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.