Friday, March 11, 2016


It has been widely reported by those who study NDEs (near death experiences) that upon death of the body the recently deceased person experiences a ‘life review,’ a movie-like replay of the life just lived.  According to Dr. Penny Sartori, author of The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences, “During the life review living images of a person’s life are literally played out and relived from a third person perspective.  The life review can include all of the important events in their life as well as the insignificant.”  Psychologist Dr. Michael Newton Ph.D. has also written extensively about life reviews in his book Life Between Lives. 

Obviously all reports of the life review come from people who have near death experiences and were revived; permanently dead people don’t come back to tell tales.  But the life review is not a new concept, it has been reported for centuries but only in recent years has the experience of “…my whole life flashed before my eyes…” been taken seriously enough for academic study.

Some ‘experts’ still discount the life review experience as the effects of a ‘dying brain’ but quantum physics verifies the nonlocal aspects of consciousness and lends scientific credence to the phenomena.  As one who has extensively studied parapsychology and mysticism, I certainly believe in the reality of the life review.  I’m (mostly) looking forward to mine.

I’m not looking forward to being, “…confronted with the consequences of [my negative] actions and feeling the effects [my] actions had on others.”  But “…feeling elated after experiencing from the other person’s perspective how [my] actions had helped someone,” seems pretty nice. (Satori, The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences, 2014).  I suppose a complete life review must include the bad and the good.

Assuming the transition from the physical plane to the nonphysical plane reintroduces us to ‘all there is’ I do have a list of standard questions like:  Who killed JFK?  Who killed Marilyn Monroe?  O.J. really did it, right?  And, was 9/11 an inside job?  But, and more importantly, I’ve got some personal things I’d like to see.  Since it’ll be my life review I should see this stuff.

I want very much to see every photograph I’ve missed!

I want to see the very first photos I shot at camp when I was nine years old.  I remember shooting them, but I never saw the pictures because ‘the film didn’t come out.’  I want to see the picture I lost last month because of a hard drive crash.  And I want to see all the photos I lost in between; the missing roll of film, the image from the damaged and unprintable negative, the ones ruined by the lab.  I want to see all the photos I didn’t shoot because I didn’t have a camera with me at the moment, and the ones I didn’t shoot because I talked myself out of it.  I want to see all the photos I missed because of my own bad timing or bad luck. 

I want to see all the lucky shots I wasn’t ready for and I want to see all the ones I should have shot but didn’t because I just wasn’t paying attention.  I want to see the images I didn’t get because of my own stupidity, inattention or bad timing.


Of course I won’t be able to share them because they’ll only be visible in my own life review, but I want to SEE them.  I want to feel bad for missing the good ones and I want to feel relieved for missing the ones I never needed anyway.  I want to compare them to my memories of them, I want to know if I’ve romanticized my ‘losses.’  I just want to see what might have been.

If I reincarnate (and I hope to avoid coming back to this big dumb planet) I will not be a photographer again and I will not attempt to re-shoot those lost shots.  However if I do have to come back to Earth I plan on being rich as shit!  I’ll be an Arts Patron and I’ll set about re-acquiring all the photographs I did get in this lifetime.  And by then, all the work I’ve done now might actually be worth something!

Dale O’Dell
March 11, 2016