Hospice nurse Elissa Al-Chokhachy says the more she works with the dying and bereaved, the more she believes in life after death.
In her decades in the field, the Amesbury woman says she has encountered numerous stories of awareness by people as they near their deaths, after-death communication and near-death experiences.
She has compiled almost 90 of those firsthand accounts, experienced by both herself and 72 other authorsö into a collection titled "Miraculous Moments: True Stories Affirming That Life Goes On." She'll be sharing some of those stories during a reading and book-signing at The Book Rack in downtown Newburyport tomorrow at 3 p.m.
Al-Chokhachy says her book serves to help people coping with the loss of a loved one and tries to answer such questions as whether life continues beyond physical death and whether love ever dies.
"The (contributing writers) are of all different belief systems and ethnic backgrounds," she says. "They are just sharing their experiences that give them hope that life goes on."
Many of the people who contributed stories to the book talk about signs they have received reinforcing their belief that life exists after death. In one story titled "The Quarter Man," a man remembers his father, a man who collected state quarters as a hobby. Immediately after his father passed away, the son found a state quarter in his shoe and had no idea how it got there.
In another story, a Vermont man who loved to watch for moose, keeping a journal of when and where he spotted the animals, passed away one winter. His family delayed burying his ashes until the snow melted. That Easter, they gathered to say their goodbyes. Later that day, a moose was spotted on the family's lawn, the first they had seen since the previous fall.