Peter Fenwick on The Final Border at TEDxBerlin (Full Transcript)

So the next thing, well, not the next thing but another thing which happens is, to me, one of the most interesting things of all.

Do you remember I was telling you about this area people go into with love, light, and compassion? Well, this is exactly what we find. Some people are in and out of what they call “another reality.”

What’s the reality like? Very like the one which I’ve been describing to you. Except this time, there are spiritual beings, there are dead relatives, they all say to you that they’re going to help you cross when you die.

And so here is the sort of thing, the sort of story we get: “My father was at his father’s bedside, deeply distressed, but my grandfather quietly said to my father, ‘Don’t worry, Leslie, I’m all right. I can see in here the most beautiful things, and you must not worry.’ And he quietly died lucid to the end.”

So that’s very helpful, isn’t it? It isn’t, in fact, this horrid blackness that you’re all thinking of. It’s really quite different from that.

So this is an example of the alternate reality. They describe it as very beautiful, flowers everywhere, light, and love. So let’s come on now to death itself.

And death is a totally fascinating time. The things that happen are quite amazing. One of the things is it shows our connectedness, or our interconnectedness.

And deathbed coincidences are one of the major features. In a deathbed coincidence, the dying person, in our samples, within half an hour of death, but mainly at the time of death, will go and contact somebody with whom they are emotionally connected, somebody who couldn’t be with them when they were dying, or somebody they know very well and want to say goodbye to.

Here’s just such a story, and see if you like it: “Father told me that he awoke during the night to see a column of light at the end of his bed. As he watches, the column of light opens and his son appears to say he is dead but all right. He says, ‘Goodbye,’ re-enters the light which then slowly fades.”

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Quite often, you get a message. The one I’ve given you is in a dream. They’re lucid, they’re narrative. But if you were awake, you feel it as something very important has happened. You have to go and telephone.

Sometimes the person will give you a message themselves when you’re awake, but that’s not quite so common. It’s usually a very strong emotional feeling.

So then let’s consider what actually happens at the time of death, and why I say it’s so interesting. Clocks stop. I don’t know if in Germany you have the song “My grandfather’s clock”. I don’t think you do, which stopped dead never to go again when the old man died.

Well, mechanical clocks do stop, watches stop, showing the time of death. Do electronic ones stop? Yes, they do. We have stories of all of these.

So there is some relationship between the clock and the person. Animals. If you have a close relationship with your animal, and they’re at a distance, say at home, then quite often, at the time of your death, they will respond. We had a lovely story.

Here you can see Fluke, a black Labrador, and here you can see Derek; they had a very close relationship. Fluke died five years before Derek died, and in the last few days, Fluke was seen by Derek in the hospice room where he was dying. His wife wrote in her letter that she very much hoped that Fluke would be there to help Derek with his crossing.

Now, one of the most fascinating things to me is light, light at the time of death. Now, you get radiant light which shines from the person all around and may be seen shining outside the hospice room. At the time of death, the person may get transformed by light, and you can see light in the room.

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If you happen to be caught in the light, or go into it again, it has this spiritual quality of love and compassion to it.

Here’s a nice story which was told to me by a hospice chaplain. “Sometimes I’ve seen a light which is in a corner, like candle light. It’s a golden light, it’s not electric light. It’s not one of the hospice lights. It’s like candlelight, and it just appears sometimes. It goes when they die. They take their last breath, as everything settles down, the light goes out.”

So these things do happen.

Now what do we mean by having a “good death?” Having a good death means that you actually know what you want. This is why it’s so important that you all have listened to what I said.

Do you really want this? Do you? Tied up in pipes, and tubes, and wires. It’s not a spiritual setting. It’s not somewhere where you can relax into the death process. They don’t have time for you. They’re keeping the living alive, so what are you doing there?

So make certain that doesn’t happen to you. But death at home or hospice is, I think, a good death. It’s like this:

When you get spiritual care and where the relatives can visit, but much more important, where the grandchildren can visit. They can even play about on your bed if you’re not too ill. So it’s really important that you see that death is part of life. It is.

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