Where are my Children who have Died? Will I Ever See Them Again?

Special note

Annette and I extend our deepest sympathies to all those who lost a child, family member, friend, or co-worker in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. We hope that the following previously-written article may bring some ray of comfort to our readers who are shocked and grieving in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy of December 14, 2012.

Why have they died? Where have they gone?

If you or someone close to you has lost a child, you know the terrible pain and anguish this brings to every loving parent. It is hard enough to lose an adult family member or friend, let alone one whose life has barely started.

Where is the justice in this? Why does God allow such tragedies to happen? And what happens to our children and other loved ones who have died?

Nothing can take away the pain of losing a child. But wouldn’t there be some comfort in knowing where our children have gone and what will become of them?

Throughout many centuries there was great darkness on this subject. But today there is a great deal of light, thanks both to the many people in recent years who have described their near encounters with death, and to the book Heaven and Hell, published in 1758 by the spiritual pioneer Emanuel Swedenborg.

Supported by Jesus’ statements about children in the Bible, Swedenborg assures us that children who die continue to grow up in heaven under the care of loving angel parents and teachers, and that every single one of them becomes an angel.

How could God let children die?

Few things in life are as painful as losing a child. There is an emptiness that cannot be filled, a void where there used to be love. The love is still overflowing in our heart, but the one we long to lavish it on is no longer there. All that’s left is our memories, our child’s precious clothes and possessions, and an aching inside us that will not go away.

As the reality of the death settles in we naturally cry out, “Why? Why would God take my child? How could God allow these precious ones to suffer and die?”

We have similar feelings, similar aching questions, when anyone close to us dies. A husband or wife, a sister or brother, a parent, an aunt or uncle, a friend, a co-worker. Why do people have to die young? Why are these lives cut off early? Why didn’t God arrange things so that all people could live out their full lifespan? It’s hard enough to lose someone we love who has had a long, full life. But when that life is cut off at twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty, it seems unjust. Why should one person die young while another lives to be old? Why do so many good people have their lives shortened?

Divine justice or human folly?

Are these deaths someone’s fault? Did the people who died do something wrong so that God is punishing them? Or is it the result of some societal sin, and these untimely deaths are the decrees of divine justice?

First, let’s take a practical look. In fact, many people do die because of their own or others’ poor choices and bad behavior. Hundreds of thousands die each year from preventable causes such as abuse of tobacco and alcohol, reckless driving, unhealthful living, and the effects of poverty. There is an awful lot of human folly in this world, and it does take its toll.

But what about innocent children? What about adults who have lived good, clean lives yet still die young, perhaps due to the wrongful actions of others, or perhaps due to natural and unavoidable causes? Where is the justice in that? Is this the workings of some twisted divine justice?

No, it is not. Untimely deaths—especially the deaths of children—are not part of God’s will. We are assured in the Gospel that “it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:14).

There are many reasons people die early. God’s will is not one of them. The Bible tells us that God “takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11). How much less would God desire the death of an innocent child? Please put out of your mind the idea that God has intentionally taken your child. The death of a child is something God permits not something God desires.

Then why does God let it happen?

Still, the ache remains. Why this child? Why any child? Why anyone who has not lived out a full lifetime? These questions weigh heavily on our minds and hearts.

And the fact is, none of us can know all of God’s reasons for allowing one child to die while other children live. God’s view is infinite. Ours is finite. God looks at things from an eternal perspective. Our view takes in only a limited view of the past and the present. We cannot know what would have taken place if our child had lived—how the world would be different, how we ourselves would have been different, how our child’s life would unfold.

In governing the universe and human lives, God sees all these things, for all people, in all times, in all their infinite possibilities and interconnections. And God is continually arranging things, not for our temporary happiness here on earth, but for our eternal happiness in the spiritual world after we pass on from this earth.

Though things may seem hopeless to us when we have lost a loved one, the Psalms assure us that “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). That “night” may last for months, years, or even decades. But in God’s eternal view, there will at last be comfort and joy for all the sorrows we have endured here on earth.

Can we have any real knowledge of the afterlife?

Of course, this assumes that our life does continue beyond the grave. In former years, the fate of our children and other loved ones after death seemed destined to remain a mystery until we ourselves joined them at the end of our own mortal lives. But in recent years, thousands of people who have had near brushes with death have come back to tell tales of a beautiful afterlife where we are welcomed by angels, including family and friends who have died before us.

Over two and a half centuries ago Emanuel Swedenborg, an earlier explorer of the spiritual realms, wrote about his extensive other-world journeys in his most famous book: Heaven and Hell. First published in 1758, this book has since gone through hundreds of editions in over a dozen languages throughout the world. Most of what is presented in the rest of this article is from Heaven and Hell, especially its chapter on “Children in Heaven.”

What happens to our children after death?

The first thing Swedenborg assures us is that all children who die, no matter what religion they are born into, are brought up in heaven and become angels. Not a single child who has ever died or who ever will die will end out in hell, baptized or not!

Didn’t Jesus tell us in Matthew 18:3 that “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”? And a few verses later he said about the little ones, “I tell you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). Not only do infants and children go to heaven when they die, but because of their innocent, trusting natures, they have an especially close relationship with God to eternity.

Do children grow up in heaven?

Have you ever seen the pictures of little cherubs with wings gracing many a valentine and many an old religious children’s book? This classic depiction of angel babies has led some people to believe that babies who die will remain babies to eternity. But Swedenborg tells us that not only do babies and children who die continue to grow up, but they do so more quickly in the beautiful, loving, and healthful atmosphere of heaven than they would have here on earth.

Children who die are given angel mothers who are chosen especially for their sympathy and similarity of character to the particular infant or child. These mothers love their adopted children tenderly, as if they were their own. Infants think of them as their own mothers, while older children will look to them as their new angel mothers.

While Swedenborg does not mention angel fathers, saying that all who live in heaven think of God as their common Father, in this day and age I suspect that men have made some inroads into the formerly all-female career of child-raising in heaven. And if not in the younger years, Swedenborg does describe angel teachers who instruct older children as their minds open up to the vast stores of knowledge and understanding available to them in the spiritual world.

Are there schools in heaven?

Just as here on earth, children in heaven go through different stages as they grow up. Infants and toddlers simply take in the world around them, exploring it with their eyes, mouths, fingers, and everything else. But before you know it, their thinking minds become active, and they develop an insatiable thirst for knowledge.

In heaven, that eagerness to learn is never dimmed by educational methods that don’t fit the active, affectionate, and inquisitive natures of children. Learning in heaven is hands-on, and involves seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and doing, not just sitting and listening, reading and writing. Swedenborg describes angel teachers with their students examining little bugs and talking about all their tiny parts. Another popular and effective learning method in heaven consists of what might be called spiritual movies (described before movies were invented!) that offer a vivid presentation of various spiritual subjects.

In other words, the “schools” in heaven are very different from the traditional rote learning so common here on earth since we first began formal education of children. Angel teachers are always adapting their teaching not only to the thinking minds but to the loves and emotions of the children. The instruction is always delightful and enjoyable to the children. It is also practical and hands-on. And it relates directly to issues and situations that the children themselves are involved in every day.

In short, children in heaven live, love, grow, and learn just as they do here on earth, only in a much brighter and more beautiful environment, surrounded by angels who love them, raise them, and teach them as if they were their own children. You can take some comfort, then, that even if your child is gone from this earth and there is a hole in your heart, he or she will be cared for lovingly, and will grow into an angel of heaven.

What about older children and teens?

Not all children who die are young and innocent. All too many die in the pre-teen and teenage years. And especially in the teen years, many of the deaths involve drugs, alcohol, violence, and suicide. The simple innocence of young children is gone, leaving parents and teachers to agonize and wonder if their teens who have died may be on a downward path instead of an upward one.

First, let me assure you that a teenager who commits suicide is not headed to hell as a result. If we as their parents, teachers, and counselors know the terrible struggles that some teens endure, and can sympathize with them in the despair they feel, won’t God and the angels similarly take a tender, loving, and forgiving approach to those poor, tortured young souls who feel they have no way out but to end their own lives?

Yes, the healing will take time even in the spiritual world. But all who die in tragic circumstances are given a level of care and counseling by angels with sensitivity and skills that go far beyond what even our best counselors on earth can offer. Teens who die tragic deaths by suicide or other means will get the help they need on the other side.

Neither will teens who die after having entered a criminal or immoral life be condemned on the other side. Some of them may require the spiritual equivalent of “tough love” to snap them out of their errant behavior. But that job will be done. For example, Swedenborg speaks of girls who have been drawn into prostitution being put into the care of strict angel instructors who penalize them whenever their thoughts lapse back into their former behavior, until they have put that way of life behind them.

In short, all who die before reaching adulthood, whatever their circumstances may have been here on earth, will get the care, guidance, and training they need to find their way to heaven.

Do love and justice triumph?

Here on earth, things often seem very unfair and unjust. There’s a simple reason for that: Here on earth, things often are very unfair and unjust. God allows human beings to run this world—and we humans are a mixed bag of right and wrong, justice and injustice.

But God runs the spiritual world in a very different way. Although there may be material injustice here, in the spiritual world not only justice but love triumphs because God is running the show, and God will not let those who are innocent continue to suffer.

If you have a child or teen who has died, you know in your own heart that your child had a good heart, whatever the outward circumstances may have been. God knows this too. And God will assign just the right angels to take care of your child and ensure that he or she grows into a loving and wise angel, and will be there to greet you with joy when your own time on earth is complete.

This article is © 2012 by Lee Woofenden

About

Lee Woofenden is an ordained minister, writer, editor, translator, and teacher. He enjoys taking spiritual insights from the Bible and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and putting them into plain English as guides for everyday life.

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38 comments on “Where are my Children who have Died? Will I Ever See Them Again?
  1. EcoMaas@aol.com says:

    Very comforting. Thank you for this article. Patty Halajian

    • Yakie says:

      My child died recently age of six. A virus attached her heart and only lasted 48 hrs. People tell you wonders to try to confort you but in the end it hurts so much that I don’t know what to believe. My question is if she is in heaven can she see us on earth? It worries me that she can feel the sadness and that she would not be happy because she is no longers with us.

      • Lee says:

        Hi Yakie,

        I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your daughter. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Nothing can take away the pain. But I hope this article has at least given you a sense that your daughter is loved and cared for, and in good hands in heaven. You will be able to see her again.

        In answer to your question, normally people in the spiritual world do not see people on earth. They live in a whole different realm: the spiritual realm. Instead of seeing the physical things that exist on this earth, they see the spiritual things that exist in that world. And that includes human beings. So she will not see you going about your daily tasks, and weeping when you miss her.

        Your daughter is now in the care of very loving and wise angels, who are also skilled at helping children who have been separated from their parents by death. Though your daughter may sometimes sense your feelings at losing her (angels and spirits do often sense the feelings of people on earth), her new angel parents will comfort her and reassure her that you, too, are in God’s hands, even if you are very sad at losing her because you love her and miss her.

        But most of the time, your daughter will be living her life like a normal, healthy child.

        She is exactly the same little girl that she was when she was taken from you. She has the same thoughts and feelings, the same likes and dislikes, the same little quirks and habits that gave you joy and laughter while she was still with you here on earth. And though she may sometimes feel some sadness that you are not with her—after all, we all go through our times of happiness and sadness during our growing-up years—most of the time she will be happily playing, learning, and growing just as she did here on earth, only in a more beautiful place.

        Once again, our thoughts and prayers are with you as you grieve the loss of your little girl. Please know that she has a happy life in heaven. And she will look forward to seeing you again when it comes your time to leave this earth.

  2. Walt Childs says:

    Lee, I like this article and found it very helpful. I do have a question. You stated that “all who die before reaching adulthood, whatever their circumstances may have been here on earth, will get the care, guidance, and training they need to find their way to heaven”.

    If a child can learn and regenerate their spirit in heaven, then why didn’t God just create heavenly schools in the first place, rather than this physical school on earth where some children can and will grow away from God and heaven?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Walt,

      That’s a great question, which could certainly turn into a whole article of its own. However, here is a short version:

      First, notice that even though these (future) angels died as children, they still did have a life on earth, even if a shortened one. For us to be complete and stable human beings, we need to have lived in a physical body in the material world. This provides a foundation for our spiritual life that could not exist if we were directly created in the spiritual world. (Directly created angels are an impossibility.)

      Beyond that, the question gets at the issue of why God created us human and free in the first place. If it would have been better for God to create us directly as angels, and not allow us to possibly choose evil and hell, then God certainly would have done that.

      However, the reality is that it would be better for children who die to live to adult life, even with the possibility of choosing evil, if they could reasonably do so. That’s because when we die as children, even though we do become angels, we lack the full, human and angelic development that we would have achieved if we had grown to adulthood. Yes, children who die do grow up to be angels. And the younger they die, the higher the heaven they end out in. However, they are more limited in what they can do in the heavenly economy because they have not developed to their full potentials as human beings and as angels.

      Even from a spiritual perspective, when people die as children, it is not a good thing compared to if they had been able to grow to adulthood. However, given the terrible conditions in so many parts of the world, and the many dangers to children even in the more developed parts of the world, it is an unfortunate fact of life that many people die before reaching adulthood. And God has provided that no one will go to hell who has not chosen it as a self-responsible adult.

      I realize this leaves a lot of things unexplained and not backed up with information and ideas required to fully understand it. At some point in the future, God willing, I’ll take this subject up in an article of its own.

      • Richard says:

        Hello Lee,

        I find your descriptive answer very beautiful and fulfilling in nature, but I must wonder if it does leave more room than desired for a bit of challenging skepticism.

        You state ‘That’s because when we die as children, even though we do become angels, we lack the full, human and angelic development that we would have achieved if we had grown to adulthood.’.

        Simply growing to adulthood does not, in any way, infer human (I am presuming internal here) or angelic development. It simply means one has aged. Even people in comas simply age.

        Unless we humans are like fine wine and can develop into something grander simply by being left unattended in the cold dark, I think this leaves a lot of room for misconception or error.

        Granted, most of us don’t sit around doing completely nothing though the years of our maturity, but many of us neither do things to help us grow spiritually nor really grow internally as a better human being either. We are usually too busy proclaiming to have the world by the tail and acting accordingly.

        You also state that children who die and become angels ‘are more limited in what they can do in the heavenly economy because they have not developed to their full potentials as human beings and as angels.’ If that is true and they can no longer increase their human development (unless we delve into the reincarnation paradigm), then does that mean regardless of further education in schools of Heaven, they will still be forever stunted in their growth and full development as angels?

        And if not, doesn’t this contradict the reason we must go through human development in the first place? If schools and teachings in Heaven can compensate for the lacking level in human development in order to fulfill the goal of fully developing angels, It does lead one to question the underlying importance of the required human experience when there are, as you’ve admitted, so many who die young with too little experience.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Richard,

          Great questions! Perhaps I should have just gone straight for the full article. 😛

          It’s true that simply growing up and growing older does not necessarily mean that we’re growing spiritually. Many people do spend their lives focused on material things and on their own pleasure and advancement to the exclusion of any spiritual goals and development.

          However, this life does have a way of bringing people face-to-face with their own character and their own mortality–and that can crack even some of the tough cases. There are many stories of men and women who spent the bulk of their lives pursuing money and advancement, only to go through a personal crisis later in life, and as a result turn toward more humanitarian and/or spiritual goals in life. Until we die, the end of this chapter of our story has not yet been written.

          So yes, it’s quite possible to “grow too soon old and too late smart,” as the saying goes. It is possible to die without having made any significant spiritual progress. However, even if that does happen, it was our own choice, since none of us can life a full life and die without having been presented many opportunities to grow emotionally and spiritually. So though it may seem paradoxical, even if we waste our life, it doesn’t mean it was a waste for God to give us a lifetime in which we had every opportunity to pursue a spiritual path if we were willing to do so.

          Also, even though many people don’t progress very far on the spiritual ladder, even reaching the bottom rung is enough to land us in heaven–albeit in one of the lower levels of heaven. We may shuffle off this mortal coil more focused on material things than on spiritual things. But if along the way we learned to treat our fellow human beings with some decency and respect, do a useful day’s work, and get our money and pleasures honestly, we will have developed the base-level character to continue in a reasonably happy and productive life in what Swedenborg called the lowest, “earthly” or “natural” heavens. That is where people live if they have been decent, fairly honest, fairly hard workers and are willing to labor for the benefit of their fellow human beings while reaping the enjoyments they desire for themselves. Their eternal lot is to do a day’s work under the direction of others, willingly doing their part. Very much like the vast bulk of decent, honest workers here on earth.

          In short, even if we have not embarked on any great life of love and enlightenment here on earth, if we have developed any solid positive characteristics at all that become a settled part of our character, have devoted at least some of our lives to serving others, and that have pushed aside pure selfishness and greed as our focus in life, then God has a place for us in heaven, and we will become part of what I called the “heavenly economy.”

        • Lee says:

          Hi Richard,

          About children and continued development in heaven:

          It’s not exactly that children who die are “stunted” in their growth. They do become fully adult, and live a happy, even blissful life in the angelic community of heaven.

          Rather, children and teens who die will always have something of the character of their level of development here on earth, even after they have grown to adulthood in the spiritual world. And that means they will not have the same level of power and effectiveness as angels as they would if they had lived out a full lifetime here on earth.

          For example, someone who dies as an infant will grow into an adult who is sweet and innocent, without the sharper edges in their character that would have been there if they had faced this life with its evil and its struggles. They are kept in this sweet and innocent state in the highest heavens because that was as far as they had developed here on earth. Picture, if you can, a sweet, innocent adult who has been sheltered from any pain, hardship, and disappointment, and is very open to the love that pours in from God without any resistance or filtering. This is a very good life.

          However, these innocent, child-like angels must be sheltered from any engagement with resistance or darker forces because they had not developed the experience or strength to face such things before they left this earth. Though their large numbers create great realms of love and light in heaven, and they contribute to the influence of light and love in the universe, they do not have the level of power and outreach that characterize angels of the highest heavens who went through a full lifetime of struggle and engagement, and reached the “second childhood” of being loving and innocent in nature from a position of wisdom and strength.

          Swedenborg uses the terms “the innocence of ignorance” and “the innocence of wisdom” to distinguish the two. Those who are innocent because they have never faced the struggles of life just don’t have the level of angelic power and influence that those do who wouldn’t hurt a flea because they’ve seen the pain, suffering, war, and tragedy of life, and have determined through that hard experience that they themselves are going to focus their lives on being a beacon of love, light, and compassion in the midst of any darkness that may surround them or come their way.

          Every angel continues to learn and grow to eternity. Even those who die as infants continue to learn, grow, and develop as angels. However, each of us learns and grows in the direction, and with the character, that we developed here on earth. If we die early, we are not stunted in our growth. Rather, our growth is directed along a certain general vector.

          To use a modern scientific term, our life here on earth directs our eternal life along a “cone of probability” or “cone of uncertainty.” That spiritual “cone” defines the parameters within which our various learning, choices, and growth in the spiritual world will travel. There is no end to the growth and learning we can experience, and as on earth, our choices will determine the exact direction we go in our spiritual growth. However, it will not go outside that general direction or cone that was set by our life on earth.

          I hope this helps to clarify some of the meaning behind my initial response to Walt’s comment.

  3. Richard says:

    Sorry – meant to say ‘our maturing years’ rather than ‘the years of our maturity’.

    Context does make all the difference!

  4. Zack says:

    Difference of opinion Lee – but that’s what makes the world interesting 🙂

    “…the question gets at the issue of why God created us human and free in the first place. If it would have been better for God to create us directly as angels, and not allow us to possibly choose evil and hell, then God certainly would have done that.”

    I think He did – but we rebelled. Adam and Eve / the (Kabbalah) Big Bang / whatever theory you want to believe in. But also, if we knew no evil, we would not know good – thereby we would have no choice. We would be angelic robots, if you will. There is no freedom in that.

    Children dying? The only way that I can get my head around that one is in the way Kabbalah explains it. But then you need to believe in reincarnation – or maybe not. Those little kids may very well have been “angels” that came to earth for our benefit and not their own.

    The shame isn’t in their dying – it is in us not learning anything from it.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Zack,

      Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, differences of opinion keep us thinking and growing spiritually.

      About the children, basically, when we muck it up so badly that they die, God and the angels receive them and give them a much better upbringing, which leads them to heaven. I think we on earth do learn something from it. Unfortunately, we’re awfully slow learners.

      I agree with your thoughts about freedom vs. robots. An angelic robot is a contradiction in terms.

  5. Mummy's girl says:

    Assuming you lost a sibling at a tender age, say 4 years old. So, once the children become angels, will they ever relate to us as their brothers and sisters? Because you say they are adopted by new angel parents. So when their real parents join them in heaven, does the real mother take over from the adopted mother in their upbringing?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Mummy’s girl,

      Good question!

      When we first die, we are able to recognize family members and friends from earth, and they are able to recognize us. That’s true even if they died long ago, and both we and they have changed. The reason for this is that we keep the character we had when we die, even if it matures in heaven, and that makes it possible to connect with those who had some connection with us here on earth.

      What happens next, though, depends on how close or far away we are from one another in spirit.

      In heaven, we gather together with people who have similar loves, motives, beliefs, values, and so on. By the same token, we separate from those who have very different loves, motives, beliefs, values, and so on.

      This doesn’t necessarily mean we can never see them again. Those who wish to can travel to other parts of heaven and the spiritual world. However, siblings and friends who have grown very far apart in spirit will generally lose interest in knowing and having contact with one another, and the memory of such earthly relationships will fade over time.

      On the other hand, friends and family members who are close to one another in spirit may very well live in the same community or neighborhood of heaven. In that case, parent-child relationships will tend to fade, and everyone will think of one another as friends and as spiritual brothers and sisters.

      For more on what what we go through after death, please see the article, What Happens To Us When We Die?

  6. Lake says:

    lost my 16 year old son in a single plane accident. To think that he would only think of me as a brother or friend really hurt. I pray the God I serve will allow us to see each other as Dad & Son. Its been 8 months and I have been seeking God and the trurh. So confussed what to believe.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Lake,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your son. That is an extremely painful experience.
      The main point I wanted to make is that our children who have died are alive and well, and are loved and cared for in heaven. And further, that we will see them again when it comes our time to pass into the other world.

      When that happens, you will know your son as a son, and he will know you as a father. You will be able to reunite and catch up on each other’s lives.

      It is only in the long term that our biological and family relationships tend to fade. Remember, we will be in heaven to eternity. And as the years go by, we will all be adult angels living in a society in which earthy and biological relationships have less and less importance to us, and our relationships as fellow angels become more and more important.

      Isn’t our greatest goal as parents to see our children grow into fine adults who take their places as full, contributing members of society? And especially of God’s kingdom in heaven?

  7. Lake says:

    Thank You for clarifying. It’s 8 months to this date. My wife & I went to the accident site for the first time today. The void is painful & the separation is the hardest to accept. I’ve raised my hands to God & asked him to take over. Hes led me to your site. I will continue to look & pray for understanding & comfort.
    Thank You

  8. Cindy says:

    I lost my son a month ago. He wad not just my son but my best friend. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing I will see him again. Thank you for your article it truly helped.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Cindy,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s death. And I’m glad that the article was helpful to you. Your son is still with you in spirit. And when your work on this earth is over, you will see him again, and have a joyful reunion.

  9. Doli says:

    hi Lee, I lost my son 3 1/2 years in car accident four months ago, since then I have been searching a lot about my son’s destination. thanks a lot for your article, at least I know he is not cold and lonely. As for me and the rest of family we lost happiness and joy almost forever. I wonder if we can recover from this big loss, while we have been injured but survived except him. Pray for us.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Doli,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s death. It is a terribly painful wound, and difficult to heal from. I’m glad this article has given you at least some comfort. We will keep you in our prayers.

  10. Spha's mom says:

    Hi Lee, I lost my 10 year old boy 2 weeks ago. I’m so hurt and keep on wondering if he is in heaven indeed. He was a good boy attended his Sunday school and knew his bible verses. All his classmates spoke highly of him. He had his moments where he would be naughty and talk back but we always disciplined him as a child and he would listen. I feel very guilty for not making him accept Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. I feel I could have done more than just attend Sunday school. I’m a christian worshipper and I’m wondering if I would be with him indeed in heaven one day. I’m so confused.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Spha’s mom,

      I am so sorry to hear about your son’s death. I hope this article has given you some hope, even though the wound is still very new and raw.

      I can assure you that you have provided your son with the foundation he needs to continue growing in the afterlife into an angel in heaven. Accepting Jesus Christ is something people must do in their own time when they are ready, usually as teenagers or adults. Meanwhile, Jesus is still with those who are being raised as Christians. Your son will be raised to adulthood in heaven by Christian angels who will build upon the foundation you have laid for him by bringing him to Sunday School and providing direction and discipline for him at home.

      In short, though it’s inevitable you’ll worry whether you “did enough,” I’m here to tell you that you have nothing to worry about or feel guilty about. Your son will do fine in heaven. And when it comes your time to leave this world, you will have a happy reunion with him. Then you will reap the rewards of your labors and your heartbreak when you see the angel he has become.

      Meanwhile, our hearts go out to you. We will keep you in our prayers.

  11. Anna says:

    Hello,,,i found out a friends baby boy is having cancer that he according to the doctors most probably wont survive,we are devastated that little baby is just 5 months old now,he looks like an angel ,smiles even though he is in pain….i just keep crying when i think about it and can not even imagine how his mom feels….pray for him while he still is here,but if it happens he does not survive this ,will he be in a better place,and will he remember us? love us?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Anna,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s baby. We’ll keep them all in our prayers. And yes, if the cancer does take him, he’ll be in a better place. As I said in the article, he will be raised by loving angel parents to become an angel himself. And yes, in the spiritual world we can know who our earthly parents and children were, and still connect with them. Eventually, though, all the angels come to think of one another as brothers and sisters, and of God as their divine Parent. But meanwhile, we can all reconnect with all of our friends and family members as we each arrive in the spiritual world.

      • Anna says:

        Thank you for your reply,do we all think about each other as brother and sisters eventually,or only children?

        • Lee says:

          In heaven, in time everyone becomes an adult angel in the prime of life, whether they died as children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged, or elderly. Biological relationships from earth then no longer have any meaning. But connections of mind and heart do. And since all are adults, the angels all relate to one another as (spiritual) brothers and sisters rather than as parents and children.

          That is how it works after we have been living in the spiritual world for many years or many decades. At first, though, we do recognize one another as parents and children, biological brothers and sisters, and so on. This means that we can get together with family members after we die, catch up on each other’s lives, and so on. But over time we will be close to our family members only if we are close to them in spirit. And then we will gradually no longer think of them as our parents or children, but as fellow angels who are all children of God.

  12. Kanchan says:

    Hi, Lee Kanchan here I lost my son 25years old very religious whole family is grieving for him iam really missing him but after reading your article iam feeling much better Thank you so much Lee GBU

    • Lee says:

      Hi Kanchan,

      I’m sorry to hear about your son’s death. And glad to know that this article was helpful to you as you and your family grieve. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  13. Lucy says:

    Hi Lee,

    I am really enjoying reading your blogs on the after life. You have pretty much confirmed what I believe and had read previously. Except for the animals part- I believe they do indeed have souls and do go to heaven 🙂

    On the subject of children. If there’s a situation where a child has been killed by someone, in those last moments would that child’s soul still be with its body experiencing the fear and pain or would it have left earlier to make its way to heaven? Surely no child should know its about to be killed or experience the pain of this?

    Presumably when these children’s souls go the after life they will have no memory of any of the pain or fear they experienced as a result of how they died be it an illness or a murder?

    • Lee says:

      Hi Lucy,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your comment. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog!

      About children who die traumatic deaths, it’s hard to know exactly what they’re feeling and not feeling during those terrible events. Our body/mind does have the ability to block out pain when it gets too overwhelming. And at the moment our soul passes over to the other side, (with very few exceptions) we are flooded with a sense of peace due to the presence of heavenly angels with us to help us in our transition to the spiritual world. So even if children (or adults) do experience trauma in the moments or hours leading up to death, that trauma is replaced with peacefulness and an atmosphere of love and light as soon as the transition is made.

      And though children will likely retain some memory of those traumatic events, young children, especially, live in the moment, not in the past or the future. And children in heaven are entrusted to very loving angels who love them as if they were their own children. So any past trauma is quickly swallowed up in the present experience of love, safety, and security in their present life in heaven.

      For older children and teens it may be a little more difficult. They live less in the moment, and their experiences have had a greater effect in forming or hurting their mind and heart, which has begun to crystallize a little more. So there may be a period of transition when the old trauma continues to have an effect. But again, with the help of loving and wise angels, even older children and teens who die having had a hard and traumatic life will be able to move past that dark beginning and move on to a happy life in heaven.

  14. Barbara says:

    I lost my daughter to heroin overdose. She was 22 and my only child. I miss her so much. I wish she left me a grandchild. She died June 3rd 2017. I do not want to live or be in this world anymore. All I do is think of different ways to kill myself so I can b with her. They say she is in no more pain but I am now in pain. I have had enough. I pray that God will take me and either let another child live or let another mother live. Please have everyone pray to God to take me now

    • Lee says:

      Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for stopping by, and for telling your story. I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your daughter. That is always terribly hard and painful, but especially when she is your only child. Yes, she is in a better place now. And because of your love for her, you are in a worse place.

      And yet, I do believe God still has a reason for you to be here, even if that’s not clear to you now. The death of your daughter is still very fresh. And though the pain will never go away as long as you are living here on earth, there will still be some healing over time. I do hope this article is of some help to you.

      Also we don’t know what God has in mind in the various events of our lives. Perhaps God saw that your daughter would be in better shape eternally if God allowed her to leave this earth now than if she had continued on. God always looks at our eternal happiness first.

      Perhaps knowing a little more of what your daughter is now experiencing might help. Here is one more article on this website that may give you some comfort and insight about what your daughter is now experiencing:

      What Happens To Us When We Die?

      Whatever struggles led your daughter to get caught in the trap of hard drugs, she is now getting the help she needs to face them and find some healing for her spirit.

      Meanwhile, we’ll keep you in your prayers, not for you death to happen soon, but for you to find some comfort, meaning, and expansion of heart as you grieve the loss of your daughter from this earth.

      • BARBARA says:

        Thank you for responding. I really really do not want to live anymore. I have had no many bad things happen that I can’t take it anymore. God knows how much pain I am in. I am so tired. I just want to go home.

        • Lee says:

          Hi Barbara,

          I’m sorry to hear it. I wish there were more I could do for you from this distance. Do you have any friends who can help you through this terrible time? There are also online forums where people who have lost loved ones can go to get support from others who have experienced the same thing.

        • BARBARA says:

          To tell you how mean my sisters are- They had an 80th surprise birthday party for my mother- They invted her friends. of course we were not invited. When my mother told me about her party she said to me I had a wonderful time. She should have said to them I have another daughter, son and law and granddaughter that should be here but she didn’t. she didn’t want them to get mad at her.

  15. BARBARA says:

    No. I have a husband that is sick. But right now he is so mad. I cannot talk to him. MY oldest sister was brutally murdered. I have a brother but he is in his own world. He tried to commit suicide. He poured gasoline on himself and set him self on fire. That was two years of hell for me. My mother who is 86 does not drive. I had to take her to see him in the hospital in the philly. He was there for 7 months then he had to get 3 lawyers. he was charged with arson – he did it in a company truck. we had to get him a bankruptsy lawyer. he lost his house. and we had to get him a social security lawyer- he is too mentally ill to work. so I had to take him everywhere. I have 2 sisters who have not spoke to me in 12 years. those 2 did nothing to help my mom with my brother. not even visited him once. I feel bad for my daughter cause at Christmas she could not see her cousins who were like the sisters she never had. she would cry. I had a friend that backstabbed me, but she just died. I am not speaking to my mother now. I am mad that she never tried to get my sisters to talk to me maybe my daughter would have had some happy Christmases with her cousins. Since Holly died and if my brother dies before me. I will have no next of kin. I asked my mom if she would talk to them about that. she won’t. I did so much for her- stayed every weekend with her to take her to church, food shopping and out I would have her every Sunday for dinner and make sure there were left overs for her. And now she can’t do this for me. Me and my husband are deep in debt. 3 months late on the rent. could not afford his oxygen tank the company came and took it away. we cannot afford to pay the funeral home 3000. My husband does not get much for his social security disability and now they take out 140 for medicade. I just don’t understand. I have done so much for everyone and my 2 sisters have not done a thing to help. they are both wealthy. the one works for adp and is way up high in the company making high 6 figures, my other sister is a teacher- makes 100,000 a year. her husband owns a big landscaping business and the have 5 houses including one down the shore. I could not afford to miss work to help my mom and brother but I did without pay. we would live off credit cards.

    I am starting to believe that there is no God. All I wanted in life is like everyone else. The American dream but no such luck. We could never afford a home. I was not able to go to college. I had 2 miscarrages then it took 7 years with fertility doctors to have a baby. and then of course I get pregnant after I got laid off and had to do 3 months bed rest. So with all this from the past years and with hollys drug problem and My husband being sick- not sure how much longer he has. I have had enough. We fight because neither one of us wants to die last. I always tought that I would find him dead in bed first.- not holly. All I keep seeing is her laying there. I have been seeing a therapist weekly but I cant afford the co- pays any more but it doesn’t matter. he said that there is nothing he can do for me. So please cant you see why I do not want to go on living. There is no joy no nothing. It is so hard with my daughters death and being so poor. If there is a God and he sees my struggles, then why is he not helping. Since I don’t have Holly anymore and my life is always going to be a financial struggle why go on. I have no one to help me.I have nothing to look forward to except my death. I wake up every morning disappointed that I am still alive. I am not taking my blood pressure medicine or any medicine and I am not eating much. I eat as much salty stuff as I can and if I was told I had cancer or some disease I will not do anything about it. I will never go to a doctor again if I feel sick- I hope the sickness will kill me. How many people do you think would want my life.
    I don’t drink alcohol but I think I will and then take a whole bottle of tylonal pm. So you can see- I really do not want to go on anymore. Life is not going to get better for me- only worse. My husband has lung problems, cardio problems, sees a cardiologist a pulminologist a hemotologist., They found another nodule on his lung. he is now diabetic. cannot afford to go to diabeties classes. he has to see a podiatrist- cant afford it and now he has weak kidneys. we cant afford to see a urologist. My husband is 60 years old. every doctor he sees thay say the same thing you are to young to be having all these medical issisues. He worked with chemicles for 28 years at work but there is no way to prove that is what caused him to get sick
    So tell me if you had my life would you want to go on…… I do have a dream – I wish I could hit the lottery for millions and start a charity for parents who have lost a child to drugs or alcohol. It is so difficult going back to work just after 3 days. It is not like losing a parent or sibling. I know its painful beleuve me when my sister was murdered- stabbed 27 times, broken neck, broken jaw. she was 40 an 89 pounds. She lived in vegas. I t took 8 years for the police to find her killer. two days after they found her my dad died. he had a heart attack after she was murdered. I was numb for 4 months. I would be able to help the parents financially if they are struggling and need to take time off from work but don’t get paid. I would be able to pay there housing utilities, food and help with funeral. It is bad enough when you lose a child suddleny but no one can imangine what its like to be poor and lose your child- only child. I appreciate you listening to me and praying but the best thing everyone can do is pray for my death. What do I have to look forward to- more financial struggles my husbands health detoerating If there is a God and sees my worries I think he would understand If I took my own life. If God knows what our struggles are going to be thru out our life then why did he let me to be born. Or if there is a God he must hate me so much that he is punishing me.

    • Lee says:

      Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for telling more of your story.

      Yes, I do understand why you would not want to be here anymore. And yes, I do think God would understand if you took your own life. God’s feelings about it would not be anger, as some religious people think, but sorrow. And no, I don’t think you would automatically go to hell for committing suicide, as some religious people think (see my article, “Does Suicide Work?”).

      Aside from the general sadness and loss it represents, the problem with suicide is not that people who kill themselves go to hell, but that their spiritual growth tends to get arrested at that point, and they lose the ability to make further major progress on their spiritual path. Whatever choices we make and whatever life we live here on earth, that is what determines our eternal place in the afterlife.

      That may not matter to you right now given your extreme pain at your daughter’s death. And that’s very understandable. But consider your aspirations to be able to help others who have lost a loved one. That is not only a fine, spiritual, and selfless aspiration, but it is also something that can give you a reason to keep living. If you take your life now, any possibility of doing that, at any level, will be lost. Even in the afterlife you won’t be of much help to people who have lost someone because you cut off your own life before you had the opportunity to face and move through your own loss, and therefore before you gained the experience and spiritual growth necessary to help others. (And yes, angels do help people, both here and after they die, who have gone through terrible loss and pain.)

      Perhaps you may think that in your bad financial situation, you could never really help anyone else who is facing the same terrible situation you are. And financially that may well be true. I’m not going to pretend that it’s likely that you’ll suddenly get rich and have all the money you want to help others out of their big holes. However, emotionally you can, in time, still be of great help to others who have been through what you’ve been through. In particular, the power of the Internet makes it possible to get together virtually over great distances with others who have lost children. Here is just one forum that I know of that you could go to and find others who have lost adult children:

      http://forums.grieving.com/index.php?/forum/14-loss-of-a-child/

      There, especially since you have no one to help you and comfort you in person right now, you may find others who can help you through this very dark time period. And in time, you, too, may be able to help others through their loss. There are many other forums like this on the Internet.

      Of course, your life is in your own hands. Just consider that perhaps this terrible loss may be what gives you the ability to help others who are suffering as you are suffering. It is when we can help one another that God shines into the darkness of our grief, through our compassion for one another.

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Lee & Annette Woofenden

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