"Posthumous" letter from "Paul Revere Osler" to his mother, Grace Osler
This letter from "Heaven" is in William Osler's hand, and was clearly written to comfort his wife after the early
death of their first son.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
7 (1,821,229 Bytes)
14 July 1893
Original Repository: Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University. Osler Library Archive Collections, P100: Sir William Osler Collection
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
"Father of Modern Medicine": The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1889-1905
Heaven July 14
My dear Mother
I for one am good & get on nicely with our singing and if our earthly parents continue to show an interest in us by remembering
us in their prayers, we are allowed to write about everything is from tatma's (i.e. Month). I got here safely with very
little inconvenience. I scarcely knew anything until I awoke in a lovely, green spot, with fountains & trees & soft
couches & such nice young girls to tend us. You
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would have been amused to see the hundreds which came the same day. But I must tell you first how we are all arranged; it
took me several days to find out about it. Heaven is the exact center part of the earth so far as its dwellers are concerned
-- thus all from the U.S. go to one place -- all from Maryland to one district & even all from the cities & townships
get corresponding places. This enables the guardian angels to keep the lists more carefully & to facilitate communication
between relatives. They are most particular in this respect and have a beautiful simple arrangement by which the new arrivals
can find out at once whether they have connections in heaven. I never was more [?] in my time -- we say that here not life
& not eternity for that has started for us -- when the day after my arrival Althea brought me two quill feathers
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in one of which was written Julius Caesar & the other Emma Osler. I knew at once about the former as I had often heard
you and father talk of him and had so longed to wear his little cap; but the latter I did not know at all but she said she
had been fathers little sister & she had been sent to make me feel happy and comfortable.
You must know that all the souls coming here are grouped in 6 divisions
(1) Those who have never lived and have not seen the sun. The angels have no end of trouble with them, largely Althea says
because they are so stupid and learn so slowly, not having seen the sun-light. They are allowed to grow until equal to the
size of the body of a 2 year old child & at which point they stop. They never obtain a full knowledge but always remain
childlike. This is their great attraction & in their gardens may be seen hundreds of thousands of middle ages & old
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bodies refreshing their memories of happy days on earth by playing with these angel children.
2. Those who have not lived a full year are also in a separate division and we are gradually taught and within a very short
space of time have beautiful soul-bodies about the size of a earthly child of five. We have however full knowledge and have
not many childish ways.
3. Children between 1 & 5 years look here about 10 years in Earthly-size; & though they say that their voices are
better & their Education more perfect than ours we do not think so.
4. From 5 to 15 years the children who come attain in their soul bodies they earthly size of about 15 and are of great use
to the angels in helping with the younger ones & in showing all the beauties of the place and in tuning harps in the great
days of the chorus.
6. The grown soul-bodies - about which
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we do not know very much only seeing those very nearly related to us by Earthly ties.
We play all day & talk so much with each other about Earth and take a great interest in all that you do. We cannot always
see you, why I do not know, but at intervals we have such clear and definite sights of our Earthly homes. Julius Caesar is
very well and a great favorite. He looks a dear little of about two years old (Earthly count) and he told me when his guardian
angel was not near that he felt a little badly that I should have been in the [?] division -- i.e. the one in advance of his.
He and Aunt Emma are to come very often and we know now all about our many relatives. Unlike the real angels we have no fore-knowledge
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tell what is to happen to our dear ones on Earth. Next to the great feast days, when we sing choruses by divisions in the
upper heavens, our chief delight is in watching the soul bodies as they arrive in our divisions. I am helping the angels to
get them in order & properly trained. In the childrens divisions not a triad (i.e. about an hour of earthly time) passes
without the excitement of a father, a mother, a brother or a sister united to one of us. I've known about 1000 of each
other that it is great fun to see our comrades & friends making their relatives feel at home.
The other day my kind Althea said there was a baby-soul in the 1st division from New Hampshire, which had left her kind regards
for me at the general intelligence office of the heavenly United States. It was chorus day so I could not go, but I am to
see her tomorrow if she is advanced enough to receive visitors. It takes about ten days to
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get our beautiful plummage in order
If you keep as you are I shall be able (Althea says) to write again in three months. I send you much love - also to pop!
Your loving son
We use the word 'pop' here for papa is father very much