What Happens When We Die

What happens when we die? The only folks who have an answer to this questions are those who have had a near-death experience. But I had an interesting conversation on exactly this topic in the most unusual of settings that I want to share with you.

This morning I went to an interview.

I was interviewing at the school district to teach a series of Continuing Ed courses.

The Director of the Continuing Ed Program was a very nice gentleman…suave, polished, and kind.

He asked very good questions, questions I enjoyed responding to because I am passionate about what I teach. And because they related to “Forgiveness”, the course I was planning to offer. I shared some of my own personal journey with him and handed him a copy of my book Losing Amma, Finding Home: A Memoir About Love, Loss and Life’s Detours a Hay House publication.

There was a moment of silence. I thought he was formulating the next question when he surprised me.

“I’m now going to take off my Director hat,” he said. “Pretend I’m a student in your classroom. Can I ask you a question as a student would?”

“Sure,” I responded, wondering where this was going.  Was he testing me to see if I knew my stuff??

And then came the question I wasn’t remotely expecting from the Director of a school district who was interviewing me for an instructor position.

“Do you believe there’s an afterlife?” he asked

This was easy. “Absolutely. I do.”

“Can I tell you a story?” he asked me.

“I’d love to hear it.”

He went on to tell me that his father had passed away three years ago. That he was the only one in the room when his dad breathed his last. He recounted the memories and moments that are etched in his mind forever.

“The sun was setting,” he told me. “I was sitting beside him. My dad was breathing heavily. All of a sudden, I felt a cool breeze at the back of my neck. I even heard the sound it made as it whooshed gently behind my neck. This was weird because there were no AC vents behind me, just a wall. I looked at dad and his eyes were wide open. All at once the question I didn’t even know I had within me popped out. I looked at dad and asked him if he was ready to leave. He nodded and looking into his eyes I knew it was his time. ‘I’ll see you on the other side when it’s time, but you may leave if you want to’ I said. And he closed his eyes and took his last breath.”

Bot of us sat in silence for a moment, awestruck by the gravity of this tale.

“It changed me forever,” he continued. “I’m not a church-goer, but I now know that there’s a place beyond this…where we go when our time here is up.”

“Thanks for sharing your story with me,” I offered., my eyes moist as happens every time I experience something that touches my soul.

“I wasn’t planning to,” he said. “As soon as I saw you, something inside me compelled me to share it with you.”

“I’d love to read your book. May I?” he asked.

“Oh, sure.”

As we both got up and shook hands, I said, “Whether this course is a go or not, I’m glad I came here today and received your story. It was a gift.”

“I am grateful I shared it with you,” he said.

When we’re not afraid to be who we are, we give others permission to open the doors they usually keep locked. In such moments we experience the true magic of connection.

Check out my memoir here.


  1. Ginny Brock on June 20, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    So true, Uma! At all the presentations of my book, the most common thing I hear is, “I’ve never told this to anyone before – in case they thought I was crazy…” We have to invite peopke to seak out. I loved your story.

    • Uma Girish on June 20, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      Thanks, Ginny…Love your feedback! Am glad you enjoyed this post.

  2. Sarah on June 27, 2014 at 4:08 am

    That is truly beautiful. What a gift it is when people offer their true selves. I can’t wait to read your book!

    • umagir@gmail.com on June 27, 2014 at 4:16 am

      Thanks, Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed this post. My book is available to buy at https://www.umagirish.com if you live in the US.

  3. BevM on September 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    A friend, Jackie T. shared your name with me this morning. When I came to your website, I was eager to see this story. This is very similar to a friend’s experience when her mother died. She actually told her mother it was O.K. for her to go, and experienced something like the “whoosh” the gentleman described. Peace.

    • umagir@gmail.com on September 11, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Thanks, Bev, for stopping by. Yes, when we witness a sacred moment like that it changes our entire perspective, doesn’t it!

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