These are fine words, platitudes you may think, and to many quite meaningless because they have never delved deeply into the well of life. I was such a one. I wondered and pondered but did not know. Then, one day I found out that there was not only a ‘life hereafter’ but continuous life – a life that will never cease, life that goes on forever.
JOHN: … Death, the fear of all, the wish of some, the relief of many, is the end of none – it is but a transition from one plane of existence to another.
This is a story of one man’s transition – the story of Bradshaw.
I greet you. I will use the name Bradshaw, for that is enough. Those who know me will, if they read these pages, recognise me. For those who do not know me it does not matter.
My life on Earth was a good one – I don’t mean in terms of my being a good person for I was as good or as bad as the next man – but in terms of what it gave to me. I started work very young, in the family business. We lost that during the depression years. Things were not any better for us than they were for a lot of other people at the time. I was barely on my feet when the war came. I married. Went off to war. Did nothing distinguished. Just did a job. When it was over I came back again, settled down, got my nose down to work, and in time built up a good business. I was lucky. I had the breaks. A loving wife and two lovely children. Things were going very well for me then.
I’d always been interested in psychic subjects, but particularly since the war years when one of my comrades-in-arms, who had been very much involved with that sort of thing before the war, had
spoken to me quite a lot about it on those lonely nights in the desert campaign. Times when men could sit and talk, and could almost forget about the war that was going on around them. Through Derek I’d learned how little I had really known before. Admittedly, I had started off as most people do, by finding it rather amusing. Almost, but not quite, laughing. But Derek was so sincere, so darn sincere that one had to take him more than a little seriously. And during those years after the war he introduced me to what is known as ‘Spiritualism.’
Well, I studied all the usual books which were around at the time. One book that impressed me quite a bit was On the Edge of the Etheric which I used as, shall I say, my foundation. In fact, I owe the author, Findlay, quite a lot for giving me that grounding, for it has stood me in good stead.
To cut a long story short, the time came when things were going very well indeed. Business was good. My wife and 1 were happy. I was able to take a holiday every now and again – a trip across to the Continent, or up into the north of Scotland which was a favourite haunt of mine, quiet, peaceful, a change from the hurly-burly. The children were doing well at school and were normal, healthy children. I had everything going for me, everything to be pleased about.
Then it started. A vague sort of discomfort at first, not a real pain, but I wasn’t myself. I no longer enjoyed my food. I felt that, possibly, it was ‘nerves’ although things were going well. This in itself was unnerving, even more so than if one was up against it, say, when starting a business.
Eventually Nan talked me into going to see our doctor. He, in turn, sent me on the rounds and ultimately to a specialist. His verdict was not good at all. Cancer. Inoperable, he said, and I was given about four months in which to put my affairs in order. With all the knowledge I had gained over the years it was still a dreadful blow – but there it was. I knew my time was coming, and very shortly too, and I could hardly believe it.
What of Nan? What of the children? What was going to happen to them? Without me there, what would it be like? How was the business going to continue?
Well, first things first. Get rid of the business. Get the best possible price. Nan couldn’t hope to run it. It was all I could do. There was insurance of course and other bits and pieces we’d laid aside. We had a little cottage outside London and that could be sold. It would be something extra for Nan, but maybe she’d like to keep it. All these things were going through my mind.
Then Derek came to see me. As soon as I saw him I began to think back to those old days, back in the desert. We sat and talked about ‘spirit healing’. Yes, I thought, there was still that. It was a ray of hope, only to be dashed a fortnight later.
The guides of the healer to whom I went said, “No, there is nothing we can do here. Make your peace, and know that we will be with you when the time comes. It will be easy.” Easy, I thought. Easy to leave your wife and so spoil a marriage which, through all its knocks, had been one of building, it was bad enough that I was selling out what had virtually been my life’s work.
Nan had married me early in the war years, as I’ve already said, and had stood by me even though she hadn’t seen me for four long years which she had gone through all alone. She had spent the war in London with a young baby, her husband far away, neither ever knowing whether the other were still alive or what was happening.
Now I was to leave it all. No, I was going to fight this thing. I wasn’t going to let it get me. Fight it I would, and fight it I did. By sheer willpower I managed to hold on for ten whole months. My body faded away to almost nothing and in the end I was bedridden. I couldn’t move, barely aware of what was going on around me most of the time. But Nan, what a tower of strength. She stood by me, as always. Nothing was too much trouble.
I didn’t get rid of the business. She moved in and, even though she was spending so much time with me and the children, she was showing a grasp of what was necessary. It was going very well. It was a ray – more than a ray – of hope. It gave me a great deal of peace. The end was very near now. I could feel it. The vital life-force was leaving my body.
Then, one Friday afternoon, lying there in a hospital bed, I looked up to see Nan smiling down at me. I said to her, “Nan, the time is almost here. I’m shortly going to leave you. In the years to come, do always what you feel is the best. I won’t mind what it is, but will back you to the hilt if I can.” She gently scolded me. “Why do you say, ‘If I can’? You know you can. You’ve read and you’ve heard. You’ve been convinced of the life that lies beyond all this.”
Yes, she was right, I did know. I was convinced. But in those months of lingering on with this thing working its way inside my body I had known moments of deep doubt and depression. And yet, in spite of this, I knew. Nan left.
I woke up from a good sleep some hours later. It was night. There beside the bed were two people: one I knew – my father – but the other I did not recognise until he spoke. Then I remembered him as a very dear friend who had talked many times while I’d been attending séances at a friend’s house. He’d often said to me, laughingly, “One of these days, when your turn comes, I’ll be waiting there to meet you.”
I looked at him. “Is it now? Have you come for me now?” “No. Not yet. But we wanted you to know that
we are here, that we are waiting, that you have nothing to fear. Now, look in front of you. What do you see?” I turned my head. There in front of me was a wonderful scene, a wide valley with gently sloping hills on either side.
Beautiful, green, shimmering. I described what I saw, and they said to me, “Yes, when we come for you it is to such a place we shall be going. Keep it in your mind, remember it well, for shortly you will travel there with us.” I fell again into a deep sleep, the best I’d had for many a long day.
The following day – morning or afternoon, I don’t know Nan was there and she was so sad. I smiled at her, or tried to, and she saw it. She spoke to me. Her voice seemed to be coming from far away. “They sent for me darling.”
“Yes, Nan, they have been to me, too. They’ve shown me what lies beyond this. I’ve had a glimpse. They’re coming for me now. It’s almost time to go.” Then everything started to fade. The last thing I saw was Nan’s face, sad but brave. Then it was gone.
I felt a touch, no more: a gentle touch on my forehead. Then I was standing on that slope above the valley, with my father and my friend, one on either side, supporting me. I wanted to look back but they led me gently away saying, No, don’t look back, for that is the past. Look forward across the valley, for that is where you are going and we are going with you. The other is all behind you now. You are tired; just close your eyes, relax, sleep.” I felt myself, without any effort of will, drifting into a peaceful, pain-free sleep.
How they transported me I know not, but I awoke later. I say ‘later’ for that is all that one can say. One event followed after another, but here I soon discovered there was no time. 1 slept and woke again. There, once more, were my friend, my father, yet another friend, and other people, some of whom I hadn’t thought of for years.
“Welcome home, welcome home. Come, lazybones, get up.“ “Now,” they said, “you’re ready to come home with us, but first you should see yourself.” They led me to a mirror and said, “Now look.” What a transformation! I looked and felt so brimful of energy, so alive, so vital.
They led me to the door and on to a verandah. The view before me extended way back, back across that same valley, seemingly endless, full of beauty.
“Look for the last time. Now, turn around and look to the future.”
And the happy company led me home.