About a year after my friend Jim died, I began to sense–or imagine–that from the next life he was somehow nudging me to write about my experience of his dying and death–and what happened afterwards. It was as though he was telling me that if I wrote about this, it would be helpful to other people. That was like him: Jim was always trying to be helpful to other people. A couple times I wrote a few paragraphs, but then I set them aside. I had other things to do, more important, I thought. Recently, however, I watched a Quaker Speak video with Quaker hospice chaplain Carl Magruder, who urged Friends to “think deliberately about our death” and to share our thoughts with others. I felt that nudge again.
As I began to write about my experience with Jim, other memories came to me, too: the wake of my grandmother, and being called by a hospital about a friend, Janet, who had been brought in unconscious. The day before Janet’s death, I had given her a flyer for a gathering entitled “Hasten Unto God,” and she had given me a warning about plans I was contemplating. Her death helped me find my way.
What happens in the transition between this world and the next is still largely a mystery to me, but I have increasingly become convinced that our souls remain alive after our bodies die, and that we can touch each other across the gap between this life and the next.
The article I wrote has been published in the October issue of Friends Journal, complete with photographs of my grandmother and Jim. You can read it by clicking on the link HERE.
Between This Life and the Next: How have you been touched by the death or dying of someone close to you?
© 2022 Marcelle Martin
Upcoming Online Webinar with Marcelle Martin:
Introduction to Faithfulness Groups
A small group practice for spiritual support, growth, and accountability
November 19, 2022 online
10:00 am – 12:30 pm and 2:00 – 3:30 pm
In this online introduction to Faithfulness Groups, participants will have opportunities to practice skills in deep listening and asking evoking questions, practices which assume that each person has a direct inward connection with God, Spirit, Christ and/or the Inner Guide. These skills can help people pay more attention to how the Spirit is at work in them and in their lives. They are useful for spiritual friendships and clearness committees, as well as faithfulness groups. Through pair exercises, small groups, and large-group discussion, we will explore the process of Faithfulness Groups as a model for listening to the Divine Presence. We will experience the capacity we each have to support people of any faith in allowing the work of the Spirit to become manifest through us and our communities.
We intend that you leave the workshop feeling more prepared for continued and deepening faithfulness in your life, and perhaps inspired to participate in a Faithfulness Group yourself. At the end of the session, we’ll discuss next steps and a wealth of additional supports for those who are interested in forming Faithfulness Groups.
Whether you are interested in learning about Faithfulness Groups for yourself or your Meeting, please join us for an experiential workshop to learn about the model of Faithfulness Groups as a way to delve into living more faithful lives—in big and small ways. If your schedule is tight, it is possible to attend only the morning session. The afternoon session, however, requires attendance in the morning.
For more information and to register: https://lu.ma/faithfulness_groups_2022
On October 18, 2021, my mother called me in tears to tell me that my sister’s son had taken his own life. Yesterday I read your article and today I read your blog post. After Leland’s death, I did not feel his soul close to me in any memorable way, but my mother did. The timing of the article and blog post are what’s remarkable for me. Marcelle, I hope you learn more about dying and death and can teach more about it.
Karie, I’m sorry to hear about your family’s terrible loss. I’m glad that your mother felt Leland close to her after his death. Thank you for the encouragement to learn more about death and dying and to share what I learn.
Thank you, Marcelle. I enjoyed the article (and the Light between each letter). I remember well how you, Sharon McDonald and Paulette stood around my bed when I was really quite ill at Pendle Hill in 2005. It really was very touching and helped so much in my (very quick) recovery.
Thank you for sharing that memory, Gerry!
Thank you for this, Marcelle. It’s rare to be let into others’ intimate experiences in this way, and it is a blessing.
Thank you, Janaki!