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Closer to The Light by Dr. Morse February 4, 2012

Posted by heidi skarie in Book Review.
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I’ve been thinking about death. A friend of mine died of cancer recently. I got to know him when he was already in hospice so his death wasn’t unexpected. On the same day that I heard that he was failing, I talked to a friend whose mother had passed away and got an email from a friend whose beloved dog had just died of kidney failure.

Death is not easy to talk about. In our society people no longer die at home, but in a hospital setting so we’re separated from death. Moreover, many people fear death.

And yet death is a part of life. People and animals are always somewhere on that journey between birth and death.

I just finished reading Closer to the Light by Melvin Morse, M. D. with Paul Perry. The subtitle is Learning From the Near-Death Experiences of Children. Dr. Raymond Moody challenged the world to recognize near-death experiences (NDE) in his book Life After Life. Dr. Morse, a pediatrician, continued his work and by doing extensive research on NDE with children.

Dr. Morse first became interested in NDE when a nine-year old patient was in the intensive care unit. She had been found unconscious in a pool and had massive swelling of the brain. Three days later she made a full recovery. Afterward when the doctor questioned her about her experience he discovered that she remembered all the details of her hospital experience, including what the doctors did to save her even though she was unconscious.

She then told of going through a tunnel and meeting a woman named Elizabeth, a tall nice woman with golden hair. She also met her late grandfather and several other people including two boys waiting to be born. While out of her body she visited her home and saw her family. Elizabeth took her to meet the Heavenly Father and Jesus. The Heavenly Father asked her if she wanted to go home. She said she wanted to stay with him. Jesus asked if she wanted to see her mother again and she said yes and then awoke.

Here is Dr. Morse interviewing her.

Crystal who drowns in pool

This experience led Dr. Morse to doing research on children with NDE. He found that children have experiences that are very similar to adults. The main difference being that children don’t have a “life review” when out of their body, perhaps because their life has been so short.

The typical NDE experience begins with the person floating out of their body. They usually see their body below them and often see medical people trying to save them. They may also see family members. Then they go through a tunnel. Next they see a light or a being of light who they see as their guardian angle or a spiritual being. They may also see someone they know like a grandparent who passed away years ago. The person is then asked if they want to return to their body or told they have to since their life purpose isn’t over.

Here is an example of story from six-year-old Daniel who was hit by a car. “I was standing there watching the doctors load me into the ambulance, when I saw that I was outside my body. My mother was crying and everyone was in a hurry.
When I got to the hospital, I watched the doctors put tubes in me. I looked yucky because I was bloody and bruised.

“I then went down a tunnel that was dark. At the end of the tunnel was a bright light. I wasn’t sad and I wasn’t happy, but I did want to get to the light. When I got to it, I met three men. One was very tall and the other two were short. Behind them was a rainbow bridge that stretched across the sky. They seemed nice, but I was afraid of them anyway.

“All of a sudden I was back in my body. I looked down at my feet, and the men were there. Then they disappeared, and I was completely back.” P. 39-40

As I reflect on this story I remembered that my friend whose dog died said that Homer had crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Interesting that both of these people used this expression.

The chapter of the book that interested me the most was called The Pure Light. In this chapter Dr. Morse talked about the Light. He begins with a quote from Black Elk, a Native American Spiritual Leader. “Grown men may learn from little children, for the hearts of little children are pure, and, therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.”

Light appears in nearly all of children’s NDE and in one out of four adult experiences. The light appears after the person has had an out-of-body experience or traveled through the tunnel. The Light wraps them in “warmth and caring.” For some the voice of God comes from the Light. Many say that seeing the Light changes them for life. The pure light is described as unconditional love, or “all-knowing or all-forgiving.” One five-year-old said “I will never forget that Light. It is with me all the time.” P. 116. Another child said, “It represented love peace and happiness and complete and utter joy.” P. 116. Dr. Morse says that the Light makes the NDE mystical.

While the Light is important I noticed that Dr. Morse didn’t say much about the sound. Yet some of the descriptions of the NDE did mention hearing a choir or music. I believe the Sound and the Light are both ways in which the Holy Spirit speaks to us. We hear the sound current in the wind, the song of a bird, in music, and laughter.

Dr. Morse ends his book with a few quotes from the children.
“I have a secret to tell you. I have been climbing a staircase to heaven.”
“I just wanted to get to that Light. Forget my body, forget everything. I just wanted to get to that Light.”
“I wasn’t afraid to live again because I knew that someday I would be with the Light.”
“You’ll see. Heaven is fun.” P. 181.

Reading the book was perfect timing for me. It was a reminder that death is nothing to fear. We are soul, not our body, and someday we will leave our body and go into the Light where joy and unconditional love and a loving being of light await us.

If any of you had a NDE or any other mystical experience, please share them with me on this
The following are two videos interviews with Dr. Morse.

Interview with Larry King

Interview with Joan Rivers



1. MARTIN - February 4, 2012

Excellent review of the near-death experience certain people have had, especally regarding children, who have not had the life experience to invent, embellish, and confabulate thngs they may have heard or learned elsewhere or about whichthey have read. The purity of the childrens’ experiences lends a great deal of credence to the similarity of their stories–in fact, their reluctance to share their stories in many cases points to their unwillingness to undergo ridicule and teasing from their peers.

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