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Not Goodbye, but “See You on the Other Side”

A sunrise in yellows and oranges over the mountains with a pine tree in the foreground, a photo by Emmeline Ensign
Photo by Emmeline Ensign

“Birth and death are only doors through which we pass, sacred thresholds on our journey.” —The Buddha

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” —Rabindranath Tagore

One of the stories I like to share is the time when my daughters were very young and were playing on the jungle gym at a neighborhood playground. A group of the kids had gathered together and seemed to have some sort of game going. I asked what they were doing. My daughter said, “We are taking turns. When one person jumps down to help on earth, another person climbs up to help from the stars.”

I often share that story when talking about grief and loss.

Because all life is made up of energy, it continues on—even after the physical is gone. The law of energy states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It simply changes form.

Trees are a wonderful example of such transformation. When a tree dies in the forest, the stump maintains an important function in the ecosystem and communicates with the surrounding trees through an interconnected root system, in ways scientists are still trying to understand. Even a tree that has been completely uprooted likewise lives on in the multitude of seeds that were dropped.

When people pass, they too live on in multiple ways that we can feel and sense.

They live on in their words and actions. The people we love also taught us something that we now carry forward. They may have sung songs, made meals, taught us sports, told jokes, listened to us as no one else, or comforted us when we were in need. They created memories with us. They dropped seeds of love.

As such, they live on in everything and everyone they touched.

Moreover, for some of us—myself included—the communications with a loved one who has passed do not end at death. These connections to a person’s spirit, and brief glimpses of the beyond, might come through in a vivid dream, in a quiet moment in nature, in an unexpected sighting of special significance, in a voice heard while walking or driving, or in some other way.

I’m guessing a lot of people don’t openly discuss these experiences because they are profoundly personal and private. Perhaps we also think no one will believe us.

But in our hearts, we know. We know our loved ones are always with us in ways other people might not comprehend. They support us and guide us as we traverse this earthly plane. They haven’t truly left us; they have changed form to something maybe less tangible, but as real as when we physically held their hands.

The children on the playground intuitively understood: We do the best we can while here on earth to care for one another; and when our physical body passes away, the inner essence of our being simply travels on . . . continuing to help from the other side.

Be well.


Peace & Much Love, 

Diana Ensign

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