I was spending the day at the river with my younger siblings, my mother, and some of her friends. My brother and I had wandered off to the water’s edge, up to no good. I was dared to go past the red line painted on the boat launch where the river meets. I was one foot past the red line, four-year-old me was sucked out into the current, bobbing, kicking trying, ineffectively, to scream ‘help’ every time. I broke the surface as the water dragged me away. I would barely get, ‘He…’ and water would fill my throat, five maybe six tries. After that, just trying to breathe and break the surface became my world for what felt like eternity. Yet, was likely only five minutes or less. I grew tired.
I felt myself becoming quiet inside, calm almost numb. I was still bobbing, not quite making it to the surface, with my eyes wide open. I felt something brush my calf. My gaze caught a large fish swimming away. I remember being surprised and thinking, ‘Oh, a fish,’ after all that was what we were looking for when we came down to the water to take a look. I floated, still looking where the fish had gone.
I was calm and peaceful. A warm sensation began to build as light filled the river, my body, my thoughts, everything. It was as if reality was filtered away and I was beyond thought, one with the energy that was all. The love and connection was indescribable. I became aware again, the warmth was focusing around, underneath, and behind, almost as if coalescing to cradle the self I became again. Without words or images there was communication a cherishing comfort and then, and then, there are no other words for the bereavement even as I know it was a choice that I made for a purpose that still eludes me.
Even writing this, the transition back, brings me such a feeling of loss that this entire world tastes of ashes: the struggle to retch up the water, feeling flesh again, and a painful awakening. Drifting in and out, I was spread across the front seat of a car careening up the hill to the hospital. I had awareness of being in a bed, feeling fine, strange scratchy gown, stillness and quiet. I felt fine was recovered within hours, discharged the next day. I never learned the name of the man who jumped in to rescue me and bring me to the hospital. I was discharged to my father's care and we only returned home to my mother's house to pick-up clothes and say goodbye to my brother sister and mother. All I have left from the experience is a core spark, a connection point to that other realm, state of awareness.
Date NDE Occurred: July 1985
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Drowning. CPR given. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
Drowning at four years old, pulled unconscious, not breathing an unknown time later, best guess 10 minutes? Rescuer performed CPR, (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) to resume breathing and drove me to hospital where I was kept overnight for observation.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
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 My normal consciousness is only aware of the connection, a ghost image if it were, to that other state. A sense that there is more that I am not seeing but feeling, it comes and goes but is firmly rooted in the physical as opposed to being reality, instead of being subjected to it.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? From when I stopped breathing to when I started again.
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 some linear progression at the beginning of the experience and when I became conscious again in the hospital. Yet there was a clear sense of difference between joining the light then having the light being join me.
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. Sharper, directed and then as the light filled me, obsolete.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Sharper, louder that I thought it would be underwater, and again as the light came, obsolete, there was no hearing in the sense that we use.
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? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes Light filled my being and reality as if filtering into it as sand through mesh? Until I was light.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm A different state of consciousness and reality, both separate from yet contains ours.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Love, connection, unity, awareness of being everything, peace and a center of stillness.
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 the universe An inherent understanding of the intrinsic nature of the realities and universe and the connections between.
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? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Unknown
What was your religion prior to your experience? Do not know Was rather young and unsure if I believed in anything before the experience, was raised at that point in a generally religion free environment, both parents being lapsed Catholics for most of their lives.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Other or several faiths I believe we are one, here to experience and live our love. Very simple sentence for what I feel is impossible to put into words. I have interest in zero point energy field; quantum physics; string theory; Taoism and the belief? idea? that it may all be part of the truth of reality & consciousness.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain I was four, not sure if I had any.
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 A presence that coalesced out of the light, above, behind as it was cradling me but was still the light around us and was us. A communication without words that was both eternal and instant.
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? Yes The choice was to return again for awhile or stay and have a new life when I was ready. and there was the sense that I had chosen this many times before for many reasons.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes I felt unity with the universe and a mystical connection.
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? 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? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes to experience and love, to be love, to choose to go back and be brave and be love.
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 being aware of existing still, of choice to return.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? Unknown
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Unknown
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? Unknown
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? Yes to learn to overcome and grow, to have a physical reality.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Unknown
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes that we are love and that is our purpose.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? I have always had difficulty in relationships and being around strong emotions or groups of people. I have a strong sense of empathy and others say that being in my presence is calming. I feel this is related to my experience as it is because of the sense of connection and oneness I felt during the experience that is still, in a small way, with me. I have always had difficulty in relationships and being around strong emotions or groups of people. I have a strong sense of empathy and others say that being in my presence is calming. I feel this is related to my experience as it is because of the sense of connection and oneness I felt during the experience that is still, in a small way, with me.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Words are very limiting.
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? Uncertain I was very young.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? No
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 Have and still believe it as real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real That it was real.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Certain moments: when in a group while singing to their god I felt like a faint echo of connection, of unity. While practicing Tantra, while meditating, a feeling, though faint, of a connection to that reality, level of consciousness. [Editor’s Notation: Tantra is a style of meditation.] Once I had an out of body experience while hearing very traumatizing news. I was above my body, suddenly listening to the sound I was making. In those moments before I returned to my body, I felt a level of awareness and unity approaching the feeling of connection yet still separate from it and in this reality. There was no shift into light, just a few brief moments of discussion and decision.