Don’t Say Purgatory, Call it Universe School: After-Death Communications


Update on 1/19/19:  My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now. It is a #1 new release in several categories.  I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.  I discuss my after-death communications in this memoir.

Universe School

A few people have contacted me to connect with their deceased loved ones, and the experience has been beautiful.  It is a joy to feel the love pouring in from the other side from these family members.  My hope is that I might give others a way to feel this connection themselves.  I am not certain if I will offer this as a service, but I believe in following one’s bliss and joy.  For me, communicating with the other side is heavenly (smile) and a reminder of how much love is available to us all any time we wish to connect with it.  If we choose, we can remain connected to this source.

If you are interested in my other posts about opening to communication from the other side, here is the first and second post.  I realized I can talk to my father on the other side when I met someone who gave me messages from him.  These messages felt inaccurate didn’t capture my father’s essence at all.  The reading was more about the reader’s ego, and I could feel my father waving his arms and shouting at me to listen to him, even going so far as to say, “The only purpose of meeting this person is so that you will begin to listen to me and realize how clearly you can hear these messages.”

I’m stubborn and rational.  It took a near-death experience to knock me out of my agnostic ways.   I’m a reluctant participator in spiritual events and an even more reluctant medium.

Last night, I thought about what I wanted to communicate from my father.  I thought about the initial months after his death, and how it felt like he was participating in an extended life review and then a review of the workings of the universe.  I wanted to call this part of his experience purgatory, but he snapped back, “Don’t tell people that.  That doesn’t have a nice connotation. Tell them they might have to go to Universe School for a while.”

The idea of Universe School made me chuckle and sounded like a loving way to describe the experience.  NDEs are most likely only glimpses into the afterlife, and the extended stay offers much more to learn.  Universe School sounds more pleasant—a classroom full of stars with benches and couches made of galaxies, a perfect place for one’s understanding to expand.  If you have ever seen a baby’s eyes and realized that the eyes of this child seem to contain all the mysteries of the universe, you are probably right.  You are most likely encountering a recent graduate of Universe School.

Takeaways from “The Afterlife of Billy Fingers”: Part I

Update on 1/19/19:  My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now. It is a #1 new release in several categories.  I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.

billy  Annie Kagan’s wonderful book which channels messages from her deceased brother is a lovely description of the afterlife through an interesting, colorful, musical character named Billy Fingers.  The quote on the back cover is one of my favorite pieces of advice from Billy Fingers.  He tells his sister, “If I could give you a gift, it would be to teach you how to stay free inside that game, to find the glory inside yourself, beyond the roles and the drama, so you can dance the dance of the game of life with a little more rhythm, a little more abandon, a little more shaking-those-hips.”  I am often shocked by how seriously people take themselves.  Nothing is funnier than arrogance (even our own) when you have a universal perspective.  When you have journeyed far beyond the confines of this body and your personal drama, it is hard to get back in the body and play the game of life without remembering the oneness beyond the self and how beautiful divine love really is.

After Death Communications:  Beyond the beautiful descriptions from Billy Fingers, I appreciated the author’s candor and openness about wondering if her communications were only wishful thinking or unreliable.  For years, many of us have heard ridicule and disbelief around the topic of after-death communications.  I am glad that Annie Kagan addressed the disbelief that she feared others might have concerning her communications with Billy.  In the beginning of the story, she admits to fearing being viewed as a fraud and asks for verification from her brother.   Billy’s gifts of information to others are lovely and humorous at times.  These gifts of information seem to bring the author closer to those around her and that seems to be part of the gift.

Though ridicule is possible when talking about spiritual topics, our times are changing and the more of us who come forward and discuss our spiritual experiences, the more others feel free to discuss their experiences.  In a short amount of time, I have had lots of people open up to me about their NDEs, their communications with loved ones who have passed over, and other related topics.  I have only had two people ridicule me, but I take the occasional flares of jealousy as a sign that I’m on to something good.

you choose  I battled with discussing my communications with my deceased father, but I am glad that I did.  Reading The Afterlife of Billy Fingers reminded me to open up and ask if he had a message for me.   I thought about where he might be on his journey, several years after his death.  His perspective now seems to be even larger and farther away, and Kagan explains that process of becoming one with larger realities beautifully.

When I asked for a message from dad, he very quickly replied, “At least you are trying to access the invisible and bring what really matters to the people.  So many are not even trying.”

eternalHis words felt more profound than just those words, as if my dad exists so far away in that Universe now and is able to see the workings of this place and others in the cosmos.  He saw the world as if it were a world of busy bodied ants, driving from place to place, building things, doing things, but not thinking about the true meaning of what they are doing.  The spiritual ones are the ones looking up and wondering how everything works beyond the veil, wondering how they might access Divine Love and bring it into the world for others so that they might understand.

In my dancing and stumbling ways, I am one of the ones who looks up at the sky, goes to nature for more light, and brings what light I can into the world.  I am trying.  My efforts might be small at times, but I am one of the ants looking outward, hoping to bless others with the love I sense from the other side.  Sometimes, I am toppled by fear, by grief, and by cruelty, but I continue on because to live is to continue.  As long as we have breath, we can be of use to others to help them remember the beauty of this journey.

Dad seemed to be disappointed that a large part of the world is largely unconcerned with spiritual realities.  He likes his place in a universe of connectedness and understanding, far beyond this one.  He wishes more people took an interest in all that is possible beyond what is right in front of their hands.

Divine Love:  I’m a fan of how Billy describes Divine Love.   Divine Love was one of the most exciting parts to cover in writing my story of my NDE.

Billy explains the experience of being surrounded by Divine Love as Bliss.  He goes on to say, “Bliss is like being in love multiplied by a thousand, but it has nothing to do with anyone else.  It’s fulfilling in and of itself.  On earth you usually need someone to give you a reason to feel love, and that feeling usually has its ups and downs.  With bliss, there’s no downside—and you don’t need a reason for it.  As your soul floats through this dimension, it’s just natural to feel bliss.”


Many NDErs miss that feeling of bliss if they get a taste of it.  I miss it, and yet nothing has changed my life more than to realize that this Bliss/Divine Love exists.  Love like that puts everything on earth in perspective.  People often live their lives as fractured parts of a whole, and many do not even know that they are part of a whole.  They believe only in the splintered part that they observe daily, obsessively comparing themselves with others.  Comparison is not what the Divine Light gives us.  It gives us complete acceptance, complete love, and complete safety.

Billy’s character goes on to address disappointment in a broader sense. “Disappointment is part of the pattern on earth.  But things change.  I know you’ve heard this a million times, but it is a secret.  Things change. When you die, you realize how much and you realize there are immortal things, things you take with you, and they change too.  The Eastern concept of Maya, or illusion, what does this mean?  It means temporary.  It means our lives are temporary.”

Divine Love vs. Romantic Love:  Life is indeed a quick journey and not nearly as long as we think it is when viewed from the other side.  Divine Love is an amazing experience, and hard to translate and experience while in human form.  You almost need the freedom of not having a body to fully understand it.  As Billy Finger’s character says, “After you die, you spend a lot of time, solo time, exploring yourself as a Universe….You are the Universe.  But society teaches you different.  Society teaches limitation, (but)…everything you ever need is already inside you.  And who you really are is far beyond your comprehension.  That’s why living squeezed into the human experience can be painful at times.”

While in form, we long for that picture perfect life to show to the world to bolster our ego and say, “Here is my soulmate/twin flame, my family, my great job, my perfect kids, and my white picket fence/condo/home in the country.”  That life rarely exists, and if it does for a while, it changes anyway.  On the other side, I wanted to see that I returned to a picture perfect life, but the message from the Divine was only that I must remind others of their light and souls.  I wasn’t promised a perfect life.  I was only told that I must remind others of their light.  As I wrote about relationships before and after my NDE, I channeled a passage and a healing statement about the search for soulmates and the occasional pain of romantic relationships.

Excerpts from Angels in the OR, “We are all looking for a missing part of souls in another person and not realizing that our own souls are the true source of happiness.  I knew this on the other side.  No one accompanied me there, but I was whole and the light was both me and larger than me.  Source was all that I needed….”

“When we forget our connection to source, we are sometimes reminded of this spark of the divine in another and hold on desperately as if God were only in that one specific person, but God is everywhere, especially inside of us.”


Occasionally, I am given a healing statement for others.  In connection to this topic, here is the statement I was given.  Many people on a spiritual path are sensitive, and the loss of friendships, relationships, and others can be a painful part of the jouney.  It doesn’t have to be.  The pain ends so much quicker with more self-love and more faith in the workings of a loving energy larger than ourselves.  Billy Finger’s life appeared to be one of great pain on this earth, but it prepared him to be freer than some souls and merge with a universe after death.  Not every soul chooses that path.  The point of viewing his story is to learn not to judge others or yourself.  Love yourself more through every part of your journey.

Healing Statement:  You are loved.  Don’t forget how much the divine light delights in you.  You waste resources and time trying to be seen and loved when you are already loved.  You need do nothing.  You can give that love away and feel immediately in touch with the universal flow of love.

Relationships (of all kinds) are sometimes fractured and split because we have so much to learn and release.  We must free ourselves on a vibrational level when it becomes difficult (sometimes very painful) to stay with another.  Sometimes, people around you are not changing or evolving in the ways you are changing.

Don’t beat yourself up for anything.  Just center yourself.  Quiet yourself.  Listen to what you need.  You need to remember that you are already loved and safe.  There is nothing you are gaining or losing from another.  You are only sharing along the way.  If a person stops sharing, then you move on and share with others.  It isn’t complex.  We create a lot of judgement around issues that need no judgement.  If love is flowing between people, all will work out.  If it isn’t, they move on, especially if they are aware of their own connection to source and love.  Why lose out on a connection to source and love that is already exists because another doesn’t want you to have love or be love?  Why stay with someone who wants you to have less, be less, and experience less than you know you can find through a connection to source? You stay with someone who shows you how to have more, be more, and experience more because of their presence.  You stay with someone who really knows how to love and whose presence makes you feel stronger, freer, and happier.

**I realize this level of detachment and freedom is not easy for many people.  NDErs tend to love and accept others often without the usual attachments and conditions society expects.  I only know that I’ve observed a lot of needless drama in people around the ending of relationships and marriages.  In the news, we see husbands and wives who take that drama to sociopathic lengths and kill their spouses.  They forget that time is a great healer and time is relative.  There is a way to speed healing up.  Meditation, a change of perspective, and enlightened moments can take us far away from our circumstances and change our perspectives.  If we eventually get over something, why not envision what getting over something feels like and bring it into the present moment quicker? In The Afterlife of Billy Fingers, Billy learned how not to take his life or perspective seriously the farther he got away from his situation.  Like Billy, NDErs know that our lives look very different from a far-away perspective and that perspective is wonderful.   Distance and a new perspective is healing for everyone.

The Afterlife of Billy Fingers Continued….This book has been so enjoyable that I must address other topics such as Higher Beings/Angels, recovery from addiction, and the healing power of nature in another post.

After Death Communication Part II


Update on 1/19/19:  My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now. It is a #1 new release in several categories.  I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.

“What happens after death is so unspeakably glorious that our imagination and our feelings do not suffice to form even an approximate conception of it. The dissolution of our time-bound form in eternity brings no loss of meaning.”Carl Jung

Those who die do not go very far away.  In fact, if you can hear messages from God, you can hear messages from those who have transitioned to the other side.   I am only recently opening up to this ability.  A couple of weeks ago, one of my students lost her father suddenly.  She is a grounded, beautiful, kind, talented young woman, and I wanted to support her through her time of grief to the best of my ability.  A few minutes before Creative Writing class started, I asked if her father had a message he wanted me to give to his daughter.

The minute I asked for a message, a wave of light and a powerful feeling of love came over me.  Love of this sort is not filtered by fear or material concerns. It is pure and direct, and I recognized the quality of it from the other side.   His communication felt similar to the telepathy I experienced from the angels, but his message slowed down a little in order to speak specific words to me.

I felt his strength, love, and admiration for his daughter.  He has enormous pride and belief in her and wanted to tell her to continue on with her goals and be strong.  I asked for clarification about what type of goals he wanted her to pursue, wondering if he meant writing or other educational goals.  He told me that he realized I worked as her instructor and though education was important to me it was only part of what she needs to focus on accomplishing.  He told me that she has is an interest outside of academia that she needs to pursue.

I didn’t have time to ask for specifics because several students walked into class and wanted to talk about their final projects.  Throughout the class, I felt excited and wanted to talk with her and see if she might be open to hearing this message from me.  When class ended, I walked out with her and asked if she had interests outside of studies at the college.  She replied that she wants to open a food truck and loves cooking.  We need a food truck near our community college campus, and I am certain that money could be made if someone made this happen.  I encouraged her to pursue this interest and even let her know that I felt her father’s powerful love and encouragement from the other side.

In the past, I wouldn’t have asked for a message from her father, and even if I received a message I probably would have only used the information to encourage her to pursue these interests.  I would’ve been embarrassed to admit that I believe I can “talk with dead people.”  I don’t care so much now what others think of this ability.  I know when the communication is real because it has that certain quality that I felt on the other side of the veil.  The love is tangible, real, and the only currency worth betting on for the long haul.

I think my student was pleased and somewhat surprised by the conversation.  For me, the experience of connecting with her father was both humbling and exciting.  It was a privilege to feel this man’s love for his daughter.  Love does not die at the time of death.  His love and connection for her will follow her throughout life, and she will feel him smiling as certain moments in her life fall into place.  Having this small confirmation gave me more security in the messages I’ve received from my father on the other side.

My father, who always had a sense of humor, says he approves of this message.  Danny Barker did a lot of talking in life, and he seems to want to continue talking from the other side as well.  For a while, I shut out messages from him.  I didn’t care for some of his advice, especially relationship advice.  I see his advice differently now. I’ll save that long story for another time (or perhaps a book later) and only say that I’m listening to his messages now.

I feel honored that my student’s father trusted me with a moment of communication, and I know he loves her dearly.  I am honored that I could pass on this message to her.


After-Death Communications



Update on 1/19/19:  My memoir, Angels in the OR: What Dying Taught Me About Healing, Survival, and Transformation, can be pre-ordered now. It is a #1 new release in several categories.  I would love it if you helped me make near-death experiences more mainstream.  Part of my memoir discusses some of my after-death communications with my father.

Love is the Link:  Dr. Pamela M. Kircher has a section in her book Love is the Link about after-death communications, and she encourages others to talk about dreams or other communications with relatives as a way to comfort those who may not have had communications with deceased relatives but want this communication.  Like Kircher, I don’t understand why some people receive messages from deceased relatives and others do not, but I want to tell others who have lost someone close to them to believe in the possibility and to be patient.  There might be a moment in your life when you need comfort or protection in a profound way, and your loved one might come to you then.  Also, telling yourself each night that you are open to communication in a dream or otherwise might open up the channels of communication.

Preparing for a Loved One’s Death:  In 2008, my father was diagnosed with a large, grapefruit-sized Glioblastoma brain tumor.  He opted not to have brain surgery and to live out his remaining time as coherently as possible.  We joked around as we often did, watched television together, and ate a lot of Chinese food that first week.  Dad didn’t take morphine because he wanted to be able to talk with me when I showed up after teaching classes.  That semester was one of the hardest teaching semesters of my life.  I was scheduled to teach nine different college classes at three different campuses.  Luckily, I found a nursing home for dad near one of my campuses, so I saw him every evening and between classes when possible.  There were many days, I ran out of class early to cry, overwhelmed by loss but also grateful that that I had experience with death and could help my dad by reminding him of what I knew from the other side.  We talked about my near-death experience a few times, and he believed my stories of the light, assuring me that he had no fears about the dying process.

The Transition:  When Dad was moved to hospice and the chaplain preformed the last rites, Dad could barely lift his arm, but he made his best attempt to pretend to conduct an orchestra.  The chaplain seemed annoyed, but I knew Dad was trying to make the moment lighter for me.  He wanted me to remember his sense of humor and how little he feared death. When I left to get some sleep, I hoped I might see him the next morning.  Something about the look in his eyes told me that I might not see him alive again.  I kept my phone ringer on as loud as possible, hoping to be informed if the end was near.

Around midnight I fell asleep and almost immediately had a dream where my grandparents talked with me in calming, comforting ways, hovering somewhere above the ceiling.  They told me that they were with Dad and had been with him for the last two days, waiting for him.  They said they would be the ones to welcome him to the other side and would take good care of him and that I had done all I could for him.  I woke up feeling more peaceful than I had felt in a while and looked down at my phone.  I had three missed calls from hospice, and I realized immediately what this meant.  I wanted to be there at his time of passing, but I felt comforted that his parents were with him.  Their presence was warm and loving in the dream as it had been in life.

First Dream:  A few nights later, dad came to me in a dream with the light behind him.  He said he was given only a moment where he could tell me that he understood I did all I could do within my time constraints at work.  He assured me that he slept and rested most of the hours I could not be with him so that he could be alert when I showed up for visits.  This relieved my guilt about how little time I had with him on some days.  Dad didn’t have siblings or any family members that I knew about at the time, so there was no one else besides a few of his friends and neighbors who stopped by to be with him when I was not with him.

Life Review Differences:  In Pamela Kircher’s book Love is the Link she discusses the differences between the NDEs experienced by those in traumatic situations versus those who are terminal.  A life review is usually not part of the NDE for terminal patients; rather, they are comforted about the dying process and sometimes met by relatives.  A few months after his death, Dad came to me in another dream and assured me that he had a lot more still to learn and that he was busy understanding his role on earth and the implications of his life.  He made it evident that he would wait and watch out for me, even though he preferred to return and give this life another shot.  I wondered if the life review process is more intense after death.  Perhaps, in terminal patients the life review is saved for a more intensive examination after the completion of their life.  During my life review, I was shown how to be more loving and open while in this life.  Perhaps, given more time on the other side, I would have extensively examined my life and actions.  Mainly, I saw that helping others, being kind, being connected to the light/source were important elements in returning.

The idea that dad wanted to return and live out another life puzzled me.  I hadn’t given reincarnation much thought, other than remembering dreams I had of a possible past life when I was a child.  In those dreams, I lived in Boston and supported several of struggling artists in my later years of life.  That life set me up to encourage creativity in others.  In that previous life, I felt sadness that I didn’t pursue my own art.  One of the lessons in my current life seems to be how to balance supporting other creative young people while also working on my own writing.

When I moved to Boston for a travelling job teaching SAT prep courses and later for a year with my first husband, the city felt so familiar that I rarely needed to look at maps. I have other theories about why the city might have seemed familiar, but on some level it seems that reincarnation or memories of various lives are possible.

Specific Communications from the Beyond:  As time has gone on, I realize there is a lot that I do not understand about after death communications with my father.  On a couple of occasions, he has been right and warned me about various people, telling me that their actions will not match their words.  I don’t want to go into detail about these particular situations, but maybe as time goes on I will have a better understanding of how these after death communications are meant to be used in my life.   He has made it clear that others who have tried to tap into communications with him are not as clear as I am in my communications with him.  I realize that I can largely trust these communications, but my rational mind does occasionally wonder if these moments are only wishful thinking. However, certain specifics make me think that the communications are more than wishful thinking.

Testing the Information:  I know that I have been comforted and protected in a couple of instances by after death communications with dad.  I haven’t yet tried out these communications at the race track to see if Dad can give me winning horses.  During the last years of his life, dad enjoyed betting on horses and wasn’t bad at it either.  I’ll let you know if I have some luck with that or not.

Recommendations:  I recommend Dr. Kircher’s book, Love is the Link, especially if you are interested in the ways others have been comforted at the time of their deaths or stories of those who have received messages from loved ones after their deaths.  Part II of her book focuses on her work as a hospice physician.  This section includes stories of agnostics visited by Jesus, angry young people with terminal illness who experienced NDEs which helped them cope with their deaths, and many other interesting stories of people in hospice settings.  Dr. Pamela Kircher has the unique perspective of having experienced a NDE as a young child and living her life informed by this moment at a very young age.  I found her personal journey in Part I fascinating as well.

If you want to read my next post about after-death communications, click here.