By Sue Pearson
My whole life changed when I followed my father to heaven and experienced a glimpse of the divine. Up to this point in my life I had not been a believer in God. Neither was I an unbeliever. I was content living my life without any kind of faith in a life beyond this earthly realm. I was busy with my career as a journalist and my roles as wife and mother. My father’s death turned my world upside down. I had a near-death-like experience, accompanying him part way on his divine journey. Many people doubt the truth of near-death experiences citing so-called scientific explanations – patients near death having hallucinations due to lack of oxygen or having other brain chemical changes when death is near that produce false images. But I was not near death myself when my father passed over, neither was I impaired by drugs or alcohol or anything else that might cause false perceptions. What I experienced that night when everything changed was the TRUTH. All else in this world revealed itself as illusory. Here’s how this extraordinary revelation unfolded:
I knew my father had advanced prostate cancer for which there was no cure, but I refused to accept that he would die. He was my lifetime hero, my fount of unconditional love, and I could not imagine my life without him in it. Certainly, I was troubled by his illness, but I fooled myself into thinking there could be a treatment that would allow him many more years on earth.
One morning as I readied myself for work putting on my make up at the sink in the bathroom, something shocking happened. My husband had already left for work and my children were in school, so the house was unusually quiet. As I applied my lipstick the entire master bathroom was enveloped with a fragrance so strong, so unmistakable it shocked me to my core. It was the unique scent of my mother. I didn’t know on a conscious level what my mother had smelled like but subconsciously the connection of the baby to the mother was cemented by smell. I knew without a doubt that my departed mother was trying to reach me. My knees buckled so that I had to sit down. What did she want to tell me? I opened myself to receiving her message. She told me three things: 1. Your father is going to die very soon, 2. There is nothing you can do to change this and 3. I am going to help him. And then the scent of her withdrew quite suddenly.
My mother had not been a very loving presence in my life. When my sister and I were young she hit us when we misbehaved. She didn’t just use her hand to deliver a spanking. She struck us with sticks, hairbrushes, wooden paddles and more. We were afraid of her anger towards us. She was frequently drunk and sometimes disappeared for periods of time. We’d find her in a closet or a nearby bar. I remember her passed out most days when I came home from, school but she always put herself back together in time to prepare a nice dinner for my father. She was always attentive to him but at times neglectful of her children. Her mean spiritedness reached a towering hatred towards me one afternoon when I asked if I could visit a friend. Her smile curled into a sneer as she spoke to me.
“Dear Susan, aren’t you the lucky one to feel loved and cared for every day of your life.” Her voice got low as she snarled, “It’s a lie, little girl. I have never loved you, not then, not now, not ever. Now, leave me alone!”
I was devastated. Was this the truth? Even if it wasn’t, what mother would ever want to deliver such a hurtful message to her child? I couldn’t stop the tears for hours, days even. In fact, as I grew into adulthood, I cried over the memory of those words many times.
She came to visit me once at my home in California. One morning I found her passed out in my living room with a cigarette in her hand. She could have burned my house down and killed us all. I vowed that was the last time I would allow her in my home.
Some years later when she died from liver and kidney failure due to chronic alcoholism, I did not shed a tear. I was relieved none of us would have to deal with her again. My father, however, always loved her. Even when his children urged him to divorce her, he told us he would never leave her.
Ten years after her death my mother has come for a visit. She has just delivered an unexpected and unwelcomed message to me about my father’s impending death. Was she singling me out yet again for her uncommon cruelty? This felt very different. On some level, I knew she had delivered the truth to me and it broke through all my defenses. I sat there and sobbed for a very long time.
The following week I had a vision of experiencing my life flashing before me in fast rewind showing me that every decision I ever made was perfect for my journey and totally understandable. I never made a “good” or “bad” decision. The experience felt like a kind of purging of shame, regret, and unworthiness. All things were as they should be, and I need not second guess any decision I ever made.
Two weeks later my father was hospitalized, and the siblings and grandchildren gathered by his side in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida where he had lived for many years.
On the third day of our vigil we could see that Dad was deteriorating. He floated in and out of a coma state much of the day. When it was time to go back to his condominium for the night, I lingered at my father’s bedside.
“I love you, Dad.”
And in a strong, clear voice he answered back.
“I love you too, Sue.”
The children and the grandchildren settled in for the night. My sister and I shared a king-sized bed in one of the two condos my father owned. I couldn’t sleep but I was not anxious or upset, just quiet and calm. I could hear my sister snoring quietly beside me and knew she was sleeping.
And then my mother’s foretelling unfolded in sights and senses I didn’t know I had.
In the stillness of the night, from my father’s condo, I saw him in his hospital bed with a gathering light coming to the upper right side of the bed. He was very frail. The advancing light was beyond words, inviting, intense, pure, a light unlike any I had seen before. I became aware of movement within the light and was drawn into that. I soon saw that my mother was in the light, was part of the light and that this was the light of life itself, the light of God. She was more beautiful than any woman I had ever seen before. There was a purity and innocence in her essence. When I saw her this way there was, in an instant, complete forgiveness for anything I might have perceived as hurtful about her behavior on this earth. When I saw her in the light she was holy and I knew this was the truth about her, not at all how she seemed on earth.
Many years later I would read in A Course In Miracles T-17.II:1-5 (CE) “Can you imagine how beautiful those you forgive will look to you? In no fantasy have you ever seen anything so lovely. Nothing you see here, sleeping or waking, comes near such loveliness, and nothing will you value like unto this, nor hold so dear. Nothing that you remember that made your heart seem to sing with joy has ever brought you even a little part of the happiness this sight will bring you. For you will see the Son of God. ” When I read this in A Course In Miracles some 20 years after my father’s death, I knew it was the truth because I had experienced this that holy day I saw my mother help my father pass over to heaven.
I knew in this awareness that God is real and His love bigger and mightier than any concept of love I had ever had before. In the earth realm I could not conceive of a love like this but in the light beside my father’s hospital bed I understood a love beyond earthly perception. I also understood from my mother and God that we are here on this earth for one purpose – to love one another. We have made this life journey on earth so complicated as humans, but in the divine light I understood everything was truly simple. There was no sense of time in this revelation, only an imparting of pure truth all at once. I saw my mother reach out to my father and lift him into her light, cradling him in her arms. Then the light began to fade and disappear from my vision. I then saw with my body’s eyes that I was in the bed in my father’s condo where I had been before the vision, my sister next to me still snoring. I glanced at the clock. It was just before midnight.
In an hour or two the phone rang, and it was the hospital telling me that my father had died. The nurse asked if we wanted to come view his body before they took it to the hospital morgue. So, at about 2 am we all (my sister, Margie and her daughter Liz, my brother Jon, my daughter Christine and I) got in the car and drove to the hospital. We gathered around his body and said prayers of thanksgiving for his love in our lives. A nurse came into the room and I asked her if she knew when my father had passed on. She said she had come in to check on him a little before midnight and could see he was near death. She left him alone and returned at 12:15 to find that he had died. Then I knew that my vision was real, and I began to sob at the sudden knowing of so many things: mother had said she would help my father and she did. She was holy and pure and a child of God. God is love and love is all. Our purpose in this realm is to love each other. Faith in the truth had come to me like a bolt of lightning, a true vision, and I was forever changed.
What followed this vision was a two-year period of what I have come to understand was grace. I was in tears most every day from the joy of the world I was seeing with new eyes. I saw the preciousness of everyone including high school students in a class I taught who had been deemed “troublesome” by the school administration. I joined Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento. My son Evan and I attended Sunday services each week. I cried at the beauty I saw in the people and their rituals.
I only told a handful of people about my huge vision even though I wanted to shout to everyone “There is nothing to fear in this world. There is no death!” I realized I could not give anyone the divine experience that changed my life and that some people would think I was at best quirky and at worst insane.
After my father’s death my sister became estranged from me. I did not understand why she despised me, but she made it clear she did not want me in her life though I tried in letters and phone calls to reconnect. I was very distraught by her hateful attitude.
I didn’t tell my sister about my revelation because she was in such a troubled state my story would only pour fuel on the fire so to speak. She neither wanted nor could accept any comfort from me for some unknown reason.
I went to a healing service at Trinity with the laying on of hands. I had been quite troubled by my sister’s feelings towards me and had prayed she would come to her senses. At this healing service I decided to change my prayer. I asked God to help me surrender my pain about this relationship and accept my sister’s decision to cut me out of her life. I waited in the line leading to the altar for my turn to kneel there and let a healing helper lay hands on me. I did not expect anything to happen to me immediately, but it did. As this lovely church woman put both of her hands on my head, I felt a gentle heat surround my head…a feeling of heat and light which filled my mind with awareness and took away all of the pain I had felt about my sister. I experienced a miraculous, instantaneous healing. I left the church feeling a great lifting of a burden and a beautiful sense of peace.
It has been 20 years since all of this happened to me. Here are all the things I gained:
Rock solid faith in God
No more fear of death
More loving and accepting of my brothers and sisters
An understanding of the importance of forgiveness
A knowing that love is all that is real
A deep gratitude to my Creator and all that is holy
More joy, more peace, more contentment
And this is but a short list. As I live this earth dream to its conclusion, the insights keep unfolding and enriching me. And I believe my amazing transformation has touched many loved ones in ways they might not even be aware of or could express in words. After all, I have learned there are senses beyond our physical bodies that can guide us to truth.
The question still remains in my mind – why was I given the gift of this brilliant and life changing vision? In recent years I have become a student of the book A Course in Miracles, considered to be the words of Jesus scribed by Dr. Helen Schucman. One of the most important concepts in A Course in Miracles, perhaps the most important, is the goal of atonement for each of us. Atonement is the undoing of error brought about by unloving thoughts. According to the Course we can achieve salvation through atonement. And the means for this most valuable goal is forgiveness. I think, perhaps, my mother gave me the gift of this divine vision as a part of her own atonement. She wiped the slate clean, so to speak, by allowing me to be witness to her holiness thus dissolving any wrong-doing in the past. When I understood the truth of who she really is in God’s eyes – perfect, innocent and holy- nothing she had done in the earth realm mattered at all to me. It was as if it had all been undone. Thank you, sweet Mother and thank you dear God for the precious gifts forgiveness brings.
“All this beauty will rise to bless your sight as you look upon the world with forgiving eyes. For forgiveness literally transforms vision, and lets you see the real world reaching quietly and gently across chaos and removing all illusions that had twisted your perception and fixed it on the past.” (T-17.II.6:1-2)