You have within your hands an exceptional, deeply healing book which I trust will touch many far and wide.
The whole book is imbued with a deep love and gentle compassion which reflect the very essence of its
author who could not write the way she does unless she lived it. She really walks her talk. It is from A to Z
entirely based on the lived professional and personal experiences of Mariel, which is one of its main
strengths. For in our world, there is such a great deal of speculation and theorising about the afterlife. But
here, no abstract musings – just the real thing if I may say. Which is one of the main strengths of her
message. The book is also the result of an intense and deeply sincere search for truth. As Mariel herself
writes, « My faith in God has always been unshakeable, but unless I’ve seen, touched, felt and experienced
the details about how the whole creation of His works, I take absolutely nothing for granted and keep
digging for answers. » What integrity in such an approach – an integrity which pervades the whole book.
And how reassuring for the reader: no fluffy musings in these pages, just authentic real life experiences.
The book replies in a simple and very direct manner to most of the questions people have concerning the
afterlife and contacts with those who have passed on: are they really possible; is it not some figment of the
imagination? For me, who had imagined that I was not a certified ignoramus on these questions, it was a
profound and exciting learning experience.
Above all, the book is incredibly comforting and reassuring. It is from the first to the last page infused with
the profound and powerful sense that, yes, we do live in an incredibly benevolent universe. That the
Godhead (and you will put behind that term the words that have true significance for you: Infinite love, the
Source, whatever) wants our well-being more than we could wish it for ourselves. That it protects and
guides us whatever the apparent material picture, e.g. that of close relatives of friends who have left us via
traumatic or disturbing events. This reassurance percolates gently through practically every page of the
book and leaves the reader with a sense of deep wonder and gratitude: can it really be true that we live in
such a fabulous universe? Yes, replies the author with an authority which undergirds the whole book.
An important section – important for a culture so immersed in the scientific approach to reality as ours – is
the section on scientific evidence which upholds the phenomenon of NDE’s (Near Death Experiences) and
especially the afterlife. And once more, you will never find any abstract theorising, just one concrete
example after the other, many of them experiences by the author or of one of the persons she was
assisting in the grieving process.
Personally, the section that touched me most was the one on suicide. For a country like Ireland from which
the author stems and where, due to the dominant religious teaching, those who depart via suicide are
cruelly rejected and condemned, how comforting for those they leave behind to discover that on the other
side there is not the slightest stigma or condemnation of the departed, but that they are welcomed with
rejoicing, unconditional love and the deepest compassion. It is so deeply healing (as the whole message of
these pages). You will find an especially moving and helpful passage on how to be with loved ones when
someone has committed suicide. This section is not only psychologically grounded but equally
metaphysically very sound. Too often family and friends torture themselves with thoughts such as « if only I
had done (not done) this… » and similar ones. As Mariel writes, « I want you to know that self-blame is never
the answer and never justified. No matter how you tried to protect and shield your loved one – you could
not have prevented the outcome. You were limited in what you could do to prevent/stop the suicide from
No suicide is ever the fault of another nor is the fault of the victim either. Instead, see the fault as belonging
to a range of other factors that create the potential for suicide, mental illness, society, environment,
conditioning, bullying, sexual orientation, depression, financial losses, academic pressures and many more
to name a few. »
Reading this section made me think of an amazing statement I read many years ago by Ann Napier, at the
time the chief editor of the British literary magazine Cygnus:
« Seen from the eternal heart of the universe,
– all your choices are right choices
– all your faltering are advantages
– and you never did anything wrong. »
Another section that touched me deeply was the whole section on forgiveness. As one who has been
running self-development workshops for close to 30 years, I believe that, with love, forgiveness is the most
important spiritual/psychological dimension of life that exists. How many lives are stunted by the inability to
forgive. Mariel gives the most powerful example of forgiveness I have ever come across in over 80 years of
walking this planet, i.e. the story of the polish lawyer who forgave the Nazis who gunned down his wife and
five children in front of his eyes. At that moment, he explains he had to decide between hatred and love,
and he opted for the latter because, as a lawyer, he had too often seen what hatred can do to destroy
people. He survived six years in Auschwitz in perfect health because he had decided to love every single
person he met – which he did.
I was personally deeply moved by the case story Mariel gives of Gregory who had carefully planned his
suicide and fascinated by the amazing way she worked with him. In this respect, Mariel’s sharing helps one
to understand the numerous failures of modern psychiatry and a great deal of psychotherapy. One can
easily imagine how a psychiatrist might have tried to handle Gregory’s situation, completely missing the
point. As a matter of fact, one cannot help wishing that Mariel’s book were on the compulsory reading list of
the students of all departments of psychiatry, so important it is to understand why psychiatry cannot heal
many cases, as it is trying to approach situations with a tool that by definition cannot function.
The most powerful aspect of this book for me is that it is written entirely from the heart. Heart energy
imbues its’ every page, yea, its’ every word. This is one of the reasons it is so easy to read, and so
comforting, and also no doubt why we accept without questioning statements which written with a purely
intellectual approach would leave one deeply sceptical.
And all through the book, you will find numerous very helpful exercises the reader can start practising on
the spot, like the most moving one on the preciousness of your human life.
I wish to conclude this forward by quoting the author who writes: « To those reading this book, I hope I
have shone a light into the great unknown and given a glimpse of the eternal truth that fills this universe
and embraces all living beings: that life is eternal. Release your fear of death and embrace the awesome
possibilities that an afterlife awaits you. Remember it is love – not religion – which generates spiritual
growth. Love is the creative source of the Universe. Indeed, divinity is love. It is through divinity that all
things come into being and that all life has purpose.
Divinity created you and everything that ever existed – and proclaimed it good. Love is the powerful and
constant source of energy that is available to you every moment of every second without fail. …
Choose wisely how to live each and every moment… Trust that whatever you do to make a difference will
add significantly to your evolving soul, and when it is your time to return home to the heart of God/creator
you can do so without fear resulting in the most heavenly reunion. May you look at the process of death
with renewed joy and hope in the knowing that beyond the veil of death a majestic and beautiful love
awaits you. »
Thank you, Mariel, for this infinitely precious gift you have made to the world.
Author of The Gentle Art of Blessing
I picked it up to take a closer look, and soon found myself reading on, turning the pages in delight, right to
Tenderly written, Where After offers a shining bright beacon of comfort and hope to all those facing the
twin prospects of death and bereavement, including uniquely sensitive and wise advice regarding children,
and much more.
This splendidly resourceful book is an absolutely real treasure.
(Psychiatrist) & author of Love, Healing & Happiness, Much Ado about Something, and, The Big Book of Wisdom.
This is an important book. It deals with a difficult subject with great sensitivity and humanity. It will be an
invaluable help to those of us struggling to make sense of our own numbness and heartache after the loss
of a loved one and for those preparing to say their last goodbye.
Lecturer in Theology, Trinity College, Dublin.
When I first began to research the evidence for consciousness after physical death over 45 years ago, I wanted to know what death could teach us about life and living by enlarging the context of my understanding of reality. In asking the question where do I loved ones go after they die, Mariel shares her journey with a remarkable depth of compassion and insight, drawing on the full range of research evidence going back as far as Swedenborg while matching this with her own experiences and those of her family and clients. She transforms her suffering in an alchemical process of forgiveness, and shows us how we can do the same. The three main parts of the book address the fear of death, navigating grief, and love and forgiveness as the keys to inner peace and freedom. The short sections review the literature while illustrating important points with significant personal experiences. Mariel’s living relationship with the invisible world comes across very clearly throughout the book as she weaves multiple threads and narratives into a systemic understanding of life and death. Her father dramatically comforts and rescues her from the other side on two occasions, while she has also been witness to transitions and has averted potential suicides by uncovering the hidden dynamics, often relating to a trauma from life in another time and place.
At a time when there is so much ignorance and fear around the nature of death, this book is a treasure trove anchored in authentic experience that can speak powerfully to our condition without shying away from life’s challenges while also offering a wealth of practical advice. Everyone who as a deep encounter with the material described here comes to the conclusion that the essence of life is Love in a cosmic sense: ‘Love holds everything in the universe together. Love is the language that speaks within the heart; it is the centre of the universe. Love is the universal key that opens the gateway to our immortality.’ (p. 21) ‘Nothing exists without love and nothing is healed without forgiveness… Love was in me and I was in it. I was one with all of creation. Love is a powerful force that can penetrate any of life’s great challenges… Love is a gift that can heal the world if only people would open their hearts to replace all wars, fears, violence, angers, control and greed, and use the power of love to bring ultimate peace to the earth.’ (p. 146) ‘Love is the most powerful energy on the planet. Humans thrive on love, plants grow with love, water responds to love and negativity is dissolved with love.’ (p. 149) Hardly less powerful is forgiveness, in itself a capacity of love and of which Mariel gives a number of potent examples. This also enables us to let go and helps us remember to live in the present and be grateful for the many opportunities offered by life. I strongly commend this beautiful, wise, touching and profound book as a companion on your journey.