Someone recently asked me an interesting question. She wondered why her grandmother suffered for so long before passing over to the other side. I understood the question well. Anyone who has helplessly watched a loved one suffer through pain and illness before passing over, has the same question. Over the course of a year, my mother went from playing tennis two hours a day, to being bedridden, riddled with pain and unable to think clearly. When she died it felt like a blessing. For months after my mother’s death I contemplated and asked my guides to help me to understand why she and so many others suffer before passing over. I learned that although it appears to make no sense and be a cruel way to live out the last days of life, the soul doesn't abide by our human perceptions. On some level we accept and create all that happens to us. Yet, it is not our conscious mind or personality and ego that makes these choices. Instead, it is the soul and spirit that perceives value and evolutionary advancement and possibilities in what in human terms is senseless and merciless. In my mother’s case, my guides told me that my mother chose to suffer in this way to “burn” off negativity and karma before entering the higher vibrations of light. In this way she was able to leave behind and dissolve emotional, mental, spiritual and even physical patterns and accumulated energy that may prevent her from rising to higher blissful layers of light more quickly upon passing. There are many people who suffer who lived good, positive lives with kindness and integrity. They may confront their imminent passing with courage and acceptance. There are others who are not as fortunate. They are fearful of going over, plagued with guilt and doubtful that there is life beyond the human experience. Sometimes we choose a slower more conscious experience of dying to become more aware of our spirit and soulful self. It is only the physical and ego self that suffers. Dying pushes the soul to the forefront. The soul never suffers, it understands, heals, reveals truth and is a comforting balm to the confused human self. Many people become aware during the process of dying that there is a part of them that is eternal. They see their loved ones on the other side and make frequent trips into the spirit realm to check it out before they go over. Sometimes people linger and die slowly as a way to bring comfort to those left behind. It can be hard to let go. Family and friends may want to hold onto their loved ones and cannot imagine life without them. A slower dying process can be an opportunity to review one’s life and forgive and be forgiven. It gives the family time to let go and say all that they need to say. Some souls choose to suffer to lift the burdens and pain of others. It is the final opportunity in the physical body to love and express goodness. Conscious suffering can lift the suffering and burdens of others when it encompasses and transmutes pain that is bigger than the individual. Shortly before my mother died she told me that her suffering was becoming unbearable. She didn't know how to get relief. Her mental and emotional suffering was as difficult as the physical pain and discomfort. I told her to imagine that her pain was alleviating the pain of children who were suffering. If you knew, I told her, that your suffering was helping children, could you do this? She said that she could and she immediately become more calm and at peace. This seemed to give a sense of purpose to the confusion and the loneliness that comes with the end of physical life. Even if we do not understand it from a human perspective. This world is a flip flop of the eternal realm of spirit. What you go through and endure and what your family and friends go through is not without meaning and purpose. It is the rich soil from which your soul grows and expands into true and eternal love and life.