My dad, Sherman G, had been diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma and had his right kidney removed. Roughly a year later, the cancer returned and this time it showed up as a large tumor wrapped around his spine, mid-back. During surgery, the surgeon cut an artery and my Dad bled to death.
Two days later, my dad (who was not religious at all) told me that he had felt his spirit come out of his body and he felt that he was about 3 feet parallel with his body. He had looked down, and wasn't afraid to see what was going on. He then became vertical and found himself standing to the left of the doctor, at his physical body's head. The nurses and attendants were running around getting instruments to try to get the bleeding to stop. While telling me this story, up to this point, my Dad had had a faraway look in his eyes, but then he paused and told me that he could tell me the names of the instruments the doctors and nurses were using, because he could remember every detail of his journey.
He watched the commotion for a while and then he took a few steps backward into the corner of the operating room, as if to give the medical staff room to work. As he was standing in the corner, he then found himself going into another consciousness of himself feeling the pain of being born, of going through his mother's birth canal. He told me that that was the worst pain he had ever felt. He asked me if I remembered that he was claustrophobic and I replied, 'Yes, I remember.' He said, 'Well, now I know why I have been claustrophobic.'
He went on, 'When I was 3 years old, we lived on an old farm. I was standing in my overalls and barefooted, in the kitchen, next to Mama. Mama told me that she had been missing two hens and thought they were up in the loft of the barn. She told me to go to the barn, climb the ladder, and if I found her two hens, to shoo them out and bring any eggs I might find. I told her, 'Yes, Ma'am.' So I climbed the ladder. Up in the loft the loose hay was almost as tall as I was, but I saw the hens, made my way over to them and shooed them out of the loft. I even found two eggs. I proudly put them in my overall pockets. When I tried to get to the ladder, my foot got tangled up in some rope. When I yanked my foot to try to get loose, it just tightened.
I felt myself backing up into something big and heavy. It fell on top of me and pushed me down under the tall, dirty hay, where I felt like I couldn't breathe. I yelled and yelled as loud as I could, but my brothers didn't come to my rescue for what seemed like hours to my three-year-old self. 'And,' he said, 'now I know why I'm claustrophobic.' He then told me another story. He said, 'Sis, I never knew how much my words have hurt people.
When I was about nine, I was throwing dirt clods at my cousin, Luther. We started calling each other names and we both thought it was funny to hurt each other. But while I was dead, I not only heard myself call him names, but I was also in his head HEARING the words I was saying to him and feeling how they affected him. I made him feel real bad, but I never realized it. I never even thought about it. I have heard every conversation I ever said to anybody, and I was also given the gift of being in every single person's mind to know how I've hurt people by what I've said.' He apologized to me (through his tears) for making fun of me as a child for stuttering so badly.
I never told him that he had made me cry as a child, but he said now he knows every time it happened, because he had been able to be in my mind during his NDE. He said he also remembered all the times when he chose not to forgive people for something they did or said to him. From that experience, he said, he came back to watching the medical staff work on his body attempting to revive him. As he watched, he said, he started drifting vertically up. The operating room is on the first floor. He went through the ceiling and stood across from the elevator. To the left of the elevator was 'another one' just like him. It was a middle-aged man.
They nodded to each other and Dad proceeded to go up to the next floor. He kept going up and up into the darkness of space. In the far distance, he saw what looked like a small area of green fog. His spirit turned horizontal and started moving towards it until it formed into a meadow with wild flowers and small trees. It was bright daylight. He was thinking, 'this must be Heaven and I'm here because I've tried to be good to people'. Then he started moving faster until the meadow was left behind him in a blur. As he looked ahead, he saw what looked like the Grand Canyon, but instead of the end of it being an open-ended river bed, it was round and surrounded by huge brown boulders. He was no longer near the beauty of the meadow. He found himself out in the middle of the boulders floating over a great expanse of blackness below.
He couldn't see the bottom by looking down, all he could see was a huge black hole. As he was wondering what was going on, he began to hear a sound like the wind. This wind got louder until it sounded like high-pitched screams. One voice stood out, and he heard from below someone pleading, 'Please! When you come, bring me a drop of water!' Then he knew that he had been tricked by Satan into thinking he was going to be in Heaven. Instead, he was on his way to hell because he didn't know Jesus as his Savior. But right at that time, the doctors brought him back to life.
None of our family knew that Dad had died until the following day. I went to see him in the intensive care unit at the hospital. The anesthesiologist was standing by Dad's side, saying to me that he had wanted to come to check on his patient. He said to me, 'They did tell you we lost him yesterday, didn't they?' I was shocked and said, 'No!' He told me about the surgeon hitting an artery and that Dad had bled to death. He also said that he was clinically dead for twelve minutes and very lucky to be alive.
While trying to soak all of this in, I turned to Dad. He had tubes in his nose and mouth, but he opened his eyes and started crying. I asked him if he was hurting and he shook his head. I asked him if he needed to tell me something and he nodded. I reassured him that maybe tomorrow, he would be able to tell me. The next day, I went to see him in his private room. When he saw me, he started crying again. Up until this time, I had never seen my dad cry, never. Not even when his parents died or when he found out he had cancer. I went over to his bedside and he said he had a story to tell me. When he finished telling me (what I've written above,) he said that he had led his life all wrong and he now knew that Jesus was his Savior and no longer would he have bitterness in his heart. We had him for two more years, but I believe those were the best years of his life.
Date NDE Occurred: October 2004
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness. Surgery-related. While under general anesthesia. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function) Clinically dead for 12 minutes (per the anesthesiologist) the following day.
My father had renal cell carcinoma, which metastasized to his spine.
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 He saw the doctors/nurses trying to put enough blood back into him to save his life. He also saw another spirit of a man who had just died.
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 My Dad was a friendly, easy going, but competitive, guy whose goal was to make as much money as he could. Spiritual matters didn't interest him.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? It sounded like he was completely alert for the full twelve minutes.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
While he was standing in the corner at the hospital, he said that everything went by quickly, but he remembered every detail. There were times when he was 'flying' more slowly and more quickly than at other times.
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. From what he described, he saw beautiful colors during his vision. Beautiful trees, meadows, flowers & the Grand Canyon. His sense of touch was also intensified (while being born.)
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Very acute hearing: from the words he heard himself say to every single person he had talked to in his life; and also the words that were in the minds or spirits of those people to whom he said the words.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes He felt that when he realized that he was going to hell that Satan was laughing at him over his left shoulder, as if to say that he (Satan) got one last trick in on my dad. The way he described the man by the elevator: it was not someone he knew, but they had death in common. It was as if they tipped their hats while passing on the street.
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 It was an area of green fog in space.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm He saw green meadows with flowers and trees, and the huge boulders that reminded him of the Grand Canyon, and the dark hole below it.
The experience included: Hellish imagery
What emotions did you feel during the experience? He said that he felt joy to be in his mother's kitchen. Fear when the barn door fell on top of him. Sadness when he realized how much he had hurt people. He also felt remorse knowing that most of those people had already died so he couldn't make it up to them. Peace when he saw the meadows. Vanity thinking he made it to Heaven just by trying to be nice to people as an adult. Panic when he thought he was going to hell.
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? Everything about myself or others He understood so much about himself, and also about how others felt when talking with him. When he was flying over the meadows, he seemed to think that he had confirmation that if you tried hard enough to be good when you're an adult, it erases any bad you did as a kid. Then when he found out he was going to hell, in a split second, he realized that without a real relationship with the Lord, that Satan will use every trick he has to keep you out of Heaven.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No Not sure how to answer this one. He knows/ knew that if the doctors hadn't been able to get enough blood into him at just that right time, he was going down into the pit, and he had felt terrified.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated Sherman was raised in the "Primitive Baptist" faith, but was "the black sheep" of the family and did not attend church. He did, however, try to be a "nice" guy to people he met.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes He became a Christian after he died the first time. What a gift!
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Unknown
What is your religion now? Do not know After his NDE, Sherman was a more loving and forgiving man. His countenance changed and he became a gentle man. Loved his family and was not afraid to show it.
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
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes More loving and forgiving. He learned the truth about how to get into Heaven. In the above questions, I answered the questions with what I knew about my dad. Since he passed away in November 2006, I can only imagine, but I do know that he is in Heaven. After his experience, Dad tried to talk to us more about the things in life that really mattered, such as loving each other unconditionally, forgiveness and taking care of each other.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin He heard sounds and voices from the pit of hell.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
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.)? Yes He felt that when he realized that he was going to hell, that satan was laughing at him over his left shoulder as if to say that he (satan) got one last trick in on my dad.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes When he was in space, he felt a calmness. When he came up and up out of the hospital, he reached a point when he stopped and looked ahead. When he saw the green fog, he was both curious and felt that that was where he was supposed to be. That it was his f
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? Yes When he heard the people in hell screaming for water, he then believed that there truly is a hell and if there is a hell, then there must be a heaven and if there is a hell and a heaven, then there must be a satan and a God.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? Unknown
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes When he saw the meadows with all of their beauty, he thought that God had made this just for him as a reward for trying to be good.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes Being good doesnt get you into heaven.
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? Unknown Yes When he saw the meadows with all of its beauty, he thought that God had made this just for him as a reward for trying to be good.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? Unknown
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? Unknown
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Unknown
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Yes Forgive others and don't be afraid to show people that you love them
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Uncertain
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Not compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes My Dad was friendly with people other than his family. At home, he wanted to be left alone, but with customers (he owned several travel agencies) he was outgoing and friendly. After his NDE, he was a lot more loving with his family.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Unknown
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life Large changes in his life. In the above questions, I answered the questions with what I knew about my dad. Since he passed away in November 2006, I can only imagine, but I do know that he is in Heaven. After his experience, Dad tried to talk to us more about the things in life that really mattered, such as loving each other unconditionally, forgiveness and taking care of each other.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes They had. Afterwards, Dad tried to talk to us more about the things in life that really mattered, such as loving each other unconditionally, forgiveness and taking care of each other.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No Was the experience difficult for him to express in words?
I am a Christian and it was easy for him to explain it to me. He tried to explain it to my mother and my siblings, but no one believed him and they dismissed the story, saying that he had been medicated and had he had not had enough oxygen in his brain. He knew I believed him, so he told me the whole story.
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 Since my Dad and I didn't share a lot of conversation normally, for him to give me so many details about this experience, is a treasure to me. I had never seen the kind of light in his eyes as when he told me what happened to him.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No I don't think so.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? That he learned the truth about how to get into Heaven. When he heard the people in hell screaming for water, he then believed that there truly is a hell and if there is a hell, then there must be a heaven and if there is a hell and a heaven, then there must be a Satan and a God. When he was in space, he felt calmness. When he came up and out of the hospital, he reached a point when he stopped and looked ahead. When he saw the green fog, he was both curious and felt as though that was where he was supposed to be. That it was going to be his final place to live.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Two days after the NDE: first with me and then a few days later, he tried to share his story with my mom (his wife) and my two siblings. No one else believed him. They thought it was creepy to talk about it and they didn't seem to want to understand it, which was very sad for him.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No I'm pretty sure he hadn't. If he'd heard anyone talk about it, he would not paid any attention.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real He seemed to have no doubt that the experience was definitely real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I believe that his experience was definitely real. Dad has passed on, but he always believed so, too.
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? My dad was friendly with people other than his family. But at home, he wanted to be left alone. With customers (he owned several travel agencies) he was outgoing and friendly. After his NDE, he was a lot more loving with his family. Forgive others and don't be afraid to show people that you love them. He knew he wanted the forgiveness of people that he had hurt. I think he remembered the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of his experience. Since my dad and I had not shared a lot of conversation normally, for him to give me so many details about this experience, is a treasure to me. I had never seen the kind of light in his eyes as when he told me what happened to him