What happens when we die?
Is there simply nothing—as some believe—an eternal void? Or are we assured an after life? Few of us have not struggled with the question, for death is as certain and natural a process as life.
Susan L. Schoenbeck has worked with patients at the edge of death—as an intensive care nurse, as a long-term care nurse, as a teacher of nurses, as a writer and lecturer. She has helped grieving families and individual patients who have entered that special realm between life and death and returned, who have encountered what we now call a Near Death Experience (NDE), who have journeyed beyond life. She has witnessed the physical and spiritual sides of both life and death.
From her own rich experiences, and by gathering those of others—fellow nurses, doctors, patients, caregivers, emergency medical technicians, family members—Schoenbeck has compiled this collection of more than sixty personal encounters in the special realm between life and death—or, as Susan Schoenbeck sees it, the “final entrance.”
Many of the stories in this book are about near-death experiences. Some are about people experiencing spirit form outside their bodies. Others are about earthly visits of friends or relatives who have recently died. Many people at the edge of death see and talk to family members long deceased, and others find ways to say goodbye to love ones far away. Some, journeying beyond life, choose not to return, resisting medical efforts to prolong life. In all these stories, there is the realization that death is not a final chapter but a transitional period, the entrance to a very special spiritual world. It is the spiritual side of the death process that Schoenbeck writes about in this book. As she says, “Ask people who have had a close brush with death, ‘Do you believe in life after death?’ They reply, ‘I don’t just believe, I know.‘”
Reading Schoenbeck’s book will be a fascinating and telling experience for all readers, and it will hold a special meaning for her fellow nurses and caregivers everywhere. By working with people at the edge of death, and sharing those experiences with others, she helps all of us to understand and appreciate the very process of dying—and by understanding, we lose fear of death and gain a new appreciation of life.
—Reverend John D. Emmart Director, Department of Pastoral Care, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics
The Final Entrance is the predecessor to Near-Death Experiences: Visits to the Other Side; The Final Entrance.