I collapsed from heat stroke while fueling up my pickup truck. One minute I was washing the windshield and the next I was on the ground looking up at my wife and the service station attendant. They got me into the truck and raced down the road to a regional medical center, one mile away. I remember being unable to move and thinking that it was sad that I would die so far from home in Wyoming. When we pulled up, a person came out of the emergency room into the parking lot, saw me slumped in the truck, and ran over to help. She opened the door and I fell out partway until she grabbed me. She held on until a nurse with a wheelchair came around the side of the pickup to collect me. I remember the feeling of dying as I was wheeled into the hospital.
It was very peaceful and deeply restful. The closest I can come to describing it was as if someone was walking through a large, old house turning the lights out in each room, one after another. This was my system shutting down. It was s-o-o-o-o restful. I vaguely remember being placed on the gurney in the ICU and going through some quick tests including an MRI. I was wheeled back into the ICU room (I was told this; I don't remember it).
The world went away and I was somewhere. It was dark and quiet. Somehow, I knew I hadn't really gone anywhere; that I was still in the same place but in a different part of it. This new world was the same world we know but just in a different form. I remember an unbelievable feeling of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. It was totally encompassing throughout my entire being. I'm a recovering alcoholic and I realized at that moment that I had to be drinking (in the past) to get to the feeling I was now having. I also remember a sensation of vastness, of unimaginable space all around me. But I also sensed that it was small and intimate at the same time. I also sensed that there was no time here and yet, all time here, as well.
I don't remember any other beings except at some distance out in the surrounding shadows. It was no big deal, they were just there quietly observing. Then there was a big face floating in front of me. I had a sense of immensity that is indescribable: It was both huge and intimate at the same time. I also knew it was an aspect of 'god', something I could understand. We chatted I think. That part is hazy. Then I had a choice presented to me. I could stay forever in this eternal bliss or go back and finish what I had not yet done since I wasn't supposed to be here yet. All the communication during this time was nonverbal, like some form of telepathy only deeper because it also encompassed emotion as well. I asked the Being what he wanted me to do. For some reason, it was mostly a big, adult male face with a black beard. At the time, I didn't think much about it but it was so stereotypical that, afterwards, I doubted my experience because it was so cheesy.
Anyway, he radiated an immense sense of love and amusement. I knew beyond question that the choice to go back was mine to make and that, if I chose to stay, there were no recriminations, only unconditional love. The sense of unconditional love was strong throughout the experience. I sensed that my purpose was to go back, just be the best me I could be and help others as the opportunities arose. I DID NOT want to leave. But I let my will go and turned to go down a dark passage that lead off to somewhere.
I remember one last thing very specifically. I stopped, turned around, and said to him 'You better be for providing some damn miracles to make this worthwhile'. The last thing I remember was laughter and loving humor.
I awoke and was immediately assaulted with the most horrible, shrill alarm I had ever heard. I sat up on the gurney and had wires and hoses sticking out of me from every limb and orifice. The doctor and the nurse came running into my cubicle and skidded to a halt. It was just like a roadrunner cartoon when the coyote tries to stop and keeps sliding forward. I have never actually seen anyone do that but that's the impression I got. The nurse came around to my left side and started tapping on the machine next to me. Apparently, it had flat-lined when they were out of the room and she figured it must have quit working, since I was sitting up and looking around. It struck me later that this was the EKG unit that had recorded no heartbeat for a few seconds. Amazingly, I was 100% restored, good as new. I was released an hour later and went to a motel for the night.
As time has gone by over the past 8 years since the episode, I lose touch with it most of the time. I start to doubt it and pass it off as an overactive imagination during a harrowing experience. But, in reading all of these NDE stories I'm struck by some consistent similarities; notable the overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance during the event that everyone seems to share, regardless of the other stuff. I wish I was surer in my belief about the experience, but my lack of faith seems to keep coming up and getting in my way.
One last thing; I was left with a major physical change after the event. Obviously, when I was admitted to the hospital I was at death’s door and opening it. After I 'woke up’, I was feeling fantastic. My sense of smell and taste were unbelievably enhanced. I drank chronically for decades and smoked hand-rolled cigarettes by the pound. My senses had been burned out long ago. But now I could smell scents all around me, I could differentiate between them as well. My sense of taste was so good that I had to switch my diet to fresh foods because I could taste the chemicals in prepared food. I can taste and smell the chlorine that the city puts in our water, so I don't drink it. I went from a dead mouth and nose to super senses right after I came to in the hospital.
Then I remember my last complaint to 'God' about providing me with proof in the form of miracles. There, for what it's worth, is my NDE in a slightly large nutshell. I still wonder if it was real or if my dying brain was having one last laugh at my expense. I experience this life very much as one day at a time. I never know when I will die again, it could be any minute or it could be years. I really have no sense of that other than to truly live each day as if it is my last. Most days I'm pretty agnostic still, I know my own capacity for self-deceit. I don't share this story with anyone its too unbelievable. My wife and daughter know but only a few select individuals have been told over time. I don't really want to share this but, for some reason, I feel that I need to share it here. I haven't talked to anyone about it for years now. Regardless, I hope you all have a good life and, if we all shared a common experience, we'll get to meet and visit about it.
Date NDE Occurred: 8/04/2008
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Heat Stroke Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function)
Fell down from heatstroke when temperature was in the 110 deg. range. I was rushed to emergency room and placed in ICU.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
Did you feel separated from your body? No
I lost awareness of my body
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 Everything was very well defined and yet a part of the whole as well. I had no sense of time or place. I was no longer in pain, both physical and mental.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? The whole time
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 time, it was eternal and it was instant, all at the same time.
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. I could see though there was no light. I could see close and distant at the same time.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could 'hear' without sound as well as understand at the same instant.
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: Void
The experience included: Darkness
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? Uncertain There was no light to speak of; I remember blackness that didn't interfere with observation.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place Somewhere in a place that was dark, but had light. I sensed that it existed alongside the regular world, but was separated from it by a thin film or curtain of some kind.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Joy, love, exhilaration, forgiven, accepted as I was.
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 or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about myself or others This was only to a small degree. I understood myself a little better when I got 'back'.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a definite conscious decision to return to life God indicated that it wasn't my time to go and that I still had a purpose here in life. I could choose to stay or go; it was my decision. I chose to come back and do what I was supposed to do. I have no idea what that is but when I've done it I will die and return to my new life.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Agnostic raised Catholic. Left church at 18. Recovering alcoholic at 32 searching for spirituality with mixed success
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I'm much more tolerant of others as a result. Even if it was not real, I still learned something about my spiritual being.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Do not know No longer have preconceived notions - questioning my experience in NDE. Agnostic mostly.
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 OK, the big face of God was one I never would have predicted; it's really pretty silly. Apparently, it was meant to be because it made perfect sense at the time. I knew that God was somewhat different than I was observing but this was something that seemed so different from what I expected. I could understand a shimmering light or a disembodied voice but the happy Wizard of Oz? No way, I wouldn’t have guessed that.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I believed there was a better chance that an afterlife existed and that I would partake in it.
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 Read my story. The being and I had a voiceless conversation. He was mostly represented as a giant, bearded head; with a really big, loving smile.
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? Uncertain I felt connected to everything but in an indistinct, tenuous manner.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes The being seemed pretty much in charge, not in an overbearing way but rather, in an undeniable presence way. I am uncertain if God exists.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? I am uncertain if God exists
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? Yes To love others. To give of myself for others. This was very strong. That's why I chose to come back.
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? I am uncertain if an afterlife exists Uncertain Other than being in a different place and understanding that I was dead, I got nothing.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I moderately 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? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
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? 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? Yes The one thing I would describe beyond anything else was that I felt unconditional, supreme love at all times.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Slight changes in my life I already mentioned the sense of smell and taste enhancements. One interesting occurrence happened right after I got back home from my experience. I purchased a raffle ticket for a rifle and one for a pistol, in two separate raffles. I won both raffles one week apart. As I shared in my story, I challenged God to give me some miracles so I could have faith in the NDE and winning the raffles may fit in that category.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes OK, so I answered yes to the difficulty of expressing the experience and then I'm supposed to describe it in detail? Really? It was so involved with the spiritual that there are NO words. Period.
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 less accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of th The experience has dimmed over time. Some days I question the whole thing and wonder if it was even close to being real. I hate agnosticism.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes My sense of taste and smell became significantly enhanced immediately after the NDE.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? That our pets can be with us after death. That we have absolutely free will at all times. That God always forgives us at the same time we 'sin'. He/She loves us unconditionally.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared it with my family within the first 2 weeks after the NDE. I have shared it with four friends over the past 8 years.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I read about it in magazines and on the internet but didn't pay much attention since I figured a dying brain will do anything to keep from admitting death is occurring.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real It was so overwhelming that it couldn't be denied.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was probably not real I vacillate on this. Some days I think it was real, some days it was unreal, and some days I have no idea. I am being treated for a bipolar disorder so anything I experience I view through the filter of possible mental pathology. Also, after 30 years as a recovering alcoholic, I have learned that I don't really understand life very well, let alone the afterlife.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes 30 years ago, I was dying of acute, chronic alcoholism. I had been sober for about 4 months and was getting nowhere. I remember sitting at my desk and deciding to die. I was going to cross the street to the bar and drink so much I died. The last thought I had before getting up was 'God, if you want me to live, you better get to doing something to stop me from going across the street'. In an instant, all of my pain and doubt and misery were removed from me. I was filled with the overwhelming sense of the presence of God in my heart. I felt the love and forgiveness that I later experienced in the NDE. In mortal form, it hits like a sledgehammer. I was literally stunned into silence as this washed through me. Then, in several seconds, it gradually started to ebb until I was back to normal. That event became the central experience of my lasting sobriety.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Why do I doubt it, even now? I get frustrated with myself that I can't seem to stay in the frame of mind that allows me to be certain of the NDE. It may have been some kind of mental fugue state brought on by dehydration. I don't know but, hopefully, your website and information can help me be a bit more confident that my NDE was real.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? It's pretty good for now.