My heart attack happened three days before my birthday. I was to fly out to a contract site at 4:30 pm. I had driven my son's car back to his apartment after repairing it that morning. At his apartment, I met my wife, son, daughter, stepdaughter and my ex-wife. We piled into our van to get ice cream for my birthday before my daughter and ex-wife drove back home. I left for the airport. All six of us were in the van just a few minutes and my wife was driving. My chest went tight and I told my wife that I wasn't right, something wasn't right. I then passed out. If the heart attack had happened ten minutes earlier, I would have been driving I-64 alone or one hour later and I would have been in flight. I had a few short flashes of lucidity between the heart attack and the emergency room. I heard the emergency medical technicians who couldn't figure out my watch clasp; the nurse starting to cut off my shirt in the emergency room; the anesthetist arguing with the cardiologist, wanting to give me more of something. I felt a white-hot pain in my chest that made me curl into a ball and say maybe out loud, 'That's all I got...' I felt a brief regret about not having spent enough time with my daughter. I was aware that I was in an emergency room, and so the flat line alarm that just went off must have been mine. I noticed that I wasn't breathing, that I didn't feel a need to breathe, and very slowly getting very worried about that. Then I was standing in a quiet, dark, and calm cavern on a black marble slab maybe 6 feet wide that runs slightly up and straight ahead of me into a void. The left edge of the marble floor dropped off sharply into nothing; it seems like a void all behind me. I never looked behind me, but there's no sense that anything is back there. From the right edge of the marble slab rises a wall of frosted glass, lit from inside, about 18 feet tall by 30 feet long. It starts even with my right side, turns to black marble after thirty feet, and continues into the distance. So it's hanging just the floor and the right wall of a very tall hallway in a black void, but the first wall section is backlit frosted-glass. Two silhouettes are cast on the window and my attention turns toward them. The shape that was closer to me is a young boy, maybe 8 years old or so. He was running toward me with his arms wide open and his hair bouncing, laughing because he can't believe I'm here already. I'm instantly overwhelmed with joy, in an, 'Oh my God! I never thought I'd ever see you again!' kind of feeling. But I don't move: I just look. I know I'm here to just look. Farther along the window, there's a grown male silhouette, probably about my height and build but with better posture. He reaches out to the boy and tells him that I'm not coming with them yet. His presence comforts the boy. As I look at the man, I can see that the light source behind the window is just beyond him, at about the height of his head. Then I'm awake. I next remember the face of our minister standing next to my gurney as I am being rolled through the hospital, probably between the operating room and the intensive care unit.
Date NDE Occurred: 03 Aug 2014
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Heart attack. CPR given. While under general anesthesia Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
Right-side coronary artery blockage 100%; left-side blockage greater than 90%. Had been mostly unconscious for about 60 minutes and was in emergency room, partially anesthetized, being prepared for cardiac catheterization. My heart rate had been an irregular 10 beats per minute, then stopped.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
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 It wasn't rational consciousness; it was an overwhelming awe-level of positive emotion. That's not common in my everyday life.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Upon seeing the young boy
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? No
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could sense details in the darkness that I would not ordinarily be able to see, but my vision was about the same.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. No difference in hearing. I'm not sure anything was said out loud.
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? Uncertain Nobody that I recognized, just the emotional recognition of the little boy, running toward me.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place I was a Void; void, black marble hall, frosted glass wall, and more void. No sense of hot or cold, no noise, more like a construct to make the experience understandable for me.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Well-being, joy, gratitude
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? incredible joy
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt no longer in conflict with nature
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes The encounter happened on either side of a frosted glass wall while standing on a narrow walkway that dropped off immediately to the void.
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 had a realization that I wasn't staying; I didn't consciously choose, wasn't sent back, but came to know that I wasn't going to stay there.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Other faiths- Unitarian and other liberal faiths
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Other faiths- Unitarian and other liberal faiths
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 As I age, my fear that there is nothing after death has become the main part of my preparation for eventual death. The experience I had during the heart attack is consistent with beliefs that I held 20 years ago and thought I had abandoned.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I align more now with the afterlife-positive view I had during my 20's and early 30's.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
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? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God does not exist
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God does not exist
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife probably does not exist No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I slightly fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life. I feel that there should be some kind of meaning, divine inspiration, drive to excel, or something...I think the major changes may need to outlast the significant post-attack depression. Moderate changes in my life. I feel that there should be some kind of meaning, divine inspiration, drive to excel, or something...I think the major changes may need to outlast the significant post-attack depression.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes First, describing a black floor and walls in black space is not easy. I didn't see the details as much as I knew them to be so.
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 th I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of th
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? I think the joy I felt seeing the young boy is something I can access within me now, not just something to experience outside myself. Carl Jung would probably say that the figures in my NDE are facets of me, and as to the little boy, I'd agree. The man comforting him is not someone I know. Not knowing one of the people I met strengthens the validity that this experience was genuine.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes To my wife, within one week: Visceral physical response to confirmation that I was that close to dying, followed by the thought that of anyone she knew, it would be me to have an NDE. My NDE reinforced her previously-held beliefs. To my friend Justin, two months after: He said, 'You know, I'd write that off coming from anyone else, but coming from you, that sh*t's real.' No idea on influence.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I've read Michael Newton, Dr. Jeffrey Thompson and James Van Praagh, and the ideas of afterlife or reincarnation influenced my beliefs. I have had dreams 20 years ago or so in similar black marble spaces, but the windows were clear and there was no void.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I have a broad definition of real. Whole days that I glide through without really paying attention leave fewer clear memories than these few seconds of NDE.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real There has been no change.
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? As beautiful as it was, I don't want to have another one any time soon.
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.