Reconciled by the Light by Ron Pappalardo

by jptanabe

Book review of the astounding true story "Reconciled by the Light: The After Death Letters from a Teen Suicide" by Ron Pappalardo

"Reconciled by the Light" is the true story of a father whose teenage son committed suicide. Such an event often tears a family apart. Devastated, but not defeated, the author describes his journey to find a way to forgive his son and himself. This forgiveness comes through love, and leads to a greater peace than he ever imagined possible, both for himself and his son.

In the book the author describes spiritual communications that he believes are from his son. But, as he notes, his other children are skeptical. In the end, he wrote the book to help people, believers and skeptics alike, to deal with the tragedy and trauma of suicide and sudden death. Whether or not you believe in spiritual phenomena is not really important: This father and son's story would be moving even if it were all fiction.

A father and a son, separated by death, reunited by love.

This is our story.

Why Did I Write this Review?

This is a true story about a teen suicide. Why would I want to read such a book, let alone write a review of it? It's really not a pleasant topic, and the description of how he died is quite unsettling.

Well, first of all, I know the author. Not his family, just him, the father of the boy who died. That's enough really.

And I know some of the people mentioned in the book, including the family of the teenage son who was killed in a car accident. They live in the same town as us, and my daughter knew him. We went to his memorial service. So this book reminds me of that experience.

And why did I choose to give a summary of the book, in this review? Usually I just introduce the characters and setting and encourage others to read it for themselves. In this case, the title and sub-title of the book really tell the story. There are no plot twists. That's it.

So here's the book, and my review. I can say that parts of the book are disturbing, but others are heartwarming. My review is the same; just to give you fair warning.

"Reconciled by the Light" by Ron Pappalardo


The true story of the suicide of Ron's teenage son, and the journey to find meaning in this tragic event.

Summary of the book

"Reconciled by the Light" was written by Ron Pappalardo, whose teenage son Joshua completed his suicide by self-immolation - he went outside into the woods behind their house, poured a can of gasoline over himself and lit a match. He was engulfed in flames that burned a large tree. He said he felt no pain as his body burned, since he had an out of body experience where he saw the scene from above. He then walked back to his home where his younger siblings called 911 and waited with him, his clothes still smoldering, till the ambulance came. A few hours later at the burn unit of the local hospital he passed away in the company of his parents.

While many families fall apart under such circumstances, this family was able to survive. Josh's father, believing that there is life after death and that his son still exists in some spiritual form, sought ways to help his son ascend to a higher place in the spirit world. He was able to contact a minister who was spiritually sensitive. This minister received the first communication from Joshua while preparing to speak at the memorial service. It was through him that Joshua whispered his first four words to those he left behind: "Don't ... ever ... do ... this."

Helped by the many friends who attended the memorial service, another parent who had lost her son to an accident, and several mediums who were able to communicate with Joshua, Ron Pappalardo was able to overcome the trauma and accompanying guilt of the tragedy. Joshua's communications expressed his deep sorrow that he had caused so much pain. Ron found himself able to forgive both his son and himself. Hearing that Josh was proud to be his son allowed the barriers to come down, the tears to flow, and the reconciliation to begin.

Spiritual communication with a loved one is wonderful

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Yes, this story of reconciliation warms my heart.
CountrySunshine on 02/17/2015

I believe if you keep your mind and heart open, you may experience some sort of connection with a lost loved one.

MBC on 02/16/2015

Very sweet. I had my own experience healing the relationship with my father 30 years after his death.

Back to the Light

Ron believes that his son has reached a place of light and beauty, a place where he is free to be the happy person he used to be in his early childhood. So this book provides great comfort to those who have lost a loved one in a tragic way, such as suicide.

"Back to the Light"

by dequilla

This is how I imagine the return journey to the Divine, to the Light, to God. Travelling through the veils that separate us from the divine light, the splendour of that light finally bursts through and engulfs us in its mercy, love and comfort. It is a journey I look forward to making,'Back to the Light.'

Ruth J. Jamieson


However, this book does not in any way suggest that suicide or tragic sudden death is a good thing. According to the spiritual communications Ron received more recently, Joshua is dedicating himself to helping others who are going through similar struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts, not just in the world of spirit but those on the earth who might follow his path.


My reaction

I found this book to have a great balance in its message. It provides comfort to those left behind, in the form of understanding that even suicidal death is not the end - where there is love there is always hope.

At the same time it encourages teens (and anyone seriously depressed) to seek options other than suicide. Taking the gift of life and snuffing it out "in a moment of thoughtlessness" as Joshua did is not the answer.

What Other People Are Saying

Here are some of the things readers of this book have been saying:

  • "If you miss or long for someone who has passed from this life -- a spouse, a parent, a brother or sister, a friend -- you need to read this book." Clark Eberly
  • "I came to this book with no particular belief in the efficacy of mediums or communication with the dead. But the sincerity and genuineness of Ron's story will convince almost anyone that there are possibilities even scientists and empiricists ought to consider. ... If you've ever lost a loved one, you will look upon that experience in a new and uplifting way after reading Reconciled by the Light." Diana Lawrence
  • "This book goes far beyond 'coping' with suicide and loss to a powerful reaffirmation of just who we truly are and why each of us is here." Rev. David Hose
  • "I finished reading Reconciled by the Light, and I want to thank Ron Pappalardo for writing what must have been so difficult to even face without agony. Work like that is not for the faint of heart, and we, but especially the newly bereaved, can be encouraged that there is light at the end of a long, painful journey." Celia Roomet

Selections from Reviews of Reconciled by the Light.

Ron Pappalardo's Second, Third and Fourth Books

Ron has now published three more books. The second book continues his story of searching for his son in the afterlife. He begins by investigating psychic phenomena and mediumship as he tries to communicate with his son. After several experiences he becomes a medium himself, receiving messages not only from his son but from others who passed into the afterlife.

His third book, entitled "Messages from God," continues his quest and includes his communications with God. It also includes words received by other contemporary mediums.

The fourth book, "Experiences with God," continues to share the experiences of powerful mystics. It also helps the reader identify their own spiritual abilities and shares tools for their own personal encounter with God.

Reconciled by the Light II


In this follow up book, Ron describes his journey during which he becomes a psychic medium himself.

He shares his many experiences of spirits and their life in the world after life, as well as becoming a counselor for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Incredible stuff!


Messages from God


Surprising, enlightening, uplifting, intimately personal - this book shares messages received not only by the author Ron Pappalardo but by others who have also sought communication with those no longer on the earth.

Most surprising are the messages that come from God, our Creator, messages that transcend particular faiths and dogmas and reveal the creator as a loving being who is ready to communicate with us.


Experiences with God


Knowing God comes from having a personal, real, direct experience with God.

In this book Ron and his wife Connie introduce the reader to powerful experiences with God - their own and those of other mystics. They also share techniques and ways everyone can have deep and uplifting experiences with the Divine.

Updated: 08/02/2022, jptanabe
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?

Would you seek spiritual communication from a loved one who died unexpectedly? Do you think this is helpful to those who have lost someone to suicide?

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frankbeswick on 02/17/2015

My own sense was not of having a message from a dead relative, but on two occasions of being in a non-visible presence of a dead relative. A sense of presence is a form of non-verbal communication that must be taken seriously. In each of these instances I had not sought the experience and was not in any degree drunk or under the influence of drugs [which I have never taken.]

jptanabe on 02/17/2015

That is a really good point Frank!

frankbeswick on 02/17/2015

I would be more skeptical about communications that have been sought, as there is here the possibility of wishful thinking; but if a communication is unsought, and comes adventitiously, then I am less doubtful about it.

jptanabe on 02/17/2015

Happy for you to have such experiences. That they were comforting gives them value. Knowing how the whole process of communicating with the dead works may not be possible - at least not at this time, so some skepticism is not a bad thing!

CountrySunshine on 02/17/2015

I have always been skeptical about communicating with the dead. However, I've had two such incidents since my husband passed away. My father also had one with my mother about 6 months after she passed. Whether they were real or tricks of the mind remains to be seen. They were comforting, nonetheless.

MBC on 02/16/2015

Yes, I think it can be helpful. It depends on the person.

frankbeswick on 02/16/2015

Thoughts and love reaching the dead. You may be on to something here. My own thoughts have been moving in that direction recently.

jptanabe on 02/16/2015

Thank you for your insightful and kind comment. In fact, the father has since developed his own spirituality and become a trained medium, reaching not only his son but others as well.

WriterArtist on 02/16/2015

One needs to be highly spiritual to communicate with their loved ones. It is not possible for a layman. However; I believe one's thoughts and love do reach them in whatever incarnation they are in their next lives provided they are not in the lower realms.
All these claims about communicating to spirits is skeptical but I am happy for the father in the story that he feels and believes his son is okay. It is a terrible shock for a parent to undergo such tragedy and he will naturally be desperate to find about the well-being of his son and a way to deal with it. Forgiving and letting go will ease his future life.

jptanabe on 02/15/2015

Thanks for your informative comment. I agree there is much we don't know, especially about the afterlife - hard to get reliable information about that realm!

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