The HyperTexts

The Night the Veil Thinned

by Beth Harris Burch

A few years ago I witnessed something that changed me forever. I saw my Grandmother see Heaven. This took away my fear of death and the unknown, because I know now, once and for all, that I will truly be going home to a beautiful, loving place when my time on Earth is done. I want to share this experience with you because the few people who have heard my account have also been changed, and I believe it may help many others as well, so please feel free to share it with anyone who might be comforted or blessed.

Toward the end of my Granny's life she frequently made trips to the emergency room, and this particular night was supposed to be just like any other. But this night she came VERY close to passing away. As she lay on the hospital gurney, struggling for every breath, she was obviously in pain. Her face held a constant grimace as she fought for each sip of air that went into her struggling lungs. Alone with her in the room at the time, I was overcome by a crushing grief and enormous frustration that I couldn't help her, so I remained a silent observer of her fight for survival. Then, all at once, this tiny lady who had been a dancer and a true beauty in her younger years gazed upwards, and her painful grimace became a beatific smile. I sat stunned as the years fell away from her face.

I realized something had changed because, although she still fought for breath, she was no longer in pain. I was about to experience one of the most profound moments of my life. As she gazed upward at the ceiling, yet clearly NOT seeing anything in the room, she began to speak quietly and wave her small right hand over and over again. Although it didn't seem possible, her smile grew wider and brighter with each new discovery that only she could see. I have NEVER seen anyone more happy or more excited. It was as if she was greeting long-lost loved ones and was now, literally, dying to put her arms around them.

As I sat there stunned, I was absolutely positive that I was seeing my Grandmother see Heaven. There was simply no other explanation for an 84-year-old woman becoming young again before my eyes, as the almost-constant grief that she had carried with her since my father’s suicide many years before vanished. My Grandmother was filled with a joy so great, it took MY breath away. I don't expect to see anything as wonderful again, until perhaps my own time comes. So now, although I don't want to leave anytime soon, I no longer fear what lies beyond this plane of existence, because I look forward to experiencing such profound joy and happiness myself.

The following day when Granny was out of danger of dying, I asked her what she had seen when she was smiling so brightly and waving at the ceiling, and she confirmed what I already knew. She told me that she saw her father, her mother, her sisters and my father. Although she was glad to be alive, I could tell that she was also ready to be with her family in Heaven as well. I am sure the only reason she stayed on Earth was so my grandfather could have his "little bride" for a while longer. In fact, when Pawpaw said he wasn't ready to let her go, Granny said, "You know I can't live forever, and now I don't want to." That day Pawpaw signed a DNR (do not resuscitate) order.

As my preacher said, the veil is very thin when we come that close to death, and although my Granny survived that night, I believe she secretly wished that she had not been brought back from the brink. Well, several months later my tiny Granny finally left this Earth, and not long after, my Pawpaw followed his "little bride." I am confident that they are now dancing in Heaven together.

I hope that anyone who reads this is brought a sense of peace and hope, for I am peaceful and hopeful in the knowledge that I will see my departed loved ones again. If you or a loved one are seriously ill, or perhaps are just feeling despair, I hope this helps quell any fears you may have, because I am absolutely positive that there is no reason to be afraid of death and what lies beyond. God bless you all, and take care.

Beth Harris Burch
July 30, 2010

Beth Harris Burch is the wife of Michael R. Burch, the editor of The HyperTexts. He comments: "I once did an in-depth study on near death experiences (NDEs), but this is the one I have the most confidence in, because I know Beth to be a woman of integrity who wanted to report what she saw accurately, and I worked with her to make sure all the details were reported correctly. For instance, we talked about whether Beth's grandmother waved with both hands or with just her right hand. Reports I have read indicate that one in five Americans has had an experience similar to the one Beth's grandmother had: seeing one's departed family and friends. Usually such experiences are comforting; quite often they are life-transforming. While it is possible that people's brains could be playing tricks on them, NDEs do have certain interesting characteristics, in general: (1) the people seen "on the other side" seem to always be the dead, but if the brain was only hallucinating it seems the living would be seen as well; (2) people who have NDEs often report the transmission of information that could not have come from normal earthly sources; (3) religious beliefs do not seem to influence the process because most Christians who speak about entering what seems to be heaven don't report seeing Jesus or God, or being "judged," etc., but are most often greeted by someone they know

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