What Really Happens When We Die?

Tara EdelschickBy Tara Edelschick

I know that I'm supposed to care what happens after death. Theologians tell us that properly understanding the next life trains us to live the present life with urgency and purpose. And when I read them, I am always convinced that I should care.

But I don't. At least, not about the specifics.

When I was thirty, my husband Scott died. Ten days later, nurses laid in my arms the body of my stillborn daughter, Sarah. The grief overwhelmed me. I ached to be with them. I ached especially to know that Scott still existed. How could the very real center of my life no longer exist?

I went to psychics and channelers. I even read the Bible. I needed to know that Scott, in some form somewhere, was still Scott. I would have gone anywhere to find assurance that he had not simply ceased to be.

The Bible won me over in the end, but not because it assured me of Scott's existence. It didn't. Instead, in the process of looking for my lost husband, I found God. A God who is good and whose ways are higher than mine.

It would be untruthful to say that I don't have ideas concerning what happens to us after death. And theologians are right to say that my ideas on the life to come shape the life I live in the here and now. Yet none of those ideas are as strong as what I really believe.

Which is this. Whatever happens after we die, it will make sense. It will be good. And it will satisfy all within me that still aches.

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After the loss of her husband and daughter, Tara Edelschick took her doctorate at Harvard. She has remarried and lives with her husband and two sons in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

9/20/2010 4:00:00 AM
  • Death
  • Grief
  • Heaven
  • What Do I Really Believe
  • Christianity
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