I did not realize it was a near-death experience until I was in my 40s and heard someone talking about it on TV. Then it dawned on me that what I had experienced was quite similar. My father was present when I had the experience and I told him what I saw and felt. But he did not understand what had happened and we didn't dwell on it. I made sure that I never forgot it and that it never affected the way I looked at life. I remember saying aloud the next day to myself, 'I will not let this change what I believe.' Curiously, my beliefs at the time of the experience were analytically-based and not particularly well-formed. I understood this was a unique experience and I did not share it with anyone else, assuming that none of my peers would have experienced it. I told no one else until my grandfather was dying when I told him what I saw and what to expect. I wanted to help him die peacefully.
I was in the hospital post-surgery, late at night when my dad noticed that I had stopped breathing. He ran for the nurses. At some point they began CPR. I was aware of none of that.
There were two acts to the play:
I felt a warm, all-consuming and nurturing light. It was the most positive feeling I have ever felt: that all was as it should be and that I should make every effort to reach that light. It was the most perfect feeling. And I was going for that light as hard as I could. I felt myself smiling.
The next thing that happened was that I was aware of my dad's presence. Now my eyes were not open and at the time, I suspected that I was still considered 'unconscious.' But I was acutely aware that my dad was near me. I did not 'see' him, but I felt him. I could literally feel his anxiety and fear. I immediately thought that when I did see him, I needed to say something that would reassure him that I was going to be okay. And I knew I would know what to say. So that as soon as I opened my eyes, I saw my dad standing next to my bed looking right at me. So I said to him, 'Wow, what a trip!' And those words were chosen before I opened my eyes. I somehow knew what I was going to say. I just began talking to my dad to reassure him. I don't remember this but he told me a few weeks later that I stayed up all that night talking and would not go back to sleep.
Date NDE Occurred: August 1972
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. CPR given. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function)
Car accident that day. Post-surgery for internal bleeding and splenectomy. Also, multiple pelvic fractures and pneumothorax. Given morphine for pain. I had an adverse reaction, that was likely a dosage issue, and less likely an allergic response. Respiratory arrest. Head nurse later said they thought I was gone even after CPR initiated.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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? Not a clear question. Can't tell what you are really getting at. My consciousness was totally different than during normal consciousness. I was consciously more and acutely aware of another persons feelings. I felt what my dad felt and had no other feelings except the responsibility for addressing those feelings. I was completely absent from the physical environment of my body. I had no physical presence.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I do not know for sure. Perhaps right before I opened my eyes.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
This experience really had two phases: The Bright Light Phase and The 'Bodyless' Existence phase -almost like an editor had cut and spliced the tape. There was nothing to reflect time. Time did not exist.
Were your senses More vivid than usual? No
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It depends on what you are defining as 'senses.' In the classic definition of the five senses, I had no senses. It was 'feeling' that was incredibly increased. The light was bright, welcoming and encompassing. My awareness and connectivity to my dad's feelings was extremely acute.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Same answer as for vision.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere, as if by ESP? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
The experience included: Passing into or through a tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes It was not a literal tunnel. It was as if there was no peripheral vision and no need for it. The glow of the light provided a positive magnetic pull and nothing else mattered.
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 Magnetic-like attraction. Bright and encompassing. Getting to it was the clearest purpose I have ever had in my life.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt my dad's anxiety as if it was my own but I was not panicked or afraid at all. I was quite calm and assumed the role of reassurance. I felt strangely in control. The joy was when I saw the light.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Incredible joy
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
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Secular unaffiliated
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Secular unaffiliated
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. I do not necessarily put this in a religious context. I still consider that the light might be a neurologic process, not a mystical one. Regardless, it is real. I believe in a higher power but without many of the trappings of organized religion.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
experienceDid you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
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? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? I am uncertain if God exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes In the second phase of the experience just before consciousness as best I could tell, I knew I had experienced something unearthly
Did you believe that our earthly lives Are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
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? I am uncertain if an afterlife exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I moderately fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives Are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are 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? Yes I learned that the actual process of dying is a very positive experience near the final moments. I used that 'information' to help my grandfather die peacefully. He found it quite reassuring. It also allowed me to sit quietly and calmly alone with my father as he died at home. I reminded him of my experience (since he witnessed it) a few days before he died and i went into greater detail about what he would see and feel in the last moments of his life. And as he was literally dying and taking his last few breaths, I told him that everything was okay and to go for the light. His breathing immediately became more effortless and he took his last breath. I know he heard me because I know there is a level of earthly awareness actual death. I still fear death because I like it here. But I know what the literal process is at the end of earthly existence and it is good. I have a math/science, extremely analytical brain. I do not consider this a religious experience but a scientific one.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? No changes in my life The structure of the questions above could create misleading responses. It depends on how you define 'God' and how you define 'afterlife.' And I am trying to describe an 18 year-old's beliefs and then a 64 year-old's beliefs. So much has happened in those years that affect a person's perspective and approach that I don't think you can conclude much here. I was determined at 18 to view this as a unique experience that might one day be useful but that I would not allow to alter my beliefs or approach to life. I knew it was important, even at that age, to not allow one experience to have a dramatic affect on my life. In time I began to appreciate how fortunate I was to have the experience and to have the information about death that it provided me.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
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 remember almost nothing of the physical events which came hours before or hours after the experience. I do remember an intellectual 'conversation' I had with myself the next day. I remember the experience itself as if it happened yesterday because I told myself afterwards to memorize the details so that I could share it with the right person at the right time. And remember, I had no idea what I had experienced. I had never heard of near-death experiences in 1972. For days afterwards, I tried to recapture that exact feeling I had when I experienced the light, to no avail.
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? None that I have not already shared. I shared it with no one until I heard of near death experiences much later. I remember hearing of it and being stunned by the recognition that others had experienced similar things. But I have shared it with only family members until today.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Except for my grandfather, it was decades before I shared it with anyone else. Immediately after the experience I just described a wild trip to my dad. I did not think anyone would believe me or that they just wouldn't 'get it.'
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. This question is a bit illogical. It happened. It wasn't an hallucination. It wasn't a morphine haze. To call The Light a 'light' is really a misrepresentation. There is lightness pulling you towards it, but the lightness is part of the feeling of enormously positive 'rightness' of where you are and what you are doing in that moment. At no point did I, or have I, ever doubted the experience which was why I felt such wonder when I heard someone else describe their experience for the first time.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. It is part of who I am now - a characteristic that is a little quirky and a little different than most but I am particularly grateful for it and for being able to use to help two wonderful people go through the last stages of dying.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? no
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Within my answers, I have pointed out some of the ambiguity (for me) in the questions. Hope that helps. Thanks for your interest in this. Good luck!
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