Rob Gauthier – My dad and his angels showed up at the funeral (from Facebook).
Thank you, Rob! Sensing and photographing what seemed to be the presence of your father and his angels at his funeral reminded me of two funerals I attended. In both cases, the ghosts of the deceased appeared.
I Saw A Deceased Friend Sitting on Top of His Casket
My first ghostly funeral experience happened in San Francisco in late 1979 or early 1980. I had run into an elderly Filipino man who lived near us in our housing cooperative several times and liked him. He was caring and even though we met each other only a few times, we developed a spiritual bond of familiarity. Whenever we met, it was as if we were old friends from deeper levels of consciousness, maybe from other lifetimes. So when he died, my wife and I were asked to attend his funeral.
Sitting with the other mourners, my thoughts turned to memories of my friend. I wondered again why we seemed so close even though we were essentially strangers. Feeling a change in the room, I looked up from my private reverie and was delighted to see him sitting on top of his casket, at the foot end. Propping himself up with his hands, he had crossed his right leg over his left and was swinging it in and out rapidly. As he surveyed the faces of his relatives and friends in the room. he had a look of unabashed love and joy on his face. Out of curiosity, I looked around the room to see if anyone else was reacting to his presence. It would have been great if everyone else could see him too but, judging from the grieving looks still on their faces, I don’t think anyone else did.
Julie’s Deceased Husband, Amile, and Her Sister, Gloria, Attend Gloria’s Funeral
My next ghostly funeral encounter happened in Santa Rosa, California in March 2005. It involved our next door neighbor, Julie who died a few years after her sister, Gloria. When we first met Julie, she didn’t trust anyone except her husband, Amile, and other members of her family. An immigrant from war-torn El Salvador, I think she believed she had reasons to distrust american strangers. As the years rolled by, she came to know and trust both Sandra and I. After Amile died and Julie became legally blind she began to depend on us, her next door neighbors, more and more, especially Sandra. Her niece and nephew both worked and lived on the other side of town. Being legally blind, however, she needed help when she needed it. Since we lived next door, Sandra offered to help when Julie’s niece and nephew couldn’t.
During this period, Julie’s sister, Gloria, immigrated to Santa Rosa from El Salvador and we got to know her too. Younger than Julie but born with a congenital heart defect, a hole in her heart, she was quite fragile. One of the things Sandra, Julie, and I loved to do was go out to lunch and then for a ride. As we drove around the countryside or out to the ocean through the coastal hills, we would play our favorite CD. It consisted of beautiful instrumentals composed by Cynthia Jordan. There was something about them that always transport us into realms of bliss.
Julie would sit in front with me because it was easier for her to get in and out of our small car. It also allowed her to see more on our trips. While listening to Cynthia Jordan’s music as we drove along, every once in a while, I would turn my head to look at her. Every time I did, she would her face away from me because, for some reason, she didn’t want me to see the look of profound ecstasy on her face. Home alone most of the time, and nearly blind to boot, it was undoubtedly, a great pleasure for her to spend this type of quality time with us. Who doesn’t like to go out to eat with people who love you and then go for a ride in the country while listening to some of the most beautiful music in the world?
Needless to say, our rides were spiritual for all of us. Our all-time favorite drive was to the Sonoma County coast on Coleman Valley Road. There are many beautiful hills and valleys to see along the way, before you drop down to the coast. Listening to Cynthia Jordan’s music made the scenery even more beautiful. On our last drive to the coast with Julie, her sister, Gloria, rode with us. She too fell in love with Cynthia Jordan’s music.
One of my favorite pastimes, as we drove on Coleman Valley Road, was looking for hawks and turkey vultures. I loved to watch them as they soared gracefully through the hills and valleys. When a hawk flew into view this time, I pointed it out and began to share my thoughts about how nice it would be to fly just like them. Between the imagery and music, our ride turned into a grand spiritual journey, perhaps our most spiritual journey ever. Several weeks later, Gloria died.
Her funeral was held in a small chapel, associated with the St. Rose Catholic Church in downtown Santa Rosa. Shortly after the priest began to talk, my attention was drawn to the recess above the entrance door to the chapel. Sitting there, watching the proceedings, were Julie’s long-deceased husband Amile and her sister, Gloria. Both appeared overjoyed as their family and friends took turns delivering their final words. Between my awareness of Amile and Gloria’s presence and the emotional nature of the story I originally planned to share, I felt highly emotional and vulnerable as I walked to the podium at the front of the Chapel.
My offering to Gloria’s family and friends was originally going to be the story of our last ride out to the coast on Coleman Valley Road with her and Julie, and how happy she was. Now that I was aware of Amile and Gloria’s presence in the chapel, I knew I had to tell their family. That some family members might think I was crazy wasn’t important. What was important was that they knew how much love Amile and Gloria felt for them. After a very tearful delivery, I wasn’t sure, but I think some of Gloria and Julie’s relatives and friends were happy to know or think, at least, that Gloria and Amile were sitting in the chapel with them.
I wanted to share these experiences with you because I suspect that developing stronger emotional bonds between each other is what makes it possible to perceive more of reality than we do now. By building bridges between the known and the unknown, the visible and the invisible, it may be possible to open ourselves up to greater awareness and understanding of the spiritual side of who we are. Thank you for helping me create this space that we might share these kinds of thoughts and experiences with each other.
For more on death and dying, see Seth on Dying and Life After Death
Roger/Pete Peterson – http://realtalkworld.com
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having (creating) a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin