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FirstWasLast

''What Dreams May Come'' by Richard Matheson

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Being in desperate search of some answers that would make sense, I recently stumbled upon Richard Matheson's novel ''What Dreams May Come'' (1978), which I just finished reading. There's been a movie of the same name with Robin Williams, I think it came out in 1998. I haven't watched it yet but I've read that it's quite different from the novel.

The author's introduction describes it as fiction, but based on actual facts as far as the interpretation of what happens after death goes. Along comes a lengthy bibliography that suggests indeed that the subject has been approached in a thorough, non-religious way. From then on, it's a matter of whether that explanation soothes us or not.

I really hope some of you will have read it or watched the movie. It left me very confused and overloaded with information, so I'd love to have some feedback about Matheson's interpretation of death. 

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FirstWasLast,   I have not read the book. In fact, I didn't even know there was a book. But, I do know of the movie. Haven't seen it either. A friend suggested I not watch the movie,  while grieving. The movie deals with suicide, stemming from the death of a loved one. So, of course, it is a movie I'd rather not see, at least for a very long time, if ever.

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9 hours ago, KMB said:

FirstWasLast,   I have not read the book. In fact, I didn't even know there was a book. But, I do know of the movie. Haven't seen it either. A friend suggested I not watch the movie,  while grieving. The movie deals with suicide, stemming from the death of a loved one. So, of course, it is a movie I'd rather not see, at least for a very long time, if ever.

I watched it yesterday, but it's quite different from the book. I didn't really like it not because I'm grieving, but because the book was so much richer in information and perspective about what happens after physical death.

I can completely understand though that some people would want to stay away from that kind of book/movie. Thank you for taking the time to respond anyway.

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1 hour ago, FirstWasLast said:
I watched it yesterday, but it's quite different from the book. I didn't really like it not because I'm grieving, but because the book was so much richer in information and perspective about what happens after physical death.

I can completely understand though that some people would want to stay away from that kind of book/movie. Thank you for taking the time to respond anyway.

I watched it yesterday after seeing your thread here. Not too much information on what exactly happens after death, but yeah. From what I have read from a few spiritual books, they are somewhat consistent, although there were some violent hell scenes in the film which is not in line with the books I have read so far. 

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3 minutes ago, TooDevastated said:

I watched it yesterday after seeing your thread here. Not too much information on what exactly happens after death, but yeah. From what I have read from a few spiritual books, they are somewhat consistent, although there were some violent hell scenes in the film which is not in line with the books I have read so far. 

Can you guys share a little bit what happens after death in that movie. If you don't want share here please can you send me private message.

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Thank you all for your posts! I'm posting this as a general answer to all of you. It will include ''spoilers'' of the book, but I hardly think any of you -just like me- would be reading it for entertainment purpose anyway. 

*DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK*

LoveGoli, I definitely suggest the book if it feels like a read you can handle. It's about the death of a man called Chris in a car accident, who keeps existing after his physical death and tries to understand this new state. At first, he remains close to our world, as a ghost we could say. He's in disbelief that he has died and can't believe that he can attend his own funeral and see his family grieving but can't even touch them. His wife's distress especially shocks him and he does everything to try to communicate and let her know he's still there. This state is presented as extremely tiring for his soul though, so he eventually lets go and leaves our world. He is found in a sort of Heaven -the book has no religious orientation whatsoever, which I greatly appreciated- where Albert, an uncle of his who died decades before, turns out to be his guardian angel and guides him. The definition of Heaven turns out to be a place where you can create everything with the power of your mind, so each person's surroundings depend on their personal wishes, beliefs and needs. Chris is amazed by this world and is even reunited with other dead relatives and his family's old dog, which keeps following him everywhere. Being away from his wife still makes him very anxious and he wants to do everything to communicate with her. Eventually, he finds out that she committed suicide and for that reason she went to ''Hell'' -again, nothing religious. Hell is a place where your soul is trapped in its own problems and dark thoughts and where creating anything beautiful with your mind is impossible. Chris decides to save her, although Albert says that's impossible, so they begin a draining journey through Hell together. He eventually finds her living in a ruined, dirty version of their home, where nothing blooms or functions correctly and where she's caught in a perpetual cycle of more or less big personal fears, like spiders for example. Because of her condition she can't recognise him and that's the main challenge he faces in order to convince her to ask for help. It's supposedly not impossible to get out of Hell as long as you ask for help, but being there means you are in denial of any help and therefore won't ask for it. Anyway, he manages to convince her, but instead of being reunited, he returns to Heaven and she is reborn as a baby girl in India. Being reborn is presented as a choice that each soul can make in order to get wiser, after spending some time in Heaven dedicated to personal and collective growth. His wife is reborn immediately in order to make up for her suicide and spend a lifetime getting wiser before her soul is ready to enter Heaven. So the book ends with Chris deciding to be reborn as well, in the USA. He knows beforehand that he will grow up to become a doctor and will end up volunteering in India in his 30s, where he will meet his wife and marry her again. It is revealed that they are soulmates, which is why they will always somehow meet again if reborn.

*END OF DESCRIPTION OF THE BOOK*

There are many differences in the movie and just like most film adaptations, it lacks the subtlety of this new world that is presented, the thoughts, the feelings, all the little details the book conveys so much better. I personally didn't like it, although Robin Williams was exceptional. 

Reading this book shook me deeply, especially as far as the place where people who commit suicide go to, but also the whole concept of soulmates and being reunited in Heaven, whatever that might be. The author included a very long bibliography -which appealed to me, as a scholar- and also claimed that everything but the characters is based on actual facts and scientific research. I don't know to what extent I can believe that, though... 

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I have not read the book or watched the movie; and from reading some of the post, I'm inclined not to.  Not ruling it out completely, just not now.

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FirstWasLast, Thank you for the summary of the book. Personally, I do not believe in hell. I have read many books about the afterlife, written by mediums and past life regression therapists. A person who takes their own life, does go to the afterlife. Just a different level than those  who pass over from different means. It is not hell, but rather a level for healing to take place. To accept help from others souls in learning the lesson from ending their life. Once healing takes place and the lesson learned, they can return to the level where the rest of their soul family, loved ones reside. Yes, there is reincarnation for those who choose that. Their new life experience will be similar to their past life. They will be presented with the same challenge that caused their original suicide. Their karmic debt has to be resolved and a different choice made that does not include suicide.

Another movie I was told not to watch is "Dances With The White Dog".

Depending on the individual, some books and movies can be helpful, in gaining understanding and the quest for answers. Because I have been to my own dark place so often in my grieving, it is my choice to stay away from those venues, at least for awhile. :)

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KayC, I did watch the trailer you posted for the movie. The highlights presented do spike an interest.But,  I'm just not there yet.:(

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20 minutes ago, KMB said:

FirstWasLast, Thank you for the summary of the book. Personally, I do not believe in hell. I have read many books about the afterlife, written by mediums and past life regression therapists. A person who takes their own life, does go to the afterlife. Just a different level than those  who pass over from different means. It is not hell, but rather a level for healing to take place. To accept help from others souls in learning the lesson from ending their life. Once healing takes place and the lesson learned, they can return to the level where the rest of their soul family, loved ones reside. Yes, there is reincarnation for those who choose that. Their new life experience will be similar to their past life. They will be presented with the same challenge that caused their original suicide. Their karmic debt has to be resolved and a different choice made that does not include suicide.

It's EXACTLY how it's described in the book! It probably didn't come across in my description because I tried to summarise 300 pages in a few sentences, but I believe you must have read many books among those that the author used. This different level is what I was referring to when writing about hell, only it was presented as a very painful place to be both in the book and the movie. Another detail is that there is a determined moment to die for everyone in the book, for the character's wife being at 72 years of age. She commits suicide at 48, so she's destined to spend 24 years in this different level until being able to go heaven. Perhaps that's what you meant by ''healing''. And reincarnation definitely happens with a karmic debt, which is rathe expressed as a difficulty related to the way of suicide rather than the experience bringing you to it: the woman overdoses on sleeping pills, so when reincarnated in India she develops a disease that doesn't let her sleep. However, there's always the artistic licence to consider.

Your post made me think that I might need to read more books about the afterlife. Contrarily to you, I felt more comfortable with a fiction book -albeit supposedly based on facts- rather than a clearly scientific book. Those are the ones that scare me the most. But perhaps I'll find some answers there.

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True, most of us are more inclined towards fiction. I used to read fictitious books as a way of escaping reality and then later on in life, for entertainment. As I have gotten older, I'm more driven for truth seeking. Especially more so, with my loss. My perceptions of life have changed. I have changed. I have been gaining more wisdom ( I think), on why we are here and how this life we are given, is really supposed to operate.We make agreements with other souls for our life experience here. Our souls each have goals, lessons we want to learn, to benefit our souls growth, which also benefit our soul family. We are here to learn and to teach. When our goals are met, we have our physical death, which we pre-determine, just for the experience,  and return to our original home in the afterlife. When we are born into this life, we have no memory of our life in the afterlife and no memory of our pre-birth plan. The human minds we have here are not capable of retaining that information. Our life in the afterlife and our pre-birth plan is erased. There would be nothing here to learn if we already had all the information.Thank goodness for mediums, people who have experienced NDE's and those who use their spiritual gifts of insight outside of mediumship to learn past life regression techniques. Scientists are also now willing to accept there is more outside this earth than what is only tangible here. It is all part of the spiritual awakening going on currently. This earth life certainly needs this kind of shake up.

I still read the random fiction, just for the pure pleasure of reading.

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15 hours ago, KMB said:

Thank goodness for mediums, people who have experienced NDE's and those who use their spiritual gifts of insight outside of mediumship to learn past life regression techniques.

How did you overcome apprehension with mediums? I mean, if you ever had any obviously. I was always taught that mediums are scams seeking to get your money, so I find it hard to trust them. 

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16 hours ago, KMB said:

KayC, I did watch the trailer you posted for the movie. The highlights presented do spike an interest.But,  I'm just not there yet.:(

I watched it many years ago, don't remember too much except it seemed odd.  As I recall, it wasn't exactly along the lines of my belief system but it was thought provoking.  But then I hadn't loved and lost my husband yet at that time.  Still not sure I'd want to watch it, even though I like Robin Williams.

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I watched this movie long ago, while I'm in high school at first I didn't pay attention to any details because I'm still young and thinking that I will not experience this. When my wife dies all I can think is joining her but a friend of mine told me to watch this so that I'am aware of what would happen if I commit suicide so I decided to watch it again. It really shake my beliefs and ponder that someday we will meet again and continue our journey. Thank you Firstwaslast for summarizing the novel.

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23 hours ago, KMB said:

 

FirstWasLast, Thank you for the summary of the book. Personally, I do not believe in hell. I have read many books about the afterlife, written by mediums and past life regression therapists. A person who takes their own life, does go to the afterlife. Just a different level than those  who pass over from different means. It is not hell, but rather a level for healing to take place. To accept help from others souls in learning the lesson from ending their life. Once healing takes place and the lesson learned, they can return to the level where the rest of their soul family, loved ones reside. Yes, there is reincarnation for those who choose that. Their new life experience will be similar to their past life. They will be presented with the same challenge that caused their original suicide. Their karmic debt has to be resolved and a different choice made that does not include suicide.

Another movie I was told not to watch is "Dances With The White Dog".

 

I misquoted the name of the movie. It is:  "To Dance With The White Dog".  A novel by Terry Kay, about loss and the mysteries/miracles of what can come after. The book was adapted as a family film for the Hallmark  movies in the early 90's.

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4 hours ago, KayC said:

Wow!  It makes me wonder...

 

It looks beautiful actually. Perhaps because it seems less violent to me as a whole -i don't mean to play down anyone's loss, but the woman seems to die of old age and without any suffering, which is a good thing. I also have no trouble imagining dogs as the best thing to happen to this world. I think I will watch it soon.

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this is insane, instead of a white dog I have a white cat. Is it possible that my wife's soul is in my white cat?

21905730_10210407577811045_845997895_n.jpg

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25 minutes ago, yuyu said:

this is insane, instead of a white dog I have a white cat. Is it possible that my wife's soul is in my white cat?

21905730_10210407577811045_845997895_n.jpg

Well I suppose you're the only one who can tell really... Did you find your cat after the loss of your wife?

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I may watch  "To Dance With The White Dog". It is a family film so it could be easy to handle. I've been a long time fan of Jessica Tandy  and Hume Cronyn.  They were married in real life for about 50 years. She passed of cancer not too long after this film was made. Hume passed in 2003. They had a beautiful, long marriage and often acted together.

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I can't do streaming and don't belong to Netflix so no way to rent it, but maybe it'll be on t.v. one of these days.  It does look good.  I've often wondered the same thing about my dog...if there was such a thing as a soulmate in a dog, he would be it.  It's going to be super hard to lose him one of these days.

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14 hours ago, KMB said:

I may watch  "To Dance With The White Dog". It is a family film so it could be easy to handle. I've been a long time fan of Jessica Tandy  and Hume Cronyn.  They were married in real life for about 50 years. She passed of cancer not too long after this film was made. Hume passed in 2003. They had a beautiful, long marriage and often acted together.

I didn't know the relationship between the two actors and after reading your post I looked it up. She was already fighting cancer for three years when filming this movie, so I can only imagine how emotional it must have been for them, like a sort of ''rehearsal'' -not that the loss of a partner can be rehearsed of course, even after a long illness. It makes the movie even more special, I will definitely watch it.

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48 minutes ago, FirstWasLast said:

I didn't know the relationship between the two actors and after reading your post I looked it up. She was already fighting cancer for three years when filming this movie, so I can only imagine how emotional it must have been for them, like a sort of ''rehearsal'' -not that the loss of a partner can be rehearsed of course, even after a long illness. It makes the movie even more special, I will definitely watch it.

They surely shared a deep love, trust and faith in each other, to blend their careers of acting together. Making this particular film must of been hard, but they left that legacy behind for us. Now, we know they are together in Heaven. We will have that for ourselves, too, one day.

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