It's a rainy Saturday morning in Illinois as I recall that winter day in Texas, 1955- standing at the kitchen sink in our new home, I was thinking of my Air Force husband who departed a week before for a 3 year assignment in England. My two precious daughters, Cathy, age 6 years, and Carol, 18 months, were playing near me. We were to join my husband in a few weeks, How wonderful our life was, and how fortunate we were. Two years earlier, I had been an atheist now I was a Christian and had a Christian home and family.
Death Came Calling
As I stood in the kitchen, pain suddenly riveted through my abdomen and brought me to my knees. Within an hour, I was too weak to remain on my feet. My concern was for my children and I called my mother and father to come and help. As a nurse, I knew something critical was happening and I was trying to think logically about the source of the pain. The week before, I had visited the gynecologist at the air base because "I knew" I was pregnant. After an examination, he disagreed with me and stated that I was not pregnant. I did not believe him. As I lay on my bed in pain, I knew what my symptoms were telling me. I WAS pregnant alright, but it was an ectopic pregnancy where the embryo implanted in the Fallopian tube instead of the uterus. This meant that the pain I was feeling was the eruption of the tube as the embryo grew, and that I was hemorrhaging blood into the abdomen. Our minister and his wife arrived to pray along with my mother and father.
Life After Death
The trip to the base hospital was painful. Upon arrival, my father and I were told to wait, even though my symptoms were made known to the staff. I was finally placed on a table in an examining room, when I began to feel my life slipping away and my thoughts were of my babies and what would happen to them, who would love and take care of them?
My hearing was excellent, I could hear every word being exchanged in that room. There were two physicians present and three assistants. I could tell they were concerned as they tried to obtain a heartbeat and blood pressure, At this moment, I began to slowly float toward the ceiling where I stopped and looked down at the scene taking place below. There was my lifeless body on the table and one doctor said to the doctor just walking through the door, "where have you been, we called you, now it’s too late, she is gone, we cannot get a heartbeat or blood pressure." Another doctor said, "what are we going to tell her husband, he's on assignment in England and only been gone a week." From my position above them, I said to myself, "Yes, what are you going to tell my husband, that is a good question. Pretty thoughtful of you." I remember thinking at that point, "How can I be humorous at a time like this?"
I did not see myself below on the table or the occupants of the room anymore. I was suddenly aware of the most heavenly light that was all-encompassing. My pain was gone and my body felt as never before, free. I felt joy and contentment. I heard the most beautiful music that could only have come from heaven. I was thinking, "so this is how heavenly music sounds." I became aware of a sense of peace that passes all understanding. I began to look at this light and perceived what was happening to me and I never wanted to leave. I was in the presence of a divine being, one called the Son of God, Jesus. I did not see Him, but He was there in the light and spoke to me telepathically. I felt the overflowing Love of God. He said to me that I had to return to my little children and there was work for me to complete on earth. I did not want to leave but I slowly returned to my body, which by this time was in another room, being prepared for surgery. I became conscious long enough for staff to explain that my heart began to beat again and I was going to surgery so that the tubal pregnancy and blood from my abdomen could be removed. I was not aware of anything from this point on for several hours.
Divine Visitation at Bedside
Heaven had another message for me and I did not leave my body this time. I was in a recovery bed after surgery, and the greatest moment of my life occurred. The heavenly light returned again, completely filling the room. This time, a vision of Jesus appeared to me out of the light and He was beautiful, He filled the room with His presence and His love and mercy were there. The vision I saw of Him included His shoulders to the top of His head. He spoke telepathically to me saying, "Remember what I have said to you, remember how I have revealed myself to you and it will be a comfort and stable source to you in years to come and for the work that you will do. Now, you know that you do not have to fear death."
The Following Days
In the next few days of my hospital stay, I had many curious hospital staff members finding excuses to visit my room. News travels fast in medical communities and everyone knew that I had been pronounced dead and then lived again. My bible was at my side and when the gynecologist visited me, he took note of it and asked me about my religious beliefs. I knew he had heard what I told some staff members that came to visit me. They had been present when I was pronounced dead. After I recovered, I told them about their entire conversations during my death. They were astonished.
Leaving the base hospital a few days later, driving up to our home, I saw my baby and 6 year old daughter at a window looking for us. I said in my heart, "Thank you God for letting me return to my little children and for granting me the privilege of being their mother." I shall always remember their sweet faces at the window.
The Following Years
Later, we joined my husband in England and carried out our mission of working with children and teenagers. My experience with death gave a greater dimension to my life and my Sunday school work with the youth. Returning to the States, my family grew and I continued my work and education, teaching nursing as a university professor. I have always been thankful that I was returned to earth and given another chance, and that my time here should be used wisely. I am now retired and a terminal cancer patient who has lived a very good life, and the death experience I had still lives in my heart, soul, and spirit, after 43 years. The mercy and love of God is enduring.
In the 1950's the medical model for practice followed by physicians and hospitals did not allow for phenomenon that encompassed near death experiences or individuals dying and then living again, highlighted by heavenly experiences. My experience with death was sacred to me and I kept it close to my heart. I shared it only with my husband and father, and later my children. In the 1970's books began to appear on the subject and I found an entire population of people with similar experiences, However, many of these individuals spoke of having a life review and being in a tunnel. I did not experience either. Perhaps my life review occurred when I became a Christian at which time I reviewed my life and confessed my sins to Christ. It is comforting to me that our society is much informed today and research on death and dying is steadily advancing.
NDERF Note: Thanks Susan for sharing this inspiring experience! The tunnel experience may occur in only about 30% of all NDEs. I think NDEs give us something we need, and I agree with you that your life review you did on your own may have kept this from being such a need in your life.