Posted by: Jody Glynn Patrick | 02/18/2010

Lovely Bones: Making it okay to imagine a heaven — and our child “living” there

What is “heaven”?

Nothing quite moves us to want to believe in an afterlife like the death of our child (or our brother or our sister, parents, or a beloved friend). We need to imagine a place for them to be (other than in a hole in the ground or similar situation) that is still close to us, even if it remains outside of our grasp. A good place to be. No… a “better” place to be than the hell they’ve left us in. We want to find a little relief in the idea that they are, conversely, in heaven… by whatever name we call it.

I’ve just finished reading the bestseller The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold – “the story of a life and everything that came after”. It’s now a movie as well, though I haven’t seen the movie. I don’t know if I want to, because I so enjoyed the book – you know what I mean – and the novel moved me in ways I may not even understand for years.

The author expressed my hope that my beloved son Daniel has an eternal soul and energy, and that he is a being that continues on, on another plane of existence parallel to mine, even though his body was destroyed in a car accident.

The novelist explores the concept of heaven and constructs one for the main character, Susie, after Susie is murdered as a young adult. I think what I most enjoyed is that the parents did not discuss their complex feelings of loss in the book. Susie expressed them ever so much more eloquently than we can express them ourselves. She understood them, from her vantage point of watching  and seeing them in all of their complexity; she was invisibly present. She watched them with great understanding and god-like compassion. She intuitively understood their true feelings and thoughts. Through her narrative, she described about 100 of the thoughts, missgivings and missteps that I shared with both of her parents  in the aftermath of my son’s death.

I also am thrilled by the author’s concept of Heaven, which again jibes with my heart. She described my hopes for my son even better than I could have imagined them myself. She took away the murky water that has stood between me and my vision of heaven, and made it clear.

May it be so.

What is heaven? Since at least the 11th century, Wikipedia sources inform me, “it has typically also been used to refer to the plane of existence of an afterlife (often held to exist in another realm) in various religions and spirtual philosophies. Heaven is often described as the holiest possible place, accessible by people according to various standards of divinity, goodness, peity, faith or other virtues.”

Lots of words. Lots of judgement. Lots of theology.

Because my son is deceased, and my parents and grandparents, and a brother as well, I long to know what heaven really is. I long for it to be a spiritual plane in which we all would be in harmony with, and not separated from, God and the universe, with all the souls that contribute to the knowledge and experience of the greater whole. I want a Heaven that offers the most beautiful music, most beautific colors and sights. And, of course, eternal love and connectedness.

Two planes of existence?

I can’t change the dimension I live in to accommodate this other dimension that I feel around me, though I wish I could —  but I take comfort in the idea that the two planes intersect because of the love I will forever feel for my family, regardless where they are.

Like the main character of the book, who spent much of her energy trying to communicate with the still living, Daniel communicates with me and I “hear” him and I “see” him.

I bought a printer for my computer – a computer I’ve used for two years. The printer began running through a cycle at odd times, and then it occurred to me that it cycled most often when I was daydreaming, thinking about Daniel. The computer, more often than not, was turned off – though sometimes the computer was on. Regardless, the printer continued to have the print head move across the carriage one to three times, and sometimes more during each episode. It did not resemble a pre-programmed cycle, as it was always random, and always different.

It does not do it every time I think of Daniel, nor on demand or when I wish. But once a day, then a couple times the next day, then not at all, then again a few times in a day, it will cycle. The times change. The tone changes. My husband initially dismissed it as an internal glitch — intil I bought another printer and that printer, too (different make and model) began doing the same thing when hooked up to the computer, regardless if the computer was on, regardless whether the printer was was the primary “default” printer or listed as an alternative or second computer.

Need more convincing? A few days ago, I was playing FarmVille on Facebook, my diversion after a long workday. Right before opening a mystery gift, I thought of Daniel and the fact that the game has hot air balloons, which are very rare. I already had one, and seeing it on my landscape just before opening the mystery package, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be amazing to have two? Can you send me another, Daniel?”

The balloons really are rare. Most of my Farmville neighbors, many who are at much higher levels in the game than I, have none. But Daniel and I share a hot air balloon experience that has been noted by psychic mediums and written about in an earlier blog. And guess what? Yep.

Bingo! The mystery gift revealed itself and yes, it was a hot air balloon. I laughed and cried at the same time.


No. We’ve had documented experiences with Daniel after his death, witnessed by others and so obvious that they can’t be dismissed. He is with us on this plane, in another form of energy.

Lovely Bones. If you haven’t read it yet, let me warn you that it will be extremely painful to get through, and yet exquisitely beautiful to experience. For me, it was a slice of heaven on earth.

Thanks for joining me at The Watering Hole. Your comments are appreciated.


  1. As I sat with my husband watching the Olympics the other night, I suddenly blurted out, “I wonder what she’s doing right now?”

    He regarded me with a puzzled look, “Um…she’s sitting in a box on the corner of the table over there.”

    I laughed. “No! I mean in heaven!”

    “Oh…there? I think she’s checking out that spectacular sunset with my grandmother and your grandfather, eating Beef Tataki, extra rare, and a cup of miso soup. And I think she’s trying like crazy to get your grandfather to try his first California Roll. She won’t shut up. She keeps gesturing with bits of the beef in her chopsticks. She’s making a mess with the soy sauce. Our grandparents think it’s wonderful”

    “Yup. That’s was I was thinking, too.”

    My daughter’s heaven also features a roller coaster. I know this, because she showed it to me in a dream about six weeks after she died. One of the strangest experiences of my life, but one that gave me comfort.

  2. I completely believe that there are other planes of existence and that the soul/consciousness survives out deaths. I lost my 20 year old son to suicide a few months ago and as part of the healing process, I’ve been reading many interesting books, some by physicists who explain how this is possible in terms of quantum mechanics. One particularly fascination book is The Hidden Domain. The author, a physicists, explains in mathematical terms, how thought creates reality, how the afterlife exists, etc. Another excellent book entitled The Afterlife Experiments, describes rigorously controlled scientific experiments that prove the existence of Heaven.

    Also as part of the healing process, I channel my son, Erik, through a well known medium. I ask him all sorts of questions including the nature of the afterlife, descriptions of the death process, and ones that delve into the deeper issues of spirituality. I’m hoping that through this blog ( I can find comfort, not only for myself, but for others who are bereaved and others who fear death.

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