It was a bright beautiful Monday morning in early July nineteen-ninety. Finally another day off if you want to call it that I had worked the previous afternoon and all night so it was way past bedtime. Still it was time for my once a week all day adventure with my daughters and other single parent kids in the neighborhood a pretty regular routine the past few months. There would be no biking; shooting or hiking this day, it was going to be hot today and the vote for rafting had no opposition. As I started to call out the supplies to be gathered up for the trip I remembered that my neighbor had recently purchased a new life vest and offered to lend it to me anytime so life jackets were added to the list. I quickly dismissed the thought of taking the neighbor up on his generous offer though and fought it off repeatedly thinking to myself that the vest might be scratched or soiled.
Three hours six kids and two rafts later we were unloading my mom’s van on the boat ramp at the river. The four preteen girls, two of them my daughters, went with me in the eight-man raft leaving the two man for our seventeen-year-old neighbor and his younger brother.
Down the ramp and into the river we went finally starting our adventure. The pleasantly cool morning had given way to a scorching afternoon and the cool water was a welcome refuge. As there were only four oars and five of us in the large raft, I quickly took the point sitting on the very front of the raft with my legs hanging over while each of the girls straddled the side oars in hand and we were off. The girls quickly had us out into the main current. I stretched out my legs to get my feet in the water thinking to myself “this is the life.” As we rounded the first bend in the river, the water was moving quite a bit faster. I let myself fall backward with a splat onto the bottom of the raft leaving the girls to maneuver us through the rapids as they were not too severe at the time. The girls did very well at getting us through the first couple of hours on the river so I continued to ride on the front of the raft with them in control while I would fall back into the raft as we hit the worst parts of the river.
Splash! I was in the water; it was fast and furious. The raft had hit a rock just under the surface leaving me to fend for myself in the worst part of the river yet. So thinking how not to be injured by the stones, sliding so swiftly beneath, I laid on my back pointing my feet downstream trying to float as high in the water as possible. The raft was already many yards behind me but I was through the worst of it and now in some deep water the current slowly moving me upstream. Not being in the sharpest state mentally, as some twenty- four hours had passed without sleep, by the time I figured out that moving upstream was not a good thing it was too late.
Under I went having just enough time to suck in part of a breath of air before the undertow swallowed me up. The angry water grabbed and pulled at me the surface was so near but I could not get there nor could the bottom or the large car sized boulder near me be touched. It was about this time that an understanding of how serious things were hit full force. I was going to drown and could do nothing about it. Panic hit and with all of the strength my fatigued body had left, I fought to get to the surface to fill my lungs with even a single breath of air. But, reality quickly set in and the breath even the very life I had fought so hard to keep burst out leaving me alone in the dark with but a single thought. I can do this. It was peaceful now no more swirling water no more panic or fear or senses of any kind just the thought that it was ok to let go of life. After all working three jobs sleeping four to five hours a night five days a week and not at all the other two was not much of a life anyway I thought.
Then as if I was a toddler and my father had grabbed me by my Osh-Kosh overalls and lifted me over his head I was standing several feet above the water. I could feel the sun shining down warming my face but no longer was it too bright to look at. The gentle breeze was comforting my thoughts turned to the sound it made rustling through the vibrant green leaves of a large tree to my left. My focus on the tree left me actually feeling the breeze blowing through the leaves as if the leaves were my fingers and the tree was a part of me. All of my senses were heightened color brighter sight crisper and better defined the smells and slight mist of water on my skin were wonderful. A bird began to sing behind me and as the melody gained my attention, it was as if the trees and brush hiding it parted and I had full view of this tiny creature. Not only could it be seen and heard, but also I could feel that the bird was happy even joyous just to exist and this feeling became a part of me. Although much of what was going on around me was to my left, right or behind me. I did not have to turn to witness it for I could see a full three-hundred and sixty degrees around me comprehending many things going on in the immediate vicinity at once.
As I stood in awe of what was going on a voice came, clear as the voice of one very near you, asking me “what do you want to do”. Turning my attention to the sight before me, I began to take a survey as it were checking to see what could be done. My youngest daughter was just climbing out of the water some seventy-five yards downstream near the raft. The oldest had already walked some thirty or forty yards along the rocky bank upstream of the raft. I on the other hand was here and my lifeless body there, which was no problem for me as my old life was as much of a dream to me now as the afterlife, is to most of us now. No feelings of pain or sorrow only such peace and love as few have ever known. After gathering this information it was as if I simply bundled it up in a neat little package added a bit of “no comprehend” and handed it to the entity that had asked the question. The response was immediate “what do you want to do?” and the answer much the same as the survey was taken again.
As I looked at my eldest daughter, whom I found out later was trying to guide the older boys to what then was my lifeless body, it was as if someone took me and threw me inside of her. I saw from her eyes heard with her ears and understood all that she knew and felt at that moment but was only a bystander in her world. This twelve-year-old faced with this terrible situation was about as calm and logical as anyone could possibly be. My sister is ok now, she had also fallen from the raft and been caught in the same undertow but had a life jacket on so was safe, the other girls are ok too. Now I have to save of my dad. These were her immediate thoughts. Then as fast as I had been introduced into my daughter’s world I was returned to my own and stood above the water in the same spot as before. The voice came again “What do you want to do”? It asked.
Finally, I understood I needed to choose between the icon before me of raising my daughters and the life I had so recently left. Or, this new existence and a life I knew was with my heavenly father for I could feel his love emanating from a point up and to my left just behind me. A love that reminded me of the peace and contentment one feels as a small child being rocked gently in the arms of their mother after a perfect day. So strong was this feeling of love, peace and wellbeing that I was torn as to what should be done. There was no coercion for me to choose this or that nor was I led to believe that one choice would be better than the other would. The matter was entirely up to me. Knowing that my daughters really did need me, and how much I truly loved them, I almost reluctantly made the choice to return and do all in my power to raise them the best I could. To communicate this decision I simply took all the information and feelings gathered and handed it as a whole to my friend whom was never seen. Saying that “I wanted this” that is the icon before me and all that it represented.
Then I was told “you have to give all you've got”. This brought on another search looking for “all I had “ it came up empty as my body was there and I was here. The words came again exactly the same, which resulted in the same exact search. Just prior to being told to give it my all again I was given information, a bunch of it, but not in word still it was communicated to me that I must choose to be in my body because no one was going to put me there. This information was stamped with the urgency a father might have for a child in immediate danger. Upon making a conscience choice to be in my body again the water once again raged about me grabbing and pulling me down but to no avail as I had the strength of a locomotive. Nothing could hold me back from reaching the surface. Upon there reaching I exhaled all the crud in my lungs and traded for a deep breath of life. My lungs hurt so badly that the thought occurred that I would rather just drown. I fought off the almost overwhelming desire to just give up and thought I whispered was later told yelled for help, as the young men in the small raft were just a few feet away. With a couple strokes of the oars they were next to me. Grabbing the rope on the side of the raft I found that there was plenty of energy left in me and I swam beside the raft helping to get it through the rapids to the bank.
Explaining what had just transpired took some doing and left doubters among the group. That is until they were each told what they were doing and in some cases thinking while I was under the water. Doubts were quickly erased. The rest of our trip was extremely peaceful and fulfilling seeing deer and other wildlife along the bank only a few feet away added to this. We were very late getting to our destination and calling for a ride home my mother was very worried about us. You know how mothers can be.
I was nearing the end of my probationary phase at my fulltime job so had to be there the next day. I worked although barely able to walk and every cell in my body from the hair on my head to my toenails being in extreme pain. Over the next few days, the pain slowly faded leaving me with a sure knowledge of many things I had not even imagined and a chance to watch my daughters grow.
I testify to the truth of this experience, as do those who were on the river with me they know that this happened. I also testify that God is, he loves us and is aware and mindful of even the smallest things in our lives and on this earth. The gift of agency the ability to act according to our own desires and associate one with another in the sphere of his creations is awesome. I pray that we might thank him for our very existence here and treat one another and his creations with the respect and kindness due them.
Date NDE Occurred: July 1990
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident No one there to say. Under water approximately 6 plus minutes. Lungs full of water for most of that time.I drowned
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I looked the same but my body was there and I was here.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? As good as it could be after being up for twenty-four hours. Better after I died as I was no longer tired and could think more clearly
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Did your hearing differ in any way from normal? I heard all that was going on around me only more clearly and with a better understanding of what was going on.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes Saw my children and others I had been with previously in real time although I was underwater or my body was anyway knew what they were doing and in some cases thinking. Conversed with a being unseen.
The experience included: Light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes The sun was in front of me but no longer to bright to look at. Everthing around me was brighter.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm This earth in a different light and with a better understanding.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Great peace love and well cared for
The experience included: Special Knowledge
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe We are on this earth to learn. We came from our Father in Heaven and he is watching over and helping us as much as we will accept, I was at the time in very good standing with him and felt an outpouring of love from where I knew he was but never saw him.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
The experience included: Vision of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future I would live and raise my children to adulthood on my own.
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 Was given the coice to return or not and had to choose to return to my dead body because no one was going to put me there. This was comunicated to me very plainly because I did not understand it at the time.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Beliefs were strengthened about God purpose of living all the hard questions were no more.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Strong emotional content at times and hard to explain how it feels to be a tree and have the wind blow through your leaves ect.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Knowing what comes after life and the love our God has for us.; Knowing I was going to drown and the experience of doing so.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes There were doubters even amoung those that saw me drown but once I told them there deeds and sometimes thoughts while I was underwater they beleived.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Smells of the river ,sunny days, people smiling. Life in general on a daily basis reminds me that I am and there was a time I was not. It all comes back as if it happenned a few minutes ago for ten years now.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? see the story
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I think it is well done. But no place to explain the helth quetions. I had problems only for a few days and then perfect health until other injuries and HCV.