At the time of my NDE, I had just gotten my driver's license and was taking a driver's education course. One particularly sunny day, the instructor decided that we all deserved a mini vacation so we loaded up the car and one of us students drove down to Lincoln City. My friend Sarah and I ran to the ocean and waded up to our thighs in the water. We were laughing and holding hands as mini wave after mini wave collided with us when this gigantic wave came towards us. Sarah ran back towards shore and I turned around to follow her except that when I spun around I lost my balance and fell to my knees - the water sloshing up to slightly past my waist. My pants were so waterlogged that as much as I tried to stand, the fabric weighed me down and the sand was trying to suck me backwards. At that moment, I remember thinking 'Well, this is it - I'm going to die.'
I thought that there was no possible way I could survive the event - I didn't have balance on my side and I was far enough from the shore that, even if I had made a run for it, I wouldn't have made it back to the shore before the wave came over me. I sat there in the water and waited for the wave to come sweep me away. While I 'waited' for this wave, even though I KNEW it was right behind me, I thought back over my life and wondered why I had to die then - why couldn't I die when I had accomplished more with my life? Why did my parents have to go through the agony of knowing that I had died? Why did I have to die before ever having a boyfriend, a husband, and then eventually kids and grandkids? I also remember telling myself 'No, I don't want to die now. I'm too scared.' I was afraid, not only of dying, but because I didn't really know what to expect when I did die. Was I supposed to see a tunnel? Bright lights? Jesus? I didn't know and I didn't want to 'cease to exist'.
What happened next was probably the most confusing and unbelievable experience yet. I was standing IN THE WATER, I had a solid footing under me, and I was looking down the beach to my left. The sky, although it had been sunny before, was now slightly overcast. It was not unpleasant - the clouds had a blue, gray, pink and yellow tinge to them, as though the sun was trying to break through. There were absolutely no people on the beach, which was odd, since before, the beach was packed with people. I wasn't scared at that point - I was actually completely at peace. I just wanted to remain there, observing the beach, the sea (what I could see of it) and the gorgeous sky above me. No, I didn't hear any voices like you'd expect, and no, Jesus or any other religious figures did not appear to me. I just stood there in the ocean and continued to review my life as I had done before. There was actually no break in my stream of consciousness between reviewing my life before this new landscape, and while I was observing it. You'd think that I had I really stood up from a kneeling position to a standing one that I would be thinking about that and not my life thus far. It just wasn't the case. I kept on THINKING.
I thought about how it was weird that the ocean, up until this point, had never actually killed me but rather, it had tried to. When I was seven or eight and my brother was four or five years old, I fell down in the ocean and the water was actually dragging me in headfirst. It was scary. The last thing I remember thinking while I was in this state was that I wasn't done living - I wanted to do more with my life. At that moment, I made up my mind that I was not going to die. I just wasn't. I didn't WANT to. Before I knew it, it was sunny again, there were people all around me, my pants were only wet to about mid-calf and I was standing on the beach as a wave - maybe even the one I thought would kill me - splashed around my ankles. Sarah did not remember this event happening at ALL which I found very confusing and the time span that this all occurred was actually very fast - I guess I was just moving in slow-motion because it seemed like a long time to me.
I have never really told anyone about this experience because the people I've told it to - mainly my parents and boyfriend - all think that I made it up, that what happened to me actually never happened. It's been a frustrating four years because I have never forgotten the event. That's the weird thing though - I'm now in my third year of college, I've been dating the love-of-my-life for over a year now and I'm HAPPY. I have everything so far that I had wanted then - it just took four more years to get to me. I wish I had absolute without-doubt explanations for what happened to me because I would love to be able to say that this was a NDE, but I don't know if what I've experienced is typical, or if I really did lose my mind or blacked out. Since this event, I've had very strange dreams; dreams were I've been visited by God, dreams that involve deep perceptions of people I know right now. I've also suddenly become more in-tune with thoughts and emotions of people around me. It's cool in a way, but scary in others.
Date NDE Occurred: approx. 06/20/2005
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident 'Friend of mine and I were holding hands in the ocean, ''riding the waves'' so to speak when this gigantic wave came towards us. Sarah ran towards shore and I started to, but fell to my knees. I don't remember getting back up.' 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I was standing in the ocean with my friend when a wave bigger and stronger than the ones we had been riding came towards us. She was able to run back to shore and I started to as well, but I lost my balance and fell to my waist in the water. I shut my eyes and hoped for the best.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was standing up in the water, reviewing my life. Everything was so sharp - defined to me.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
I felt like time itself was suspended - I just wasn't aware of it. I felt lighter than usual; freer to be me and to just kind of chill and relax.
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. Well, it seemed as though my vision didn't really change that much, other than the fact that I seemed to be further away from shore than I thought I was - standing in or ON more ocean than previously expected. So I would definitely say depth perception changed.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I didn't hear anything. At all. I didn't hear the ocean, the wind, voices - just my own thoughts.
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? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
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? No
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I was still on the beach in Lincoln City, but everything around me was so pristine and quiet. It was very peaceful and serene.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Nervous, happy, accepting, resigned, peaceful, sad.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt united or one with the world
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control I reviewed almost every moment of my life and analyzed it. Oh, and I also FELT every emotion that went along with these experiences, although because it all happened so fast, I felt them all at once, which was a bit overwhelming to me. It was like my brain was running on an energy-drink speed. It didn't slow down until the end. I was thinking the entire time - REMEMBERING would be a more correct term for it. As for learning stuff, I learned that I shouldn't take life for granted because anything can snatch it away - I came to realize how fragile life really is and I gained a new appreciation for the world, environment, my family and friends and God Himself/Herself. I've taken better care of myself since then in every aspect - body, mind and yes, soul. I became suddenly closer to God without actually having any religion.
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? Conservative/fundamentalist 'I have gone through phases my entire life. At the time of this event, I was in-between Christian and merely ''spiritual''. I wanted answers.'
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Definitely. I've become more spiritual rather than religious and in fact, most of my thoughts about the universe and about life in general have become more expanded - they've grown and matured. Most of them, in fact, could be considered heretical in nature, but I don't really care. My beliefs suit me and that's all that matters. My relationship with God has definitely changed and grown closer because I realize that I don't have to worship him for him to love me - he doesn't need me to. I understand the purpose of humankind and why we are all here on this planet.
What is your religion now? Conservative/fundamentalist 'Christian-tended, but not sure. More spiritual at this point, I think.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Definitely. I've become more spiritual rather than religious and in fact, most of my thoughts about the universe and about life in general have become more expanded - they've grown and matured. Most of them, in fact, could be considered heretical in nature, but I don't really care. My beliefs suit me and that's all that matters. My relationship with God has definitely changed and grown closer because I realize that I don't have to worship him for him to love me - he doesn't need me to. I understand the purpose of humankind and why we are all here on this planet.
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? Uncertain I could say that I discovered, in a way, my purpose for my life in that helping people is my passion therefore, I've been given a second chance to do just that in any way I can. I can use my gift of life to help other people that might be in pain or just need general help, like caring for the elderly or disabled. And I have always thought and felt things about the Universe/God that other people think are insane, but make sense, and I suppose you could say that it became heightened a bit after my experience, but only because I really wanted to delve into the reasons why this happened to me and why I survived.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I've learned to weed out the friends that are only keeping you around them for their own pleasure, not because they like you or particularly believe anything you say.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The problem was that I didn't really know what had HAPPENED. I remember falling down in the water and thinking 'Well, this is it - I'm going to die.' Except that I didn't. To this day, I don't know if I just 'blacked out' or what. In the end, I was standing on the beach and, as I've said, I do not remember standing once I was down. That's why I'm uncertain.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I've been able to feel what others are feeling or thinking, and I've had numerous paranormal experiences since then. It was like another world opened itself to me and all I had to do was become more aware that this world existed. I see things I can't explain, I smell the perfume/scent of relatives that have passed on, etc.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The enormous feeling of peace, love and acceptance that swept over me was very meaningful because I've always been afraid of death and to know that it could quite possibly be that peaceful is comforting. Also, when I reviewed my life, I found that helpful and spiritually rewarding. And, I suppose, just the fact that I SURVIVED was miraculous.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes No one really understands or believes me, even though the moment I returned from the beach, I told my parents and friends about it. They look at my sideways, roll their eyes a little and say that I must have imagined it, or they become uncomfortable and don't know what to say. It's exhausting trying to keep explaining it so that it remains fresh in my memory.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes When I was seven or eight years old, I was dragged backwards, head-first into the ocean before my dad saved me. At that point, I was too young to really have any knowledge about NDE or what may have happened to me, I just thought it was a really, really scary experience. I was also born with the cord wrapped around my neck, so I couldn't breathe. I was born four pounds, six ounces and the doctors didn't think I'd survive, but here I am! Twenty-one years later.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was probably real How else could I explain it? I thought I was a goner. The memory of this experience was so real and every detail was so clearly defined for me to think otherwise. I knew there was a possibility that it wasn't real - that I had made it all up somehow - it happened so fast that I could have just blacked out, or had an unconscious moment, but then how would I have seen everything I had seen or felt?
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Without a doubt, the experience is completely real to me right now. Soon after the event, I found a book titled 'Home With God' by Neale Donald Walsch which explains, in exact detail, what happens in NDE's. It suddenly MADE SENSE. I survived because my reality was thrown onto another track - the train was diverted and I was inserted in the timeline of life moments before the event (my death) took place. It doesn't explain why I was standing on the beach again after the event, but I took that with a grain of salt - a minor detail. Now I'm just working on convincing people and trying to find a way to describe it.
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 want people to KNOW what I've experienced - I also want to find people who might have had genuine experiences that resemble, to some extent, my experience; simple and yet beautiful. I want to understand why it happened, why I survived and if I really am making it all up. What DID happen to me?