Dancing in Heaven
By Paula Schneider

Interesting, and often mysterious, things happen to people who work in hospice. I offer this true account of an experience I had once that I have never forgotten. Why did this happen to me? I’m not quite sure. Nor do I understand why things like this don’t occur more frequently.

A co-worker and I were making a home visit to Olivia (not her real name), a hospice patient I had never met, and when we arrived at the home, we were told by someone in the home that Olivia had just expired. Shortly, Olivia’s family members returned from running an errand and they took time to recover from the shock that their loved one’s soul had taken flight. At one point, everyone left the room and I was left alone with Olivia. Voices from the other room faded as I became aware that somehow I knew something about what Olivia was currently experiencing. I perceived something like, “I am so free! This feels wonderful! I’m dancing all around!”

I wondered why I was having that thought but didn’t dwell on it. Everyone soon returned to the room. One daughter asked the other what she thought Olivia might be doing at the moment, and she answered, “I think she might be dancing.” Well, that certainly got my attention, so I told them what had happened to me a few minutes before when they were in another part of the house. Everyone was ecstatic and there were hugs all around.

Then, a few minutes later, one of the daughters called Olivia’s brother who lived halfway across the country to tell him Olivia had died. During their conversation, he said, and I paraphrase here, “She’s dancing freely now.” At that point, she told him what had transpired just a few minutes prior. I learned, after they hung up the phone, that dancing was Olivia’s passion all her life and that her brother was the one who taught her how to dance.

So, again I query, “Why were we given this experience? Why were my eyes and heart opened this particular day and in this unique way?” I knew at the time it was somehow important because I came home and journaled the details. And the account is now being shared with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of readers. Events like this give me hope and strengthen my faith and I believe there must be a dimension of which we are not usually aware but is, nonetheless, very real. I also suspect that dimension is right here, right now and is much nearer to us than we think. I welcome experiences such as this one because as I share them with others we learn more of this life and perhaps the next.