I had a good childhood as childhoods go. I didn’t like school very much and yet I went on to become a high school Maths teacher. After five years of that I returned to university to finish my own full-time study in Applied Mathematics IV. After that I managed to secure a full-time Maths teaching position with TAFE NSW and I later became Head Teacher of my section. Around this time I began a part-time career as a lecturer in Engineering Studies at the University of Western Sydney.
Mathematics and Physics have always been my ‘thing’ as opposed to literature and the arts. It’s a world where you are trained to accept nothing on ‘faith’ alone and to only accept that which can be rigorously proven under the strictest of Mathematical and Scientific protocols.
As a young person in good health and with the prospect of 70 to 80 years of life to look forward to the idea of life continuing on after death seemed rather foolish and unnecesary to me. I certainly had no interest in formal religion.
The groundwork for the person that I am today was always there though because I have always had a love for anything to do with science fiction including space travel and particularly time travel. I remember as a child being absolutely scared witless by a television show which had the premise that when people died they remained forever conscious in their dead and buried bodies but unable to move or communicate in any way with the outside world!
Mostly though my experiences with science fiction whether it be in books, television or the movies have been very uplifting and enlightening. Good science fiction takes the viewer to a different level of thought and puts many of our everyday experiences into a new perspective. There have for example been a number of episodes of the television show ‘Star Trek’ which have literally turned around some of my darker moods and encouraged me to forge different directions in life! One such notable episode was called ‘The City on the Edge of Forever’ which is widely regarded by many as the best ever Star Trek story.
As I said before my childhood was very good and this was largely though the efforts of my loving parents. In today’s language maybe I could have been described back then as the ‘Teflon kid’ because nothing really bad touched me and it didn’t stick long if it did.
The idea that we are all mortal and will die someday first began to sink in for me when a family member (who I was not particularly close to) died suddenly when I was about 15 years of age. It was when I turned 18 though and was part way through my university studies that the true reality and finality of death finally struck home. My beloved grandfather who I adored became ill with throat cancer (through smoking) and died leaving me and the rest of our family devastated. There was a series of commercials on TV at that time about driveway attendants who were all called ‘Stanley’ who would fill up your tank, check your oil and clean your windscreen all as part of the driveway service at petrol stations everywhere. For months afterwards I couldn’t watch these without bursting into tears with grief over the loss of my grandfather whose name was Stanley.
Four years later my father passed away at age 52 years after suffering a long battle with cancer. He and I had become a little estranged over the latter years due to a few differences in opinion but I always loved my father and I am in awe of him even to this day. Once again I was devastated at his passing and even 18 months later I would be in a conversation with someone and would suddenly think of him. My eyes would fill with tears and I would be forced to turn away so that no one would notice. Sometimes grief manifests itself as anger at the world in general. There was an occasion during the fire season when I was driving over a narrow one lane each way bridge across a river near to where I lived. Smoke was everywhere and the bridge had been closed to traffic in order to allow access to the fire trucks. In complete anger and frustration I swung the wheel of the car and I managed to do a complete U-turn on that narrow bridge. It’s only through pure chance that no fire trucks were coming through at that time otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this now!
Life goes on and things became good again particularly for a young man in the prime of his life and it would be 12 more years before death paid me another visit. This time it was my beloved grandmother who was the matriarch of our extended family. She died alone one night in her home after a long battle with cancer. She had never struck me as a particularly religious person but she always impressed on me that I should never lose my faith in God. As for herself her own religious convictions shone through clearly in her tireless community work and constantly leading and looking after the welfare of others. At her funeral I remember feeling the first stirrings of anger that she had been taken from me but then either by chance or design the minister conducting the service said to those of us who had gathered words to the effect that ‘my grandmother would not want her passing to serve as a reason for anyone to lose faith in or to hate God’. Right then and there I made a promise to my grandmother that I would at least do that much for her.
Death comes in many forms and many others of my loved ones have been taken from me over the years. Some people have the belief that only human beings are special and made ‘in God’s image’. I do NOT share this point of view. All of life is special even down to the smallest living creature. In particular our ‘pets’ can be as children to us particularly for those of us who have no children. The loss of a pet to some can be just as traumatic as the loss of a human. This I have personally experienced many times.
For the most part grief has its boundaries in that it is extreme in the beginning and gradually fades to the background with the passage of time. However there is one exception. In my subject area we use the term ‘singularity’ to describe a one-off occurrence which is separate to all other events. For some people there is for them some individual who is the absolute closest person to them in life. It may be a relative, a spouse or even just a friend but when that person dies grief is not so much acute as it is chronic. It never fades; it just is always there! For me that person was my mother who passed away in 1997. At her funeral I described her as ‘my best friend in life’.
With the passing of my mother I came to realize that I now had more loved ones ‘over on the other side’ than I had here in life and it was at this point that I started to do a little research. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the internet is awash with hundreds of thousands of personal testimonies of survival after death and that many reputable and well credentialed scientists were putting their careers in jeopardy to seriously and scientifically examine the evidence for the ‘afterlife’.
I stumbled across the VICTOR ZAMMIT website which I have listed on my home page and I soon realised that the evidence for the survival of the personality/soul after death is overwhelming. Victor’s website, book and weekly newsletter are all free and I encourage any open minded person to examine the incredible body of evidence that is available. There are 22 separate areas of evidence but ‘The Scole Experiments’ and ‘The Cross Correspondences’ each on their own PROVE the existence of the afterlife! Don’t just take my word for it or Victor’s either! Go to Google and type in such words as afterlife, near death experience (NDE), out of body experience (OBE), remote viewing (RV), electronic voice phenomenon (EVP), Munroe Institute and many many others. Try Miracle of Fatima.
After the passing of my mother I personally visited a number of ‘spirit mediums’. These are people who claim to be able to receive messages from the dead and yes be very careful as no doubt there are a lot of phonies out there. One such person that I visited impressed me greatly at the time. Sadly she herself has since passed on. I was with her for an hour and a half and the session is taped so how would I rate the material that she gave me? The last half an hour frankly wasn’t so good but the middle and beginning contained a lot of information which COULD have related to my family. Towards the beginning she gave me one very startling piece of information which related to the name of my much loved pet dog which my mother and I had shared. The medium actually stopped in mid sentence of what she was saying and gave me the dog’s (very unusual) name which consists of two repeated syllables. This fact was not known to the medium who said words to the effect “I can see your mother in my mind and she looks young enough to be your daughter. She is standing there saying ‘bar’ to me”. Now if I were a dodgy spirit medium I would not like to be trying to make a living saying wild things like that to people! If you visit my pets’ page (top right) you will see a picture of my beloved ‘Bar-Bar’ sadly now deceased.
Now with all this research that I have done about life-after-death and in particular the near-death-experience (NDE) combined with my own scientific/mathematical training and my life-long desire to write novels is it any wonder that when I retired a few years ago that I would start writing some books?
The idea for ‘Raised as an Angel’ came about because I wanted to write a story which put the NDE on a firm scientific footing. In the story the scientists (or ‘Guardians’ as I call them) who live on the advanced and near perfect world of ‘Tranador’ routinely monitor people’s births, lives and deaths as they occur on more primitive worlds such as our Earth and at the end of their material lives these ‘Guardians’ bring the soul or essence of the person back home to ‘Tranador’ via what I call the ‘Tunnel of Life’.
I had another quite different reason for wanting to write this story and that was as a kind of grief therapy for anyone going through the grieving process for a lost loved one. The assumed background for the story is that life goes on after death and the characters and the plot play out against this taken for granted back drop. From my own experiences with grief I know that books can play a huge role in the healing process. When my mother passed away I re-read almost my entire collection of Wilbur Smith novels and this matter of immersing myself in his universe of characters was a tremendous help to me at the time.
Part I of ‘Raised as an Angel’ looks at the advanced world and the characters who live there but the story really takes off in Part II when the main character Michael gets re-born illegally into a new infant body on Earth without any memory of his previous existence. The story now follows him through his entire earthly life in which he encounters many obstacles including living in an orphanage run by corrupt and sadistic Brothers, a brief time as a labourer followed by an involvement with organised crime in post war Los Angeles. Finally he finds his true destiny in the young wide open country of Australia and it is here that he at last finds what he is searching for. As an author this story allowed me to ‘have a go’ at many aspects of contemporary life which are far from ideal and to contrast these with how things could be in a near perfect world.
Book 3, ‘Millennium’s End’ is pure adventure and is told in a lighter vein than the emotionally charged Book 2. Here we find that the roles have been reversed with Michael and his small band of ‘travellers’ on a quest to rescue the magnificent Guardian called Jonathon who has himself been marooned on the duplicate war torn Earth. Once again as an author I get to take lots of ‘pot shots’ at many of the things that are wrong in our world such as religious intolerance, warfare in general, hunting as a so called sport and more. We also take a look at the idea of ultimate redemption and what it means to truly love someone.
Book 4, ‘A Time for Susan’ is a spin off but otherwise a stand alone story with new characters. It chronicles the efforts of a young Australian scientist who invents a means of travelling in time. He is visited by a young girl who claims to be his as yet unborn daughter Susan from the future and she has brought him a dire warning of his own early death. He heeds the warning but in so doing he completely eradicates Susan’s timeline from existence. Somehow, against incredible odds, he must find a way to restore his daughter to life while at the same time prevent the World War II era Nazis from taking over the world!
So there you have it. At 60 years of age these four books, with more hopefully to follow, are my ‘take’ on the whole ‘life’ thing which includes life before and after death. I personally would love to live in the universe that I have created in these (now)five works of fiction. There is certainly a lot of my own character in Michael and in the case of David (in book 4) who lives and works mainly around Sydney University in the 1970’s I will stop short of saying exactly where fiction starts and my real life experiences end but rather I will leave that for the more discerning reader to figure out.
I certainly do encourage everyone to not be too ‘hard-nosed’ about the idea of life after death. Do some research as I have done and then come to your own conclusions. I have many friends who have very strong religious beliefs based on faith alone. At the same time I know plenty of people who completely deny that any life is possible once the brain is dead. For them the idea of an afterlife is just plain wishful thinking – never happen. The truth is out there and I suspect that as usual some sort of middle ground between the two extremes will turn out to be true.
There is one thing that we do know for absolute certainty and that is that we are all heading down the path towards the end of our lives on Earth. We will all find out the truth one day (or perhaps not). Maybe we will be welcomed home by our own Guardian Angels, deceased loved ones and pets to live forever in a paradise world. Maybe we will simply be re-born into another material world with no memory of our past lives. Maybe we will all wake up together in a beautiful green field when Gabrielle blows his last trumpet. On the other hand maybe there is nothing at all, just oblivion but then that seems to make the whole life experience rather pointless to my way of thinking. One thing that I do NOT believe in is some kind of everlasting punishment in ‘hell’ for people who have committed a finite number of crimes over 80 years or so on Earth which is not even a cosmic blink of the eye compared to all of eternity. That’s just not logical!
Gary J McCleary 2010.
Four MUST SEE movies about the afterlife are: ‘What Dreams May Come’ (Robin Williams), ‘The Sixth Sense’ (Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment), ‘Ghost’ (Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore). ‘Hereafter’ (Matt Damon directed by Clint Eastwood).