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Grief & Belief: How Understanding The Afterlife Comforts Our Grief

JOHN HOLLAND: “Join me in this intimate conversation with author/medium John Holland where he discusses grief from the context of his own bereavement following the loss of his mother, Jenny. John, the author of Born KnowingPower Of The Soul, and The Spirit Whisperer (among others), talks about why mediums grieve, what people can do to prepare for a loved one’s passing, deathbed visions and shared death experiences, the importance of being present with the dying, caretakers who forget to take care of themselves, reasons why discussing death with loved ones helps both the dying and those left behind, and so much more. This video is for people who are grieving, people who have never lost anyone close to them but will someday, and even those who want to help others in their time of grief.” ~ Bob Olson, Afterlife TV

John Holland has starred in several TV specials, including A&E’s Mediums: We See Dead People, which provided a fascinating insight into how John works as a psychic time machine, where he’s able to pick up vibrations and detailed information, whether it’s seen, felt, or heard from a past event. He also starred in his own pilot Psychic History for the History Channel.

John can be heard every week, as he hosts his own Internet radio show on Hay House Radio®, called “Spirit Connections.” He’s dedicated to the ongoing development of his unique gift and brings real integrity to his profession. Visit John’s website at

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Afterlife TV is presented by Afterlife Investigator & Psychic Medium Researcher Bob Olson, who is the author of Answers about the Afterlife: A Private Investigator’s 15-Year Research Unlocks the Mysteries of Life after Death.

Check out Bob Olson’s other sites: (a directory of hundreds of psychics & mediums by location with reviews & Instant Readings) & (his personal recommended list of tested psychics and mediums) or visit Bob’s Facebook Page. Bob also has a popular workshop for psychics and mediums at

Don’t miss another Afterlife TV episode. Join our email list to get new video announcements (and to download a free excerpt of Bob’s book): CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR NEWSLETTER.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Hi everybody. This is Bob Olson with Afterlife TV. This is where we talk about life after death, the questions that are very meaningful for that subject that so many people have. Today’s question is going to be about grief and belief. How understanding life after death can comfort our grief and we’re also going to talk about how it doesn’t.

Our guest is an old friend of mine; old in a couple different ways but always going to be a little older than me. We’ve known each other for 13 years. He’s been an intrical part of my spiritual growth and investigation of the afterlife. His name is John Holland. Welcome John. We’re so happy to have you here today.

John Holland: Hi Bob. Of course I’m here and thank you for having me. And congratulations on this site; what a great idea, and you’re reaching so many people, and helping them in many ways with Afterlife TV.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Well thanks. I appreciate it. We had so much fun. Geez, after all this time I was on your show last month or something like that. We had such a great time and I thought this was perfect. We’ll just reverse the roles here and I’ll start asking you the questions.

John Holland: Sure.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: I want everyone one to know John is the author of, actually five books. One I don’t have here, but his first book is “Born Knowing” – excellent book; the first story about your beginnings, where it all started. Another book here is “Psychic Navigator,” if you want to learn how to be psychic and get in control of your psychic abilities.

Then “Power of the Soul.” I love that one. Isn’t that great? This is a hard cover. I still have that one. And then the last one, most recent one, “Spirit Whisperer,” which is so great. It reminds me of a lot of things that I’ve written myself because you’ve had a lot of different experiences.

John Holland: Absolutely.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: It’s a very personal book again, kind of like this one where you shared so much about your life and your experiences with like past life regression and other things. Today we’re going to talk about grief and belief. The work that you do, you’re a medium, you’ve been doing this – how long have you been doing this John?

John Holland: I’m losing track. Over two decades now.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: You kind of want to stop counting after a while.

John Holland: Absolutely, yep.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: And I used to watch you and 25 people were showing up. You did an event every Monday at a place outside of Boston.

John Holland: Oh, Unicorn Bookstore in Arlington, yes.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: And now you’ve got 100’s of 1,000’s, whatever it may be. Things have really changed; your audience has really grown and you’ve helped so many people doing what you do. I highly recommend anybody who’s watching to go to one of John’s events; what I call or what is known in the field as a medium demonstration.

And this is where John gets on stage. Usually you educate the people, which is awesome. You educate them about what you do and how it works, and then you go on and start giving readings, random reading to people in the audience.

John Holland: Right.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: It’s very cool to watch. It’s a wonderful experience and a great way to learn about the afterlife. And I know people can go to your website to learn where you’re going to be doing one of those events next, which is So let’s jump right in. Here’s the thing. One of the things I’m excited about having you here, John, is because so many people that visit Afterlife TV are grieving the loss of a loved one. And a lot of people think…

John Holland: Or just about to grieve, Bob, too.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Well, you know, that’s right. I remember one time I started to wonder if the work that I was doing had any effect. This was probably a decade ago. And then all of a sudden people who had known me and had heard about my stories, like people that were close to me started losing people. They started losing people in their life. They had not had a significant loss yet.

And all of a sudden they started calling me, and emailing me, and saying thank you so much because what I learned from the journey that you’re going through in these investigations of the afterlife has helped me with my current loss. And that’s what this is all about. That’s what this subject is all about.

But the interesting thing that you bring to this, because you’ve had a recent loss that we’re going to talk about, is a lot of people wonder, you know, do mediums grieve because you can communicate with our loved ones in spirit. So we’re going to talk about that. But why don’t you tell us about your most recent loss, someone who I also care very much about, Jenny. Tell us about that.

John Holland: Back in May – she was sick, Bob, about June. I remember the day, too, June 28th of 2010. She had Stage IV emphysema and COPD. And she was in and out of the hospital and she – I was usually the caretaker of the family and of her. That’s when she got sick. And then one thing led to another from hospital to ICU to moving her out of her house to assisted living, which she couldn’t do.

That lasted three months to going back into the hospital to having – and then one of her lungs collapsed, and then she went to a nursing home, although they call them long-term care facilities. It was a great place. So May 15th is when she slipped away from here. It’s coming up on nine months and you asked me, which I think is beautiful that we’re doing this interview because a lot of people say, “Well he’s a medium,” so they think that I have less grief than somebody else.

Yes, I do link with the other side, but it’s harder for me, Bob, because she’s my mother. Do you know what I mean? When I’m ready, I’ll go to another medium. But of course I’m bereaved, and I have my moments, and I miss her. But I know she’s okay and, you know, what’s good, Bob, too, and for anyone who’s listening, when she was sick, I found out everything about her illness so there was less anxiety.

When the doctor said something, I knew exactly what they were talking about. And I had a year with her, Bob, she lasted a year. And she had a lot of good days and where she was, she was up. She was bringing Tai Chi to the long-term care facility. She brought it in there so I think what happened was she was doing so well, some of my family forgot that she was at end-of-life stages.

So she had a lot a lot of good days and what made it good for me is I have no regrets. I had a year with her, so we talked about the afterlife. We talked about how she would go, what she wanted. So I have no regrets, but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss her. And I’ll have my grief attacks and a grief attack is you’re walking in a story, you see something she loves, and you just break down. So do I grieve? Absolutely.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: And the grieving starts like long before the person actually goes. I mean in your particular case and in so many other people’s situations. You know, in this case, you know that they’re elderly. You know that they’re becoming sicker and you can see it coming. In your particular case, there were many moments where even the doctors thought that she was about…

John Holland: Five times, Bob, five times.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Five times, yeah, I mean that gets to you and it causes you to start that grieving process long before they’re gone, right?

John Holland: Oh, absolutely, and what happened, Bob, and I knew she was going, and they had a wonderful social worker, and he got all the pamphlets and, of course, doing this work, I’ve dealt with people that have lost people. I always get them after they go. You know what I mean? This was very close to home.

So they give you all these pamphlets on what to expect, and the symptoms to watch for, and the signs that someone’s coming to get them, and we’ll get into that I’m sure, but there was a great analogy. There’s a great analogy that I read in this little, little booklet. It had to be about just like five pages to get it ready.

And there’s an analogy where if you know someone who is sick, imagine you’re holding a penny in your hand and you’re holding it so tight. You don’t want to let it go. You don’t want to let it go, but eventually your hand will get tired and it will fall out of your hand, or the wind will take the penny out, or it will just fall off accidentally.

Or it’s almost when someone passes away, imagine that. You’re holding on like they can’t go. I accepted that she was going, so they say that like a penny, let your hand open. Let the penny just sit there. It’s comfortable. So you’re enjoying the penny while it’s there. Do you understand?

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah.

John Holland: So it’s beautiful. My mom wasn’t afraid. Before she was, but we’ll get into that too, and who came to get her, and the people that she saw before she passed.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah, we definitely will. It was a great analogy by the way, because that makes a lot of sense. Again, it’s just about bringing us into the present moment and enjoying the people while they’re here. And that’s for anybody, even people who are not dying. And so that we’re not always projecting into the future about what might happen.

John Holland: Absolutely.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah.

John Holland: You have to take it a day at a time and some cases it’s a minute at a time when somebody is ill.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: And what were some of the things that you went through? You talked about some of these things that they gave you. First of all, were those helpful? And aside from those things, were there any other things that you did to sort of help yourself and help her through this process?

John Holland: Absolutely. I made sure she went into a good place. And it’s funny. When she was in assisted living for three months we thought she’d last there for a year and she could be independent. But that only lasted three months. But it gave me a chance to get a hold of her illness, to understand it. And then when she went into the long-term care facility, which was beautiful, okay.

It was a beautiful home in Massachusetts. You know a smaller place. I got to know the staff, Bob. That’s very, very important. Know who’s taking care of your loved one. Get to know them. I didn’t tell them who I was right away, okay, and no one recognized – which is fine because I’m there for my mother and a lot of people say, “When you walked into this long-term care place did you see elderly people popping out of the rooms that were passed away and saying help me? Call my son. The will is in the drawer.”

No. I was focused on my mom, but I got to know who the staff was. I got to make sure that she was comfortable in her room. And I read a lot, Bob, what to expect because it’s the closest passing I’ve ever had, and losing my mom it just adds to me helping other people, too, so know the staff. Know the illness, Bob, really. If someone is passing from something, know the illness.

That way you’re not in the dark. I knew every med she was on, every medicine, what was wrong if they said something, and also there’s plenty of support out there Bob, too. If someone is a caretaker, know this. And some of you who are watching this right now, if you’re a caretaker, what happens to you, you start to forget about yourself. You start to forget about yourself.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right.

John Holland: And the same thing happened to me and I read all of the books. But I still had to do my mediumship and go to events. But I was physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted. Remember, you’ve got to take care of yourself and find a support group. And the social workers at the place, they’re wonderful. You don’t have to go through this alone. I have four other brothers and sisters that I got to talk to, but the staff, knowing the illness, knowing the place, getting to know who works there, it all helps.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right; great advice there for sure. You sort of triggered some things in my head, both as a medium and as a son did you go through these periods where you sort of felt a sense of responsibility and maybe even control like you needed to try to control the situation? Which I can only imagine would give you a sense of anxiety. What was that like? Did you feel any sort of responsibility for her health? In other words, you had to be an advocate and watching over everything, and if so, how do you overcome that? And even with the perspective that you understand that life is eternal and that this is a short stay that we have here; that sort of a thing? How do you deal with all these things that are going through your head?

John Holland: Well, first of all, I am [0:12:16.4]. Every day I enjoy being with her. And what happened was I moved her closer to me, so it was easy access. She was 20 minutes away. If she needed anything, I was there for her. But, yes, I felt responsible because it’s funny, Bob, when I was born, I talk about this in the “Spirit Whisperer.” Me and my mom have a very special relationship. I’m the different one in the family doing the work that I do.

It seems like I’ve been a caretaker for my mom ever since I was born actually. So that wasn’t new, the responsibility. She always looked up to me. I always made sure she had what she needed. But, of course, a lot of our mothers and fathers are very stubborn people. “Ma, are you eating right?” You know, this and that, but the responsibility was overwhelming, but she did everything that I asked her to do, Bob. She was a trooper. She didn’t fight me really on anything.

I wish I’d gotten her to eat a little better, but she was a trooper. She followed along and she knew that I was the responsible one. I took the job of doing this. It was fine. My brothers and sisters accepted that and they were there for me. It was overwhelming. But you know, Bob, I say – you know what the thing was that got me? It wasn’t the responsibility. I knew that it wasn’t going to be forever and she saw me.

Every time the hospital called and she went into the ICU and you’re watching, she would apologize to me. And I said, “Ma, please,” I knew it wasn’t going to be forever. I knew it. I’m surprised she lasted a year, Bob, so I enjoyed every single time, every day that I had with her. And one good thing about me and my mom, she had a great sense of humor.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah, she did.

John Holland: A great sense of humor. It’s so funny. She’s such a caring woman. She’s in this long-term care facility. She was more concerned about her roommate than herself. She would call the nurse. A loving woman, but that’s okay, Bob, it’s, you know, between the help that I had and the research helped. But like I said, I miss her like hell.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah. Of course you do. You brought up a great point there. I’ve seen this with so many people. There always tends to be if there are a few siblings, and there’s a parent who’s passing, there always seems to be one sibling who – one of the children who sort of steps forth and takes control and supports that parent. It tends to be more than the others. And I think this is just a very common thing that – I’ll give you an example. When I’m worrying about something, my wife Melissa doesn’t have to worry. So she doesn’t worry. When she’s worrying, then I don’t have to worry; as long as somebody’s worrying.

And in this particular case, as long as somebody’s taking care of mom, right? Then some of the other siblings feel comfortable; she’s being taken care of. And what they maybe need to do, first of all, is recognize that you can share in that. I just think it’s important for siblings, anybody who’s watching where that’s happening, and they’re the sibling whose sort of stepped back and they’re busy with their own children and their own life, maybe they can think maybe I can help out a bit.

But also, because this is a point you said, was okay, maybe if you can’t even help with that, maybe because they’re across the country or something, you can be there for that sibling that’s taking all that responsibility and you can try to help that person because of the enormous amount that is on that person’s shoulders. I think it was a great point you brought up.

John Holland: It’s true. You know what’s funny? I had my family there. If I was traveling, doing a gig, or you know on a book tour or whatever, I would call and make sure that one of my other siblings would visit her and you know what’s really great though, Bob? What I found when somebody passes, and many people will find this too, that who you expect to help, sometimes doesn’t, and the people who you don’t expect do.

Some people stepped up to the plate that I was never expecting. When I was here and I was going through it, and remember, I didn’t have rose-colored glasses on. There were days that I was pretty messed up. It’s where I live on my street and you know I’m a dog person. It was my dog people, the people that I walk the dogs with that made sure that I had food because once again, a caretaker forgets to take care of himself.

They made sure that I was eating properly. They would make sure that someone else was walking my dog. They made sure there was food in my refrigerator. So who would have thought that the people that I walk my dogs with and friends like that are the ones that were looking out for me?

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Isn’t that wonderful. Also important that you recognize or people who are doing that recognize that you remember that. It’s been almost a year. Soon it will be a year since her passing and you still remember that. And so those things don’t go unnoticed. They really are appreciated, so a great point to make. One of the things I want to talk about is – and I know some people do this, and I know some people don’t want to do it, is you actually planned her services.

John Holland: Sure, with her.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: With her. Tell us what that was like.

John Holland: Well, she always said that – we’re from an Italian-Irish-Catholic family, where they carry the casket down the church, and the Ave Maria would be singing, and everybody dressed in black, and my mom and I we discussed it. She always said that she wanted to be cremated. I told her that I would do her wishes. And she wanted the ashes to just be buried with her parents and her other sister. And that’s exactly what I did.

Before she went, too, I also told her that I would – we took her to England. I took her to England, okay, me and a friend of mine. And she loved it so much that I was just over there, I bought a little box, put white roses on it because that’s her favorite, and then we planted a white rose bush in England in my friend Simon’s yard for her so we even talked about that. We discussed what to do with her jewelry.

My mom respected that I could talk to her about it where some of my other siblings couldn’t do it or they would just, you know, walk away because they couldn’t deal with it. I had to deal with it, Bob.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: And a lot of that is what we’re doing here on Afterlife TV. The work that you do; that’s sort of the point; get people comfortable with this idea of death and the afterlife so that they’re able to do these sorts of things while we’re all still living. I just think it was a really important ritual, if nothing else, to go through that and make sure that her wishes were acknowledged and so that she was able to plan the services she wanted.

John Holland: Absolutely.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: I think it’s a wonderful thing that you did there and it’s something that certainly Melissa and I have talked about so that we can do the same thing or ahead of time.

John Holland: People don’t talk about it. You’re right. I’m glad you’re talking about it because people don’t. And it is going to happen. You are a soul, and you’re going to go back home, and you always will be. But people should talk about it before it’s too late. A friend of mine, his parents are going through this now and I try to tell them, “Are you prepared?” Yes, you’re never prepared, but you could have some things in line so when it does happen, you’re not scrambling. You know what I mean?

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Or worried. I don’t know if I’m supposed to cremate her or not cremate her. I don’t know what she wanted.

John Holland: Exactly.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s a horrible situation to be in.

John Holland: Absolutely, so you know people don’t want to talk about losing someone or even about you even going or what happens when you lose a parent. You start questioning your own immortality, Bob, okay. You know what I mean? And I saw that, but luckily we discussed everything about her passing.

She did say this, though. I gotta give it to her. Every time I feel sad. This is a woman that came out of ICU twice. We’re watching all the levels go down and bless her she pulled herself out to pass away as she wanted, when she wanted. So it was incredible.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That is incredible. Was she ever fearful of death? I mean I know I’ve sat with her – beside her during your events. She attended many of your events. She was fully aware of everything that was going on with you, and yet it’s still possible that she had some fear about dying. Did she?

John Holland: Well, before she did. I know she was more fearful or worried about what’s going to happen to her kids – every mother. But what happened was on June 28th, she lost consciousness, and they had to put this machine on her or b-pap to help get the bad carbon dioxide out of her system. And a week or two later she said to me, “Johnnie, remember when I almost passed away or I almost died?” Because the doctor said she may not wake up.

She did, obviously, but she said during that time, Bob, I don’t know why she didn’t tell me right away, but remember, she was sick. She said to me that while she was there, she saw a light. She said that she saw a light and me being a medium, “Was somebody there? Was it a man or a woman? What were they wearing?” She said all she felt was a loving presence in the light and she said ever since that, she was okay. Plus me talking about it and being prepared and we were ready.

We didn’t know when it was going to happen. I mean here’s a woman doing Tai Chi in a chair. You know what I mean? And when someone has COPD, which many of the people listening know people, you never know what’s going to happen with COPD, so we were prepared, but she wasn’t afraid because we talked about it. And every time she went into the hospital we thought this is it. This is it. This is it five times.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah, well that’s tough. That’s tough to do. Alright, well tell us a little bit about, you know, people are aware of death-bed visions. You kind of refer to it. Some people, when they’re getting ready to pass, they’ll see visions of loved ones in spirit welcoming them – that sort of a thing. And then there’s also this – this is actually kind of new to me within the last year, this idea of shared-death experiences I think they call them.

Shared-death experiences where other people who are in the room, people who are just there to support the one who is ready to pass, will have some kind of other worldly experience themselves; either they’ll feel or see in their minds eye the loved ones in spirit welcoming them or – not them personally; the one who’s dying. Or they’ll actually – I’ve heard of people actually following them along almost to the doorway of the spirit world. You had a sort of experience like that did you not?

John Holland: Right. Well, it’s very strange. Not really. Synchronistic events; everything happens. It’s amazing how it all happened. Just really briefly, okay, she was in the hospital. She came out; pulled herself out. I mean, this was the most we thought she was going, okay, she pulled herself out of the hospital, went home. When I left it was a Thursday. I was with her eating fried chicken. She was sitting up laughing and having fried chicken. Her oxygen levels were back. Her blood pressure was back.

And I said to her, “Mom, I’m supposed to go over to Canada,” which is only like 90 minutes by flight from here. And the doctor came in. She was amazed and my mom was talking about when can I go to the beach? You know what I mean? You know when can I get out again? I’m like, “Ma, please ma, you just got here.” So I said, “Ma, should I go?” And she said, “Go.” And I’m like I don’t know Ma if I should go. And she said, “Go,” and the nurse came in.

It was a Thursday. I was flying out the next day. She just waved at me and she said, “Just go.” So I went and then Friday, Saturday she was okay. Then I got the call to come back. She was going downhill, and we knew that this was it because where she was, Bob, at the nursing home or the long-term care facility, they loved her so much, they weren’t supposed to – she had a DNR – Do Not Resuscitate. Twice, they loved this woman so much that they kept sending her to the hospital. And I kept saying, “Do not resuscitate.”

She wanted that. So she had to go do that so I get the call to come back. What’s amazing, this one trip, now David Kessler, he’s a Hay House author. He worked with Elisabeth Kubler-Ross okay. His book is “Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms.” It’s about what the dead see before they pass away. So I’m having dinner with Brian Weiss, okay, our buddy, and I said – there was an empty chair there and I said – well, we made reservations and I always added one extra person because you never know if someone is going to join us. Well who joins us but David Kessler.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Awesome.

John Holland: The number one bereavement counselor in the world, okay, he’s there when there are tragedies in the world and they fly him them. He’s head of five Palliative Care. So he sits down and I start telling him about my mother and he gave me some great advice and he said, “John, when I walk into a room that someone’s passing, nothing is wrong with what’s happening in that room.”

He walks in there like it’s a natural process. So that was a great tip. And he showed a video, and he gave me some great advice, and then I got the call about my mom. So what are the chances that I am sitting with the number one bereavement counselor hours before my mom passes? My mom said she wasn’t scared because my mom being mediumistic, too, but my mom had a boyfriend that we never knew about that she almost married.

So this came out like not too long ago, and he was the one that my mom was supposed to marry. And I’m like what about dad? I mean she was separated from my dad and they’re divorced, but he came to her in this soldier’s uniform and she’s like, “Guess who was here today?” And I’m thinking I don’t know, “Mary, Darlene, one of our relatives.”

She said, “No, Wayne came to see me.” And I said, “Really?” And this was like two weeks before he passed away. I said, “What did he say?” She said he was sitting at the edge of my bed, and he just said I’m just checking in on you. Now a lot of people, Bob, with deathbed visions, okay – about David’s book “Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms,” doctors don’t talk about it because they do what they do, but it’s the nurses, the healthcare workers, the social workers, the hospice people, they’re the ones that see people call out to someone.

You may see someone – this has happened. You see them stretching, and reaching, and you think that they’re having a fit. They’re actually reaching up for their loved one. Sometimes people will look off in the corner of the room and just stare. Sometimes they will actually see someone, but the people, a lot of family members will say, “Oh, they’re hallucinating.” My mom wasn’t on hallucinogenic drugs, Bob, and a lot of people aren’t. So I really believe that those on the other side come to see you before you go.

Me, they come to me, too, but I’m a medium. They’re supposed to come to me. Do you understand? But she had that and as a matter of fact, where we were at this place in Massachusetts, the staff, they started to get to know me. And they said, “Well, this place is haunted.” And I said, “Yeah, really?” Me, okay. She said what happens is before somebody passes, sometimes they will hear children laughing. So I said to my mom jokingly, “You hear the kids. Run Ma.” They said that they hear kids. And it used to be an old manor so maybe these kids, before somebody passes – now, some of the nurses talked about it and some of the nurses said, “I don’t know anything about it.” Or sometimes they will smell cigar smoke also. So people were coming to visit my mom before she passed and are you ready for the story of when she passed?

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah.

John Holland: So I get the call and my brother – and it was weird. It was raining out in Canada and the flight was late, but something happened. I was with another medium at the airport, and I wasn’t pacing back and forth, get me on a helicopter. I was quite calm, Bob. I don’t know if it was shock. I don’t know. It was just quite calm. And my brother’s texting me, “Where are you now? Where are you now?” Right up to the door of the place.

So I get there, and my brother, Joe, he was in tears and he said, “Johnnie, tell her she can go because she’s been waiting for you.” She was already out of it, okay, so he left the room and I just said, “Ma, I’m here. I wanted to let you know I’m here, I’m here, I’m here.”

And my other brother left the room. I wanted my time. And then they came back in the room. I still remember this, Bob, we’re holding her, we’re hugging her, we’re stroking her hand and saying, “Ma, it’s okay to go. It’s going to be okay,” because she was all about her kids and I knew the only reason why she’s staying here was for her kids.

So I’m blessed that she waited, Bob. She waited. I said to her one, “I don’t think I’m going to be there when you pass away because I’m always traveling.” She goes, “You’ll be there.” And I’m like, “I don’t know.” Sure enough, she’s the psych, she was right.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right.

John Holland: So this is what happened. So we’re looking at my mom on the bed. I’ve got my brother Joe to my right and my brother Danny to my left. And I’m just sitting there and I wasn’t looking for spirit people. I was just in the moment, okay, with my mom and my brothers and my two sisters already left. So just as I’m sitting there, Bob – have you ever felt when someone stands behind you? You can just feel it without looking. And many people know that.

You could be in line and someone steps close and is invading your space. As soon as I’m looking at my mom I felt my grandmother come into the room. I didn’t see her. I didn’t see a puff of smoke or her walk in and wave to me. I just felt her presence. And then I felt my grandfather. Then her sister and then another relative and I looked at my brother, Joe, and I said, “Joe, they’re here for her.” And I looked at him and he said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “Joe, they’re here to take her now. Tell her it’s okay.” So he started crying and he said, “No.” And I got emotional. I’m getting emotional now. It’s okay, Bob, it’s alright. Beautiful experience and then I said to my brothers, “Put your hand on her chest, Joe.”

So he followed her breathing, okay, and 90 minutes after I arrived there, I said, “Joe, they’re here to take her.” And just within that minute her chest rose and I said, “They’re here to take her now.” And she left, Bob. Beautiful experience. But I get emotional still. And I always will get emotional when I tell that story because I was blessed.

Now granted I didn’t know what – I’ve never been right there when somebody passed away, so they really do come and get you. And I think my brothers also felt a presence. I mean, I said to my brother Joe, and I can joke about this, too, I said, “Was that good timing?” I said they’re here. But literally I felt them, and she just needed that release, and I felt them come in the room and get her, and she left beautifully, Bob. It was a sad experience but a beautiful experience.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah, it sounds it. I’m emotional hearing it. This is the second time I’ve heard it and I’m sure the people watching. It’s hard to hold back the tears when you hear something like that. That’s a beautiful experience. One that I’m sure a lot of people wish they had, but how nice to know that that’s the way it happens.

The interesting thing is you’re a medium, but there are people who are not mediums who do have these experiences, right?

John Holland: Yeah, absolutely, you’re going to feel – and it’s funny too. When she passed away, I didn’t look right at her body. I looked up and said, “Go Ma. It’s okay.” You know what I mean? In case she was hovering, looking down, but there are experiences. I want people who are listening to this too if you’re not there when someone passes away, do not beat yourself up.

My mom waited for us, okay, waited for me to get off that plane – 90 minutes afterwards. Actually, it was like 100 minutes she passed away 90-100 minutes. But there’s going to come times when you may not be there. Do not beat yourself up. There are some parents that are going to wait until all the kids go to Duncan Donuts and then decide to go so don’t. The soul knows when it wants to go. Don’t beat yourself up.

A friend of mine, she was upset because her mother said she didn’t want to pass alone and the mother did pass alone. That was the mother’s soul choice not to put the family through it. So don’t beat yourself up. And there are experiences – I didn’t have a – I had the experience of feeling them come to the room to get her, but there are Raymond Moody’s work, too, shared-death experiences, you know, where someone passes away and you follow them up and you feel yourself floating. I read one story where she wasn’t allowed to go anymore and she came back. So that’s new this whole shared-death experience. But it’s beautiful.

And there are all kinds of signs, too. If your loved one is seeing someone who has passed away, walk to them and say, “Well what is daddy saying? What is this one saying? What is the one saying?” It may not be the drugs that are actually coming to get them. It’s always people that are passed away, too, Bob, that come to get them. They never see anyone who is alive. It’s the people that have gone on before them.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: No, exactly. And I do know that when people hear about these stories, first of all they wonder why didn’t I have that experience? But so many people have had the experience that you mentioned. They went to the cafeteria in the hospital. They came back and their loved one passed. And they don’t understand why that happened and there are so many reasons. There are just so many reasons. A couple that you mentioned and then there’s the idea for their own dignity.

Some people just for their own dignity – there are all sorts of things that happen physically when a body passes. Maybe they just didn’t want you to be there when that happened, or their soul has reasons why that may be, or there might be somebody in the room, or among the family they just didn’t feel as though they could handle that loss in that way to see them, or they didn’t want that to be the last thing that person remembered, right? There are lots of reasons. We can’t really question that, right?

John Holland: Right. I did enough reading that I knew the signs that when someone’s going to pass what the body does. I don’t care how much reading you do, I wasn’t really prepared when I walked into that room, but I was. I just took control. I recommend that people just read a little.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah, that’s it. How would you say that understanding the afterlife comforts people grief, again, both with the work that you do and having gone through your own experience? How do you think understanding the afterlife helped with your grief in all sorts of different ways?

John Holland: Well knowing that they are okay helps some people. I’ve done many readings, especially for parents, knowing that their kid does go on and they’ll get validation that they’re still around their life that there’s an afterlife. It doesn’t necessarily take away the bereavement, especially for me too, and I’m a medium. I know she’s okay, okay? And when I’m at my saddest, I still give her the credit for pulling herself out of that, her strength, and she wouldn’t want us to be sad. But I know that I’ll see her again, Bob. I’ve had three
dreams of her already. I’ve had dreams. My other sister’s getting doves and lights blinking and I’m like, “I want the dove. I want the lights.” But she hasn’t talked to me. And of course, my mother’s with her sisters that really need her. I’ve had dreams about my mom and in those dreams it’s weird. I know she’s passed away and she still says to me in the dreams, “I’m just resting.” “I’m just resting,” okay. She doesn’t look sick. She says, “I’m just resting.”

So knowing that there is an afterlife, I don’t believe it, Bob. I know it. So I know it, but it does help and you do the work. I haven’t run into a medium, Bob, myself yet. First of all, I don’t want to go to someone who knows me because once they see John Holland walks in the room, I don’t want to – I may go when someone goes, “Why don’t you go?” I’ll go when I’m supposed to go, Bob.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right. Yeah, you’ll know it. You’ll know it. Just knowing, not as a medium, but as any one of us, any human being, knowing that we can communicate with them any time we want. I mean any time you’ve done these events you always get messages for people. You always get messages for people in the audience and how would you describe the idea that our loved ones are around us so if we want to talk to them, they’re going to get that message?

Understanding, yes, they’re not just focusing on us all of the time. Understanding like with you with all of the siblings, Jenny is able to focus on every one of their lives and know what’s going on with them. But any time that someone wants to communicate with them in prayer, just speak out loud to them, write a letter to them, she’s aware of that. How does that happen? What do you have to say about any of that?

John Holland: Well people, they’re still probably wondering, “John, you are a medium. Why don’t you just dial your mother direct?” First of all, I’m too close to it. When I read for someone, I don’t want to know anything about them. So when I feel my mom, I can feel her. It’s not like she’s going to poof right in front of me with her Italian sauce, I wish, you know.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Me too.

John Holland: Yeah, me too. Give me those meatballs. But I’ll feel her and it’s really strange, Bob. Now when I do my group gatherings, it opens up. It’s weird. It’s almost as if I feel her in the background when I’m doing my work. If I was to link with my mom, I’d have to make sure it’s not my imagination. But for the people who want to link with someone on the other side, what I say to do, and I write this in my books, too, in Spirit Whisperer. Take out the happy pictures of your loved one. The one where their eyes are bright because too

many people that have lost someone, whether in accidents, they’re
remembering, just like you said, how they looked before they passed. They don’t look like that anymore. Find the happiest pictures you have of them where their eyes, because you know the eyes are the window to the soul. Look for the happy eyes.

Put the picture there. Light a candle from a dollar store and just be quiet and just talk to them because I always say your loved ones are just a thought away. Keep talking to them in your mind because it’s all telepathic. It’s all mind thought. So just be in a nice place and you may feel a warmth on your shoulder. You may feel a kiss. You may get a blinking light. If you’re lucky, you get the dove, okay. You know what I mean?

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right.

John Holland: What happens too, Bob, those on the other side, they try to get our attention all of the time whether it’s dreams, smells, electricity, finding the pennies. But us as humans, we always explain it away. Even me, upstairs in my kitchen where my pencils are near my phone, a pencil started moving. I said, “Oh, it must have been my hand going across the air.” Come on. It’s not a typhoon hand.

And I just said, “Oh my God. My explaining it away like most people do,” all I did was I said, “Oh right. Thanks, Ma.” Just say that. There are going to be signs. They’re trying to catch our attention all of the time, but I heard this from Suzanne Norford. She said, “Those on the other side take their cues from you. If they know that you’re nervous or very sensitive still, or very emotional, they’re not going to come right away if they’re going to get you upset so you need to wait.”

Or when you are ready for a visitation, or that feeling, or the dream, you need to say to your loved one, “I’m ready. Come any way you want.” Don’t demand the dove. Don’t demand the knock and don’t demand the radio going on. They’re going to come in their own way in their own time.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s great advice because I do know people who their sister will have had a dream – they’ll have the dream visitation where the parent comes to visit them in the dream and they’re upset. Why did you go to my sister and not me?” That may be very well why right there. Just what you said.

John Holland: Say one sister is the stronger one. The mom will go to her and the dad. And the other one emotional, they won’t. And sometimes if the parent or the loved one can’t get to any family members, they’re going to go to the neighbor, Bob.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah, yeah.
John Holland: Many people have had messages from their neighbors saying, “I dreamt of your dad last night,” or, “I dreamt of your mom,” or the guy at the store. Trust me, they know. If they can’t get to their family, they’re like, “Oh God, they’re too nervous. I’m going to go to Joe next door. He’s okay.” So they’re going to do it.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right. And skepticism plays a role too. Let’s just talk about the limitations of how understanding the afterlife really doesn’t help with our grief. You talked about some of them. Really it’s like the physical presence, right? I mean, we miss their physical presence.

We can’t hug them, right, their companionship, obviously, you spent a lot of time with your mom. Things you can’t do anymore. Just that void that they leave in our life. Are there any other things that you’ve noticed since she’s been gone; reasons that you’re grieving; the causes of it that understanding the afterlife does not help?

John Holland: I mean it’s great that I know that they go on, but like I said, I’ll have a grief attack. And as we get older, too, I don’t know about you, Bob, but as we get older, we’re in the sandwich generation, okay. Anyone who’s in their 40’s, 50-something, we are taking care of our children but watching our elderly ones grow older. You know what I mean? So you’re like, “Oh my God,” people once again who are watching this are saying, “Oh my God. Is everybody getting sick around me?”

It depends what age you’re at, too, Bob. But knowing that there’s an afterlife, it does help. But there are times I forget I’m a medium, Bob, and I’ll hear a song on the radio, or I just spent some time with my aunt, my mom’s sister. So being with my aunt, she looks so much like my mother, brought up memories of my mom and my aunt started crying in the car because my mom was her best friend.

So once she gets emotional, I started getting emotional too. So even though I know there’s an afterlife, sometimes it does help me as a medium, especially of all the evidence I’ve given over the years, but I’m still a man, Bob. You know what I mean? I’m just a guy and I’m going to continue to miss her.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah. Even though we know that we’ll see them again, we know that we’re not going to see them again in this lifetime. And just that thought alone brings the tears to your eyes.

John Holland: You just want to hear their voice, Bob, too, one more time. Luckily, because of iPhones, I did a lot of recordings of my mother. So I have her in the hospital, I have her when she was over here, I have her voice, so I’ve got that. And some people don’t have that. Some people may have someone – they have their voice on an answering machine and they accidentally deleted it. Do you know what I mean? So it’s the voice that I want to hear. Me and my mom, I miss the joking, but I still talk to her in my mind saying, “Ma, you there?” Or, “Ma, look at this.” Last night there was a Patriots game. My mom was a huge, huge – my brother Joe got her into it huge, and I tweeted do you think they’re watching from heaven or do you think they’re watching from the other side?

So when that game was on, I bet you my mom – that’s going to bring up memories for my brother Joe. They always watched the game together. What do they do to honor that? He went over to his friend Michael’s house. And he lost his mom near a Super Bowl, so they brought pictures of our moms and put them there so it’s almost like the mothers are watching the TV, the game with them.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s beautiful. I love that. I love that. That’s so nice. Let’s talk a little bit before we wrap up about cemeteries, about grave and burial sites. I guess the message that I want to give people is it’s a great monument to honor our loved ones, but they don’t live there. Can you just expand upon that?

John Holland: Being Irish-Italian-Catholic, when my mom’s family heard that she wouldn’t even have a grave stone, she was okay with that. She’s like, “Don’t waste the money. I know I’m not there.” But my Catholic relatives had an issue with it. They said, “Well where are we supposed to go to see her?” Well it’s not there, but I’m not putting that down.

If you have that monument or your picture at the grave, or that stone of your family, that’s fine. That could be your place for your special talk with them. Some people feel they need to go to a place. I don’t okay. But I’m not putting graveyards down. It depends on the need, Bob. You know what I mean? I stuck to what my mother wished. She did.

Her ashes have been in different places. She’s in England. She’s buried here. There are a few other places too. She’s got to be scattered all over the world probably, especially Fox Woods and the casino that she used to go to. She loved that and I think she’d be laughing on the other side, but I honor people that have a place to go.

If you feel like that’s what you want, and maybe a loved one would want that. It’s good to talk about it. Most people don’t and then it’s too late. So have no regrets. Just talk to them and hopefully the loved one will be ready for that conversation.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right. And again, I’ll just sort of reiterate, if the cemetery, the gravestone, the gravesite is a great place to go because it has us take time out of our lives to go there and focus on that person, and it’s wonderful, and it’s spiritual. But whether you want to go to church, or you want to go to a tree, or a park that you spent time together, whatever it may be, that’s good too because that’s not where they live. They’ll follow you around wherever you want to go, and so if you want to take the time and think about them wherever, they’re going to be happy with that.

John Holland: Right and I’ve never had anybody come through – I’ve had people say if a medium was to come through and my mom comes through and said, “Your mom said you did everything she wanted to.” That’s great, but there are going to come times where you’re going to think the person was supposed to have a burial but you decided a cremation.

I’ve never, ever in the 20 years, the two decades I’ve been doing this work, have I had anyone come through on the other side upset that you cremated them instead of buried them. Do you know what I mean? I’ve had people say thank you for taking care of me. You followed all of my wishes. But they’re not upset if you decide – that’s the overcoat. They don’t take that with them. That’s not who they are. This is just a temporary housing for the real you, which is the soul.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right. Alright, just to wrap up, let’s talk about some resources, you know, books, recommendations of websites, anything that you might have used to help with your own grieving or that you recommended to your family members or that you’ve recommended to your clients or audience members over the years; anything that stands out to you? You mentioned David Kessler’s books.

John Holland: Yep, through Hay House, “Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms.” It’s a story about what people see before they pass away. It’s from doctors, nurses, healthcare workers. So that’s helpful and that will prepare you for when your relative starts seeing people on the other side. Wherever your mom is sick – every book is different, Bob, there are so many. Know the stages of bereavement too, okay, the five stages.

On my website under the links page, there’s a whole bereavement section there that people can go to. But even at hospitals, or hospices, or long-term care places, there are always little booklets. Now I’ve got books that are this big on bereavement because I write about it, too, but David’s book and any pamphlet that the hospital gives you, I recommend. It doesn’t have to be – the small booklets help you to be prepared because by being prepared, you’re helping your loved one also.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah. And you triggered because of David, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross of course. She’s not with us anymore, but boy, you know, one of the first books I ever read when I was investigating this field after my father passed, and they were just enormously helpful, and I know they have been for other people.

John Holland: Oh, David’s website, too, Bob. It’s the biggest too.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Oh, geez.

John Holland: He owns that and it’s a wonderful resource.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: We can remember that one You’re at What can people find on your website? Upcoming events of course, right?

John Holland: I’ve got upcoming events. I do small groups. I mean I’m all over the United States and I’m teaching. I’m honored to do this work, Bob, and I’m still fascinated too. I’ll say to people when someone gets a good reading, “Yeah, I’m a good mailman. I can deliver a good message, but I’ve got to give kudos to the people on the other side. They’re the ones that are coming through.”

So it’s good to watch a medium. I don’t want someone who’s watching, Bob, if you lose someone, do not run to a medium right away. I’ve had people come to me when I was doing privates that just lost somebody two weeks ago. And I said, “No, no, no.” If you think about it they’re still going through the shock, the denial, the five stages.

So wait awhile because those on the other side I really believe this Bob, too, when somebody passes, they’re getting used to the other side still. They’re getting used to being back home. You know what I mean? Checking things out; saying hello. I say wait three months so you’re in a better place. I had one woman come to see me and she just wasn’t there. It was too soon. So I had to say, “Look, you’re not ready.”

My site offers a lot. Your site offers a lot too. So just do the research and it’s okay to talk about it guys okay. And you may have a sibling that doesn’t want to talk about it like I did. I didn’t have that option, Bob, so try to get the support. Remember, even caretakers need some love too.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s right. And just finally Hay House Radio; you have a show on Hay House Radio.

John Holland: Hay House Radio every Monday. Every Monday at 3 pm on the East Coast; 12 pm on the West Coast, and a lot of people say well what station is it on? It’s internet radio. It’s totally free. And next month I’ve been doing this show for seven years so plenty of guests and bereavement counselors. Brian Weiss is going to be on next month, too, to celebrate an event in Boston, so thank you, Bob, and good luck with this site. I see the numbers going up on your Facebook, so I know people are watch. So thank you.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: We’re doing great.

John Holland: You’re the first person in the media that I’ve talked to about the loss, so thank you.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Well, I’ll just end with that. Thank you for sharing and opening yourself up in such a generous way; intimate way. We haven’t had a guest yet who has had the opportunity to do it and I just think, “Wow,” what a powerful story you have. I hope that it’s going to come out in a book in more detail in the future.

John Holland: It will.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: And I know that I appreciate it, and I know everybody else does, so thanks, John.

John Holland: You’re welcome, Bob.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Take care.

John Holland: I love you man.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Love you man.

John Holland: Alright.


Afterlife TV is presented by Afterlife Investigator & Psychic Medium Researcher Bob Olson, who is the author of Answers about the Afterlife: A Private Investigator’s 15-Year Research Unlocks the Mysteries of Life after Death.

Check out Bob Olson’s other sites: (a directory of hundreds of psychics & mediums by location with reviews & Instant Readings) & (his personal recommended list of tested psychics and mediums) or visit Bob’s Facebook Page. Bob also has a popular workshop for psychics and mediums at

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