I can now wonder whether one reason why we are so little aware of the presence of
the dead … may be … that we have no concepts for their conditions
and they therefore become unreal for us.
Rosalind Heywood, Death and physical research, 1969.
Within the study, the songs sung by the voices (participants) captured in the telling of the story of their encounters with their deceased loved ones, now immortalised in print, reveal a collective journey. It is a journey of self-discovery, hope, and triumph over grief, despair and loss, which combined with their after-death encounters, reveal the multidimensionality of the bereavement experience.
Those who were unsure of life after death or who had never really thought about non-material reality gained the lived experience and understanding that physical death did not end or define a person’s existence, and that physical death was a permeable barrier between material and non-material reality. Those who had a sense of the existence of an alternate non-material reality, felt that the after-death contact they experienced provided the validation that such a non-material reality existed. And those who already had knowledge of such, were affirmed.
As each individual communed with their own ‘dark night of the soul’ which their bereavement plunged them into, they turned inward, plumbing the depths of anguish and discovering for themselves an ongoing sense of connectedness with those close to them who had died, and a new way of being in the world.