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"Grief Day by Day: Simple Practices and Daily Guidance for Living with Loss"

Afterlife - excerpted from: 

by Jan Warner

5 minute read

pages 164-167; reprinted with permission of the author, published by Althea Press. Copyright 2018.

WEEK 34 : 


Everyone we love who died has an afterlife. It may be a continuum of consciousness in some form. It may be the stories we continue to tell and the love we still feel. Soon after my husband died, a man who worked at the UPS store insistently offered to carry my boxes to my car. He knew us only as occasional customers. When we reached my car, he said, “Your husband came to me and said I had to tell you that you have to know how much he loved you.” I laughed, saying, “That must have been a heck of a dream.” His seriousness intensified. “It wasn’t a dream. It was an apparition. You must always know how much your  husband loved you.” Tears fell from my eyes. Now I ask people, “What does UPS deliver to you?”


Day One

“If I die, I will wait for you, do you understand?” No matter how long. I will watch from beyond to make sure you live every year you have to the fullest, and then we’ll have so much to talk about when I see you again.”     -- JEANIENE FROST

Something that can motivate us is the thought of sharing things with the ones we love when we are reunited with them. When it is my time, and I am asked what I have done, I don’t want my answer to be, “Not much.” Even if I didn’t believe my husband was waiting for me, it still motivates me to think I am doing things he would be proud of.


Day Two

“We see a hearse; we think sorrow. We see a grave; we think despair. We hear of a death; we think of a loss. Not so in heaven. When heaven sees a breathless body, it see the vacated cocoon & the liberated butterfly.”     -- MAX LUCERO

It was only as I sat with my husband’s dead body that I understood why they called this empty vessel “the remains.” It is my loss but I sincerely hope it is his gain. How powerful must his spirit be, freed from his ailing and aged body. Fly free, my love. Fly free.


Day Three

“The bird is gone, and in what meadow does it now sing?”    -- PHILIP K. DICK

Some people have a definite idea of what the afterlife is. In our family, we call it “The Great Unknown.” If there is consciousness after death –and I believe there is—I hope our loved ones are singing their song even more brightly than when they were alive.


Day Four

“I promise to love you forever in this life and wherever we go in the afterlife, because I know I can’t go on in any life unless you’re in it too.”


We were connected before we met and continue to be connected. When we love someone deeply, it’s common to have a sense of familiarity that is beyond logic, even if they are no longer present physically. That sense of continued connection can be a great comfort.


Day Five

“I imagine how good it must feel to them to know how much they are still loved and missed in this realm, and for a moment I let myself feel them loving me back.”    -- CLAIR BIDWELL SMITH

Does love remain an eternal circle after death? I hope my loved ones know how much I love and miss them. When I am quiet, I can feel them loving me back. My grief gentles down when I remain in the center of the eternal circle of love.


Day Six

“The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.”    -- ANN DRUYAN

You don’t have to believe in the afterlife to find comfort in love. Our loved ones live on in our heart and in our memory. Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan did not believe they’d see each other after death, but they were still filled with the joy of the time they spent together here on Earth.


Day Seven

“From grief over the warm and ardent love which she had lost and still secretly mourned…Through the great darkness that would come, she saw the gleam of another, gentler sun, and she sensed the fragrance of the herbs in the garden at world’s end.”     -- SIGRID UNDSET

Sometimes the veil between this life on Earth and the life that comes after thins, and we get a sense of the warmth and sweetness to come. What connects the two realms? Love.

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