s possible we are completely off base, but I have the strongest sense we are not.

In speaking with friends since this, I’ve found that almost all of those who had family members who had lingering illnesses saw and spoke with deceased loved ones in the few days or hours prior to death. These included Christian friends who admitted this. They also did not feel that it had to be biblically explained for them to accept it.

I am constantly reminded of my friend, Steff. While she was sick we often talked about death and heaven and hell, and all the things we were taught to believe. Two weeks after she died, I dreamed that I was swimming in a river, and Stephanie came shooting up out of the water, like a mermaid. She kept popping up to say one and only one thing to me, “It’s not what we thought it was.” This dream has never left me because it felt so real, and deep down I really felt that it was a message from her to reassure me that death is not the end.

Whether or not my brother was hallucinating or experiencing these visits prior to his death is not for any of us to decide as we are not the utmost authority on the subject. I can say with certainty that it has changed us, and we have peace.


53 thoughts on “Finding Our Own Peace In Life And Death

  1. I think you have the peace you have been seeking. And this is a lovely post. You are as right (or as wrong- hah!) as anyone else, Suzicate. I think we choose our beliefs because they are true for us. And I think your truth is a lovely one. Keep peace in your heart, Honey.

  2. Suzi, I have complete faith that it happened exactly as you say it did and I am so incredibly proud of you for sharing it and am honored to call you friend. My family had gathered around the bedside of my uncle many years ago when he passed from a long battle with cancer. His wife had died suddenly many years before that and he had been unhappy since. Just before he breathed his last, his face changed from that of someone suffering to someone at perfect peace. And several of us heard a tinkling laugh that sounded exactly like his wife’s had. She had come to lead her husband home. It was valentine’s day.

    I think that anyone should be able to find peace, faith and hope in the story of your brother’s passing and my uncle’s. I know that I do.


    • Spot, your uncle’s story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. I simply believe there is som much more than we will ever know until we arrive.

  3. Wow! Beautiful Suzi!

    Reading about your brother’s visitors and your message from Steff gave me goosebumps.

    I read it to BFF. He said you’re a beautiful writer sharing a beautiful message.

    I couldn’t agree more.


    • Thank you my wonderful friend and to BFF. I never thought I’d find beauty in such a sorrowful family event. It is a sacredness I didn’t know existed.

    • I’m glad it brought you comfort and I hope for others as well. The most important thing we want for our loved ones is peace. We want to know there is more to life than death, that indeed it is the beginning of something more, and that our loved ones are ok.

  4. What a beautiful post, Suzicate! You’ve captured so vividly our fears of what lies on the other side, where our deceased loved ones go, etc. Having lost my dad two years ago (a 3-year-long battle with cancer), I feel pretty sure your brother is trying to assure you he’s okay and will see you again one day. I’ve received little “signs” from my dad, too (like the other morning when I heard him cough). I think, if we’re open, we’re accepting that the end of life as we know it is really just the beginning of our forever life!

    • I think being open and accepting is the key. Thank you for your lovely comment. I feared people might get upset by this. Often people view life as “it” and death as the “end”.

  5. Today I’m in a very pensive mood, and this makes me wonder about a lot of things. I guess with your family, and what is going on in the world, reading it all…makes you think.

  6. I too remain mixed up somewhat about death despite all the education I have and examination of things in life into which I have looked. I feel cheated. Some people are so pleasant and delightful it seems unfair that they can’t be with us all the time. I don’t like the way things are. I miss them. I feel they have been stolen from me. If you look at the operative words: cheated, unfair, don’t like, stolen, you see this indicates non acceptance and resentment. I don’t care what they call it. I would have made things differently in the world.

    • I don’t think edcation or religion can begin to tell us all there is to know. I think we have to be open to receive. I think we all at one time or another miss the way things were…acceptance really does bring peace, at least it has to me in many times of sorrow or regret.

  7. As a culture we talk about almost every subject on earth. Except the one that we are all going to have to face one day. Death. For many families they go through their own rituals when someone dies and then move on. There is this thing about not wanting to drag this out to long. Heaven forbid that someone’s vacation plans gets messed up by someone dying. How rude of them to die. Each person must deal with death in their own way. The path will be shown to you.

  8. Suzi, so much of this post resonated with me. I appreciate your courage to talk about your collective grief so soon after Monte’s passing. Thank you for that.
    My father, just days before he died, woke up from his sleep to tell me that he saw his parents and all of his deceased family members in one room coming to comfort him. His father told him his time hadn’t arrived yet. That was the last real conversation I had with my father. 6 days later my father passed. I’m still looking for signs that he has crossed over and is doing well. I haven’t found them yet. I still hope though.

  9. Death is such a mystery. So many different beliefs surround it. I am always so happy — yes, HAPPY — when there is a death and the people involved are at peace. A loved one dying and leaving us behind to live on without them is sad. It is heartbreaking. But when there is something, whatever it is; a strong faith, a sign they received, whatever—just something that allows the family and loved ones to feel peace — that makes me happy. So I am so glad for you that you are at peace. I don’t believe that peace means you aren’t sad, it just somewhat means that you can acknowledge the sadness. You can be sad but still move forward.

    Hugs to you. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Absolutely beautiful, moving post. I believe every word you said. When my father-in-law was in the process of dying, he would reach toward the ceiling, and you could tell in his eyes that he was seeing things or people that we could not see. God finds ways to comfort us in our times of grief. I’ll bet your brother is smiling!

  11. Gorgeously expressed post, Suzi!

    “It’s possible we are completely off base, but I have the strongest sense we are not.”

    No, you’re not off base. Because I believe it with all my heart. When Peg and I spoke on the phone, right after Monte’s passing, she explained a bit of what you shared here. And I told her I believed it 100%.

    Personally, I believe we communicate with the other side long before we actually pass over. I also believe that our loved ones are there to help us make the transition. That’s what death is. A transition to another state.

    “There is much about life and death that I do not understand. I trust in the process because I believe in God.”

    You said it, my friend!

    Thank you so much for sharing this today. It touched me deeply.

    ((((( Suzi )))))


  12. This reminds me so completely of my daughter’s ex and his reaction to the loss of his best friend. He actually even said at the funeral that in that moment before he died, he was the most beautiful he’s ever been. In reading your words, I’m getting so much more of an understanding of how he felt.

  13. I’m so glad you wrote about this. I’ve been meaning to write about it myself and haven’t had the time to sit and actually compose much of anything. In the next few days maybe I will tackle it myself.

  14. As you know, I was recently very emotionally impacted by my mom’s passing. I believe with my whole heart that what you wrote was true. Had I not just had a similar experience with my mom, I might have been a doubting Thomas. I too have not received a “sign” but I did have a dream that she was in heaven, using a big chain to pull other people up to her, who passed before her but had not made it there yet. For some reason, I believe that dream was true, and her way of letting me know she is up there and that we can still count on her to help us reach life’s ultimate goal. Peace to you..

    • I almost sent you an email and asked you about it but I didn’t want to be intrusive. I think your dream interpretation is correct. I think she will be there to help you when the time comes.

  15. I have never known anyone that has experienced what you described, but I believe you and it gave me goosebumps. It’s amazing that he was ‘visited’ by people he didn’t even know, or realized had passed away. I do think that after people pass away, they find ways to let their loved ones know they are okay.

    Thank you for sharing this experience. I find it truly fascinating.

  16. It’s not accidental that I have a psychic streak to me, as both my parents were interested in the paranormal and had exhibited some indications of it themselves. At one time they had made an agreement that whoever died first, he or she would try to contact the other and let them know how things were going.

    Some years ago, when my father died a violent and unexpected death, my mother was stressed almost to illness at his passing. She had cried until there were no tears left. Finally, she appealed to him. “If you can hear me, please, my darling, give me some sign. I can’t bear this grief.”

    Mom was sitting in the easy chair. Across from her on the couch was an open book. As Mom waited, the pages turned slowly from one side to the other and then back again. There were no open windows in the room.

    Mom sat there and felt this utter peace fill her. It seem to fill every empty nook and cranny until she felt wrapped in peace and love. I don’t believe she heard from my father again, but that feeling of peace and love stayed with her.

    I believe.

  17. death is a painful mystery. i dont think much about it. i can feel your pain and loss. it really transforms us when we lose someone near.


  18. SuziCate,

    I love what you said to nrhatch: there is a sacredness hidden in this moment of sorrow. It’s such a lovely surprise.

    And thank you, my friend, for saying that neither education nor religion can completely explain these sorts of moments. As you say…”It is an OPENness” . Thank you for being open. We all benefit.

    • You are welcome, Rebecca. Being open allows us to learn things. I never before understood the beauty or sacredness of death, but truly is not the end but the beginning.

  19. This is such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your bother’s last days with us, and for sharing the peace that you’ve found. I have every belief that death is only the step through a door into something else… I’ve never once doubted that, though what that ‘something’ is I don’t think any of us will be able to know until it has happened. I’m okay with that. 🙂

  20. Pingback: A Sign Of Peace « The Water Witch's Daughter

  21. What a genuine and honest way to grapple with the questions about life after death. I choose to believe there is something more. My sister Annie died in the summer of ’09, shortly after she was diagnosed with cancer. Annie had brain damage so she couldn’t talk. As I sat by her bedside I invoked the help of deceased friends and relatives to help Annie get to the right place. I share a lot of this in my memoir called Dancing in Heaven that I think I may try to self-publish.

    Anyway. It’s hard. I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for the hope you and your brother give me by being able to speak about it.

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