The Day I Stood at Heaven's DoorI wish I could say the day I died was just another ordinary day, so it would appear more literally dramatic. But like an ironic preview of coming attractions, the day was besieged by the only snowstorm of the winter season in the Niagara Peninsula, just west of Niagara Falls; highlighting the inevitability each of us will someday face. It was a day some consider while others fear to an extreme. February 26, 2010, is only a short distance behind me now that I’ve spent some time in the sun amongst the care of loved ones; in a peaceful space to do my healing of body, mending of mind, sorting of soul and learning the lessons of what being means. That morning was quite different in that the fabric of my physical world appeared somewhat out of sync. Under ordinary circumstances, most would be oblivious to these finite details. Pain from what I assumed was severe heartburn had lingered for three days now. I was in a less than ideal life situation, so I ignoring it, although I knew deep down I shouldn't. It was here I first stepped into the conflicting pothole, having prioritized work over my health. I got ready for work, my routine unchanged except for the sluggishness that dogged me as I put on my winter boots. Seized with a powerful sense of apprehension at venturing out into the bitter-cold Canadian weather, I still ignored the instincts that relentlessly nagged me. But prompted by a financial crisis where ends already did not meet and a work schedule that had me off for the previous six days: a factor which compelled me to ignore my inner voice and layer up to deal with the harsh weather. What my internal voice couldn’t convince me of, the increasing pain of even the simplest movement. The thought of walking six blocks in the snow storm only worsened my physical discomfort. For a fleeting moment, I thought of asking my younger brother for help, as he was in the living room watching the morning news. But I figured he would just say, ‘Suck it up buttercup,’ as he typically did when it came to anyone mentioning a personal problem or hardship of any nature. Quickly dismissing the thought, I pulled my coat over my bulky layers and with a sense of sadness slipped on my hat and gloves. Even as I opened the door to a blizzard and freezing temperatures, the sense of my impending doom hovered on the fringe of my awareness. The inexplicable sadness began to overwhelm me and the raw emotion yet another warning. Ignoring it with stoicism, I simply stepped outside and closed the door to the first opportunity to save my life. I didn’t say anything to my brother, not even a simple goodbye, as tempers were still high following an argument two days earlier, the cause as trivial as they mostly were. The blasting wind and snow intensified, clutching the collar of my coat to my cheek as I cleared the steps of the front porch. I was churning my feet through the foot-deep snow making my way over to the main street. With my head bowed the biting winds still made my eyes tear. Even in optimal health, walking across town as I usually did, wasn’t an option on such a brutal day. The agony in my chest had reached a disorienting level. I stopped at the store around the corner to grab a roll of antacid tablets, though against my better judgment. Yet I knew I needed any level of relief at that point. While waiting behind another customer paying for their purchases, the store clerk, who I knew fairly well, looked at me in concern several times. Once again, an opportunity to save my life presented itself, if I simply asked for help. There was no excuse. I’d had many conversations with the clerk over the past six months and knew that he had been a paramedic back in his native Serbia. He had been unable to gain qualification as a paramedic in Canada due to his English, which, ironically, was better than the English of many natives. His eyes never left me as I struggled to open the antacid roll. I barely remember paying for them, and as he counted the change, his eyes carefully assessed me. ‘Are you all right?’ ‘Oh, I'm okay.’ ‘You don’t look too well,’ he said more firmly. Though his words registered in my pain-wracked mind, denial fought me on every front of my deteriorating condition, challenging all common sense. ‘I'll be all right,’ I said. Though in truth a feeling of sheer dismay coupled with an emotional hopelessness had my thoughts flitting and flirting: while the emotional roller coaster sped up to where it felt as though it would come off the tracks at any moment. Concentrating on the antacid package was all I could do to keep it together: finally, opening the package. I headed for the door while popping several tablets into my mouth. The regularly simple task of pushing open the door was as overwhelming as pushing a car, and once again I side-stepped an opportunity to save my life. I stepped into the ferocious storm to walk six blocks through weather conditions I had not seen in years. My feet dragged like lead weights as it was impossible to lift them from steadily deepening snow. With each step the vice of fear tightened my chest even further, yet as my foggy mind searched for solutions, my ego barged to the surface of my thoughts and screamed, ‘This isn't the day and nothing’s going to happen to me!’ Struggling down Lake Street just past the armories, I looked around to determine how far I was from the bus stop and realized I was completely alone in the storm. There were no cars, no people, no businesses open, only bone chilling wind, driving snow and excruciating pain. I felt more alone than I had ever felt or truly been before in my life. To this day, I still clearly remember my instincts shouting, ‘You need to get to the hospital!’ But I stubbornly persisted in the foolish belief that if I could just keep going, the episode would pass and I might be okay after all. Making it to the bus stop felt like a victory, though now I had to wait for the delayed bus. When it arrived and I boarded, I slipped the coins into the slot, and realized as it lurched away into the snow that everything had changed from one heartbeat to the next. I sagged into the seat behind the driver’s enclosure. With grim understanding, I knew I had no choice but to ask for help now or die, and even with the cold truth staring me in the face, I couldn’t immediately bring myself to act. Who knew how the mind and body truly acted under duress until faced with the direst circumstances? My ability to physically move was reduced to slow motion, and my hands wouldn't obey my struggles to remove my gloves, coat and hat. I was also sweating profusely. Once again my instincts screamed at me to ask for help. Without thought as the bus drivers eyes met mine within the mirror that hung above her, I asked her to call 911. She asked only why as she picked up the on-board phone. In a faltering voice I told her I was having a heart attack. Turning slowly to notice a woman sitting across from me, a horrified expression filled the woman's round face as she clutched her bulky purse tightly to her chest.The pain began dissipating rapidly as a serene peacefulness gently enveloped me. My gaze slowly lowered to my boots, and I thought, ‘So this is what it’s like to die’. During that transitory thought, I died. My vision winked into darkness as all the pain I had suffered over the past three days vanished without worry, anxiety or fear. The serene peacefulness strengthened, replacing all the pain of the moments before. Then slowly, a misty opening began to appear about six inches, or so, in diameter in front of me. My mind was clear and I felt buoyant and filled with a sense of wonderment as I felt an easy sideways movement with only the slightest of pressure. Glancing down, I noticed that I had four arms, legs, hands and feet. One set was more densely proportioned while the other set were translucent appendages hovering just outside my physical body. At this point my long-time guardian, a tiger nearly six foot tall at the shoulder, stepped out of the near blizzard conditions onto the bus. It seemed odd, but I knew him from other encounters during my life. Tiger is a soul guardian or what is known as ‘a protector of souls.’ He approached me and lovingly rubbed his head on the left side of my face. Slowly drawing back, he looked into my eyes and spoke in my mind, 'you are about to die.' Turning his head toward the adjacent windows where holographic images displayed events from the past, present, and future, slowing to images of my two daughters. He looked back at me and said, 'If you choose to.' ‘So I have a choice?’ I asked in confusion. He replied, 'Yes, you do. All of you have a choice. Everyone is given a choice with no judgment passed either way. Where you have been, where you are, and where you are going at all times is of your own choice.' I was overwhelmed by an emotional summary of my life, which we must all experience whether staying or coming back. The closest way to describe it was to condense every emotional moment in your life and relive all of it over a few moments. Mine was marked by guilt for wasting my life and many talents. We both gazed deeply into each other's eyes. ‘I want to stay. I want to live.’ He said, 'Very well. Now you have a task.' Tiger turned to leave as the thought flowed freely to me to follow. I didn’t actually get up or walk anywhere, but we instantly traveled far to a place shrouded in a luminous white light mist. As we arrived, Tiger stepped ahead of me turning to face me in an angled position. Out on the fringe of my left peripheral vision, three Beings appeared, whom I’ve come to refer to as the Beings of 111 or 3. Once I focused my attention on them, they vanished, but when I looked at Tiger, they reappeared, only to vanish when I turned toward them. It reminded me of gazing at a distant star in the night sky. If you look directly at it, it seems to wink out of sight, but reappears if you glanced at it obliquely. Here began my first lesson with Tiger. I wondered why I was seeing the three Beings. ‘It doesn't matter,’ Tiger whispered. I was informed the central Being was a Teacher, not only to me, but to the other two Beings present. Eventually, they will become teachers themselves. The Teacher is an original child of what most refer to as God. At this point there are some important details readers must understand. First, ‘time’ as we perceive it does not exist. It is but a way in which to measure distance, such as the distance light travels in a year, or the passage of the hours of the day and night. I died at roughly 9:25 am and was about to spend what would be considered a day's worth of time on the other side prior to coming back to physical reality: roughly ten minutes later at 9:35 am. I was soon to understand the purpose of coming to this place as my focus intensified to such an extreme level I felt that anything and everything was possible. Tiger acted as the conduit for what was to follow, as most of it flowed through him. A little to my right, several holographic free-flowing images with full background appeared. Several times during the projection of images I would lack a clear understanding of the point being made. I would say in my mind ‘Yes, but ...’ at which point Tiger would patiently exclaim, 'It does not matter!' Finally, I started to understand what that meant was an important teaching tool as well a learning one. There are things that truly are important, and then there are those that simply are not. The point at which I learned to make that distinction will free me to be the Being I was always meant to be. Tiger escorted me back to the bus as it was time for me to return. I thanked him for sharing insights and truths with me. He once again rubbed his head against mine with intense love before turning and leaving the bus. I haven’t seen nor sensed him in any way since that moment he slinked his way off the bus. As my physical reality started to return to me I saw the bus driver standing before me distraught and exclaiming, ‘What can I do? I think he’s dead!’ With my physical reality returning to me, I became fully aware of the pain and surrounding environment. The first paramedic stepped onto the bus and asked a few questions to assess my condition. I felt incredibly relieved that someone had finally come to help me. When he turned and left the bus, I was filled with such dread that I screamed in my mind, ‘Please don't leave me now,’ but he was only returning to the ambulance to retrieve more equipment. The bus driver waited beside me until the paramedics returned. A frenzy of activity ensued while three of them worked to stabilize me enough to transport me to the hospital.Once at the hospital, a doctor and nurse proceeded to inject, spray, and administer a vast amount of medication once the severity of my condition was diagnosed. Then came the frantic orders from the trauma doctor, ‘Go! Go! Go! Get him out of here now!’ They had me go to the more distant hospital for heart surgery to save my life. It was a straight run down the Queen's Highway, the journey hastened by the urgent sirens on what would have otherwise been at least a thirty-minute drive. Through the windows of the rear door, I watched cars vanish as though they were standing still. I realized how fast we were traveling. The nurse sitting beside me looked at both paramedics flanking me and said, ‘we don't want to alarm you as you need to stay as calm as you can.’ But glancing at the cell phone on my lap, she added, ‘But if you wish to call someone, now would be the time to do that.’ My eyes welled up as I admitted that my cell phone had been disconnected the day before. She quickly retrieved hers and asked for a number to dial for me. I mentally searched for the first choice to call, but at the same time I didn’t want to upset anyone. That was one of the hardest decisions I had to make, but I knew my daughters needed to know how much I loved them and what they had meant to me during the time they had shared my life. Giving the nurse their mother's number at work, she tapped each number on the keyboard as I struggled to remember, then she passed the phone to me. Once Deb answered, I immediately apologized and explaining the situation, then I relayed the message she needed to hear from me. I also told her that although things had not worked out as we had planned many years before, I cared deeply for her and would continue to do so no matter what ultimately happened to me, and let her go with a deep sense of love. I envisioned the stoic expression on her face that would have concealed her distress, but I had no idea what happened in the moments after I disconnected. When we arrived at the hospital, the paramedics rushed me through the blowing snow into the emergency room and down the hallways to an operating room. As I lay on the operating table, the operating room staff stripped me down completely and prepped me for surgery. While the prepping was going on a young looking surgeon approached and slightly leaning over me asked, ‘What the hell are you doing on my table?’ With my last ounce of quick wit, I said, ‘I’m having a bad day.’ He smiled a little and walked away for a short time. When he returned, he said, ‘Your left artery is one-hundred percent blocked. Medically, you had no reason to have survived what’s known as a widow-maker heart attack.’ I looked at him intently with an unintentional dreary gaze, considering all the chemicals that had been pumped into my body. I calmly said, ‘Oh, but I do.’ I slowly regained consciousness late in the evening that day; emerging from somewhat of a foggy state to a calm serene peacefulness. A minor physical discomfort was still present, though only in the background of my awareness. Awaking in a large intensive care unit room, it was there I began to realize and feel the magical sense of being alive and all the magic a day holds. Over the following week in the hospital, gifts that I returned with became apparent. Gifts may be the wrong terminology as they are merely innate abilities in all, but for me they were life changing legacies of my experience.
Date NDE Occurred: Feb. 26th 2010
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Heart attack. Other: I was on a city bus during the only snow storm of the season on my way to work. It just didn't happen in a hospital. I came back just as the paramedics stepped onto the bus.
I was on a city bus during the only snow storm of the season on my way to work. It didn't happen in a hospital. I came back just as the paramedics stepped onto the bus. I had been having severe pain for three days. Yet didn't know or understand why. While having the heart attack I walked six blocks in a blizzard to get to a bus, so I could get to work.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No
I clearly left my body and existed outside it
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal We never realize or understand from day to day the defined physicality of what we perceive ourselves to be, until it is gone and no longer there. You know without knowing, there is nowhere you cannot go. Nothing you cannot understand. Nothing you cannot do. The Atom before you is as all others.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? My acute awareness from physical to non-physical can be described as expanded or different. Though there was a brief moment I have always felt was an adjustment point, right after separation. I heard nothing, saw nothing, felt nothing.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Though sideways stepped time here, I spent what would be considered a day's worth of happenings there.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It is so very different and hard to describe. You see, yet it is more of a perception: at one point being able to see or perceive 360 degrees.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. H-m-m-m good question... Not sure that I did, as it was more of a perception and understanding that was acknowledged.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes There were three Beings I described in my story. Also the area in which we were was fairly bright.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm It was very misty and illuminated by a fairly bright light.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? A calm, serene, peacefulness of Love
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I do not know where to begin and my book is as yet incomplete. I reiterate ‘The Atom before you is as all others’ and to remember that each and every one of us is an individual cell of the Human Race. Hence the One!
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? I remembered many past events I remembered many past events. Past, present and future events were shown just after guardian stepped on to bus.
The experience included: Awareness of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future Some of my own as well. Sorry but I do not know how things / events come about or are created.
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will I did reach a point of no return. Yes, you can stand at heaven's door just no further. Outlined in my story I provided.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes See above. Knowing that I am the Hand within the glove and not the glove has made all the difference.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience The point at which I was given a choice to stay or come back, along with the explanation of choice.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I, much more openly, show the Love I see, feel, for others and for all there is. ‘For I fell in Love with all there is from all that I had learned’.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin There were four, in total, described in my story back a ways.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth who are described by name in religions (for example: Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes Yes.. but I have to come back once again to the atom before you is as all others everywhere. For example..Place a finger tip on your desk. You cover but a point yet is connected to the desk as a whole. Better illustrated by putting your palm to the side and giving a push, ... the whole desk moves.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably does not exist
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I have a picture up on my facebook page that shows a better understanding.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes I am currently trying to fill up pages upon pages of just that. This, more than likely, will not go in my book. My purpose was the task I was given. Another one of my sideways sojourns during the edification process via the holographic images was a point when my curious nature stood up in the back row of my mind, wondering about distance travel. The streaming images immediately switched to a garden pathway, lined with extremely tall cedar trees. Then in an alternating frame to frame fashion, they went from garden path to universe, to garden path and back again. I understood the garden path to be a representation of the universe. Once my understanding was clear the seemingly very real garden I was in stayed constant as I moved along the path slowly. Without putting any thought, e-motion or expectation of any kind into the images viewed, I slid through between two of the trees to my left. As I stepped through the trees, there was nothing. I looked around into the darkness to see and feel nothing. As I turned back around a bit I noticed the trees were still there behind me.
So I stepped back through, once again, to the garden pathway. While stepping through the cedars I looked off to my right. I saw a ways off at a point on the horizon, the beginning of the path I had just started at, and thought I was stepping back to the path. The distance I traveled cannot be thought of or imagined in physical concepts and or terms. The current idea wherein you take a long piece of rope and connect the ends is an idea of folding space and time. This physical-world concept in essence pushes the space between two points off to the side in a dismissive manner. Yet with the rope still pinched between your two fingers, then cut it off just below your fingers, you become much closer to the truth. Where in the two points are one and the same. As I mentioned the concept earlier, that water will freely pass through a screen mesh, but becomes an ice cube as it does so. That ice cube no longer will pass back through the screen mesh. Yet by turning back to its original form of water first, flows freely back through the mesh. So that which is of solid molecular structure returns to its atomic form and then a more complex form of entanglement comes into play. Entanglement is where an atom is let's say ‘tickled’ for the sake of it. Another distant atom responds at the exact time the initial one was agitated. Due to atoms’ connectivity, one is as all others are. Think of it this way for a moment. Push a fingertip on a spot upon your desk or whatever is closest to you. Here you are not actually just pushing one spot on the desk as it is all connected: one spot to another. Proof is in the fact that if you place a palm on the side of the desk and push, the whole thing moves.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes YES and then some. My book is unfinished BUT... experience fully and wholly, to learn e-motionally, in order to grow more humanistic to evolve more soulful at our true core.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I was informed that physical existence is purposeful, yet secondary to our primary state of Being, to which we come from and go back to.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Yes A clear understanding creates a peacefulness of Being, and the peacefulness creates a clear understanding. A physical reality situation of which came first.. the chicken or the egg idea, I realize that.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes An understanding of why, yet is due to a lack of understanding.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Love is the one and singular balanced state.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life. With my understanding of being the Being that I truly am, in peacefulness, has attracted many people to me. I just wrote this this morning ‘I have so much to show, so much to teach, so much to share, all simply because I am.’ Large changes in my life. With my understanding of being the Being that I truly am, in peacefulness, has attracted many people to me. I just wrote this this morning ‘I have so much to show, so much to teach, so much to share, all simply because I am.’
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes To a large degree with my kids, who were left for some time, to believe I was gone that fateful day. I found a true Love who has some hard moments with the way I am at times.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes VERY much so!!! I use to write a bit prior to that day, yet as I sit to write the book it all comes out garbled.
How accurately do you remember the experience in comparison to other life events that occurred around the time of the experience? I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I feel everything, in an empathic way.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? When I came to understand that no one here, or Being, is any less or any more than another: Hence the atom before your statement.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes To a degree, though not as much as I have here.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had read some books many years ago. ‘We Don't Die’ for example.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real Though my true sense and essence knew it to be true, my physical re-integrated existence started to have doubts. Until I saw a video about Anita Moorjani, where she said she was given a choice to stay or come back!
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I am starting to find that there are others like me who feel as though they do not belong any longer: due to being somewhat out of sync with this physical reality. That is just due to the greater knowing and understanding, I believe.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? A time is upon us to come to understand better what we are first and foremost, which in turn will bring us face to face with who we are.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? What problems and or drawbacks have you experienced since the NDE???
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.