Looking at death and dying from a spiritual perspective


Today I want to shift the lens of perception and share about death and dying from a spiritual perspective. After all, this is day 47 of a seventy-five day journey to connect more deeply with God, Spirit, Holy, Love…to explore “What the Heart Knows” during the waning days of 2020.

From our human point of view death is not necessarily a good thing. We humans thrive in our aliveness. We’re usually attached to our loved ones, our bodies, our houses, our friends, our possessions, our health.

Even though some might point out that we’re dying from the minute we’re born–we really don’t always appreciate that slant. Let’s live forever, the creature of our body might insist in no uncertain terms. Or at least as long as we experience health and mental acuity and vitality. Let’s not experience pain, deterioration, illness, accidents, suffering, death.

Today I’m going to talk about death from my personal belief and experience, even though I have never physically died. This may sound a little woo-woo to those of you who haven’t encountered similar situations, but what the heck. You guys know me by now.

Seeing spirits

Starting in 1988 when my grandpa died I have had multiple encounters with those who have passed over. I was lying in bed reading when Grandpa died. Suddenly I threw the book on the floor, closed my eyes, and felt his presence. Image after image filled the mind’s eye. Scenes that I had consciously forgotten from childhood. He warmly and lovingly showed me so much. Perhaps moments passed, perhaps an hour. The phone rang in the next room. It was my parents saying that Grandpa had passed away. He had died at the very moment his presence appeared in my bedroom.

I could tell you story after story. One day my husband’s former co-worker named Teddy appeared in my mind’s eye. Barry was napping on the couch, sound asleep. I knew that Teddy had died several months ago, but hadn’t thought of him since. He appeared cheerful but wanted to connect with Barry. He rattled off some information to share with him.

“What can I tell him so that he’ll know it was really you?” I silently asked Teddy.

“Tell him…” Teddy paused. “Tell him the Tigers won again.”

“Why don’t you tell him yourself?” I asked.

“Because you’re a good two-way radio,” he said. (Teddy was a radio operator in Vietnam, Barry reminded me later.)

When I shared the information with Barry later he laughed about the Tigers winning.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“Every day when he came in the office,” Barry replied, “Teddy would tell me if the Detroit Tigers won or lost. It was definitely him!”

Mayan wisdom

But enough about these kinds of stories. These experiences don’t happen much with me anymore. Instead, the ability to connect with those who have died has now been transferred to another extended family member.

Today I want to share my beliefs about dying from a spiritual perspective.

From this lens of perception–dying can be a beautiful thing. Why? Because in death we leave the heavy contracted materiality of our human bodies and join with the Holy. With God, love, the heart, spirit.

We release our burdens, our thoughts, our beliefs, our obstructions and we merge with the universal field of Oneness. So many stories come back about humans traveling through a tunnel of awareness that rises out of form into the empty/fullness of the Holy. Those who have “died” and come back to human consciousness report the beauty, joy and love of what lies beyond. Many do not want to return to the heavy clunkiness of inhabiting a human body once they’ve experienced the soaring transcendence of freedom.

Bald eagle white tail feather

Some souls may completely merge with universal wholeness. Others may begin another journey back into human form to learn more. Other options may exist. I used to have definitive opinions about past and future lives, but these days I am content to rest in not-knowing what happens after death.

But I am 99.99% certain that something survives after death. Something in us never births and never dies. We humans can hardly begin to wrap our minds around this because this exists beyond thought.

If we view death from a human perspective we will often grieve and despair and cry. If we view death from a spiritual angle we can perhaps sense the peace and joy and connection of reunion with the Holy. Both viewpoints are “true” depending upon where we choose to perceive. Neither is superior or inferior. In this dance of human and divine we’re able to experience both. We weep, we ache, we sorrow. It’s also possible to release, to embrace death, to transcend.

Please share your own thoughts and experiences about death and dying if you’re so inspired.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in What the Heart Knows and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Looking at death and dying from a spiritual perspective

  1. Larissa says:

    I’m pretty sure that something survives death too. I’ve had some pretty sweet encounters with friends and relatives who were definitely not inhabiting their bodies anymore

  2. jeffstroud says:

    Oh Great and Wise Woman I bow before thee!
    Great perspective, allowing room for our minds and hearts to comprehend the unknown allows us to have peace with what is or isn’t. That I believe is what this journey through life is about! What do I know, I am just another traveler on the path!

    • Kathy says:

      Ha ha, Jeff, there ain’t no great and wise woman here, lol! Every once in a while some wise words seem to flow through but I’m not sure I can claim them! You know what song I have been singing all day? “What if God were one of us? Just a slob like one of us?Just a stranger on the bus, trying to make his way home?” I think it’s because you said “I am just another traveler on the path”.

      • jeffstroud says:

        In the ONENESS, we are all part of the Cosmic creation, some of us have more awareness of our connection to it all. Yes, the song lyric’s express it wonderfully, “What if God were one of us?”

  3. debyemm says:

    In 2004, I started a novel for NaNoWriMo titled The Dying Season. The rough draft sat until this year. I’m finishing up the editing and hope to shop the manuscript in 2021 with a new working title The Art of Dying Well. In it, I imagine my own death and its impacts on my family as well as reviewing all of the deaths of other people I had experienced during my lifetime. Then during my time in the non-physical realm, I am given a mission to deliver a message as a young male to Muslims in a Jordanian refugee camp for Syrians displaced by war, after completing that mission with no clear positive results, I join the civil war in Syria and am killed. Then back to non-physical and on to the “next” life I had outlined in the earlier one (being reborn a girl child where I live now). I remember the “surprises” that came as I initially wrote the rough draft. I still love the non-physical parts the most. My spiritual perspective on how it all “works” after physical death. Which is of course only theoretical.

    Hugs to you and your community for the recent losses. It seems more and more acquaintances have either been infected with better or worse outcomes or someone they love has died from this awful virus. I continue to do my best to assure my initial reaction to my husband when this all started – I won’t get infected. That isn’t arrogant – I do my best to assure that.

    • debyemm says:

      LOL Just realized my year was off by a decade. The rough draft was written in 2014, not 2004.

    • Kathy says:

      Deb, I think you may have mentioned this book before or else I dreamed it. *smile* I can imagine why you are enjoying the non-physical parts the most. Writing it down, getting your spiritual perspective in words.

      Like you, we try our best to assure we don’t get infected by the virus, too. Masks, distancing, staying safe. We’ll see if this is enough. I don’t feel fear, only caution and respect. Mostly respect to try and keep other vulnerable ones safe, like the ones in the nursing home. But very few people in our community wore masks or seemed to have the same viewpoint. Some did, but many did not. Now our county has a huge high rate. Alas. So very sad.

      • debyemm says:

        The same here in our sparsely populated, isolated rural county. We have over 1,000 cases recorded now with only 7,000 citizens. Within the state of Missouri, we are 7th out of all the counties for %. Not a bragging point at all. People here think the death count is inflated so that nursing homes and hospitals can receive more money (and so not actually COVID deaths at all). They think the virus is a hoax or no worse than the flu. They don’t wear masks, congregate for all manner of reasons with no social distancing. All one can do is protect their own self and see the others as volunteers in a herd immunity game of roulette. That is the only perspective that gives me peace with these people.

        • Kathy says:

          Both of our counties are way too rural to have so many cases. Many folks is our county think the same as those in yours. It’s SO challenging. The “herd immunity game of roulette”…I will have to think about that, and maybe it will give me peace too. Thank you.

  4. Kathy, you made me smile referring to “the heavy clunkiness of inhabiting a human body.” The older and sicker I get the more being rid of this worn out body appeals.

    Like you, the definite opinions I used to have about life after death have melted away and I’m comfortable now with not knowing the details. It’s finally okay with me to face death without having all (or any) of the answers. My mother’s death was a turning point in my life and I know it was she who was helping me more after she died than she was able to help while she was alive. I felt her presence often until my father joined her 22 years later.

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, it DOES feel heavy and clunky after we reach a “certain age” at times, doesn’t it? Isn’t it cool when we don’t have to know what happens after death. I think that is really maturity, when the questions fall away and we’re just left faced with whatever the moment brings, even if that moment brings death. Glad your mom was able to be there for you, and you sensed her.

  5. Definitely thought-provoking. Interesting how the degree of “encounters” differs from person to person. The thing that strikes me about death is that we are actually mourning our loss – and forgetting their gain.

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you found this interesting, Frank. And you are right–so many different degrees of encounters. I think I heard words a lot because I am such a word person. Other people may see hummingbirds or cardinals that feel like reminders of our loved ones who have passed. And yes, it brings comfort to remember that the dying or dead one is actually gaining peace.

  6. Amanda-Lyn says:

    This was heart warming and eye opening. We lost my older brother to cancer when I was just a little girl ((about 7 1/2 years old)). To this day I can describe exactly where I was, what I was doing, why I woke up the exact moment he passed, and the days that followed…except for the church service itself….same thing with my 8th birthday ((which happened about 2 weeks after his passing)). He has been by my side since my birth and I believe he is still by my side today as is my Dad ((he went home almost 5 months ago)). Not a day goes by where I don’t feel them and I weep with sorrow they are not here with me and I rejoice because I know we’ll be together again soon ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Amanda-Lyn, thank you for sharing this story. How sad that your brother died when you were so small. How challenging that must have been, but also how comforting that he’s stayed nearby to help you. And sorry that you’ve lost your dad so recently. It’s all so fresh. Hugs and blessings…may you continue to feel loved and comforted by your loved ones.

  7. Stacy says:

    I believe you are a medium. And that is a gift. There are many in my family. Some embrace it, others shy away. What have I experienced? Ha! Too personal to share here.

    As for death, I believe as you do. Something exists after death, where we are freed from human limitations, where we at last are perfectly united with the Holy. I see it as a tragedy that we have to experience death to achieve the Holy. But I see it as a blessing that one day we can shed the shroud that limits us.


    • Kathy says:

      Stacy, I so understand that so many things are way too personal to share online. You know, I WAS a medium, perhaps. But many years ago the interest started to drop away and my spiritual abilities developed in different ways. Now I am so happy for my relative who has “mysteriously” received the gift without even asking for it. It’s interesting how it can seemingly pass down in families.

      By the way, just to stir the pot a little, tee hee, I do believe we don’t have to experience physical death to achieve the Holy. But I also think it’s a long painful road to open up to the Holy in this lifetime. Perhaps this is the real meaning of “born again”. xoxo

  8. Debbie says:

    The thing about dying is that it’s the passageway we all must take into eternity. Those left behind on earth grieve the absence of the loved one, but that person no longer knows grief or sorrow (providing, of course, they go to the right place!). Without a human body as we know it, they no longer face the trials of living in a fallen world. Kathy, I’m still shivering over your stories of connecting with those who’ve passed on.

    • Kathy says:

      Debbie, I was responding to your comment last night but the Holy must have ate it. Actually, maybe my husband came inside and needed some help RIGHT NOW and so had to x-out of comments and help him try to find his socks or something important. Thank you for sharing this and enjoying (or at least shivering) about the stories. xoxo

  9. Sarah Davis says:

    I think about this often. I’m not sure what happens, but my Grandmother is with me. I see her often in the form of a cardinal.

    • Kathy says:

      Sarah, it’s so interesting how our loved ones show themselves back to us. A cardinal seems to be a favorite…or a hummingbird.

      • Sarah Davis says:

        I’ve heard that If a Cardinal chirps for you, it is a kiss from someone on the other side.

        My brother, nephew and I have odd happenings with Blue Herons. Like the birds looking for us, looking at us from close distances, or doing things to get our attention. We can’t figure out who it is watching for us. My brother lives in another state and it was a weird heron event when the three of us were together that helped us realize that we are linked with that bird.

        • Kathy says:

          I like that cardinal thought, Sarah. Unfortunately we don’t have many cardinals up here in the Upper Peninsula, so the Holy has to make do with something else. How interesting that you all have connections with blue herons! It will be interesting to see what else will be revealed (if anything) in coming years.

  10. leelah saachi says:

    Just yesterday, my niece and I was talking in the living room – and we went into a powerful “common” meditative space – and my nieces said, “Karel stands over there, with his typical mischievous smile -” Karel being my husband who died in 1988 – I shivered all over in a good way.
    After he died, we got a cat – and then she got litter, and we kept one – and they both SAW spirits walking throuhg our living room and out of the wall in the kitchen. We know that they saw something – they both raised their head simultaneously and followed “the ghost” with their eyes, perfectly synchronously. Later I heard that in very old days, there had been battles around where our row-houses were built. So I wanted them to find a way home instead of using my house as a highway, and I did something that made them leave and my house was much calmer after that. I also may have dreams that I believe are MORE than dreams, because of their un-disputable “realness.”

    • Kathy says:

      Leelah, I think being able to connect to that meditative or shamanic state is an important key. It sounds like your niece is deeply spiritually connected just like you are. That is such an interesting story about your cats simultaneously seeing the spirits. I used to do clearing ceremonies with sage back in the 1980’s and that would often help clear the energy. And I know exactly what you mean about dreams that are more real than ordinary dreams. Thanks for sharing this.

  11. Reggie says:

    Oh, I love this. It eases one’s fear of dying to think of it along these lines. Thank you, Kathy… Hugs!

    • Kathy says:

      Whenever I get caught in that fear of dying I try to remember to shift perspectives into the Holy, and it really does help a LOT! Thanks, dear Reggie.

  12. I think of death as another great adventure when I will hopefully learn the answers to all the unanswerable questions and find out why I was here! I don’t believe in a ‘heaven’ but that I’ll become energy, which will merge with the energy of the universe.

    • Kathy says:

      I feel the same way, Andrea–that death will be another great adventure. I am not looking forward to any pain associated with the dying process, but that’s from the human angle. I totally agree about becoming energy. Maybe the process of becoming energy is what some spiritual teachers refer to as “heaven”. Not sure, but I like that explanation!

  13. It is always a pleasure to read you. I wonder what your voice sounds like, since I imagine reading your posts in your voice and you tell them to me. I agree with your thoughts on death, how there is more to interpreting it in the usual way. Death is freedom and peace if we do not let our ego define it. There is no pain or anger or suffering, just liberation.

  14. Joanne says:

    I have far too many experiences to share here in the comments, Kathy. I have written many blog posts over the years, putting into words some of the strange experiences I have encountered throughout my life. Somewhere along the line, I arrived at a point of acceptance, so now when a random statement pops into my mind from one of my parents, I acknowledge their presence without giving it another thought. For example, when it was my daughter’s birthday the other day and she visited me, we both spoke about my mother joining us for morning tea. There was one empty seat in the room, so I told my daughter that was her grandmother’s seat, and we both took it for granted that she was there in the room with us. I try not to over-think the spirit world though, because if I do, I feel sad that our loved ones can no longer freely communicate with us in the way they once did.

    • Kathy says:

      I almost can remember reading some of your posts before, Joanne. I’ve written about it before too (although couldn’t find any when looking yesterday!) It’s so interesting when we get to that place of acceptance where we know it’s true and legitimate and don’t wonder anymore. Years ago, during the Native American years, I used to celebrate the Feast of The Dead and put out a plate for the dearly departed family members and friends. In sacred native ceremonies they often set out a plate for the ancestors to eat.

  15. sherrysescape says:

    I think your views about death and dying are much healthier than mine which are incomplete.

    • Kathy says:

      Sherry, maybe it’s a good thing to have had some of those experiences because it’s given me more of a sense of calm and peace around death and dying. (But my human side can still be scared about any physical pain associated with it.)

  16. Robin says:

    I’m good with not knowing what happens when we die, and thinking of it in terms of another adventure. Who knows what possibilities death will bring? 🙂

    I had a near-death experience and for a long while after it happened, I was kind of sad to be back here, in this body. It was as if I had some moments (which felt much longer because time warped during this adventure) of being held and supported, and then I was let go in order to flounder around in this life again on my own. It took me a long time to realize I wasn’t on my own at all. I was trying to “intellectualize” it all, for fear of looking too woo-woo.

    • Kathy says:

      I’m not sure I knew you’ve had a near-death experience, Robin. That feeling of being held and supported and loved seems to be a common theme among those who have died and come back. How cool that you finally settled into a sense that you weren’t on your own. Maybe because of your experience you have a sense of that in your body, rather than just intellectually. I would like to know this at deeper and deeper embodied levels.

  17. Lori says:

    I needed to read this today. I’ve had experiences other-worldly things as well. So many stories I can tell. It’s odd though, how those experiences haven’t been as frequent as in years past. They used to happen quite often to me. But, the reason I needed to hear this is because I’ve been grieving my sweet Max the last few days, remembering his last breath, wondering if I did the right thing. This reminded me he lives on and hopefully romping with my other boy, Piezon. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Kathy says:

      I am so glad this spoke to you today, Lori. Sometimes it feels like the Holy is nudging to write a certain topic just because someone needs to read it. Perhaps your Max is sending you a message through this and now you’ll be able to imagine him as he shines with the joy of freedom from his earthly body. xoxo

  18. Barb says:

    When I lived on the east coast, (over 30 years ago), I was a patient care volunteer with Hospice. I’ve attended many deaths, including family members, friends, and Hospice patients. One of my favorite patients (he was my last before moving to CO) died peacefully in the night with his family and me by his side. His old dog, Betsy, was in failing health, but was also by the bedside. In the morning, Betsy didn’t wake up. We thought perhaps she waited to make the spirit journey with him. A few months after his death, he appeared to me in a dream along with my deceased mother. I didn’t remember the dream upon awakening, but when I went running in a wilderness area that was the location of the dream, I remembered it vividly like a movie running in my brain. It’s the only time my patient and my mother have ever appeared to me, but the message of the dream and the comfort of the connection stay with me.

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, what a precious story of Betsy waiting to pass on with her owner/friend. It sounds like she did want to join him as he made his transition. What a gift for you to witness. And then to come back to you in a dream with your mom. I’ll bet it has comforted you repeatedly throughout the years. Thanks for sharing this.

  19. Jay Andrew says:

    Hello Kathy. I hope all is well.
    My perception on death is life. Life cannot be without death and death cannot be without life. This is not a contradiction but instead a complimentary mode of truth-existence in the infinite realm of this world. As you said, death is unfortunately misinterpreted by society due to half-truth preconceptions, conditioning, fear, and media programming. The word death can easily be replaced with transition, for death is only a transition necessary for our ever thriving true immortal and eternal being.

    • Kathy says:

      Jay, thank you for sharing your perception. I like that analogy of life and death complimenting each other. We need both for it to be a whole. I also like the term transition. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

  20. enterprise55 says:

    Hello Kathy I guess some spirit led me to you today. I wasn’t looking for you, in fact i wasn’t looking for anything. I had just commented on the Viet Nam sight hosted by wordpress. As I was navigating around the sight and trying to remember my password your blog popped up. It was uplifting to me as I have been suffering from Agent Orange Cancer since 2012. I have lost my prostate and 2/3 of My right lung and just yesterday I received word from my Dr. that my latest CT scan (which I take every 3 months) shows a spot on my left lung just like the right lung started. Needless to say it is quite unsettling as I have been feeling better that I have in over 2 years. Anyway I’m going to be making the trip pretty soon most likely, however I’m not complaining I just turned 70 so I made it longer than a lot of my friends and Viet Nam buddies. I thank-you for your outlook on death. I myself am not afraid of it, I look forward to seeing my father, uncle mother and many other folks who I know will be waiting for me on the other side. May God Bless you and have a wonderful day. Ray Farley, Tulsa, Ok

    • Kathy says:

      Ray, your comment really moved me and my husband this morning. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. You have been through so much. I can hardly imagine what you’ve been through. It sounds like you have come to terms with what has happened to you, even though it must be so challenging. I am glad you are not afraid and are looking forward to joining with your loved ones. And you will be free. Many blessings to you as well. P.S. Would you mind if I used your comment as part of another blog post? If you do, no worries. In love of the holy, Kathy

  21. LaDonna Remy says:

    I really appreciated reading your experiences. 🤍

  22. Alberto Omar Perez Garza says:

    I enjoyed reading your story and truly believe our loved ones that have passed do come and visit us at times. I have never seen anything other than an Indian once at my house when I was a kid. When I was trying to call my mom as I was seeing this Indian, my voice was mute of scared. I do believe there is a heaven and a hell. I also believe that purgatory does exist. My mom does have that ability of seeing spirits ever since she was a very young at age. She refuses to speak to them. Changing subject here, I just wanted to say I really enjoyed your story and enjoy reading the comments. Stay safe your new fan, Alberto Onar.

    • Kathy says:

      Alberto, thank you very much for reading and commenting. That is very interesting that you once saw an Indian as a child. And of course you were scared. The first time I saw a spirit with my physical eyes I called for my mom! Now that was a little embarrassing. Thanks again.

  23. Pingback: So done with it, so done with it | Lake Superior Spirit

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