I was in intensive care. I had about eight tubes in my body, including a feeding tube through my nose and something to help me breathe.
Before the experience, I had problems breathing and dreamed that I was in a swimming pool and gasping for air. I could not swim to the surface and felt like I was suffocating. Then a thought entered my mind that I should find the stairs to get out of the pool. I found them, climbed and climbed until I suddenly found some air.
At one point, I saw very intense colors. The color red was too intense. so I decided to focus on one of the white walls of the small area I was in. It was not a real room. Soon thereafter, I saw a most beautiful blue color. It was comparable to the sky of a nice day in Georgia during the fall or spring, when there is no humidity.
The blue was a gorgeous and awesome color. The entire area I was in became blue.
Then I left my body. I do not remember going through a tunnel; it all happened quickly. I did experience a most exquisite light. It was not hard to the eyes and it was a very special light unlike what we see here on earth. It was vastly peaceful and gracious. The peacefulness is what I remember most. At one point, I was above my house and saw my husband and daughter at the sink. I wanted to be with them, especially my daughter. A voice, neither male nor female, asked me if I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back.
Then, I was woken up by the voice of a nurse. She said to me, 'Be still, you just underwent expansive surgery and it is important that you do not move' or something to that extent. It is not a verbatim quote. I touched my abdomen and felt a large scar and then I knew.
As of today, I like to take pictures of the sky, wherever I travel. I still like rainbows; we often take pictures when we see it or stop to look at it.
Date NDE Occurred: 4/3/2000
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related. While under general anesthesia. It probably happened before the surgery. Part of my colon was gangrene and I was in distress. Life threatening event, but not clinical death.
I had a hysterectomy that had not been performed very well or was unsuccessful. In retrospect, I was probably misdiagnosed; the hysterectomy could have been avoided. In any event, when I was admitted to the hospital and in severe physical distress; part of my colon had become gangrene. A medical resident accidentally punctured my lung when he tried to put in a central line. My lung collapsed and I had problems breathing. An emergency intubation was performed.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain. I saw my husband and young daughter in my house. My daughter was affected. I heard the voices of children playing outside. My daughter was a major factor in my recovery because my health improved when I was able to talk with her on the phone. She was not allowed to see me in the ICU due to the condition I was in and her young age.
I clearly left my body and existed outside it
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. It is difficult to explain. I was extremely alert and once noticed a serious error made by a contract nurse. She profoundly thanked me for having noticed it. As of today, I wonder why I was so alert when I was the one in intensive care with tubes in my body. I do remember that after I was discharged, my alertness remained with respect to certain people. It felt as if I knew what had been going on while I was in the hospital.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Not sure; I remained at a high level of alertness throughout my stay in ICU and sometime after I was discharged from the hospital.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses More vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I experienced various colors. Prior to that, I had problems breathing and felt like I was suffocating. Before my lung collapsed, I saw the 'room' clearly. I was in intensive care, communicated with nurses and my husband normally. My husband did tell me that at one point I mixed several languages into one, part of it was in French. A Spanish-speaking physician and my husband, who is also a physician by training, were able to figure out what I was trying to say.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Same.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere, as if by ESP? Yes, but the facts have not been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Unearthly 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 The Light was exquisite, very peaceful. It was as if all pain and conflicts ended. It was an amazing graciousness.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm. A most beautiful realm of intense peacefulness, comfort without pain, and acceptance. It was harmonious and without the conflicts we experience in this world. It was truly mystical. Peace.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Peace and importantly no pain. The pain was gone. I felt complete comfort, acceptance, and grateful for a chance to live in the World To Come.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
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? No
The experience included: Life Review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control. Before the Experience, my life passed by very quickly. My upbringing in Belgium and the Netherlands, school years, my parents, the pain I caused them by moving to the U.S., my husband, my marriage, the birth of my daughter, the pain I had experienced myself.
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a Boundary or limiting physical structure? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a definite conscious decision to return to life. In retrospect, I am virtually convinced it was my daughter. She was young at the time and the way life turned out, I am happy that I have been able to spend time with her. I am also grateful to my husband for all the beautiful trips we made. Once we went parasailing. The beach was crowded with loud music. At one point, I could not hear the music anymore and was high above the beach. That is the closest I can come to describing how it felt; to be up there and experience quietness, no conflicts, and nothing distracting from the peacefulness.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? No comment. I was born and raised Catholic, but other than in school, we did not go to church or practiced a particular religion. I did study philosophy and believed in a Supreme Being or Power. 'God' is a word that has been often abused; horrors happened in the name of 'God' or religion. That's why I prefer 'Supreme Being'.
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? Do not know. I strongly believe in a Supreme Being, but can no longer believe in God in the biblical sense of the word; a father figure who rules the world and can be quite punishing. It is difficult for me now to join a church or synagogue; but I strongly believe in a Supreme Being and the World To Come.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience. For me, the 'stunning' aspect was the Light. I did not see a Male figure or some figure that at times can be quite cruel or punishing. I did not experience a hellish aspect, nor landscapes. It was pure, beautiful, peaceful, all-encompassing Light. That changed my thinking. Now I truly believe in a Supreme Being.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Yes, I look at the world differently. Before the Experience, I really wanted to go back to work and make money. After the Experience, I decided to be there for my daughter, parents and husband. I think I changed and that is or was difficult for my husband to understand or accept.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I heard a voice I could not identify. The voice was neither Male or Female. It was different, mystical. It asked if I wanted to go back. I responded and returned. I cannot identify it; it was out of this world. It was unlike human voices. It came out of the Light; I did not see a presence.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes There is a Supreme Being. It is part of us and everything. We cannot see it in this world, but it is here. All is One.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes For me, it is the Light. Energy. Peacefulness. Comfort. Acceptance.
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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes, there is an afterlife; a World To Come, after the life we are living now in this part of the Universe. It is almost as if there are parallel lives.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I moderately feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives Are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably 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 My life passed by; that's when I became aware of some painful or difficult experiences in my life and the challenges.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes The Light was peaceful, but also accepting and that constitutes a supreme kind of love.
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. I strongly believe now in a Supreme Being that lies at the origin of the world we live in. But there is another world that we will enter. It is here, but we cannot see it. The Supreme Being is in all of us, including animals. 'All the many are One'.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Working as an attorney became less important to me. I did a great deal of volunteer work and pro bono work, and tried to be there for my daughter. Unfortunately, my not making much money put a higher burden on my husband. I failed to see that for some time.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The light I saw is difficult to describe. It was so peaceful, comforting, all-encompassing; a different world. It felt like the World To Come is right here, but we cannot see it here on earth. I started to read more about astronomy, the 'black hole', books about the afterlife. I studied the world's religions.
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 was in intensive care. At first, physicians did not know what was going on. I was 'opened' up and had invasive surgery. There was an episode I do not know much about; my husband probably does. Afterwards, I did feel very aware of what was going on and often thought of WW II.
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? Light and Peace. I started to study religions, including mystical parts of various religions.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes After the Experience, I tried to speak with my physician, but he said it was the result of the large dose of anesthesia that had been given to me. I tried to speak with a Minister, but she did not really believed it. She believes in God, in the Biblical sense of the word. I spoke with my parents and was advised not to talk about it with others. I shared some of it with my husband; he sometimes pays more attention to medical reports. Both of us are interested in scientific advances.
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 was an innate knowledge, a certain kind of Happiness. Unfortunately, I experienced a depression sometime after I was released from the hospital. I was told it was the result of anesthesia, since my surgery lasted a long time.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I started to read about it. I have a book written by Pim Van Lommel and watched programs on T.V. The more I read about NDE and Out of body experiences, the more I feel that what I experienced was not a mere result of being in distress, or having morphine to reduce pain and anesthesia.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Sometimes, when I have a great deal of physical pain, it feels as if I look at my body from the outside. Once I experienced a tunnel vision, when I had walked a great deal and had to lie down due to pain. I woke up with a start.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? It led me to study religions and practice meditation. I studied with a Rabbi, even though I have a very different background. I am also much more interested in the teachings of Einstein, medical articles, and scientific advances.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Yes. How did the person become after the Experience. More or less social? Happier or more less happy, due to the Experience. Is there a heightened sense of perceiving others. Difference between NDE and an Out of body experience.