by Arnold Nelson

     I talk to the children at church from time to time and for a long time I have been wanting to do a talk on death. There are two reasons why I have not done it. The first is because talk is very long it would take almost twice the time allotted to me. I thought about doing in two parts but I was afraid I would lose many of the children by spreading it out over two weeks. The second is I am not to sure how proper it would be to talk about death in the middle of a church service. So I decided to do it this way. That way those that are interested can read my story and those that are not interested don't have to.

     My first experience with death happened when I was 11 year old. We were all watching TV. My Dad was reading the paper. He turned to me and said Junior do you know Christine? (he always called me Junior because I was named after him) I said yes I have played with her and last year she was in my class. He showed me the page he had been reading and showed me her picture. I spread the paper on the floor and read the article. I still remember the article even though it has been almost 50 years.

     The article said the Christine was returning home from vacation with her family. They were going through Arizona. A gust of wind caught their trailer and spun them around. When they spun around Christine flew out the window and was dead when she hit the highway. I felt bad because I liked her. My first thought was for my friend Barbara. Barbara and Christine were best friend and I was worried how she would take it. I never did find out.

     My second experience with death was when I was 15. We were told my Grandfather was dying and he was put in a rest home. I begged my Dad to take me to see him but my Dad refused he said I was too young. What really made me mad is all four of my older sisters had their own transportation and could visit him if the wanted to. I think all four of them did visit him. One morning when we got up my Mom told us that our Grandfather had died during the night.

     A few days later they had an open casket service for him, What open casket service is is that they leave the casket open during the service so people can see the body one last time. After the service all of us kids had to walk passed the casket. When Gary and I saw him lying there it scared us so bad we both started crying. It was quite a while before we got control of ourselves again.

    I still don't like open casket services. When I have to go to one I do my best to avoid looking at the body. No one knows what happens after death. Hollywood writers have a pretty good imagination. Here are two of my favorites.

      The first one is from MacGiver. MacGiver is a man who can get a car running that has been sitting for 40 years, with just a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. One episode MacGiver is laying in a hospital bed dying. His best friend and boss Pete is sitting next to him. Pete is feeling bad because he just got word MacGiver's Grandfather (MacGiver's only known living relative) has died. They switch to MacGivers dream. He is walking towards a big cruise ship that is docked nearby. There are many others getting on. Then MacGiver sees his Grandfather they walk on together. MacGiver's parents are there to welcome them.

     MacGiver suddenly decides he doesn't want to die and starts fighting to get back on shore. The crew tell him once you are on the ship there is no turning back. They lock MacGiver in a room until the ship is under way. MacGiver promptly escapes and runs to the side of the ship and jumps and grabs on to the dock. He yells for his Grandfather to jump. The Grandfather says no it is his time. MacGiver lifts an arm. to pull himself up on the dock and they cut back to the hospital room. MacGivers arm lifts up and Pete grabs it for all he worth and holds on. Of course MacGiver makes a full recovery after that.

      The second is from an old MASH episode. They bring a soldier into the MASH hospital that doesn't have a chance. They lay him next to Klinger who is delirious with fever. Klinger and the soldier start talking. The Doctors and Nurses can only here Klingers side of the conversation. They yell at Klinger to shut up but Klinger keeps talking.

     At the end of the episode Klinger is back to himself and asked about the soldier. They tell him the soldier came in dead. Klinger was shocked. The last scene is a foggy day the soldier walks to a street and sees all kinds of soldiers in all kinds of uniforms walking slowly up the street. He steps into the street and starts walking next to another soldier. He asked the other soldier where they were going the soldier says I don't know I am just following the others.

     With all the medical advances there are more and more near-death experiences. Near-death is where a person is clinically dead for a few minutes. Many of these people come back to tell the same story. They are walking down a long tunnel towards a bright light. It is very calm in the tunnel There is no fear at all. Then all of a sudden they feel something pulling them back and they have to go back into their bodies.

     Another common story people tell is they are floating around near the ceiling watching Doctors and nurses working on their bodies. It is very peaceful floating around. Then they feel a pull and they are forced back into their bodies.

     There was this real bad man I heard about who was hated by everyone including his family. He was on vacation in the far east and had a heart attack. The hospitals there were not very good and he died shortly after being admitted. while he was dead he said he was walking through the same tunnel so many others talked about, but he was suddenly attacked by a pack of wolves. He was yelling and screaming for help. He said the wolves were biting and chewing on him. but there was no one to help him. Finally they brought him back to life.

     When he recovered he was a changed man. He started treating everyone nicer and made friends with everyone. Even his family began to have respect him again. He became a minister and started sharing his story with anyone who would listen.

      What really happens after death no ones knows. We have many stories like this and you can believe them or not. That is your right. As Christians we know when we leave these bodies we do not die. We go to live somewhere else either Heaven or Hell. Christ gives us the choice. I have made my choice and Christ gave me a vision one day of what it will be like. I will be sitting at the feet of God with one of my twin daughters on either side of me praising God forever and no one will ever take my girls from me again. Someone asked me once what about your god-daughter. I have no answer for that. She was not in the vision I saw. I have no doubt she will be in heaven someday and we will be together but all I can tell you is what I saw in the vision. Amen

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