I have been listening to and watching non-Catholics a lot lately, and I have noticed something interesting.
Protestants will often criticize the Catholic belief of the Communion of Saints, the idea that those in heaven are not only aware of, but hear, see and pray for those of us on earth.
But yet I cannot count how many times I have heard a non-catholic say:
">so-and-so< is up in heaven looking down on us and smiling" or something similar.
I have heard this at protestant funerals, services and in everyday conversation.
But, what is this but and affirmation that when we die, we go straight to heaven (no "soul sleep"), and that those in heaven are aware of, and can even see and hear those of us on earth. This is practically identical to the Catholic and Orthodox notion of the Afterlife. And it flies in direct contradiction to the criticisms thrown at us that the "dead" can neither see nor hear us.
Just an observation.