I went home between classes to get a bite of lunch. After eating a slice of pizza, as I readied myself to leave, I began to experience excruciating pains in my chest, as though a cold, iron fist were crushing my heart. I called for an ambulance and went downstairs to wait. When it didn't show up immediately, I panicked (though it didn't seem so at the time) and walked (yes, walked!) the three or so miles to the local hospital’s emergency room. ‘I'm having a heart attack’ I announced upon arriving, then promptly collapsed, falling flat on my face, fracturing my skull along the temporal and frontal plates on the right side of my forehead.
Several factors were in my favor. The ambulance crew dispatched to pick me up had returned since they couldn't find me. The additional strain placed on my heart by walking, kept me from going into a total arrest before medical attention was available; since there had been a call, the emergency room was expecting a cardiac case, and accordingly had hypothermic protocols in place; and there were two, not one ambulance crews available to work on me.
And work they did. I was without a self-sustaining pulse for 45 minutes, before my pulse started up and persisted for approximately 8 minutes. My heart failed again, this time for 25 minutes, then restarted and lasted for 5 minutes. When it stopped this time, it stopped for about 20 minutes. By then a cardiologist I'd been seeing for congestive heart failure was in the emergency room, and asked how long I'd been out. ’This time? 20 minutes...’ The doctor said if I didn't start up in 10 more minutes he was calling it. According to the doctor, an emergency room nurse, and one of the paramedics, the doctor hadn't even finished the sentence when my heart started up. It’s been clicking along ever since (aside from about six hours on 13 July when I had my surgery). After the arrest and resuscitation, I was in a coma for 10 days.
Date NDE Occurred: 13 May 2011
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Heart attack. CPR given. Direct head injury Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I was aware from time to time of everyone working to keep me from dying.
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 There was no ‘bright light', but rather diffuse light emanating from everywhere. I was aware that I was surrounded by my ancestors, many of whom I’d never met. They were all speaking at once, not in voices, but rather directly to me, to my mind. I knew some of them were not speaking a language I understood, and yet I knew what they were saying. I understood what was being asked without ever being asked.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was being revived, I remember feeling absolute terror and extreme pain as I was coming back to life, and then extreme calm. The timelines are somewhat indistinct, though, as I didn't know I'd been in a coma at all. It felt to me that I had been away from my physicality for what seemed to be almost an entire lifetime.
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
I was gone [in a coma] for 10 days, and yet didn't realize I'd been out at all, and yet while I was ‘away’ it seemed to be an entire lifetime.
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. There was no sight, only a pervasive light. Everything was a flat, even light, not exceptionally bright, but totally devoid of shadows and contrast. It wasn't as though there was a light emanating from somewhere; rather that everything was part of the light...no distinctions.
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 thousand voices at once, and sort each one out from the others. There was no confusion. My hearing has actually improved since the incident, and it was remarkably good before then.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, but the facts have not 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 sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes My family from the beginning were all around me. A thousand questions from as many voices, yet there was no confusion, just me telling them what I knew of the living. It wasn't like I was answering each question, either. It was more like my entire knowledge, my entire life and life experience had been poured out on a great table for all to see and pick through, and some specifics were addressed.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes An effusive, total light was everywhere. It wasn't as though there was a light emanating from somewhere, rather that everything was part of the light. There were no distinctions, no contrast, and no shadows.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm It was a ‘hall of voices’ and a totally diffuse light that seemed to emanate from everywhere. There was no up or down, no sense of anything but being, and all the voices of my people around me. I was not bathed in light; I was part of the light. Nothing physical was evident, merely consciousness.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Extreme calm, peaceful and restive, interspersed with moments of absolute terror as I was going back and forth between being with the dead and the living.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
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 the universe I realized that I have a higher purpose to fulfill. There is no death, it exists a dark doorway through which we must all pass. I had flat lined four different times on two separate occasions before this incident.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? I remembered many past events
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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 As I looked on my life, I felt totally unworthy to share the company of my family forever. I felt also that I had things to look after here. I was concerned about my daughter, about my friend Melinda (who was called from my cell phone by the medics in an attempt to contact someone who knew me, and she was actually there [at the hospital], having driven a long distance on a day's notice). I felt my life story wasn't written yet, and I had to finish it.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant very much a student of the history of Christianity
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience there was no sense of transition , just a sense of being. The transition was back to this reality, one of pain, suffering, and struggle...it was terrible. terrifying, excrciatingly painful, confusing, whereas my time being part of the light was completely serene and calm, with an overwhelming sense of "being where I was meant to be". I expected there to be a sense of calm, but the level of total bliss thrills me to this day just thinking about it.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I heard a voice I could not identify It was ‘my family’ I was talking to, not one distinct voice or conversation, per say, but rather a knowing of intentions and possibilities. It was a definite communication, but not like words being exchanged. Rather ideas, thoughts, emotions were being exchanged directly.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I sensed their presence
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? Uncertain It seemed, when my life was examined, that there were some overlapping features with other times and other "voices". I knew what the voices were going to say, and what their experiences were. None of this was terribly clear,however.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes I was connecting directly with my line from the beginning. We are all the same people, and we come and go, but still we remain...
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God definitely exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Uncertain I believe "the voice" I spoke of earlier was, in fact, my Creator...who could offer me a choice to stay or re-enter my life but the One who gives life? There was such a sense of familiarity, of calmness and serenity,it could have been no other...
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 Life is hard…so what? It always has been and it always will be…get on with it.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes Life is for living, not to impress someone or gain something. It is its own purpose. Having flatlined a total of seven times (four before this, and three times this go-round) in 8 years, and still being here, and able to communicate, to take care of mysel
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I was fully aware of my family before me back to the beginning of our line
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I slightly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Greatly fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes life is hard...so what. It always has been/ it always will be...get on with it
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Family is everything...that's why I'm here to begin with, and that's why I came back
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life Prior to my dying, I had no fear of any man or earthly thing. However, a fear of dying, although not at all overwhelming, was always present. Now I have no fear of dying whatsoever, but I find myself fearful of all manner of earthly perils.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes I feel totally isolated. I am not just a world traveler, I am one of the rare few who has crossed over the Rivers Styx and Acheron [rivers referred to in Greek mythology that are said to separate the world of the living from the dead], and returned. Who can you share this experience with? On the other hand, I am much more open and caring with my young-adult daughter, but those people who are petty and small, I have no time or patience for them.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Firstly, how do you explain that you just know something? Secondly, it was a very emotional experience. I was in the hall of my family, in the company of my ancestors back to the beginning of our line, and I was welcomed in their midst. I was given a choice of whether to stay with them or to return, and I chose to return. I have business here I must conclude, and I did not feel worthy of my ancestor company forever. The transition back to life was absolutely terrifying. There were people running around, a near state of panic, and the crushing pain, probably from the paramedics doing chest compressions, and of course, I remember getting lit up with the defibrillator. That's a charming experience. I was somewhere between wanting to choke the medic for doing that, and begging him not to do it again. How does one describe a trip to where no-one else has been and returned?
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 sufferd from situational amnesia brought on by pronounced 'noxic encephylopathy, so my memories surrounding the event are almost non-existant
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? This is not the end. I can say with certainty, this is only one chapter in a long book of our existence.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I don't share it much, and only in a limited fashion. I mean, who has a clue of what I'd be talking about? It's not exactly a common experience. Most of the people I've encountered who express any interest are either ghouls or creepy Goth types who have a death-fixation, so no, I don't share this much with anyone.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I'd heard a number of speakers on the subject, including reincarnation. I'm a chronic insomniac, so my best friend at night is George Noory [presenter on Coast To Coast AM radio which explores alternative topics]. I don't believe my knowledge affected my experience, other than for me to realize what was happening when it was occurring.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I have lucid dreams and I was having flashbacks of my transitioning between life and death. I can smell things in my dreams, taste things, re-experience them in real-time, and this was real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real Plus, I can recall people from the crowd and specific things about them, people I never met in my lifetime.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I can summon the dreams of transition almost at will, though I choose not to as they are unpleasant. As I stated earlier, I am a lucid dreamer, so recollection in a dream-state isn't too much of a trick for me.