Two nurses came into my hospital room to help me sit up for the first time since my injury and subsequent surgical repair. Just as they had helped me sit up on the edge of my bed, I passed out or fainted, falling back onto the bed.
I had no awareness of the nurses or the hospital room during my time out. I found myself in a field of brightly colored flowers, with the sensation of a river flowing just beyond the flowers. The whole area was enveloped in a very bright yellowish light. Just on the other side of the river was a huge crowd of beings with no discernable faces or other body characteristics. I had an overwhelming sense of welcome with the impression that they were beckoning to me to join them. Although I didn't actually see her, I was aware that one of them was my grandmother who had passed away about ten years before. I can recall vaguely wondering if my father was in the crowd (he died when I was eleven).
I didn't actually speak to anyone, nor did I hear any words spoken to me. It was more just a very brightly colored vision, with sensations of joy and welcome.
I awakened to find the nurses pulling me up by my arms to get me back into a sitting position. I asked them what had happened and they told me I had simply fainted and passed out for a few seconds. I did not tell anyone what I had seen and there was no further mention of the 'fainting' episode, other than them telling me that this fainting often happens when one tries to sit after having been in a prone position for an extended period of time (in my case, about two weeks).
As brief as it may have been, this was probably one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. Having attended church as a child and teen, I am moderately skeptical of the value of organized religion, but have always believed in 'God' or some kind of higher power. This experience filled me with joy and hopefulness, and with the firm knowledge that our souls survive our earthly life.
Date NDE Occurred: January 1991
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Surgery-related 'As a hospital patient at UCLA Medical Center, I was recuperating from surgery to treat a traumatic leg injury when I had this experience. It was about a week after my surgery.' Other 'I fainted while sitting on the side of my hospital bed. Upon awakening, I was told by the nurse that I had simply fainted and passed out for a few seconds. I did not tell anyone at that time about what I experienced during the fainting incident.'
It occurred while I was in the hospital recovering from a traumatic leg injury (bicycling accident), for which I had an ACL repair, an open-reduction-internal-fixation (ORIF) right tibial plateau repair and a four-compartment fasciotomy. I was also transfused with two units of blood a couple of days after the surgery.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
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? The overall event was very brief, but I felt as if I were more alert and conscious that at any other time in my life.
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
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. I saw the brightest colors I have ever experienced. I did not have any sense of solidness/transparency and was not able to discern faces or actual human-like bodies, yet it felt very much like an infinite number of 'people' welcoming me and beckoning to me to join them.
I did not have any sense at all of being asked to make a 'stay or return' decision. I simply awoke to find the nurses pulling me back up.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could hear a humming sound, which I interpreted at that time as a large number of murmuring voices.
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
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 See main narrative. I saw many, many, many beings murmuring and beckoning me toward them. I knew that one was my grandmother who had passed away ten years before. Other than the murmuring and beckoning, I neither heard nor said any actual words.
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? Yes I sensed a very bright yellowish light (like sunlight) over the entire scene, but did not see a tunnel or a separate light off in the distance.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm An incredibly colorful field of what i interpreted as flowers, between me and a flowing river. Just immediately across the river was a large crowd of beings beckoning to me and welcoming me.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Joy, excitement, a desire to see more.
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
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain There was a large field of flowers and a river between me and the others. It didn't feel restrictive, but I was aware that I was not yet where they were, but could be at some point in the 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? Moderate 'Non-practicing Episcopalian. I believe in a ''higher spirit'', but am moderately disdainful of organized religion.'
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain I am more certain of an after-life, but still think that most organized churches are something that I don't need in order to have a relationship with God.
What is your religion now? Moderate 'Non-practicing Episcopalian. My spiritual beliefs are stronger than ever since this experience, however i still have little or no interest in organized religion or attending a church.'
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain I am more certain of an after-life, but still think that most organized churches are something that I don't need in order to have a relationship with God.
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
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? Yes I sensed more strongly than ever that our souls survive our earthly life and more importantly, that our loved ones are there as well. I also came through the experience feeling that I need to be more kind and understanding toward others, be less acquisitive of material things, and that life on earth is really about learning lessons and becoming a better person.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I believe I am a kinder, less self-centered person.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It was many years before I ever told anyone. I have, within the past year or two, told some close friends or family members because the sensations I felt at the time of the incident(nineteen years ago) remain as strong and clear as ever. Each person I have told has indicated that they perceive it as a positive experience and have seemed to be encouraged by what seems to me as 'life after death'.
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 It just seemed like a wonder gift - a glimpse into what would be waiting for all of us someday in the future. I have never been 'into' organized religion, yet I have NO DOUBT that what I experienced was definitely real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It's now nineteen years later, and I believe what I saw was as 'real' as (or more so than) any other experience in my life.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Throughout my life, I have never been a recreational drug user and have rarely taken any prescription medications (except that I began taking Metformin for Type 2 Diabetes just a few months ago).
However, since the NDE experience described above, I had a one-time, intensely realistic 'dream' in which I talked all night long with my father who died of cancer when I was eleven years old. For several decades, I had had occasional recurrent anxiety dreams about his death and the ensuing separation from him. In the anxiety dreams, I would dream that we learned he hadn't really died after all, but was in a nearby hospital. I would rush to the hospital because I wanted to tell him that I loved him. Each time I had the dream (once or twice a year), I would arrive at the hospital only to learn that he had just died for real, and I had once again missed the opportunity to tell him.
Then about ten years ago (nine years after my NDE), in one amazingly compelling dream, I actually was able to sit and talk with my dad for what seemed like many hours. I told him about my life, my daughter, my siblings and my mom. Then I told him about the recurrent anxiety dreams mentioned above and how, more than anything did, I had missed the chance to tell him how much I loved him. He smiled at me and said, 'I always knew that you loved me.' Throughout the experience, I was very well aware that it was a dream. When he finally told me that it was time for me to go back, I was so excited at having talked with him, that I asked if I could come visit him again the following night. He smiled and said, 'Let's give it a rest for now, but I promise that you WILL see me again.'
On about three occasions since then, I have been dreaming (again aware that I was dreaming), and I'd glance off to the side and see him nearby, just watching. He would sometimes smile and give a little wave but we haven't 'talked' since the one long dream where we had talked all night.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I'm sure this is not at all related to either the NDE or the dream described above, but on about three occasions I have had dreams where I was aware that I must be dreaming, but I could leave my body and float around, usually just within my house. I felt that I was on my back, up near the ceiling and could navigate through the house almost as if I were swimming. Again, I'm not a recreational drug user and have not traditionally been on any prescription drugs.