The Hereafter

“I can't explain it," he said. "I wasn't in this world, but a bright place that smelled like a florist shop."

Of all things, he was drinking sweet tea when it happened. It started with pain in his chest. Then his arm. He knew what it was.

His wife rushed him to the hospital. They shoved a stainless steel wire mounted to a balloon inside him and saved his life.

“I was a human science-project,” he said. “That’s how my wife tells it. I don’t remember anything.”

He was out of it.

He claims something happened. “I can’t explain it,” he said. “I wasn’t in this world, but a bright place that smelled like a florist shop. I was at peace. When I came to, the doc told me I could never drink caffeine again.”

And so, this is how it happens. One second you’re watching the big game, and in the blink of an eye (snap), no more sweet tea.

He’s not the first person I’ve talked to about this. A friend of mine has a daughter who fell from a second-story balcony and hit the ground so hard she bounced.

She was in a coma for two days. When she woke, she told her parents she wanted to return to her other home, the place with the other children.

“What other children?” her mother asked.

“The kids who’ve all died,” she said. “The ones who can fly.”

That little girl is a Birmingham attorney now.

My other friend believes—and I’m not making this up—his deceased father is now a turkey buzzard. Whenever he sees birds pecking at roadkill, he’ll pull over, just in case one happens to be his daddy.

You ought to see the looks on those buzzards’ faces.

The fact is, I don’t know what I believe about the other side. My whole life, I’ve pictured ten-karat streets, abalone gates, all-you-can-eat buffet, and enough sweet tea to ruin your kidneys.

My friend, the biology professor, thinks such ideals are ridiculous. He says, according to science, everything imperceptibly becomes worm poop. He also hates iced tea, irons his blue jeans, and uses words like, “imperceptibly.”

Well, I choose to believe in something spectacular. I could be dead-wrong, but big deal. I don’t have to be right to believe something.

I believe I’ll see my friends again. My pal who died in a head-on collision, my dogs, my grandparents, and Daddy. I believe I’ll understand things better. Like, why people are the only animals who hate.

And it bears mentioning: I don’t know who you are, what your beliefs, or where you hang your hat.

But I believe you’ll be there, too.

I hope you like sweet tea.


  1. Beverly - February 17, 2017 3:20 pm

    I hope so …..

  2. Byron Audler - April 15, 2017 10:56 am

    I always drink sweet tea, and I hope when they hand me my wings, they hand me a tea glass that never runs out 😉

  3. Sandra Hamm - April 15, 2017 11:22 am

    Love me some sweet tea! Plus, there are people there, I will love to drink it with!

  4. Sue - April 15, 2017 12:34 pm

    You should read “Heaven” by Randy Alcorm. It’s based on extensive study of the Bible.

  5. Edith - April 15, 2017 10:10 pm

    My Daddy died twice, the first time he was revived. He would always tell of of the peace of the white light and the freedom from all pain and cares. He was not afraid of death, but he knew that, as a 20 something at the University of Alabama law school God had more plans for him. I am glad he did.
    Sean, thank you so much! You make me cry every morning, but it is a good cry.God bless, you , Jamie and your four legged children.

  6. Pamela Hicks - May 20, 2017 5:27 am

    Bobby, my husband, died twice. After the first time, he told me about the bright light that he could look right into but it didn’t hurt his eyes. He said it was beautiful, beautiful.
    Bobby was John Wayne and he didn’t say things like “beautiful, beautiful”.
    I kept wanting to know more. Finally he told me it was like going down the path to the tank (pond) through the green tunnel of mesquite branches and seeing the bright sunlight in the opening ahead.
    I asked him once if he were afraid of dying. He said no because he knew what it was like.

  7. Debbie - March 18, 2021 12:26 am

    Love sweet tea with extra lemon.

  8. Sharon Brock - March 18, 2021 2:47 am

    Absolutely love iced tea and coffee and God help the doctor who tells me I can’t have either.

  9. Brenda Nowicki - March 18, 2021 6:57 am

    I love sweet tea! I’m older than you so if I get there first I’ll introduce my dogs to yours. I’ll tell them stories I’ve read of yours! And give Thelma hugs and kisses for you! And tell her how much you miss her. They will all be clean and ready to knock you down on a cloud and lick your hands, face and feet if you come without socks! I can’t wait! But I can’t go without Gracie. She will be 11 this November and has trouble flying up onto the bed these day’s. So I pick all 12 pounds of her up and know I get a full 6 inches on the side of our king sized bed! And that’s fine with me. Until I see you and Thelma running up that big green hill I will keep an eye out for them. Bring peanuts!!

  10. Kathie Barr - March 18, 2021 5:21 pm

    oh yes !! you have a firm believer here, by the way your story of “THE ARRIVAL” was such an inspiration to me I see that happening to me when I finally meet my beloved husband of 47 years, he has been gone almost two years now and I so look forward to our reunion !!

  11. KATY - March 18, 2021 8:33 pm

    💖We’ve learned that In God’s amazing universe, not a soul is lost, not energy, and not matter ; it all changes and continues on but is never lost. 💖

  12. denwachs - March 20, 2021 5:48 pm

    My father had a bad heart ,had 3 CABG surgeries. During one of his ER visits before one of his surgeries he had a cardiac arrest ,had an out of the body experience,saw the white light ,was very peaceful. After that he said he wasn’t afraid to die, he’d already done it once and it wasn’t frightening.


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