The Grief And Belief Connection
by Bob Olson, OfSpirit.com Editor
"Grief is healing: To take away our grief is to take away our healing. And learning about life after death helps us heal with greater hope, comfort and peace." ~ Bob Olson
In approximately six years of investigating the possibility of life after death, I have discovered convincing evidence that there really is an afterlife, that we really do continue to exist after death, and that our loved ones continue to watch over us and guide us in the spirit world. But this is just the beginning of my discoveries.
More recently, after sharing this evidence with thousands of people around the world through my books, websites and articles, I have recognized a direct connection between one's level of grief and one's level of belief in an afterlife. I call it The Grief And Belief Connection.
I didn't always believe in life after death. In the past, whenever I would lose a loved one to disease, tragedy or suicide, I would always wonder if an afterlife existed. But thinking about the possibility of life after death never eased my grief because I was a skeptic. In fact, I was the worst kind of skeptic— a cynical one. This didn’t mean my mind was closed to the idea of life after death, but I needed evidence. Yet the intangible and mystical quality of the evidence for an afterlife only instigated my cynical skepticism even more.
As a private investigator with a degree in Criminology, evidence was my world. When I investigated murders, the courts only cared about the evidence I uncovered that proved or disproved the accused’s guilt. When I handled domestic investigations, clients hired me to obtain photographic and videographic evidence of their cheating spouses. And when I investigated personal injury cases, lawyers hired me to obtain witness statements, photographs and material evidence to present at trial. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I was suspicious, to say the least, of the vague metaphysical evidence that exists for an afterlife.
The strongest evidence for an afterlife consists of the following (all of which I found critically lacking in credibility): psychic mediums who claim to communicate with spirits, individuals who believe they had a near-death experience, hypnotic regressionists who declare a method for past-life travel, and individuals who believe to have experienced an after-death communication from a loved one in spirit. Such outrageous claims appeared less as evidence of life after death and more as naïve nonsense from people who either need extra attention in their lives or need something supernatural to increase their faith. To this P.I. the evidence amounted to a bunch of hooey.
Then I visited a psychic medium who turned my life upside-down. My brother-in-law had insisted she was legitimate, so I became fixed on proving her a phony. I booked an appointment for a one-hour reading. The one hour turned into three, me sobbing like a lost child for half of it. The evidence was too overwhelming, the details too accurate. My belief that such evidence was unbelievable rapidly crumbled.
The spirit messenger delivered names, dates and memories about my life she could not possible have known: that I played a saxophone solo in my middle school band concert; that my birthday was in May and that my father died during that month, that my mother’s name was Carol, my sister’s name was Bonnie and my wife’s name was Melissa; that I was considering getting a dog, specifically a yellow lab; and that I had a brother named Brian who wasn’t really my brother (Brian was my cousin who moved in with my family when he was ten and I was thirteen because his parents died in a plane crash). And yes, she knew about the plane crash, too.
To this day, the psychic medium still has no idea why she kept going that day beyond the normal one-hour reading. Yet by the end of the third hour, the evidence of an afterlife was stacked too high for me to remain in my skeptical denial. This stranger-medium could not possibly have guessed all these details about my life. She had to be getting her information from spirit. No, not just any spirit—my father. Only he knew the details of the messages she conveyed, or should I say, relayed. Not even Melissa, my wife whom I began dating when I was fifteen years old, knew all the details of these secret memories. They were private, sacred to me. I had not shared them with anyone, not even in a journal.
Having been a recently published author at the time, I decided to launch an investigation into life after death as the basis for my next book, beginning with psychic mediumship. I wasn’t hasty. I spent four years researching and experiencing the metaphysical, always maintaining the healthy skepticism I had developed as a private eye. Over the course of those four years, I received over one hundred readings from some of the best psychic mediums in the world. I met credible people with believable stories of near-death experience, and learned there are thousands of documented cases that all tell similar accounts of their afterlife journey. I even had my own successful past-life regression, stupefying me with not just the unexplainable knowledge I had about that past lifetime but also the physical and emotional roller-coaster ride I suffered during that regression.
After four years of limitless interviews, research and personal experiences, I found myself asking, “What’s the purpose?” How does this evidence help people? The significance got lost in my hurry to find the answers. Now that I had them, I forgot the question. I even wondered if I was being irresponsible by exposing the public to my discoveries through my writing and speaking. Then, all at once, people started dying—nobody close to me, but rather, people I knew through other people. And the answer I sought hit me like machine gun fire over the course of about ten months.
First, my friend, Kelly, lost her husband, Rick, at the age of 35 when a truck hit his car. He had pulled over on the highway to answer his cell phone, ironically for safety’s sake. He left Kelly and two children under the age of five. After the funeral and burial, I saw Kelly at the restaurant. She came at me like a wave, embracing me like she had been eager to speak with me all day.
“Bob, you have no idea,” Kelly began with a peaceful glimmer, “I am so grateful for the reading I had with that psychic medium a month ago. It has helped me get through this, knowing that Rick is still here, that he is all right. I talk to him and he has given me strength to get through this,” she acknowledged.
A few weeks later my wife, Melissa, and I got an email from Kelly’s brother, Danny, and his wife, Caroline (my sister-in-law). They wanted to thank Melissa and I for the spiritual insights they had learned through us from our work with psychic mediums. Our influence had got them to watch John Edward’s TV show, Crossing Over With John Edward, quite regularly before the accident. They wrote that Rick’s death was somehow easier to deal with due to what they had learned.
The same year our friend, Mary, lost her sister, Dianne. Mary had been to see one of my recommended psychic mediums a few months prior. She hugged me tightly in the receiving line at the wake, declaring her knowing that her sister was not dead, but was alive in spirit. Knowing is level of belief that results from learning about the afterlife and seeing, hearing or experiencing the evidence personally until you “know” it is true… real. Mary looked forward to hearing from Dianne at her next reading.
A few months later my other sister-in-law, Jen, lost her grandmother. Nana was possibly her closest friend and mentor. At the funeral, Jen shared with me that she still talks with Nana all the time—because of what she learned through my work. She knows Nana is still with her. Jen told me she is glad Nana had the opportunity to read my book and attend an event I gave with five psychic mediums. Jen believes these things helped Nana with her passing.
The testimonials of Kelly, Danny, Caroline, Mary and Jen had a message for me: Learning about the afterlife gives hope, comfort and peace to the grieving. I now recognized that people’s grief is affected by this evidence regardless of whether they learn about the afterlife before or after they lose someone close to them.
The coincidence of all these testimonials coming within such a short span of time was not lost on me. But just to be sure the message sunk into my thick skull, spirit orchestrated a grand-finale of messages from behind the ethereal veil. I received twenty-two rapid-fire emails from strangers all over the world with similar messages as those from Kelly, Danny, Caroline, Mary and Jen, thanking me for my book and articles on the afterlife. Okay, I got it; learning about life after death helps people with their grief.
With this I developed the premise that there is a direct connection between one’s level of belief (in an afterlife) and one’s level of grief. So I took surveys, interviewed experts, eavesdropped conversations and spied Internet chat-rooms. It was unanimous: belief and grief are connected. The evidence was extensive, though unscientific. I had learned to accept that about the spiritual. Proof is subjective. Some people need more evidence than others before they believe. I understand. I was once one of those people.
Hence, I discovered The Grief And Belief Connection. While spiritual insight about life after death will not eliminate your grief, it can change your grieving experience from one of hopelessness, distress and fear to one of hope, comfort and peace. It is the difference between wondering where your deceased loved has gone, feeling a loss of connection with them and worrying if they are still suffering—OR—knowing your loved one is safely surrounded by the light and love of God, understanding that they are watching over you and can hear you speak to them, and believing that they are not suffering, but rather, celebrating their homecoming with those who had crossed over before them.
After approximately six years of investigation, these are my conclusions. For me, it has made all the difference, which is why I have now shared them with you.