I woke up at noon on a Thursday, extremely tired despite having slept at least 14 hours. I tried to get up and do some things, but I was so exhausted I just couldn't stay awake. I recall going back to bed at about 2 pm and setting my alarm for 3 pm, thinking I would just sleep an hour and then I would feel better. I was bleeding so much, but I didn't realize that this was menopause and that it's normal for a woman to bleed for a week to 10 days, but I had been bleeding more and more for about three months! In retrospect, it was really stupid of me not to realize that a human being can't live on 2-3 pints of blood. I kept thinking that bleeding was normal even though I was bleeding about 10 times more than normal - it was almost like hemorrhaging. Anyway, the moment my head hit the pillow and I shut my eyes I was suddenly in this black void and a light came zooming at me extremely fast. It was kind of like seeing a star shining bright, and within less than a second it was enormous and right in front of me. It was sparkling and happy like those sparkers kids have on the fourth of July, extremely energetic and bright. It didn't speak to me but it transmitted a 'want to come with me?' message. I am very adventurous so I said ‘yes’, and together we travelled at the speed of light into a galaxy of bright lights. I knew that all of them were souls or spirits, and that each one was a point of light that was another being. I stayed there awhile until I understood how there were so many galaxies and stars, and that they all were alive like entities and that I was probably another point of light. I had no awareness of having a body. I just felt like I could move anywhere I wanted, as if I were a light particle or something. I then went to various places. One of the first ones was to a landscape like Mongolia, which was spectacularly beautiful. The clouds were extremely bright, moving the way they do in time lapse photography, and the light kept changing the way the mountains and the tall grass in the valley looked. I lingered there a while and knew that there really were such things as Sacred Places. I started to understand that everything that ever was and everything that ever will be were all here at once, and that all the knowledge in the universe was right there for us to access if we just believed and reached for it. I knew that Einstein and Mohammed and Handy and Mozart and all the great artists and scientists had tapped into this knowledge, either in their sleep or as a conduit from God or the Great Spirit or the Universal Energy. I was bathed in bliss and harmony. I felt more love than I could even imagine, and everything emanated positive energy and affection. Every single positive word in the dictionary could not capture the feeling of eternal bliss that I felt. I then thought about music and I was instantly in an enormous concert hall. I was like an air particle in this beautiful theater, and my (dead) Uncle Sydney was playing the piano with Arthur Rubinstein and Leonard Bernstein. He looked up at me, smiled and winked. He looked SO happy and content and I was really happy to see him playing, because that is what he always loved to do the most. He looked so vibrant, not like he did when he died. I then thought about otters and suddenly I was swimming with otters, but I wasn't wet or cold. I remember thinking I should be cold and wet, but I wasn't. The otters were very playful with me and kind of helped me swim with them. They kept looking back at me to see if I was keeping up with them. They were so lithe and beautiful and so joyous in their element. They came up into an old beaver den and we all laid in there awhile. It's interesting because after this NDE I found out that otters use old beaver dens. I hadn't known that before. I never felt that my body was with me, I felt more like I was just a little bright light like a tiny star, but we all communicated telepathically. All of the sudden I was transported to the Columbia River Gorge. I was at a nice party and I had some juice that I spilled, but nothing got wet and there was no mess. I remember thinking that I don't need anything here, there is nothing cold/wet/bad/uncomfortable - EVERYTHING was eternal bliss. I met many people and we just stood and chatted, but it didn't seem like pointless banter, it was more like a joyous celebration that everyone was just happy to be there. The gorge was green and lush. I went back out into the galaxies and knew that I only had to think about anything and I would be there. I felt a sense of profound comfort and a sense of peace and belonging, none of which I have ever felt. I knew that I was 'on the other side' and I didn't ever want to go back. I was dead, or whatever it was, for 4 hours. My friend called my phone and it rang very loud next to me. I came back and I was very angry that I was back and wished that this call had not come through and broken up my experience. The next day I was admitted into ER for 3-4 days and had a lot of tests and medications and IV, etc. I kept thinking about what happened, but didn't want to tell people because when I did they thought I was crazy. As soon as I left the hospital, I went to a bookstore and got books on NDE and out of body experiences. What they described was so similar to what happened to me, I now have NO fear of death - in fact, I can hardly wait! Before this happened to me, I thought that death was really the end and that there was no afterlife/anything. Now I KNOW that there is, and it really doesn't matter to me if other people don't believe me because I know that I was on the other side and what I experienced was NOT a dream. I do want my sister to know that she won't die because she is afraid of it, but she doesn't believe me still. I think cats and many other animals see the entities on the other side and most people just can't. I am so happy that I will see all my beloved human and animal friends again. I have had a hard time adjusting to being back here with war and death and suffering. Even though this isn't the real world it's what I have to contend with now, and since I cannot commit suicide I'm stuck here until I die and go home. I don't know when I will ever be happy back here as I felt so happy on the other side that nothing here can compare to that. I also heard the piano music that my uncle was playing on the other side. I had never heard it before, but when I listened to a classical music station about a year later, it came on all of the sudden. I recognized it from my NDE - it was something by Beethoven. I have been trying to find it again ever since, but it must not be one of his more common pieces of music because I have never heard it again and don't know how to find it, except that it had a very memorable piano section that was lively and high spirited.
Date NDE Occurred: January 2009
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes 'I was losing my life and didn't realize it; I ended up in the emergency room and in the hospital for 3 days to recover from blood loss and anemia.' 'Illness, trauma or other condition not considered life threatening' 'I was losing my life and didn't realize it; I ended up in the emergendy room and in the hospital for 3 days to recover from blood loss and anemia.'
I was losing too much blood to remain conscious, and was too light-headed to comprehend how dangerous my situation was.
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 I later verified that otters use old beaver dens and that the music I heard was by Beethoven. My mother told me that my Uncle Sydney had always wanted to play with Rubinstein and Bernstein. I did not ever look back at anything, including my body on the bed. When the bright light came dancing toward me I just wanted to go with it, there was no looking back because I just felt so happy and excited to go with this bright light, it felt almost festive.
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 It was TOTALLY different. First, I didn't believe in any afterlife and now I know that my spirit/soul will always exist. Secondly, I didn't believe in spiritual or sacred places on Earth. Third, I didn't know that all the knowledge in the universe is accessible to all of us. I am a very pessimistic, negative person in this life and I felt COMPLETELY the opposite over there, so I NEVER have had a dream/a day to day consciousness that is/was so positive, loving, blissful, rapture, pleasurable, sweet, kind, caring, like being basked and blanketed in love. I never feel that way here.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I think that I was at my highest level of consciousness when I first thought about and went to the place that looked like Mongolia, and that alertness stayed with me until I returned to my body.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
Time seemed faster and at the same time it felt like all time was simultaneous, as if everything that ever was and is and will be was NOW, and yet time was always moving along like a river. Again, it is hard to describe, but I knew that my prior sense of time was an illusion and not the way it is in reality.
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. Everything was sharper, brighter and surreal in that I saw many things very much like we do in time lapse photography. The clouds, the sun, the landscape - all changed color continuously depending on the cloud formation and the light. It was extraordinarily vivid and bright.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I don't recall much hearing because it seemed like all communication was telepathic, but the music in the concert hall was so magnificent that when I heard it a year later I instantly recognized it. I remember talking to some people and they were just talking in low, sweet, kind considerate tones of voice.
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 I saw my Uncle Sydney, and Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Rubinstein. I also saw a friend of mine, who is alive but who believes in out of body experiences and that she can have them.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
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 I felt like I was travelling through the cosmos. I have never had much interest in astronomy, but I knew I was out there in various galaxies.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm It didn't feel strange, and it seemed normal and mystical at the same time. It was more like not knowing that this was here and discovering, kind of the way we know Mt Everest is there but until we go there and see it for ourselves we cannot believe how enormous, powerful and spiritual that place is. So it was kind of like seeing one of the world’s greatest wonders and finding for myself how amazing it was. I just don't know how to describe it but ‘unearthly’ sounds like ghosts and goblins to me, whereas this was not scary at all. It was unfamiliar, strange and mystical, but only in the sense that I hadn't been there before.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Love, bliss, kindness, ethereal beauty, understanding, patience, acceptance, gratitude, love, love, love, peace, it is really hard to describe perfection and being bathed in love, joy, happiness, calmness, peacefulness and positive energy.
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 I felt like I could understand everything if I chose to. It was like everything was right there. I compare it to an enormous buffet that had every kind of fruit, vegetable, cheese bread, etc. and all I had to do was reach for it and I could have whatever I wanted.
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? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Buddhist I feel that my belief system and practices are most closely aligned with Buddhism, but I am not actively going to a temple or practicing much in particular except for mindfullness.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Buddhist The NDE did not change my beliefs system, but it did make me question why I came back because I was so content on the other side and really did not want to come back. I was a bit angry, disappointed and frustrated that I could not/did not stay on the other side.
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 believed in life after death and never could conceive of such a joyous, peaceful, loving bliss that is on another plane of existence right here.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I now believe that my spirit or soul will live on infinitely.
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 I felt that all beings were present, a myriad, millions of beings. It didn't seem strange or mystical, except that it felt like another universe or dimension that was so close to earth we could reach up and touch it but we just aren't aware that it's always there.
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? Yes I felt that I had lived other lives and that I could choose to return to life on earth as a tree or an otter or a rock or a human or whatever I wanted, but that I really did not want to go anywhere else because I was so happy where I was.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes Yes, I felt a universal connection or unity but it didn't really seem mystical at the time, it just felt like this IS how it is, in retrospect it seems mystical or unearthly, but at the time it was just obvious that that is how it is, that everything is i
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably does not exist
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I felt that there was an enormous universal energy and that every single thing on earth had an energy and every star and cloud and every single thing had an energy and that all these things combined were the Universal energy or being and everything had a place or a form that they chose.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God definitely exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes I know that all knowledge is accessible to me and that I can tap into this knowledge if I really want to.
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? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife does not exist
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I don't know how I knew it, but I was absolutely certain that there is a continued existence after earthly life and I still feel that way and believe that to be true whereas before this NDE I din not believe there was any 'after life'.
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? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are probably meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Yes Simply that we can all be very peaceful and happy that we will be able to feel this wonderful love and acceptance on the other side and that we are very lucky to die and return to a life of eternal bliss after living here and experiencing a lot of painful emotions and experiences.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Yes, I knew that love was the greatest force around us and that we are all love and love is the only thing that is real, that hatred and pain and hurt and all the negative things were not really the way it is, that we just create these negative thoughts/f
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life I went through a long period of depression because I did not want to come back. I was no longer afraid to die so I considered suicide more often and knew that I would be going to a better place. I no longer had any fear of dying.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I usually say something like ‘take every single positive word in the dictionary and that is what it's like’, but being/feeling like a photon of light and thinking and being there as soon as I think of something sounds so sci-fi that everyone thinks I was just dreaming.
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 everything very vividly, more than anything I have ever experienced...the music, the colors, the otters,, the bright light, everything is etched into my brain.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? It is all meaningful to me, everything was extraordinary, unearthly.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I was so excited that I shared it right away, but nobody believed me so I stopped talking about it.
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 absolutely knew it was real and I still know that I was on the other side. I know it was not a dream or a hallucination.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I know it happened just the way you know you had lunch or you just went skiing, it was absolutely what happened.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes When I heard the music on the radio it was the same music I heard during my NDE, I had not ever heard it before but it was classical music by Beethoven and I recognized it from my NDE.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Just that I feel very lucky to have a NDE and to now feel completely at peace about dying.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I think it was very thorough.
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.