I did a psychic reading recently for the wife of a man named Roger. Roger’s life was rich, interesting, and punctuated by this: in the late 1960’s, he was drafted into the Army and sent to the front lines in Vietnam. With a college degree and a good head on his shoulders, Roger was quickly put in charge of his platoon. He did not want to be there, did not believe war solved anything, and did not feel that those in charge of orchestrating the bloody mess understood the situation on the ground. His tour of duty was a mixed bag: he made life better for those around him by protecting the weaker guys in his platoon without singling them out or shaming them, and he did things like create an indoor gym and an outdoor obstacle course as a place for “the guys” to blow off steam. But the positives were far outweighed by the negatives: a variety of ill-conceived missions with heavy casualties, and a lot of days and nights spent wondering what on Earth he was doing there.
After the war, Roger came home angry, disillusioned about our government and military leaders, and traumatized. He left home again and lived abroad for awhile, not wanting to be an American, and needing the physical distance to help gain perspective. Resilient, he returned eventually and went on to get a master’s degree in industrial psychology, to work in personnel management, to marry, to have children, and to live a full life. But despite his personal and professional successes, he was never comfortable talking about his military service, and carried a tremendous burden of guilt and shame for the innocent lives he took. He could never reconcile his peace-loving, non-violent nature with the fact that he had killed so many people. And he felt responsible for the deaths of even more, as he took his role as platoon leader seriously, and the death of any of “his men,” no matter the circumstances, he felt as a death on his head. He bore all of these deaths as black marks on his soul.
Roger died believing his death was due, at least in part, to toxins he was exposed to during his military service in Vietnam. He also died believing that his soul was destined for hell. He thought he would be one of the good guys in hell, but in hell nevertheless.
He believed that his military actions and the lives he took during his time in Vietnam were unforgivable sins, and he did not consider it an option for him to ascend and live in peace in the hereafter of heaven. It took quite a bit of time and work for his widow and me to convince Roger that what was really holding him back was his inability to forgive himself, not the lack of forgiveness from others.
Eventually he was able to forgive himself, but he insisted that self-forgiveness wasn’t enough. I could see that he was speaking his truth and I wasn’t going to be able to convince him otherwise. Stuck at this impasse, I had to think hard and fast if I was going to help him make his peace and ascend. It occurred to me that heaven is a place where all things are possible, and so I asked: what if you could speak to the spirit of every person you killed? What if you had the chance to explain yourself and apologize? What if you could meet each of them face-to-face and ask for their forgiveness?
He looked at me very skeptically, afraid to hope that this was possible.
I wasn’t entirely sure myself that it was possible, and asked if he could see where all those spirits were now, if they were Earth-bound and un-ascended like him, or already ascended and on the other side. I had my doubts that he would know or be able to locate them, since most were strangers to him. My hope was that this line of questioning would get him thinking about other ways to make his peace. But to my astonishment, Roger could sense the whereabouts of each of them and had an answer: all of them are in heaven. I did not know that killing someone creates a linkage between your two souls. But it does. It isn’t like other spiritual connections that form as a result of covenants and love relationships between people, but it is a real connection nevertheless.
I asked Roger about this, wanting to know if he would be able to find each of them once he got to heaven, and he answered with a resounding yes. Saying this to me changed everything for him. He was finally able to make his peace with his life and his death and to prepare for ascension, armed with a plan for his time in heaven.
And so, I opened a portal to the other side. Roger looked up and saw a friend and several relatives waiting there to greet him, and he grew excited about ascending. After a final good-bye to his wife, up he went.
After greeting his friend and relatives, Roger turned away from them and there they all were: every single person he killed in Vietnam, and every single man who died under his command. They were lined up by the entrance to heaven, honoring his request for the chance to speak face-to-face. Roger turned to the first man in line, grabbed his hands, and spoke for what felt like a long time, staying with him until the tension between them was released and they were reconciled to one another. And then he moved on to the next person. The line was long, and I watched just long enough to witness this miracle of forgiveness, and to see that what he wanted, what his soul craved, was actually possible.
I cannot describe to you the hope that filled me as a result of witnessing this. I had no idea that such a thing was possible, and I am so grateful to this man for speaking his truth and showing me how something so impossible in life is everyday possible in heaven. By saying this, I do not mean to promote the idea that you can go around killing people and then have everything magically fixed once you get to heaven. Forgiveness is hard work, and best done while alive. The promise of Roger’s story is that when circumstances like his prevent reconciliation in life, death is not the end of possibility.