Experience Description

I was swimming with a friend as a child and I swam too far across a lake to get back. I began to panic and go under, and then suddenly I couldn't feel any pain or anxiety. Everything went black and I could see images in the distance. At that time, I referred to them as bubbles that would appear before me one at a time then zip away and another would appear. I saw images of myself with my mother, family and friends. I don't know why but suddenly I began to think of my younger brother and I knew he would need me. I felt as if I had to make a choice to continue with this or to go back home. At that moment I decided to fight my way back to the top of the water, I could see a bright light in the distance but I wasn't sure if that was the sun reflecting off of the water or what it was. Once I got to the shore I was exhausted, I went home and slept until the next day.

That year my mother became an alcoholic and I found myself caring for my younger brother. At seventeen I left home with him, he was eleven. I know if I hadn't gone back that day my brother would have been killed, I felt certain of that when I made my decision. My brother is now twenty seven, educated, successful and happy with a family of his own.

Background Information:

Gender: Female

Date NDE Occurred: August 1979

NDE Elements:

At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes swimming accident Life threatening event, but not clinical death Drowning.

How do you consider the content of your experience? Positive

The experience included: Out of body experience

Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain I felt like I was floating, I really didn't pay much attention to my appearance. I do remember thinking 'great, I've done it now' when I couldn't identify where I was.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Completely alert.

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 didn't exist, it didn't matter. The concept of time never entered my mind. Time for me stopped when I left.

Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No

Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No

The experience included: Darkness

Did you see an unearthly light? Uncertain I saw a bright light when I looked up but I'm not sure if it was the sun reflecting off of the water. I wondered about that later and I have to say I don't believe it was sunlight. When I began to fight my way back to the top, the light I saw under the water seemed to be very different from the light on top. The sunlight seemed empty and without life, under water the light I saw above me seemed to be alive and warm.

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I was definitely somewhere else, hard to explain.

What emotions did you feel during the experience? I was a little nervous at first because I knew I was in a strange place. Then I was fascinated by the images I saw. I also realized how much my family meant to me and I knew I would miss them. I just felt like it wasn't my time.

Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I felt like I had something to finish.

The experience included: Life review

Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control My response above explains my experience.

The experience included: Vision of the future

Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future I felt like my brother would need me.

The experience included: Boundary

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain I knew the longer I stayed, the harder it would be to get back. Although I felt no concept of time, there seemed to be some order in the events that took place.

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 I had to fight to get back to the top of the water, I knew it wouldn't be easy and the longer I stayed the harder it would be to cross back. The ability to connect with my body took place instantly when I made my decision, but physically I was exhausted.

God, Spiritual and Religion:

What was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate

What is your religion now? Conservative/fundamentalist

Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I believe in life after death.

After the NDE:

Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes No pain or physical sensation and then darkness. Suddenly a strange review of my life, images of interacting with my family and friends. The images first seemed distant then suddenly an image would appear, and then disappear. The images were floating in the darkness like bubbles and I could see several in the distance but only one at a time was presented to view. I was completely alert while this was taking place, I just couldn't feel any pain.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Knowing life after death exists; not knowing where I was.

Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Some believe me and some don't.

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No