In Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town, Emily Webb dies while giving birth and, in the afterlife, gazes upon the earth and utters her compelling and poignant lines: "Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? — every, every minute?" Many of us struggle with the concept of the afterlife. Will I go to heaven if I live a morally virtuous life? After I die, will I be able to connect with the people I love? Is there really a heaven, or is it simply a figment of my imagination? John Walsh reflects on these enduring existential questions.
John Walsh is a partner in the East Greenwich-based communications firm, Walsh & Associates. He writes a monthly Op-Ed column for the Providence Journal, which published an earlier version of this essay. Walsh also shares observations at johnwalshcopy.com