Prior to this experience I had an out of body experience in my teens, and my, very secular/skeptical, father told me at that time that he had also had an out of body experience during a conference while he was giving a speech. Our experiences shared some interesting details; we both attempted to test the situation and were able to see details that would not have been visible from our physical viewpoint. Later, it was factually confirmed after we 'returned' and the experience was over. My near death experience was quite different.
I was physically in the ambulance but do not remember looking down on my physical self in 360 degrees as I did during the OBE. Instead, I was in a place strangely devoid of detail but not a void. My mother was there; she had been deceased since I was in my mid-20s. We were seated, but I do not remember any furniture. It was light there, but not the bright tunnel people report seeing. She was wearing a dress she wore a lot in the last years of her life and she was not thin or sick looking anymore. We talked and she reassured me and gave me some advice. She and I had made promise before her death that she would tell me something verifiable I did not know if this ever happened. She didn't. During the experience I knew that I was dead or dying or in danger of death but I felt no strong emotion about that. I felt distantly confused but very glad to see my mother.
When I came around and after they got some glucose into me, the first thing I did was reaching out to the paramedic and asked him, 'Where did I go?' He gave me a rather uncomfortable and possibly frightened look and said, 'Ma'am, I assure you, you never left this vehicle.' I think he was both right and wrong. In the Emergency Room I had trouble remembering my name and responded 'yes' when a nurse asked if I had a sister named N____. I said yes, but that is not her name. I was otherwise able to answer all the other orientation questions, but somehow names eluded me.
I was much more alert during the near death experience. After the experience, being the child of two scientists, I attempted to reason through whether I really spoke to my deceased mother. She did not give me any information I did not know. Nothing she did surprised me. I have concluded that I was not speaking to my mother and was probably conversing with the part of her that I had internalized.
I still think the experience was real and not a hallucination. I hallucinated when I was a child and I had a high fever. This did not have the nightmarish feel or the intense colors and shapes. I would still like to know where I was. I don't know, but I wasn't here. I felt calm there but not euphoric. Perhaps a Catholic would tell me I was in Limbo or Purgatory. It's possible. We didn't regularly attend any church, when I was a kid, because my parents had different beliefs. Perhaps, the strangest thing about it all is, that fairly shortly after my recovery, I forgot what my mother and I spoke about; I still cannot remember. I could understand that might happen due to insulin shock, except that I did not forget it immediately. I remembered it when I was trying to figure out whether it was real or not, in the days and weeks after.
Date NDE Occurred: I think maybe 7 or 8 years ago
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Other: unconscious in shock, tachycardia.
I was in insulin shock.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain I may have briefly seen the ambulance from outside my normal vision, but I cannot remember. I was losing consciousness at the time. The next time, I perceived myself as being in the otherworldly space.
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? Normal consciousness and alertness I was aware of my surroundings, capable of holding a conversation, and recognized my mother. I did not, however, have any details of the space: if it was a space at all. I also lacked emotions that I think I would have had under my normal consciousness. I was not panicking; I was not feeling strong emotions. My emotion at seeing my mother was gladness but there was no huge emotional outpouring about how much I missed her, which I would do if she walked into the room right now, while I am in my normal state of mind.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?
I was most alert when my mother and I were chatting in the strange undetailed space.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
I do not remember feeling concerned with time at all, but the conversation seemed to be taking place at a normal pace. Afterward when I came to, it was clear to me that we had talked longer than I had been unconscious.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? No
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. My vision, during the experience, did not seem to have much depth of field. It was focused on my mother and me. My vision, immediately prior, was much like being drunk. That is the closest thing with which I can compare insulin shock. Sometimes things spin, I can't remember if it did that, but the view during insulin shock tends to be disoriented.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. There was no ambient noise that I noticed. I didn't notice anything strange about my voice or hers. If our clothes rustled, I didn't notice it. If they didn't, I did not notice that either.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain If I did, it must have been brief and unimportant to me. I do not remember a tunnel or light, but I don't clearly recall the transition from ambulance to seeing my mother.
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 I had a chat with my mother who had died many years ago. I knew that she had died. During the experience, I considered her to be my mother in some other place, but later I had my doubts about that. See above.
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? Uncertain I remember it being light there but I don't remember if there were walls. I felt that we were indoors, in some sense, but not necessarily in a physical space. Our bodies did appear physical.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place I would call it 'an undetailed space' which was light but not the bright white light that people sometimes report seeing. It was maybe about as bright as a well-lit office. It felt like I was indoors but I had no real interest, for some reason, in determining where it was and what it was.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I had missed my mother a lot, so I was glad to see her. But my feeling is that my emotions were a bit muted. If this meeting, with my long deceased mom, had occurred in the world we live in most of the time, I think I would experience massive relief and love; but also a lot of fear, doubt, and anxiety that I might be going crazy or that this might be something false or wrong.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
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? No
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? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I used to always pray that God look after my mother and tell her I love her. Today I do not ask God to do that for my parents. If there is an afterlife, in which we remain ourselves, I am sure they know. If not, it's too late to ask Him.
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 belong to the Episcopal church, but I believe God encompasses and infuses the world and is larger/greater than the world.
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 It's possible the place I experienced might have been Limbo, and I didn't really consider such possibilities as Limbo or Purgatory before. Also I already had the feeling that my mother might not be sleeping until the end of the world, so if it was really her, then that would be confirmation. I think it may also be possible that the physical world is as non concrete as the place I visited was. That's sort of Buddhist or Eastern but not necessarily in direct conflict with the Bible as far as I know.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain I have become aware that when people are separated or estranged, unnecessarily, because of fights or disagreements it is a very terrible thing. My father and I did not get along that well until we made peace at the very end of his life. I think if I see him again it might be like this experience I had of seeing my mother. I will not be sure if it's him. I will not feel the strong emotions I would feel if I could hug him right now. I am worried that, perhaps, passion stays here in the physical world. Maybe we have only agape after death. My husband has left me and gone back to his home country. I keep trying to stay in touch and remain close, but he is rebuffing my attempts. He is older. If I outlive him, I will be thinking of all the days we could have had together? If I see him again, after one of us is gone, will I still love him romantically? It worries me. I think this experience, of seeing my mother, and feeling that it probably wasn't her, but my memory of her has, maybe, made me more opposed to divorce than before. I have no certainty that, if there is an afterlife, we will see our loved ones again, or we will exist as individuals still, or we will have any sort of love that is like worldly family and friends relationships in life. I value those. I wish I had the chance to interact with people more now.
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 What I encountered was my deceased mother. She didn't look unearthly, but I did know she had died long ago. I don't think God spoke to me in a direct way, unless it was through this experience of my mother. In my belief: if there is a God then God is everywhere. This is something my mother told me when I was small. She did not normally discuss religion, at all. Once in the car, when I was about six, I must have asked her where God is and she said God is in everything. I was afraid to eat.
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.)? Uncertain Honestly, I am not sure what I encountered. I believed I was talking to my mother until later, but I may have been talking to my memory of her, or to a spiritual figure taking that appearance, or to something else. My mother was a scientist and a very log
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain If I was really speaking with my deceased mother, then it follows that we have a mystical connection with the deceased and possibly future people will have such a bond with us. This might indicate time is an illusion, the physical world is not what we thi
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably existsÂ
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Uncertain I am a very devout person and I pray every day and sometimes on average days I suddenly become more aware that yes, God is here and everywhere. I don't think that feeling went away when I was having the experience but I don't remember it being heightened either. I wouldn't say I had the sense that God does not exist, not at all. I feel very awkward and bad saying this but I was really deeply focused on seeing my mother again when I saw her there. Her death was very traumatic for me. I was a young woman and I was the family member who had to decide not to try to resuscitate her with CPR. I still question the decision I made then, although I know we could not have brought her back. I knew she was gone. We all knew, but...so hard to let her go.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably 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 meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Uncertain My mother and I talked about things and I think we may have talked about life and purpose but we often did that when she was living. The curious part is that a few weeks after the incident I had forgotten what we talked about. I think, as unexciting as th
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably existsÂ
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? I am uncertain if an afterlife exists Uncertain I think there is because of other experiences I have had that did not involve my near death. However, I don't think when I was talking with my mother it was really my deceased mother, or if it was she was acting more like a projected memory of herself. I
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? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are 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? Uncertain I was entirely focused on one thing, talking to my mother again. I had a sort of pinpoint awareness. I wonder if awareness outside of the body is like that. I wonder if we could learn this sort of awareness while in our normal state, and if it might be possible to perform certain things better while free of distractions. Music? Surgery?
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Uncertain I wish I hadn't forgotten or perhaps blocked this out.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes I remembered how much I love her, and I think it maybe took her out of the past tense for me, and other people who are gone. These days I have only one family member left and am homebound and do not see friends or even doctors often. However, I can't say
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Unknown I was leaning toward deism and I think it nudged me a bit further in that direction. I believe, but I don't think I can understand Divinity. I don't usually feel I know what God wants me to do. I try to help His sheep when I can. I wish I did more. I wish I could say I have become a better person, but I am ashamed to say I don't think that I have. I am, maybe, more aware that I need to than I was before.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes On my side, I am trying harder to make a better relationship with my estranged spouse but he really isn't responding. I am trying to learn how to be better at that. I am also trying to forgive people more easily and I pray about that.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No It's really not that difficult to explain. What is difficult is opening myself up to potential ridicule for telling the story. It's not a very dramatic story. It did not save my life. I was not told a cure for my illness. I was not shown a buried treasure or a baby that hadn't been born yet. This is, actually, one reason I think it was not a hallucination. It didn't fulfill any of my greatest fears or dreams. It did make me feel a little less afraid.
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 the experience I remembered it in detail at first but it faded out of my mind. I concede that my health may have caused that, and I also concede that maybe it has been blocked by me for some reason. It's also a possibility I was not meant to remember some of it until later. I tend to feel that is unlikely but in some ways I hope so. This amazing mystical thing happened to me...and a lot of it got wiped! Frustrating.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain As a child I sometimes knew things were going to happen before they did. I pulled a Band-Aid out once when my mother cut her finger by the car. I had dreamt it the night before so I brought a Band-Aid. That continued less often in high school and college and then I lost it. Sometime after this near death experience, it seems to be coming back a bit. I don't think it is directly related, but both might be part of some general spiritual change in me.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? My mother was wearing the dress I chose for her to wear at her funeral. It was not her fanciest dress. It was not her newest dress. It was a bit worn, but she wore it so often. If she chose that to wear and it was really her: that touches me deeply.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I told my fiancΘ and my sister right away. He's an atheist so he was polite and didn't make fun of me. My sister believed I experienced it. I think she was also uncertain if it was really my mother I saw. A Jewish friend of mine told me, when I told him, maybe a year later, that he believes it was her, and I shouldn't try to use logic on miracles. My sister and friend were devout, and remain devout. My estranged husband has taken to calling religious people 'nutters.' I don't know if my experience helped shape his increasing disdain. He was never religious in the time I have known him; but it feels like every time someone he knows professes an Abrahamic mystical experience it makes him angrier.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes When I was a kid, my mother had a book about them. She was a biochemist and interested in what might be happening biologically, but the book didn't cover much of that. It was a bit like this site, had people's personal experiences. I read about the tunnel in that, but I have never personally seen a tunnel. I do not discount that others do.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was probably not real I began to question whether I really met my mother again and I became fairly sure it was more like a dream. It was I, not her. On the other hand, I could not deny that I was conscious when my brain should not have been capable to have such experiences at that time, because of my physical state.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was probably real Now I believe it was real in some symbolic sense. I do not understand it, and I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to understand it.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I had an out of body experience once, and I was aware that I was viewing things from a perspective that was not the usual perspective. That happened years before this event. However, it was very different. I think they may be two different phenomena that, for me, share mostly a slight emotional detachment.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? The experience is one of the things that have made me more comfortable about saying 'I don't know.' It makes me more likely to say 'I don't understand' even though many people feel the Bible explains everything if you study it enough. I wonder if I will understand even after I die. Maybe we are too small and God and reality are too big for us to comprehend.