Elissa Al-Chokhachy, a health care counselor at North Shore Community College in Lynn, will be talking about her new book, Miraculous Moments: True Stories Affirming That Life Goes On, on Wednesday, November 3 at 7 p.m. inside the Thomas McGee Gymnasium on the NSCC campus.
Al-Chokhachy’s book is a compilation of 88 stories from 73 bereaved individuals and health care professionals sharing first hand experiences with deceased loved ones and patients that gave them hope that life continues on beyond physical death.
Al-Chokhachy is also a board certified hospice nurse from the Boston area, a fellow in thanatology, and author of three books to help with loss and grief. “Miraculous Moments,” a compelling grief self-hoop book shares numerous accounts of after death communication, nearing death awareness and new death experiences.
According to the Library Journal, “not only does this book offer hope and consolation for the grieving, it provokes thought on the finality of death as society generally views it.”
Twelve of the contributors to Al-Chokhachy’s book were NSCC staff, faculty, administration, students, and retirees. As a way to give back to the community, Al-Chokhachy has worked with the college to establish a “Labor of Love Fund” to provide funding for student outreach and community service, including the college’s Labor of Love annual student service trip to New Orleans.
Al-Chokhachy, who holds a Master of Arts degree in Thanatolgy (the study of death, dying, and bereavement), said she first began working on her latest book 12 years ago.
“It grew to be much larger than what it is right now, so much so that I had to divide it into two books,” said Al-Chokhachy. “So right now I’m completing what I’m calling its companion book for bereaved parents.”
What does Al-Chokhachy mean when she and contributors to her book write, “life goes on?”
“When I say that life continues on, it’s that after we die – we may have a physical death – but our spirit, our consciousness, our soul lives on,” said Al-Chockhachy.
Eleanor Casey, a professor at NSCC in Lynn and one of the contributors to the book, writes about her personal experience following the death of her father, Gerard Casey.
“When I was 11 years old, my dad died suddenly,” said Casey. “After he had passed away, we had never been able to find his harmonica. About a year later, I had a dream that I was at a wake or a funeral with flowers and music and I did not know whose funeral it was, but I heard a harmonica playing.
“I woke up and felt that I needed to go look for my father’s harmonica,” said Casey. “I got my sister to help me with the search and we dug into a closet and we found the harmonica. I had never been able to say good-bye to my father, so I felt that was my way of saying good-bye to him.”
Casey said Al-Chokhachy’s book gives people an uplifting feeling. “I really enjoyed reading the stories in the book,” said Casey. “It makes people realize, like the book title says, that life goes on after someone leaves. It reaffirms the possibility that you might meet the people you love after you die and it’s a very positive feeling. This is a very good book to read, absolutely.”