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The Private Investigator Who Became an Afterlife Investigator
The extraordinary events that became the catalyst for using my skills as a private eye to investigate life after death. If you've lost a loved one, you might relate to my experience.
There’s an audio recording of Bob reading this story, which is available to everyone (located at bottom of page & in podcast area).
ST. VINCENT’S HOSPITAL: ROOM 333
The doctor left the room after delivering the news that my dad was dying of lung cancer. Everyone in the room was lost in thought.
My father was sixty-four years old. I was thirty-four.
My sister, Bonnie, was leaning against the windowsill in the hospital room, staring into the parking lot. Suddenly her head swung around and she looked at our father. “Oh my God, Dad! I hope you’re not going to hell.”
My mother gasped. She (Carol) was fifty-nine years old and numb from the news we just got. She put her hand to her mouth in response to Bonnie’s outburst.
I was sitting beside my father’s bed and reacted without thinking. “Jesus Christ, Bonnie! What are you talking about?”
“Bobby!” snapped my mother.
I looked at my mother and shrugged. “What kind of thing is that to say to someone who’s just been told they have a few days to live?”
My mother walked over to Bonnie and wrapped her arms around her. “She’s just worried about her father.”
I sighed, shook my head, and looked at my wife, Melissa, who was sitting on the other side of Dad’s bed. We’d been dating since before she was a teenager, so Dad was like a second father to her. Melissa remained quiet after my sister’s question. She was wise even at the age of thirty-one and she knew to stay out of it.
My father pulled his oxygen mask away from his mouth and growled in a throaty voice, “I’m not going to hell. Besides, the priest is on his way to deliver last rites.” He let his mask snap back over his mouth, annoyed by the conversation.
An awkward silence filled the room. I had to leave. I needed space. I motioned to Melissa to leave by tilting my head toward the door. She got up on cue, needing to get out of there too. The atmosphere was like molasses, dark and dense.
I stood up from my chair and walked toward the door. Melissa followed behind me. When I opened the door, we were met by a priest. I nodded hello and held the door open for him.
The priest walked over to my father’s bed as Melissa and I escaped to the cafeteria.
ST. VINCENT’S HOSPITAL: CAFETERIA
Melissa and I each grabbed a tray and placed them on the counter in front of the soup section. I held the cover to the minestrone and she spooned soup into a baby blue plastic bowl.
“Needs to think before she talks,” I ranted. “What if that was her who was dying?” I slid my tray in front of the sandwiches and moved a turkey sandwich onto my plate with brown plastic tongs. I looked to Melissa but she wasn’t interested.
“I think it just jumped out of her is all,” said Melissa. “We’re all in shock. People do weird things under these circumstances.”
We slid our trays to the cash register. I grabbed us each a bottle of water out of an ice bucket and looked at the cashier. “These are together,” I told her.
“But now that we’re out of the room,” said Melissa, “what do you think?”
“’Bout what?” I handed the cashier a twenty.
“Hell. Think it exists?”
“Phfff, how should I know?”
The cashier handed me change with a smirk. We turned and walked toward the tables.
“Just figured you went to Catechism all those years.”
We sat down at the nearest table.
“Yeah, well, they didn’t teach us that kind of stuff. Taught us about Jesus and the Bible. To be honest, I wasn’t really listening. Me and my friends just screwed around most of the time.”
We sat in silence for a moment and ate our lunches. The priest who had entered my father’s room walked into the cafeteria and up to the food counter.
I nodded toward the priest for Melissa to notice him. “Well, he’s not going to hell now. She can stop worrying,” I said with a sarcastic tone.
Melissa smiled, then put her spoon down and looked at me with intensity. “You’re an investigator.”
“Private investigator,” I muttered while chewing. “What’s that have to do with anything?”
“You could use your investigative skills to find out where your father’s going.”
“What, like investigate the afterlife?” I chuckled when I said it.
“Wouldn’t you like to know if it exists? And, if so, what it’s like there?”
I guzzled some water to wash down the turkey. “I guess, but…” I shook my head. “I wouldn’t know the first place to begin. Not sure I even believe in life after death. Maybe this is all there is.”
Melissa gave me a look of disappointment. She was never a fan of my skepticism even though she was used to it.
We sat in silence for a while and finished our food. I didn’t admit it to her at the time, but Melissa’s idea about investigating the afterlife intrigued me.
ST. VINCENT’S HOSPITAL: ROOM 333
The day after we got the news that Dad was dying, my father fell into a coma. His health was worse than we’d realized. Melissa, my mother, my sister, and I slept in Dad’s hospital room that night—all in chairs—expecting Dad might pass before daybreak. He didn’t. He was still alive the next morning, the monitor displaying the same vital signs as the night before.
By mid-morning, the doctor told us he felt that the respirator might be the only thing keeping Dad alive. After careful consideration, my mother, sister, and I decided it was time to remove the breathing tube.
We turned our backs while the doctor did what he needed to do. We heard the doctor shut off the respirator.
“Can he feel that?” Bonnie asked a nurse.
The nurse touched her shoulder. “No, dear. Can’t feel a thing.”
The doctor stood in front of me. “We’ll leave you to say your goodbyes. You never really know, but it’ll likely only be a few minutes.”
The four of us hovered around my father’s bed. Melissa and I were on one side of the bed. My mother and sister on the other. Bonnie and Melissa each held one of Dad’s hands. My mother caressed his forehead. I squeezed his shoulder.
The only sound in the room was the beeping of the monitor, which slowed with every passing minute. Dad’s shallow breathing, evident by the movement of his chest, slowed as well.
My mother began breathing heavily, then burst into a fit of sobs. She leaned over, cradling her husband—her face buried in his chest—as she convulsed from her bawling.
Just then, the monitor’s beeping speeded up.
I looked at the monitor, pointing to it. “Holy crap, the oxygen level’s increasing.”
“Whoa! it’s been decreasing since the doctor left,” Melissa added.
Bonnie rubbed our mother’s back. “Mom… Mom,” she whispered.
My mother gasped for air. She lifted her head from my father’s chest, eyes swollen, attempting to gather herself.
“Look, Mom.” said Bonnie, “Look at his chest. He’s breathing heavier again.”
Mom scanned our faces. She looked at the monitor. “What’s happening?”
“I think he’s responding to you, Carol,” said Melissa.
Mom watched her husband’s chest as she caressed his forehead.
Bonnie pointed to the monitor. “It’s slowing again. Oxygen’s decreasing.”
Melissa and I looked at each other with bulging eyes.
The room was silent except for the beeps, which got slower and slower. Within moments, Dad’s chest was barely moving.
“I’ll miss you, honey,” squeaked my mother. “I love you, my sweet, sweet man.” She burst out a second time, wailing in grief once again. She leaned her head on Dad’s shoulder and, again, the beeping, oxygen level, and chest movements increased. Mom, like the first time, was unaware of it all.
Melissa, Bonnie, and I stared with gaping mouths at the monitor. All evidence of Dad’s life force increasingly returned. His heart rate, oxygen level, and chest movements improved.
Bonnie gently touched Mom’s back.
Mom had her arms around her husband again, her head on his shoulder.
“Mom, I think he’s trying to stay for you,” Bonnie told her.
My mother looked up toward the monitor. She became mindful of the miracle that was taking place. She gained control of her emotions once again.
“He’s fully aware of what’s going on in this room,” I said.
“I’m sorry, honey” Mom said. “You can go. I’ll be okay. Thank you for staying. Thank you for a wonderful life. I’ll be okay. God bless you, sweetheart…” Mom breathed deeply to not lose control another time, but her grief was stronger than her will to control it. She burst into a fit of tears a third time, and for a third time all my father’s vital signs improved. Eventually, Mom calmed herself once again and the beeping and chest movements declined a final time.
I was in shock, not just from my father’s dying but also because of what we had witnessed. Call it a miracle. Call it the power of free will. Whatever you call it, it was a demonstration I’d never observed nor knew was possible.
Dad’s chest movements slowed… and slowed… and eventually stopped. The beeping turned to a steady tone. His face lost all color. His skin changed to a grayish blue. Finally, the muscles in his face relaxed completely.
A nurse walked into the room and shut off the monitor’s sound.
I was transfixed by my father’s appearance.
Melissa gently touched my back.
I looked at her. “We watched his life force disappear,” I said in awe of it all. “One second he was here. Next second, clearly gone.”
Melissa leaned her head against my shoulder and stared at Dad.
My mother held her forehead against her husband’s. Her weeping turned to a faint moan. At the age of 59, she’d become a lonely widow.
THE CATALYST FOR MY INVESTIGATION OF LIFE AFTER DEATH
These were the circumstances that ignited the fire in me to use my private investigation skills to search for evidence of life after death. There were four parts of this story that inspired me to take on the challenge. The first was my sister’s question about hell. Sure, it could have been asked outside my father’s room, but tell me millions of people haven’t wondered or feared that same question when a loved one was dying. The fact is I’m grateful to Bonnie for asking it in a way that got my attention. It surely didn’t bother my father. He was used to her verbalizing things she wondered about.
It's also important to know that Bonnie was in her 30s at this time and had recently gone back to the Catholic church. She hadn’t gone to catechism like I did for years, so the subject of heaven and hell was both novel and bewildering to her. It wasn’t that she believed my father was going to hell. There was no reason to think he might. He was a kind-hearted man who’d have given the shirt off his back to a stranger in need. Nonetheless, the concept of hell was on her mind and she lacked the filter to prevent her concern from spilling out of her lips.
My second inspiration was Melissa asking me what I thought about Bonnie’s question while we ate in the cafeteria. It was Melissa’s idea to use my skills as a P.I. to investigate the afterlife, which seemed crazy to me at the time, but the idea grabbed hold of me and never let go.
My third inspiration came during my father’s passing. Being there as he died surely makes more of an impact than just reading a story about it like this one, but I hope you can identify with the importance of what happened that day. For me, this was the first evidence I’d witnessed that a dying person—in a drug-induced coma no less—was both aware of his surroundings and had some degree of control over how long he could remain in his body while dying. The entire experience blew my mind wide open, reminding me that there was a lot about life and death that I didn’t know.
My fourth inspiration was looking at my father’s body after he’d died. If you’ve ever been in the room when someone dies, you know that it’s clearly visible that the person no longer inhabits their body. It’s like one second your friend Joe is a living human being in your presence and the next second it’s obvious from looking at his eyes, skin, and muscles that Joseph has left the building.
Watching my father pass taught me that there’s an energetic attribute to life that is evident to the naked eye, and I knew from that day forward that this energy of sorts is what makes up our life force. When it’s gone, it’s clearly gone. And the question in my mind after witnessing my father’s life force disappear was, where did it go, if anywhere?
It was these four events that motivated me to begin investigating the afterlife. What I didn’t know at that time was that this endeavor would eventually span over 25 years of my life. Perhaps more importantly, I didn’t know that this new investigation was going to take me on a spiritual journey, one that would lead me to personal and spiritual growth that I not only didn’t seek at the time but also didn’t know was possible. My search for evidence of life after death inadvertently led me to become a kinder, gentler, and more compassionate human being, and I feel blessed for the metamorphosis.
This is why I’ve created this Substack account, to share with you the hundreds of experiences and insights I’ve gained over the past 25 years. Thanks to my father, my sister, my mother, and my wife, Melissa, for their part in this story. Their presence in my life became the catalyst that sent me on a trajectory from private investigator to afterlife investigator. The results being that I learned more than most people will ever know about life after death, yet I also learned wisdom about life itself during this journey, which I’ll be sharing with you as stories (and their accompanying lessons) on this platform.
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Bob’s the host of Afterlife TV, author of two books, Answers About The Afterlife and The Magic Mala, and creator of the reputable directory of vetted psychics and mediums, BestPsychicDirectory.com. Bob’s newest venture is BOB OLSON CONNECT, a Substack newsletter where you can read his stories and learn about life after death.
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