I was at work as usual and decided to go to the canteen for lunch around 1:00pm.
I couldn't finish my meal as I started to have severe pain in my stomach. I managed to return to my desk and decided to get some water. After taking a sip, I collapsed and a colleague called for help. I was conscious during this whole time. The cramping and subsequent pain increased and an ambulance was called. After initial checks, I was taken to a local hospital. My manager accompanied me, as I had no relatives nearby.
The doctor in charge of my care carried out various tests and after the results were confirmed, I was admitted. I was told that I had three specks of kidney stones, which they would observe and, if required, would be treated later. My daughter arrived with some of my personal things and my manager left at this point.
Throughout the day, I had regular checks and as the pain was increasing, I was given additional painkillers via an intravenous drip. At this point, I also started to have a raised temperature and nausea. I was taken into an observation room and kept on the drip. A doctor would come regularly to check on me. They wouldn't give me any other medication in case this aggravated the kidney stones.
It was getting late and my daughter left with my niece whilst my sister in law stayed behind. We were chatting generally about the family and work when I started to vomit. My sister in law asked a nurse to give me something for the nausea. In the meantime, I told my sister in law to call my brother to come and pick her up as it was getting very late. By this time, it was coming up to 10:00pm and I knew she had come straight from work and hadn't eaten anything. She called him and waited in the room for him to come.
The nurses and doctors were meeting outside the nurses’ station for a shift handover. I remember saying to the nurse my nausea was getting worse. She informed me that she was not able to give me anything until it was cleared with the doctor and this meant I had to wait until the handover was completed.
At about 10:15 the doctor who had been treating me during the day popped his head into the room to say he was leaving and wished me well. He had instructed the nurse to give me anti-nausea medication via the drip, which would help ease the nausea. My sister in law was standing to the right side of me and the nurse started to inject the medication into the drip line. While she was doing this, I turned to my sister in law to tell her that it was ok for her to go as my brother had phoned her that he was parked downstairs. I remember this to be the last clear instruction I heard or gave. Slowly my eyes began to draw closed and I felt heavy and my breathing was getting slower. I felt limp and unable to move at all. I was extremely heavy.
I remember 'me' being pulled away, out of the bed, but my physical body was lying limp. At this stage, I could still hear everything but could not acknowledge or move. I can see the nurse pushing the alarm but not with my eyes. It was as if I was looking at her from somewhere else. It wasn't working and she was screaming at my sister in law to go to the room next door and push the alarm. I remember the nurse trying to give me oxygen, but the equipment was faulty. I could see so many people around me frantically doing things to me. A lot of noise, a lot of movement. I was in the middle of all of it but not there at the same time. I remember hearing the doctor shouting my name aloud and his name, telling me to stay with him. Someone kept flashing something bright in my eyes. I wanted to blink but couldn't. I just wanted to sleep. I kept trying to sleep but the doctor and nurse kept shouting loud to stay with them.
I heard another nurse say the heart was in cardiac arrest and they started resuscitation. They punched my chest with an injection. I kept thinking that this should hurt but it didn't. I couldn't feel anything, just felt extremely tired, heavy and sinking. There was so much confusion. I could see everything but not from my body. I can't explain where I was, but I was not in the body. I have no concept of where I was in the room. The doctor was telling someone that my pupils had dilated and that I wasn't reacting to the light they were constantly flashing in my eyes. I saw a female doctor or nurse, don't know who, do the same. I wanted to blink but couldn't.
Then someone was pinching me very hard on my inner arm, thigh and collarbone. Again, I wanted to move but couldn't. Then I heard the doctor say that there wasn't enough oxygen getting to my brain and they would have to break the nasal bone and insert a tube straight to the brain and get oxygen to my brain like that.
Again, I could feel the tube being inserted but I couldn't feel the pain. I remember thinking 'this should hurt'. All this seemed like a few minutes but as I later found out, it was hours. I just wanted to slip away, sleep but the voices kept shouting at me to stay. I was then rushed to another room. I remember a nurse squeezing on a manual oxygen mask and my bed being pushed quickly across the corridor. I was placed in a room next to an old man who was also unconscious and on a ventilator. I could see him and yet my body was in an enclosed room. I even know what he looked liked. He was mid-sixties, had a lot of silvery grey hair, tall, lean with a stubble. He smelt of alcohol. I saw him lying with the tubes coming out of him.
A few moments later, in my own room. I could hear the doctor saying they would try one last time and arranged a cat scan as there still was no brain activity. At this point, I went into the 'sleep'.
What happened next is very surreal for me.
I am lying in a kind of bed. Everything around me is extremely white and bright. I'm in a room but without walls or windows. There is a door but not with a structure. I can't see it as a door, but I just know it is. I am looking outwards toward warmth. I don't know if it the sunshine or the brightness of the light. There is complete peace, absolute peace. There is noise and again no noise that I recognize. I am so relaxed. I have no fear at all. I can smell or sense an over-powering fragrance I never experienced before. So sweet that there is nothing that I can compare from this world.
I am looking at the hills and yet they were not hills like we see here. Endless space, endless brightness, no horizon, no depth, no structure as such. It was a nothingness and something at the same time. I wanted to stay forever here. I didn't have memories or thoughts, just sensed things. It was just so tranquil. There was lasting peace. Nothing solid, just emotions.
I was lying on a bed, but it was not a bed as such, but some sort of a buoyant platform. I had no fear of anything whatsoever. On the end of my bed was my uncle standing with a walking stick. He looked exactly as I remembered.
I lived in a joint family for the most part of my formative years with this uncle and his family. When I was one year old, my parents had my brother who was born very prematurely. In those days, children in this condition were less likely to survive. My mother was preoccupied with my brother's care in the hospital for a long time, leaving me in the care of my grandparents, aunty and uncle and family.
My bond has always been very strong with both my aunt and uncle. We separated for a few years and re-united under one roof again when we moved to the UK. We carried on living together for four years until separating again when the families were too big to be living in one house.
I still shared that bond with my uncle, aunt, and grandmother. Even growing up, I always turned to them for my needs before my parents. Over the coming years, we saw little of each other. I was married and moved away and they got on with their lives.
My grandmother died in 1997, my aunt died of cancer in 2003, and my uncle died in February 2008, the same year I had my experience. My uncle died after experiencing a fall at home and subsequently falling into a coma. The incident was very unpleasant as his family and mine were not talking to each other. My father, his only living relative was barred from seeing him in the hospital and after a lot of painful confrontation; my father was allowed to visit him. During the last hours of his life, I was at his bedside and ultimately when the life support was turned off. I was standing with all the family by the bedside, watching as his life was slowly withered away. I passed out just before he was pronounced dead and so was not actually there when this moment had come. It was a very unhappy, confrontational episode, which left a bad experience for all. My father and uncle had been through very tough childhood and only had each other for support. My grandmother went blind when my father was two and my uncle was five. They were brought up by an uncle and aunt who didn't look after them properly. Both my father and his brother were close because of this and even during the hectic family argumentative years. My father helped to financially look after all the family until we went our separate ways. So for my father to be barred from seeing his brother was a very painful experience for all and I always felt that my uncle somehow was not happy about it either. He never woke up from his coma.
However, in my experience, my uncle was first standing at the end of the bed, then came, and sat by my side. He was jolly, happy, just like in life. He chuckled and spoke to me but not in words. I understood but not in a way, I can explain.
He told me to tell the eldest of my brothers (the one who was born premature) not to worry, he was going to get through the difficulties just like when he was born. He told me to tell him don't work too hard, it wasn't good for his health (my brother had been working sixteen hour shifts as a bus driver). This was something he did after the death of my uncle. He told me to tell my youngest brother to not to worry too much everything would be fine. He said to tell him you are always worrying, and it wasn't going to change anything and that everything was going to be ok. My younger brother had lost his son at the age of one and hadn't really recovered from it.
My uncle use to chuckle a lot and when he did this his stomach would 'bounce'. I use to make him laugh on purpose just to see this. While he was sitting, he told me to stop making him laugh, as his stomach was hurting. I can't remember what I was saying that made him laugh. I can't remember what I sounded like or appeared as but that some exchanges were made between us. How we communicated is not clear. I just knew what he was saying without words. That's all I remember of him except that he felt very peaceful and comforting. He did not give any messages for his own family at all. I wanted to stay there with him or at least in this place.
I finally remember 'coming around' and feeling very, very, very angry! I really didn't want to come back. I was so angry with the doctor. I didn't want to come back. Why did he bring me back?! All I could think of was I didn't want to be here and was so angry. I was in and out of consciousness and can't remember anything else much. Gradually I started to feel stronger and my senses started to return. Eventually I was allowed to drink something really sweet as my sugar levels had dropped so much. I remember the nurse saying to me that I had given them a real fright! She was the same nurse who gave me the medication before I had the cardiac arrest and even though her shift had ended, she stayed behind until I was in the clear. I felt very sad after. I didn't want to talk to anyone, didn't want to be around.
I found it difficult to talk about this to my family initially and still do. I never discussed it with anyone for a long time. There were times when I doubted myself but I know I experienced everything especially as I had big painful bruises to show for it from when the nurses were pinching me to see if I would react.
The whole episode did change my outlook on life. I'm more tolerant and placid. I am detached from 'worldly things' with a different view regarding life and death. I am calmer and relate all my experiences in a positive way. I want to tell people my story now, but I’m still apprehensive about how people will see it.
I have no fear at all of dying or death. I am actually looking forward to it. I feel I'm more mature about things especially problems to do with health. I don't feel attachment to things in the way I used to. If something goes wrong, I deal with it in a positive way even if the outcome is not good.
I encourage myself and my family to 'live' life, but not in an extravagant way. I am very religious now and practice Islam. This is the core of my existence even though I didn't experience meeting angels or God during my experience. I feel I have a purpose to fulfill. I don't know what it is but know that there is something. I have blind faith and feel that there is something much more, much better waiting for us after death. I am so looking forward to experiencing that feeling again and find that to me being alive is not a blessing, it’s a burden. Had it not been for my faith and responsibility for towards my children, I might not be around today. That's how coming back to this reality has affected me.
One of the permanent ailments I have been left with from my whole episode is I now suffer from epilepsy. This was the direct result of brain damage due to not receiving adequate oxygen supply to the brain during the cardiac arrest.
Date NDE Occurred: 4th November 2008
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness. Allergic reaction. CPR given. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
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? Yes The hospital procedures as they were trying to revive me.
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 I always feel that there is a 'barrier', a limit, some boundary to my consciousness and alertness in a normal environment. During my experience, there was none. I felt I could do whatever, be whatever free to feel, without judgment. It was a feeling of boundlessness.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? During the time I was experiencing the brightness and encounter with my uncle.
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
I had no sense of time. Nothing seemed to be too late or too early. It just was. There was no need for time, it didn't matter.
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. My vision was extra clean, clear of any obstruction. In terms of sight, I have always had hazy vision. I wear glasses for reading and long distance viewing. I also have glare, which usually makes me squint my eyes when there is a bright light. During the experience, I didn't experience any trouble with my vision. I was able to see clearly. Even the brightness was not a problem.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I have partial deafness in one ear. I am able to hear but often have to ask the person to repeat what they are saying. However, during my experience, I can't remember hearing any sounds. It was more a question of just knowing something was said or done. I don't think I had any exceptional changes in my hearing. I heard, but not noises or words. It’s difficult to explain.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
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 My uncle.
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
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm It was a strange environment, the total opposite of reality. A place that was beaming with peace, a light that was soothing. There were no worries, no problems, no decisions to make, no feelings except joy and peace. It was a place to 'let' go. I could float but not in the way, we would imagine as I didn't have the experience of being in a body. A total sense of happiness.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Extremely happy, peaceful, safe, comforted, pain-free, serene, and surreal.
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
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I felt the things which were important in the real world were of no consequence here. I just didn't care to unite anything with this existence in any way. I just wanted to 'be'.
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? No
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 wasn't able to 'move' away from the position I was in. My uncle had come with things he wanted me to go back and tell my family. Nothing physically restrained me but it was a feeling that I could not go beyond that point even though I really wanted to. I was so angry when I was revived. Even the thought of whom I was leaving behind did not deter me. I didn't even think of my children and family, I just wanted to stay in that place. Nothing from my life was there whether in thought or action. As far as I was concerned, I was finished with reality and life.
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? Muslim Not a practising muslim. Although I believed in the concept of a creator, I was not practising the religion in its correct manifestation. I did not pray at all or read the Quran, however, participated in practical processes such as refraining from eating non halal meat,etc.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I pray more, I read the Quran daily, I am always researching information about my faith. I fast during Ramadan because I truly want to and not because I am expected to. I mingle more with people who practice Islam. I like to debate issues in Islam with like-minded people. I have an insatiable appetite for religious knowledge.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Muslim I am a devout practising muslim adhering to all the requirements of the religion. I am very protective and totally loyal to Islam and am encouraging this continuously within my close family and friend circles. I pray, fast and read the quran without fail. I am researching more in depth about the religion and have an almost 'sublime' attitude towards reality. I am very comfortable being part of a religion I once questioned.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I never imagined a place like this before my experience. I believed there was a heaven or hell. I didn't think that you could have such an experience and still come back to the living reality. I never imagined feeling limitless peace, love, joy happiness to the extent I felt during my experience.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes My religious beliefs. I am more religious now. I believe in Allah's existence. I believe I was created for a purpose and returned to fulfill this, though I'm still not quite sure what. I believe in the teachings of the Quran and demonstrate this daily. I wish to be someone who can make a positive change to others through my experience and religion. I don't think it’s important to have all the superficial earthly goods to have a fulfilling life. I find it easier to deal with personal problems because of my faith. I am able to analyze situations and 'foresee' the outcomes before they happen. This helps me to have better judgment when making decisions. I am more positive about things and keep trying, having faith that it will turn out ok.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
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 After 'talking' to my uncle, I felt that there is a link with a mystical universe which we don't understand in this world but does exist. This can only be accessed in a special way and only some can access it.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists┬
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I felt that there was some sort of calling. But not in any physical form, a feeling that there was more to go to, up to the hills. I kept looking out towards these, wanting to go there but found myself 'confined' in a way to the 'bed'. I felt that only if I was given 'permission' I would be able to leave the 'bed' and fulfil the journey towards the hills.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
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 that there is nothing really 'real' about the earthly life or existence. We should not be so attached, its all meaningless, a transition period.
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 the awareness of being 'alive' after death. I felt that there was proof of this but not in the way we understand. The 'hills' to me were a place I wanted to go to and felt I belonged. I felt that I had a destination, a place to reach now that I was there.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Greatly 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? Yes There is no formal description for anything. it just co-exists and is understood. There no instructions or rules, you are aware of what you can and can't do without it being explained. There are no relations or acquaintances as we know, no borders and in my case I didn't even feel that there were different religions. I personally felt that everything was one with the other.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes I was a aware of the extreme peace, harmony, happiness, joy that the earthly life does not provide. The sweetness of this experience was in total contrast to the earthly life's difficulties and hardships.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes I was aware of being loved more then anything i have experienced in an earthly life, it was limitless, without boundary unlike any form of love in reality. totally unconditional and yet it didn't come from any being or a thing as such, I just felt it.
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 My religious beliefs. I am more religious now. I believe in Allah's existence. I believe I was created for a purpose and returned to fulfill this, though I'm still not quite sure what. I believe in the teachings of the Quran and demonstrate this daily. I wish to be someone who can make a positive change to others through my experience and religion. I don't think it’s important to have all the superficial earthly goods to have a fulfilling life. I find it easier to deal with personal problems because of my faith. I am able to analyze situations and 'foresee' the outcomes before they happen. This helps me to have better judgment when making decisions. I am more positive about things and keep trying, having faith that it will turn out ok.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes I am much closer to the people in my life. I have made bridges where in the past I burnt them. I am more forgiving as I know that there is something much better beyond this existence.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
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 as accurately as other life events that occurred around the time of the experience I remember the experience with complete accuracy and the events around the time as this was a real life changing experience for me.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes Not sure of it specifically, but I feel I am able to 'sense' things. I have felt that something is protecting me from harm. I have sensed a few times when I want something to happen, it does, usually to balance out.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The brightness was engulfing. It was a warmth, safety, and harmony all rolled into one putting me at ease.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes A while after the experience I told my brother in law. Being a Muslim, he had an Islamic approach to it. In Islam, there is a lot of information and description of what happens when a person actually dies. The process involved and the afterlife. However, a near death experience is seldom explained. So his reaction to it was very much dismissive. This is fine with me, as I probably would have the same reaction had I not had the experience. However, as religion is important to me, it is also important for me to know that what has happened is also something acceptable in Islam. This became clearer to me when I started to study Islam in more depth. It appears our Prophet also had a similar experience when he crossed the heavens. It’s called the Night of Ascension. I'm not saying mine is in any way or form the same experience as there can never be an exact comparison, but it does open debate in Islam regarding near death experiences.
I have spoken to my parents who are from the Hindu religion. They have a totally different approach, but still a dismissive one as well. They can't even come to terms with my experience. I am a revert Muslim who came into Islam after marriage. I passed on my uncle's message to my brothers but I think it’s something no-one is able to relate to in anyway. I've felt dejected from their responses. But I know what happened. I was originally a Hindu who reverted to Islam thirty years ago. I was never a practicing Muslim and yet it’s this faith that has been strengthened after my experience and not the Hindu faith. My uncle, in my experience, died as a Hindu and yet in Islam to die as anything apart from as a Muslim, is great act of disobedience to Allah. I think none of the family members I have spoken to know how to take this.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I felt like I was another person. For a long time I felt I was living in another dimension. I could not relate to reality. I knew 'something' had happened to me. I was one hundred percent sure of what happened to me and I started to make real changes to my life with confidence and conviction. I made time to pray. I remembered in detail the place I'd been to, the peace, the contentment. I have never felt that before anywhere. I remember the sweetness of the fragrance, something I can't even begin to describe because no fragrance or aroma comes close to it. The final thing is, I'm content with my own life and would like my children and family to feel that same contentment as it’s such a releasing feeling.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I can still remember it clearly five years on. It is real for me. I've experienced it and I've come out with more positive reasoning about life and death. It has changed the way I live, behave, and what I want from life. Helps me cope better in this life.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes After my grande mal epileptic seizure, I sometimes fall into a very deep sleep for days. After this, I feel drained and relaxed, and my mind is completely unable to function normally. Everything is slow. I take my time doing things.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I felt that the experience was about two separate people, one who was physically going through it (my body) and the other spiritually (my soul).