One of the biggest questions people have about the afterlife is whether we will be reunited with family and friends who have passed away before us.



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After a near-death experience, people often describe a welcoming committee of people who had significant influence in their lives—people who had already passed away. Family, friends, teachers, and mentors. No matter how old these people were when they died, they appear young and in their prime or full of youthful vitality. The relationships with these loved ones feel more open and honest. The bonds deeper and more meaningful.

Seeing loved ones in the afterlife is one of the hopes we cling to when someone we love dies. It is comforting to think that we will see them again one day. It’s one of the things we say to our children to when a grandparent dies—even those of us who aren’t particularly religious.

The vast majority of near-death experiences involve reuniting with deceased family members and friends. NDErs describe a kind of “celestial welcoming committee” of people who had significant influence in their lives on earth including family members, friends, teachers, and mentors. These people hadn’t necessarily known each other on Earth, but they seem to know each other in this realm, and together they greet the NDEr with joy and celebration. It is as if they are so excited to welcome them into the love and fellowship, that they run to the gate to meet them. Other NDErs describe two angels meeting them when they arrive to guide them and protect them. It is even common for people in their last days of life to have visions of this heavenly reunion with loved ones or of angels coming to take them to heaven.[i]

Age is just a number. 

When these NDErs see their family and friends, they immediately recognize them. Many NDErs even describe reuniting with family members they had never met on earth—a relative who had passed away before they were born or a child who had died in the womb. Some describe a heaven in which every person looks as if they were in their prime of life—around 30 or 35 years old—no matter how old they were when they died. Some describe friends or siblings or children who died at very young ages who now looked like adults and elderly grandparents who now look like their much younger selves. Other NDErs say that the elderly people they met still looked as if they were in their 80s or 90s, but they have a youthful vitality that is incredible. One NDEr describes it as if he threw a football pass to his 85-year-old grandparents, they could have easily jumped up and caught it.[ii] Another NDEr says that when she was surprised that an elderly relative looked so old in heaven, the relative explained that she could appear however she wanted and immediately changed in form to a younger version of herself.[iii]

Stronger and more meaningful relationships.

NDErs describe their heavenly relationships with these family and friends as pure, open, and unified. There were no family squabbles, no secrets, no hiding, no lies, no disloyalty, no competition, and no passive-aggressive or sarcastic comments. Their communication is clear with no misunderstandings. People communicate by thought rather than words, but there is no sense of needing to hide your thoughts because every thought is pure and loving.

Relationships are much deeper than they had been on Earth. There is no hiding and no shame. Everyone is able to be completely vulnerable with one another and value one another for who they are. Because nothing is hidden and there is no selfishness, everyone is completely unified. All NDErs describe an incredible oneness with everyone in heaven—a true spiritual family where everyone is fully known and fully loved.

If these NDEs are accurate, not only will we see our loved ones again, we will have even stronger and deeper relationships with them than we did while on earth. We can look forward with joy to a day when we will be able to love another perfectly and fully without any fear or reservation.


[i] Gary Rotstein, “They See Dead People – Apparently, Lots of People Do” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jul 9, 2018

[ii] p 93

[iii] p 95



of NDErs report encountering other beings, either deceased family and friends or angels.


“Pa was standing next to Ma. This was my family.”



“Pa was standing next to Ma.
This was my family.”



We all have a fundamental need to be loved. NDErs feel an unconditional love beyond anything they’ve experienced in life radiating from a Being of pure, bright light.



Check out our resources section and see the evidence.


More than one thousand accounts of near-death experiences shaped the insights in this book by New York Times best-selling author, John Burke. If you’ve lost a loved one, received a frightening diagnosis, or wondered about what happens after death, this concise look at the life to come will bring you hope and reassurance.

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