Targeted Age Group: Religion & Faith, Spiritual Growth
A Travel Story from Beyond: Death is not the final stop. It’s the transition between two worlds.One version of what the life of the deceased might look like.
A Light Behind the Door combines a real-life memoir with metaphysical concepts and ideas about the afterlife, both presented in story form. A vision which can one take away the fear of death.
The loss of her mother inspired the author to grapple intensively with the subject of the afterlife. The results of her research and her experience with her own grief led to this “travel story from beyond.”
Death is not the final stop. It is the transition between two worlds. Through this little story, those who are mourning will be able to experience one version of what the life of the deceased might look like … but not must—because everything could also be completely different! Religious convictions play no part here. Regardless of their beliefs and conceptions of the afterlife, readers are encouraged just once to contemplate life from another perspective and see themselves within a larger context.
When Ursula awakens after her operation, she finds herself not in her hospital bed but in the OR looking down on herself from above—and she realizes that there is no death … and that “death is a truly simple matter.”
Unlike her life. Here Ursula always had to fight: as a child, for her mother’s love and approval; as a woman, for the love of men, with the feeling that she didn’t deserve happiness; as a single mother, against her own guilt feelings; and, finally, against her illness.
In the afterlife, Ursula meets Celine, her soul guide, who greets her up by the ceiling of the OR. Celine ushers her into the new world and accompanies her through frightening, confusing, and uplifting experiences. From her past life review, Ursula gains deep insight into her being and existence. Connections within the “warp and woof” of life begin to appear, and many things take on new meaning in hindsight.
Meanwhile, in this world, Ursula’s daughter Sabine tries to come to terms with her grief and to settle the estate of her deceased mother. In the end, both manage to process their life together as mother and daughter: Sabine in this world, Ursula in the world beyond, and both together in an intermediate world that Sabine can access in her dreams.One version of what the life of the deceased might look like.
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What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
How A Light Behind the Door Came About:
Following my mother’s death, I felt the need to get an idea of where she was staying in her life on the other side, what she was experiencing, what she was feeling. During her lifetime, we had always had a very close and trusting relationship. And so began my intensive grappling with the theme of the world beyond.
Several years have now gone by since my mother’s death. In the meantime, my view of life both “here” and “hereafter” has completely changed. Death is not the final stop. It is the transition between two worlds.
I hope that, through this little story, those who are mourning will gain an idea of how the life of the deceased might look—but not must, because everything could also be completely different! Religious convictions play no part here. Regardless of their beliefs and their conceptions of the afterlife, readers are encouraged just once to contemplate life from another perspective and see themselves within a larger context. Those who view the world beyond as non-existent may wish to simply look upon this little story as a fantasy tale or thought experiment.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
It is a mixture of my real mother and a fictitious
I feel very light. Almost like floating. I’m seeing everything from above. People in green gowns are all excited. In their midst is an oblong table. Someone is lying on it. Next to the long table is a small table. It has all sorts of instruments on it—knives, scalpels, scissors, and other tools I can’t place more closely. The people in green gowns, probably doctors, are frantically trying to do something with the person on the table. I guess I’m probably just dreaming about an operation. No wonder with so many behind me already. What’s interesting is that I’m viewing everything from above.
Don’t let her die. Please don’t. She’s held on so bravely till now. Please don’t …
Whose voice is that? I think I’m hearing the thoughts of the people in the room.
Oh, no—she’s not going to make it.
I wonder: who’s the poor wretch lying down there on the operating table? Doesn’t seem to be in very good shape.
Suddenly, the whole room grows extremely quiet. Strange. The people’s movements slow down. They turn the knobs on the devices set up around the table. The person on the table is attached to the apparatuses by several cables. After the doctors finish turning the knobs, they remove the cables from the person and then place a white sheet over the body. It seems the person on the table just died. Yes, it can happen. Really fast. I see one man slowly slipping a green surgical mask off his head. He looks exhausted and profoundly sad. I zoom in closer and recognize Dr. Hilbig. Dr. Hilbig? Who was he just operating on? Wasn’t that supposed to be me under his surgical knife just now? So why was he operating on someone else? I try to get his attention. “Dr. Hilbig? Dr. Hilbig …” But he doesn’t respond.
“He can’t hear you,” says a voice to my left.
I look around. There’s a woman there. She’s smiling at me. Who is she? She looks oddly familiar, but I don’t recognize her. I’ve never seen her before in my life. Does she really mean me? Or is there someone else here, too? But she seems to mean me. Like me, she’s floating in the upper left corner of the room. I’m confused. This has got to still be the effect of the anesthesia. You always hear about how people concoct all sorts of fantasies under anesthesia. I even read once that they see everything from above.
“No, it’s not the anesthesia. And you’re not dreaming, either.”
I’m starting to feel uneasy. What’s going on? Who is this woman?
“The person on the table is you. You just died.”
“Me? That’s ridiculous! I’m still here! There …” I say, but as I look down at myself, I notice that my body is slightly transparent. That must have been some strong anesthesia.
“Yes, Ursula, you just died, but as you’ve figured out, you’re also still alive. It’s simply that your time on earth just ran out,” the strange woman tells me matter-of-factly.
When she speaks, her lips don’t move at all, even though I can hear her words loud and clear. But what is she saying exactly? That poor wretch down there is supposed to be me?
“Ran out?” I ask. “What do you mean?”
I suddenly realize that my body doesn’t hurt. For the last six months, it’s been hurting practically all the time. Except when I sleep. Then I can rest. Like now.
“You’re not sleeping. And you’re not dreaming, either. You’ve simply died. You’ve changed planes. There’s no physical pain here. It’s just that your time has run out.”
For some odd reason, the line from a St. Martin song from my childhood comes to mind just now:
My light is gone, I’m going home. Rabimmel rabammel rabum bum bum …
Where am I? I look around. I’m in a room. Everything is pleasant and bright. The walls of the room are yellow. I can see a garden. Where is this? Am I still in the hospital? A stairway leads out of the bright room straight into the garden. Strange. It all looks very different from what I’m used to. I walk out into the garden. Well, you can’t really call it walking. Because as soon as I decide to go into the garden, I’m there. Right away. Just like that! They really could have done without the stairs.
A winding path through blooming shrubs leads to a small clearing with a bench. All around there’s light. Where is all this light coming from? I look for the source but can find none. There’s no sun, either. Yet in spite of that, everything glows, giving the landscape an unreal look. In the distance, I hear tones merging in harmony to create melodious music. The flowers around me glow in every color imaginable—colors I can’t describe more nearly because I’ve never seen such shades before. The blossoms release a tantalizing fragrance. I feel elated, extremely pleasant.
In the midst of the garden is a small lake, its shore covered with grasses and ferns.
I look down at myself and discover that I have no clothes. I stretch forth one foot and place it in the water. Then the second. It feels good, so I wade into the nicely temperate lake. Tingling water envelops my whole body with an intensely vitalizing effect. I feel fresh and alive. I dive down deeper and look around beneath the water. Wondrous fishlike creatures swim toward me. I stroke them as they caress my body. Breathing underwater is no problem. What a great dream this is! I have to tell Sabine when she comes today.
No sooner do I think of her than the surroundings change. I’m back in the room where I just was, the one with the yellow walls. Too bad—that was such a nice dream. Why are the walls here yellow, anyway? Did they move me to another room? Oh, there’s a woman in the room. She has an extraordinary radiance emanating from her. Who is that? She looks like an angel
All of a sudden, I remember everything. I remember that I just died and that this woman explained it all to me. I remember sitting in the back seat of Sabine and Paul’s car when the woman suddenly appeared next to me and took my hand. And the tunnel, where a wonderful light awaited me at the end, with my father and grandmother waving at me through it. I remember the bliss as I dove into the light and then reunited with my loved ones. I don’t remember anything after that.
And now? Where am I now?
A familiar voice answers my unspoken question. “You could say that you’re in a type of wake-up ward,” says the angelic being I first met in the OR.
“Excuse me?” I ask, somewhat puzzled, to which she answers:
“We’re in a kind of sanatorium where you can first recover from the stress of the past few months. We’re all very concerned about your well-being.”
I look at her, perplexed: “We? Who’s we?”
“The team and I. There are first-class specialists here who specifically deal with cases like yours.”
“Cases like mine? So what’s my case?”
“Your life was very stressful toward the end. As you may remember, the physical and psychological strain you experienced in your final months was very great. This is where people come when they’ve lost a lot of energy and need to regain their strength.”
Well, that’s nice.
“I remember seeing my father and grandmother, who both died a long time ago. At the end of the tunnel,” I say.
“They were welcoming you. Most new arrivals are greeted by friends and relatives who have already died.”
“And where are they now?” I ask.
“You can see them any time you like. But if it’s all right with you, I’ll first introduce you to your new world.”
“How long have I been dead?” I ask thoughtfully as I hover next to the woman.
“Hmm, hard to say since there’s no such thing as time here. For your loved ones who are still alive, about six months have gone by.”
“Six months?” I’m stunned. But I just died!
The angelic being smiles at me understandingly. “Yes, my dear, it’s possible. The perception of time is different here.”
Aha. I sneak a peek at her from the side. Then I pluck up my courage and pose the question that’s been preying on my mind the whole time: “Who are you, anyway?”
She gives me a friendly look. “I’m your personal helper. You can just call me Celine. I’ve been accompanying you for a long time now—since before you were born, then all through your life, and now even afterwards.”
When I’m in Celine’s presence, I feel that I’m safe and in good hands.
“I just attended my own funeral,” I tell Celine, still quite dazed by the genuineness of the experience. “Was that something like a dream from beyond the grave?” I ask uncertainly, although I’ve learned in the meantime that dreams don’t really exist here the way they do on earth. But then, what was it exactly?
“You were attracted by the thoughts and feelings of your loved ones so that you became a guest at your own funeral.”
“But how does that work?” I want to know.
“Here you have the ability to move freely in any direction, both in space and time,” she explains. “You can even be in several places at once—wherever you feel you want to go.”
No sooner does she finish speaking than I find myself with Wolfgang, Hanne, and Sabine—all at the same time. It’s absolutely crazy. It’s not like having three TVs next to each other and watching three movies at one time. No. I experience what they experience—simultaneously.
I feel Wolfgang’s fear. What is he afraid of? I see a hospital. Even though he’s healthy, he’s afraid of ending up in the hospital. He’s having a hard time processing my death. At the same time, I’m with Sabine and Paul. They’re walking through the city, depressed. I also see Hanne sitting in her armchair in her living room, and I hear her crying quietly. I feel an endless sense of despair. Everywhere there’s pain and sorrow—pain and sorrow over me personally! I see and feel everything at once. I find it unbearable. I’m desperate. But what can I do?
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