At the age of forty-nine, my death came on very suddenly and unexpectedly. For me it was an eleven-day journey and when you are barely coherent and deathly ill, eleven days can go fast. I hadn't cleaned out any of my drawers, I hadn't said things to people that I needed to say, I hadn't finished the work sitting on my desk. I hadn't even done the laundry!
My journey started when I woke up on March 7, 2006. As I looked in the mirror, I was as confused as I was alarmed. Literally overnight, the whites of my eyes had turned bright yellow. My skin was a dark orange and my tongue was blotchy and full of bumps and creases. As my husband and I tried to figure out what could have caused this I agreed to call the doctor's office as soon as they opened to be seen that day. We had agreed that it was such a weird situation, that sitting in emergency was not going to be very effective. To add to the strangeness, I didn't feel sick. I had no idea when I arrived at the doctor's office that I was going to be directed to the hospital for check in and certainly not that I would soon be diagnosed as terminally ill with five days to live. The eleven days went something like this:
On 03/08/2006 I was admitted to a hospital suffering from severe jaundice, edema and shortness of breath.
On 03/08/2006 my potassium was found to be at lethal levels.
On 03/11/2006 I experienced complete liver failure and was transferred by ambulance to a specialist hospital and placed in intensive care.
On 03/11/2006 my husband was told that I had less than five days to live and was asked to contact family and begin participation in grief counseling.
On 03/12/2006 my blood pressured dropped to 85/39, with a sleeping heart rate of 109.
On 03/13/2006 I worsened further with pronounced pulmonary edema, acute renal failure, and my heart sinus rhythm was elevating rapidly.
On 03/14/2006 the pulmonary edema worsened and the heart and spleen became enlarged.
On 03/15/2006 my lungs began to collapse.
On 03/19/2006 I succumbed to congestive heart failure and CPR began to be administered.
And then it happened:
It is amazingly hard to describe in earthly words but I will do the best that I can.
I felt light as if I were floating and then realized I was standing beside my hospital bed. I could see myself. My eyes were closed and an oxygen tube was in my nose. My arms were at my sides loaded with IV equipment. Multiple needles were in both arms and bags of fluids hung above the bed on either side. I was a very orange-gray color and I looked like I was sleeping. I saw no one else in the room and turned toward the door.
As I walked out into the hallway, I felt an unbelievable warmth. The best way I can describe it is if you put a big soft fuzzy blanket in the dryer and then wrapped it around your bare skin. The warmth enveloped me and it smelled like a spring day.
Then to my left the hallway grew intensely bright. It blocked everything else out and I turned toward it and began to walk.
I saw myself from behind. I was dressed in a hospital gown, short sleeved and hanging to mid-calf. Although I had lost most of my hair due to the illness, my hair was now long, thick and hanging almost to my waist.
The draw toward the light was irresistible. I wanted to go. I kept walking toward it with an overwhelming peace and serenity. I knew I was dead. There was no sadness, no pain, no regret and no fear. All earthly thoughts were gone. I was going home.
Then suddenly the light grew less intense and doorways started to appear like shadows on the sides of the hall. As I passed by the next doorway, two figures emerged in nurses clothing. They gently put their arms around my shoulders and started to turn me around. I said, 'No. I need to go.' As she smiled and patted my shoulder one of them said, 'No. It's not time yet. We have to take you back.' I remember an overwhelming feeling of disappointment and sadness and as I approached my hospital room and looked inside. The bed was now empty and waiting for me. I saw the crease and outline of where my body had been lying and then it went dark again. I awoke days later still in the intensive care unit, still hooked up to dialysis and still unable to walk.
So what did it feel like when I died? All the pain goes away both physical and mental. It is like a calming fatigue that lulls you to sleep. The exhaustion of trauma leaves you ready for it to end. And if your relationship with God and Jesus Christ are in order you become fearless.
When I came back, the first questions on my mind were not regarding my physical body. I knew I was going to live because I was brought back for a purpose. Several actually, but the main purpose I am back is to share this story with people just like you. I thank the Lord for allowing me to be chosen and I would do it all again just for the chance of the amazing and blessed experience. Hopefully my story may soften the hearts of the unsure and help them to find strength, truth and peace in the arms of Jesus Christ.
Date NDE Occurred: 03/19/2006
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
I was in intensive care and experienced liver, kidney, lung and heart failure.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? All the way through. All of my senses felt heightened to an extreme level.
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
There was no sense of time. It felt infinite with no boundaries.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. The light was so bright it would have been like trying to stare at the sun in real life. Colors were very vivid.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain I walked down a hallway.
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes Toward the end of my experience I saw two nurses who told me that I had to go back because 'it was not time.'
The experience included: Light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes Extremely bright, like being able to stare at the sun.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Warmth, peace, relief, happy, love, tenderness, caring.
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 united or one with the world
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
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
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate Christian
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain Not changed, just enhanced.
What is your religion now? Moderate Christian
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain Not changed, just enhanced.
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
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes My husband, children and I are closer and it has served to bring a lot of worship back into the lives of some family members.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It is hard to describe the feelings in 'ordinary' words. The experience was something other than 'earthly'.
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 a special unity with God that I did not have to this degree before. I also feel driven by a 'greater power' when dealing with animals and humans. I also now have no fear, literally. An example would be that my whole life I was afraid of spiders. Now I will let one crawl on my hand a take it outside. I see it now just as a frightened small creature and find empathy rather than fear.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? When I was sent back. To be told, 'You have to go back, it isn't time yet,' and then ignore finding the reasons you are still here I feel would be absurd. I am chosen for a purpose and feel blessed by the opportunity.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I first shared it with family about four months later when I got out of the hospital and have now shared it with others. I felt very pressured spiritually to share it after I became well enough. I feel that the Lord let me rest a bit before the next journey. I have been surprised by the reactions. People want to know. They are desperate to find out if there is anything after and if so, what it is. I have experienced mixed reactions. Some have confirmed their religious beliefs and seem strengthened by my story and some seem disturbed by it as if it confirms there is a beyond, they don't think they have done enough 'good' in their life to get there.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I just knew the term but I had never known anyone who had experienced it.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real The difference in my body and mind. Before I was spiraling quickly towards death and after the experience my vital signs and bodily functions took a radical turn for the better. Even the doctors described it as a 'miracle'. But mostly in my own mind as I would talk to the Lord every day I was already searching for a purpose. I knew I had been sent back so I rallied every ounce of strength and determination I could to get well.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I am secure in my beliefs and relationship with God. I now know why I am here, or at least three reasons, one of which has already been fulfilled. I know the experience was real by the overwhelming emotion and compassion I feel when I speak about it. I talk about it whenever I can to anyone who will listen. I have a whole new perspective and a new set of eyes.
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? I would go through the same illness all over again just to experience it again.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I found it very thorough.