However, I said from the beginning that it was Purgatory, even when the show's creators decried that (because, frankly, just about everyone pegged it for Purgatory).
An office mate who stuck with it described the end and I said, triumphantly, "So it was Purgatory all along."
He said, "Well that depends on your definition." (Being a nonreligious person for all I can tell.)
Then he said, it was like a halfway house between life and death where you had to be so you could sort out everything that was true about your life and see it with complete clarity.
Here's the a bit of the post that has settled it for me. I'm going to have to rent the DVDs and watch the last two seasons of Lost.
Via Amy H. Sturgis.
As the story ended, the people sitting with me immediately began discussing: So is the Sideways real? I just smiled to myself, being too exhausted to formulate an answer. I wanted to say with Dumbledore, “It was in their heads, but why on earth should that make it not real?” What LOST did was make the statement: what is in your head is real. Imagination vindicated. Faith vindicated. Spiritual reality vindicated.
In other words, this was logos epistemology, as I had hoped when watching “Across the Sea.” The light of the world is in every person. We recognize it in each other. We recognize the spiritual reality within and behind the physical world, and it’s in our minds – in our imaginations – that we perceive the truth. Just note the way the show opened and closed: Jack’s eye. And then remember your eye symbolism from Harry Potter.