Thursday, December 4, 2014

Glimpsing Heaven

I don't care who you are, if you can tell me you aren't even a little bit interested in a book like this, you are dead inside. And then if you read this and say it doesn't affect you in some way, again, you are dead inside.

Glimpsing Heaven - Judy Bachrach
Glimpsing Heaven: The Stories and Science of Life After Death
If you caught a glimpse of heaven, would you choose to come back to life? Investigative journalist Judy Bachrach has collected accounts of those who died and then returned to life with lucid, vivid memories of what occurred while they were dead, and the conclusions are astonishing. Clinical death—the moment when the heart stops beating and brain stem activity ceases—is not necessarily the end of consciousness, as a number of doctors are now beginning to concede. Hundreds of thousands of fascinating post-death experiences have been documented, and for many who have died and returned, life is forever changed. These days, an increasing number of scientific researchers are turning their studies to people who have experienced what the author calls death travels -- putting stock and credence in the sights, encounters, and exciting experiences reported by those who return from the dead. Through interviews with scores of these “death travelers,” and with physicians, nurses, and scientists unraveling the mysteries of the afterlife, Bachrach redefines the meaning of both life and death. Glimpsing Heaven reveals both the uncertainty and the surprising joys of life after death.

I am not a religious person. I don't believe in God, but I do believe it's not totally evolution that we're here. When I was a little girl, about 6 or so, I remember playing on the sidewalk in front of our house. I was playing Barbies, and my mom and uncles were sitting in chairs. It was a gorgeous day, I remember the sun, the gentle breeze, I remember the exact doll I had in my hand, I remember my little brother near me. I also remember asking my mom are we really just dolls and someone was playing with us? I think she looked at me oddly and I remember her asking me what I said. And I remember saying something like, how I was playing with Barbies, what if someone was doing that to us? What if everything we do is because someone was making us do it? 

I think at the time that maybe freaked her out because I was quickly shushed and I very much understood that it wasn't to be brought up again. 

But my whole life I've been interested in space. I can't understand how we have planets, and a universe, galaxies, stars, and just.. nothing. How does that go forever? Because everything in my life has perfect little boundaries that are easy to say it starts here and ends there.

Interestingly, it was the SAME DAY that I got this book in the mail that my son Jackson, who is currently 6, asked me if I thought that maybe giants were playing with us, like he does his Lego guys. I stood there, shocked, in the kitchen with this book in my hand and all of a sudden it felt like a confirmation that I wasn't actually a bizarre, crazy little kid once, but that this is an actual thing. That maybe I've passed on a greater wonder about the world and I didn't even know it. 

So basically this book is about people who have had death experiences. They have clinically died, passed on from this realm to the next but for whatever reason, have come back. But in those moments that they were gone, they experienced a variety of things. Some experience a blissful sensation, where they feel all of this joy and love, and such a calm that they don't want to come back to life, so to speak. Others have the exact opposite and come back knowing they'v experienced a terrifying realm and that they are now terrified of dying for fear that's what they will go back to. 

The most interesting thing to me is that those who experienced the blissful state weren't necessarily religious and worked at moving to heaven for all of eternity, yet that's clearly where they were. A few people experience their time in a place beyond space, essentially. I think I connected most with them because of my own wonder first as a little kid, but even more as an adult. 

After reading the book I had to take some time to really think about what I read, I re-read a few chapters, and I'll be honest, I don't know if I'm more scared or at peace with death. I don't think I was every really at peace. I've felt, for awhile, that I would die kind of young. In all of the things I think about in the future, I don't ever see myself as elderly, I don't see grandchildren. In every dream or thought I have, I always worry that my kids will grow up OK and that Matt will be OK without me, and I also always know it's coming. That makes me think maybe I'll have a prolonged illness or something. And it's really strange because at random times I'll think, "I'd like this at my funeral. I better plan that out, just in case." And it's completely morbid, I know, but I can't help it. The thing I hope is that whatever happens to me when I die, I really hope it's the blissful area. I hope I can still see my kids, or have some kind of reassurance that they really will be OK, that I did the best for them that I could while I was here. 

I don't want to give much more about the book away, because I really feel like each person is going to take different things away from it. The things that hit home for me, maybe don't mean anything to you. But it's really an amazing book. I really cannot recommend it enough. You can purchase this book through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Indiebound. It's an absolutely riveting, can't put it down book that makes you think differently about death, however you feel about it. 


Anonymous said...

I am most certainly NOT dead inside - books like this, and tv shows too, absolutely fascinate me. :)

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

Jay said...

So very happy you liked my book, GLIMPSING HEAVEN. It was a joy to research, and very heartening for a skeptic like me.
Judy Bachrach