Is there a way I can say goodbye to my loved ones after I die – as I fear dying young?
I don’t presume to know exactly what happens when we die, but I have lost friends and family members I loved, and I can speak from those experiences. Even after my loved ones are gone, I sometimes have a strong sense of their presence. I think that what I feel in those moments is their love for me. Viktor Frankl also wrote of having a strong sense that his wife was present with him while he was imprisoned in a Nazi death camp even though he didn’t know whether his wife was still alive.
In Paul’s treatise on love in 1 Corinthians 13, he spoke of spiritual gifts and of end times. He was writing in response to a Corinthian congregation who was arguing about which spiritual gifts were the greatest. Paul wrote, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:12-13, NRSV). Paul’s view was that even though faith and hope are important spiritual gifts, they are no longer needed after we die since we will be face to face with God. Love, however, endures, and that is what makes it the most desirable of the spiritual gifts.
I have offered you my Biblical and theological response, and now I would like to offer you a pastoral response. I suspect that your reason for wanting to tell your loved ones goodbye is to tell them you love them. If that is so, why is it necessary to wait? Tell them today and every chance you have how much they mean to you. You won’t regret it.
 Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2006), 111.