Discover more from Bob Olson Connect: Afterlife Investigator
Death Becomes Me: A Lifelong Quest for Unveiling Mysteries and Understanding Death
A lifetime of navigating a personal inquiry with death.
Bob Olson is the host of Afterlife TV, author of two books, Answers About The Afterlife and The Magic Mala, and creator of the reputable directory of psychics and mediums, BestPsychicDirectory.com. He writes about life after death on Bob Olson Connect.
When I was fourteen, my girlfriend Melissa (now my wife) bought me a book titled Don’t Be Afraid to Die. I wasn’t sure if she chose it due to my fascination with death or because it was only $1.25. As odd as the book’s subject might have seemed to me then, I loved it because it came from her. I still have it today, forty-five years later.
I’ve wondered about life after death since I was a child. My grandfather died when I was ten. He had taken my bedroom when he moved in with my family, and suddenly, I was expected to move back into it after his passing. At that age, I wasn’t equipped to manage my grandfather’s death, and my parents didn’t know how to help me manage it. I was spooked by the concept of dying, even afraid of it. It took me a long time before I was prepared to move back into that room.
Around that same time, my dog, Tootsie, was diagnosed with cancer. She had tumors in her neck just below her jaw. My parents told me she was dying, and my little heart melted. It wasn’t common to treat dogs for cancer in the 70s, not that my parents had the money for the surgery and treatment anyway. I don’t know if the tumors were even treatable. It seemed they grew a little every week.
I began grieving Tootsie’s death while she was still alive. I’d come home from school every day and lie beside her behind a chair in the living room, where she spent most of her time. I petted her for hours instead of playing with my friends. I convinced my mother to buy her a big juicy steak one day. The image of her eating that steak in the backyard is still vivid.
Naturally, my parents were worried about me. They encouraged me to go out and play with my friends, but I didn’t want to miss a moment with my best friend. I struggled with the thought of losing her to the point where I went through a mild depression. One day, I came home, and my parents told me Tootsie was having difficulty swallowing, so they brought her to the veterinarian’s office to be put to sleep. That was a difficult day but an early lesson on death and grief.
My next experience with death came years later, in high school, when it seemed kids were dying every couple of months. There were suicides, accidental deaths, and automobile fatalities. As president of my class each year, I felt responsible for attending everyone’s funeral, even if I didn’t know the deceased all that well. One day, I broke down crying before my father was going to drive me to a wake. He walked into my bedroom and sat down beside me on my bed.
“You okay?” he asked, placing his arm around my shoulder.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said. I wiped the tears from my face with the suit jacket sleeve.
“Did you know this boy well?”
“No, not really.”
“So why the tears, son?”
“I don’t know. This is my third wake this year. It’s just so hard to go to these things. It’s so difficult to see the pain in everyone’s faces. It doesn’t make any sense that these kids should die so young. I can’t make any sense of it.”
My father didn’t have any answers for me, but he explained that it wasn’t my responsibility to go to the wakes and funerals of teenagers I didn’t know, even if I was president of my class. Given my sudden fit of tears, it was clearly affecting me. He convinced me to save my strength for the wakes and funerals where I knew the person who died or at least knew the surviving family members. It turned out to be valuable advice.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “Free Bird” began playing on my laptop as I wrote this. I attended three funerals during high school, where that song played at the end of the service. One service was for three boys who died in a drunk driving accident. Another was for a boy who was killed in the passenger’s seat when another boy accidentally rolled his Jeep over. If there was a dry eye in the church before the song played, there wasn’t one once the music began.
I’ve been to a lot of wakes and funerals since high school, including my father’s, who passed at the age of sixty-four when I was thirty-four. He’s shown up for most of the readings I’ve had with mediums. I can say for sure that he’s helped me understand death a lot more since crossing over into the spirit world than he ever could have when he was still here in the physical world. I’m so grateful for his assistance.
When Melissa gave me the book Don’t Be Afraid to Die forty-five years ago, neither of us had any idea I’d eventually be known as the afterlife investigator who writes about spirits, spirit communication, and the spirit world or the host of Afterlife TV. These were never accomplishments I had ever hoped to achieve. Many days, I wished I wasn’t in this line of work.
The subject of life after death makes a lot of people squirm in their seats. While there are certainly a lot of folks who are fascinated by it, many are also uncomfortable with the unknown. And most of what I teach in my books, articles, and videos fall under the unknown category, at least for mainstream America.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve met a new friend on the street while walking my dog and dreaded the one question that almost always gets asked, “So, what do you do for work?” For years, I just said I was a writer, which was how I made my living while investigating the afterlife. I wrote books for others, and they put their names on them as the author. It’s called, amusingly, “ghostwriting.” People love talking about writing, and many people have dreamed of writing a book one day, so it was a much more socially acceptable answer than, “I’m an afterlife investigator who teaches about past lives, near-death experiences, mediums, and after-death communications.”
Melissa and I quickly learned to avoid telling new friends about our work.
New friend: “So, what is it that you do?”
Bob and Melissa: “We investigate life after death and teach people what we’ve learned.”
New friend: “Oh my goodness, I just realized I have a thing I must get to.”
Once we learned how some people can react to life after death, we learned to navigate conversations to determine people’s viewpoints on the subject. We understand it’s not for everyone. Still, life was less awkward when I was solely a private investigator investigating murders, personal injury cases, and workers’ comp cases. Nobody avoided me at a party after learning I was a private eye. People’s interest could go on for hours.
I’ll never forget the time Melissa’s aunt (by marriage) couldn’t get far enough away from me at a family wedding after word spread that I was investigating the afterlife. At one point, while talking with a couple of relatives, the aunt’s daughter joined the conversation. When the aunt noticed, she called her daughter away, upon which there was whispering while looking in my direction. I may never have noticed, except this woman kept walking away whenever I got near her that day. I eventually got the hint.
It's important to note that I don’t mention these adverse reactions for pity or sympathy. I’m merely giving you a peek behind the curtain of my life. The fact is that you have likely experienced this in your own life. If you’re reading this, you have an interest in this subject matter, so you know that there are only certain people you can talk to about it. My guess is that you have also learned to navigate conversations to determine people’s viewpoints on these subjects. It’s no different than talking about religion or politics at a party.
These negative reactions never bothered me enough to do something else. I’ve continued this calling because of the fulfillment that comes from helping people, especially the grieving and the dying, who are comforted by learning about the afterlife. Witnessing the benefits gained by these people far outweighs any social awkwardness I might experience.
When I eventually ventured to work in this field full-time, I no longer had private investigating or writing as my fallback answer to “What do you do for a living?” I’ll never forget the first dinner party Melissa and I attended soon after I committed myself to giving a new answer.
We were invited to dinner by a lovely couple named Paul and Deborah, who live on the street where we walked our dog, Libby. In the past, we’d gone to a movie with a group of people, including Paul and Deborah. We also saw them at a small dinner party our mutual friends hosted. We’d never been to one another’s homes, but we occasionally chatted for a few minutes when they’d stop in their cars to say hello as we walked Libby. That was the extent of our relationship.
One day, however, Paul stopped his car to invite us to dinner, saying he and Deborah were inviting some friends for a small gathering. We accepted the invitation.
We walked to their home overlooking the ocean on a warm summer evening. They had the most beautiful gardens on every side of their house. Upon entering, there were three other couples there, plus our hosts. We were introduced to everyone, a lovely bunch of people, and we got to know one another while snacking on tasty appetizers prepared by our hosts.
When we moved into the dining room for dinner, Deborah sat me at one end of the long, rectangular table. Melissa sat to my right, Deborah to my left, and Paul sat at the opposite end of the table. From where I sat, he appeared to be a few miles away. Consequently, everyone heard him when he shouted across the table to me, “So, Bob, what do you do for work?”
All nine faces at the table turned to me, and the room went silent. I buckled a little under the pressure.
“Oh, it’s a long story. You really don’t want to hear it,” I told Paul, hoping he’d let it go.
No longer needing to shout, since the room was now quiet, Paul replied, “No, I’m interested. Do tell, no matter how long the story is.”
I had no choice but to tell the whole group my story, so I surrendered, realizing I didn’t care what these people thought of me. After all, I’m proud of the work I do. My efforts help a lot of people. So I took a deep breath and told my story.
I told the story of how my father passed in 1997, which got me thinking about life after death for the first time as an adult. After initially searching for evidence of an afterlife without success, I had my first reading with a medium. I told them how the evidence in that reading changed my life. I explained how I wrote about my experiences and shared them online. And then, I talked about my experiences getting past-life regressions, spirit drawings, and my interviews with people who had near-death experiences. I even spoke about dream visitations, deathbed visions, and children who have recalled memories of past lives.
When I stopped talking, I told Paul, “I’ll bet you’re sorry you asked now.”
Paul, the sweet man, said, “Are you kidding? That’s the most interesting story I’ve ever heard. I’m thrilled that I asked.”
Questions ensued from some of the guests, while a few remained silent. Still, the group kept the conversation going for another forty minutes. A couple of guests shared their own mystical stories. Eventually, the conversation strayed to other subjects, for which I was pleased. I didn’t want the rest of the evening to be consumed by talk about the spirit world.
As everyone was leaving, a woman named Peggy walked up to Paul as she put her jacket on. “Geez, Paul,” she said, “you sure have some colorful friends.”
Melissa and I were walking up behind Peggy as she said it. Paul looked at me rather awkwardly, then we all just burst out laughing. As everyone left and we walked to our cars, Peggy ran up to Melissa and me. She couldn’t wait to tell us her story about seeing the spirit of her father-in-law after he had passed.
Peggy admitted to waiting until we left the group to share her story. She said she was too embarrassed to share it with everyone. I understood, of course. She also seemed relieved to have people who finally believed her.
Her husband didn’t believe her, she told us. As she revealed her story, he got into their pickup truck and waited for her with his windows closed. I noticed his annoyed expression through the windshield; it appeared he was hoping we wouldn’t encourage her. I chuckled to myself, knowing he was going to be disappointed.
At that moment, I realized that people like Peggy need people like me to tell my story because it opens the conversation for them to share their own stories. These are stories they’ve held inside them for years because they felt no one would ever believe them.
This includes people who have had deceased loved ones visit them in a dream, people who have witnessed a loved one dying who described seeing spirits welcoming him home before he passed, and people who have died in surgery or an accident and came back to life to share their near-death experiences. These stories are being kept secret by millions the world over, and it’s all because we’re reluctant to tell anyone about them for fear of ridicule or judgment.
Looking back, it feels like a divine coincidence that Melissa gave me a book titled Don’t Be Afraid to Die when she was eleven. It seems it was a premonition of things to come. The book is no longer in print, but I have somehow kept it all these years. I’ve lost items of far greater monetary value but saved this book with enormous emotional value to me. It’s just one of the cosmic riddles of my life that I’ve been able to unravel. There are many more, I’m sure, but awareness is an ongoing process. Still, no matter how long I manage to live, I’m sure I’ll be unaware of most of them until the day I die, at which point I’ll look back from the spirit world in awe of the wonderment of it all and say, “Well, look at that. Death becomes me.”
Melissa and I wish you a joyful Thanksgiving holiday, no matter where you live. Even if you don’t celebrate this holiday, please know that we are sincerely grateful for your love and support and for being a part of our lives.
UPDATE ON AFTERLIFE TV
PS, Just to update you… My plans for rebooting Afterlife TV are in motion. I’ve already accomplished relearning and setting up the software I’ll be using for a new, updated appearance. And I’m looking forward to continuing what I began in 2011 with new enthusiasm and a whole lot of fun. New episodes will be free on Afterlife TV and YouTube, and paid subscribers of Bob Olson Connect will get extended episodes right here with all my articles.
Bob Olson is the host of Afterlife TV, author of two books, Answers About The Afterlife and The Magic Mala, and creator of the reputable directory of psychics and mediums, BestPsychicDirectory.com. His newest venture is Bob Olson Connect, where you can read Bob’s articles before they become books.
If you’ve been considering a paid membership, here are some articles members have enjoyed on Tuesdays, which are available instantly after joining.
The Path to Knowing: How Personal Experiences Lead Us to Unshakable Insights.
Conquering Fear of Death: Unlocking a Secret to Living More Fully.
Transcending Suffering: Stories of serenity in the face of tragedy.
Does My Loved One in Spirit Seek Justice for His Murder? Does my loved one in spirit want me to solve her crime or get vengeance?
The Chain-Smoking, Kitchen-Pacing Spirit Messenger: Fascinating insights gained after discovering a second legitimate medium.
An Afterlife Investigator’s Perspective on God: What the evidence suggests about the Big Guy in the sky.
Five Lessons I Learned About Life By Investigating the Afterlife: My investigation of the afterlife gave me extraordinary insights about life itself.
Will You Wait for Me in Heaven? How to Know if Your Loved One Will Reincarnate Before You Arrive.
The Question of Hell: If there’s an afterlife, does that mean there’s also Hell? What I've learned in my 25-year investigation of life after death about Hell.
The Five Key Factors That Determine How and When We Die: A clear and digestible explanation to a complex question, offering a new level of inner peace around the subject of dying.
Will I See My Pet Again in the Afterlife?: What I discovered in my investigation of the afterlife to establish if pets have souls.
What Happens to the Soul after Miscarriage or Stillbirth: What I learned about the souls of children who pass due to miscarriage or stillbirth.
Was Your Loved One’s Death Painful, Scary, or Dark?: What the evidence reveals about the experience immediately following death.
The Big Question about Suicide: What happens in the afterlife to people who take their own life?