My experience was rather boring. My mother's parallel experience is a bit more interesting. I was a troubled teen and had been hoarding prescription drugs. Late one night I decided to commit suicide, so I quietly cut my wrists and took all of the pills I had been gathering then went to bed.
My mother (we were not on speaking terms at the time) described getting a panicky feeling about me and the house feeling electrified. She felt compelled to enter the 'forbidden' territory of my bedroom to try to wake me up. She said that as soon as she looked at me, she could see that I was blue. She somehow got me to semi-consciousness and out of my bed.
I felt as though I was hovering around my body, but this was probably due to the drugs. I had no physical sensation even though I was crashing into walls and doors. I watched my body bouncing around. Two days later, after everything was over, I found contusions on my head and other parts of my body. In the meantime, somehow we made it to the hospital where they put me on a gurney, got me into a room, shoving a tube up my nose and down my throat (that I remember! - it felt like someone punched me straight in the nose). The hospital staff kept yelling for me to stay awake. I watched them from around my body more than in it.
Throughout this I kept thinking, aren't I supposed to be struggling to stay alive, like in the movies? Aren't I supposed to have some profound existential revelation, as I lie dying? Nothing. It was all very anticlimactic.
Meanwhile, my mother was in the waiting room wondering if I was going to die. (My mother, by the way, was the least religious woman I know, never professed a belief in God, no interest in the spiritual, raised by an atheist mother, etc.) She described feeling the most acute anxiety she had ever experienced while in that waiting room, as if SHE were dying. She said that Jesus then walked into the waiting room and told her, 'Everything will be alright.' She reported immediately feeling a profound peace wash over her and the anxiety disappeared completely. She knew that she wasn't being told whether I would live or die, but simply that everything was going to be okay either way.
My mother didn't tell me about this experience until years later. I asked her how she knew he was Jesus and not some guy that worked at the hospital. She said that it was the way he looked and that she 'just knew'. I asked her if he was a Mediterranean guy with a beard and a long flowing robe, was he translucent, did he have wings, or float off the ground? She just rolled her eyes at me and said he looked like a regular person, except he didn't, and she refused to engage me any more on how she knew this was Jesus. I then asked her if she didn't feel inspired to go out and become Christian. Nope, not at all.
She never did become religious aside from a brief flirtation with Buddhism, which she dismissed at the time of her own dying. She said all 'that' was out the window. Her dying was a long drawn out process. She was lucid. She would describe others, whom I couldn't see, that were in the room with her. In particular, she described a tall man. Her father was a tall man so I asked if that was whom she was talking about. She said no, her father was over there (referring to another location). She said the tall man told her she wouldn't have to go through agony when she died. He was right. When she died, she opened her eyes, bright and clear, and was gone.
Date NDE Occurred: summer 1978
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Suicide attempt 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
Not sure if I understand the question.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain
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 As above.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was 'in' my body, I didn't know what was going on. When I was 'hovering' I had vivid thoughts and hearing that I remember to this day.
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
Just a feeling of here but not here. In between.
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. I don't think I was seeing with my eyes. I think they were closed almost the whole time.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It felt more like I was listening in on something rather than just plain old regular listening.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
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? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Detached, relaxed.
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 the universe
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? Scenes from the world's future
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
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Liberal no religious practices or beliefs
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No I've experimented with religion, but I just can't get into it and don't believe in it. In fact, the more I've studied religious texts, the less I believe in religion, but respect it as a means for others to connect to their humanity, community, and mortality.
What is your religion now? Liberal none
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No I've experimented with religion, but I just can't get into it and don't believe in it. In fact, the more I've studied religious texts, the less I believe in religion, but respect it as a means for others to connect to their humanity, community, and mortality.
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
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes Death didn't seem scary at all.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I was young when this happened, so I don't have much prior experience to compare it to. But I have known about a friend's and a lover's deaths before they occurred, both by accidents. I have also known about weird random stuff ahead of time. I am not a particularly emotional or even sensitive person, but when this 'knowing' occurs it is very dramatic and I usually fall apart weeping dramatically. It is actually quite embarrassing and I would never disclose this to anyone except in an anonymous forum. I try to avoid 'knowing'.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? It didn't mean that much to me at the time, but now that I am a mother I see it as a profound demonstration of how connected mothers are to their children (even if children don't reciprocate!).
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I kept journals and shared it with my brother and sister when my mother was dying because I thought it might comfort them, twenty-five years after this incident took place. My mother and I periodically discussed it when I initiated the conversation out of curiosity. I don't know how my brother and sister feel. My mother firmly saw these experiences as real, but didn't change her skepticism of religion or anything else as a result.
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 probably real It is hard to reconcile the surreal with the mundane. I would never say these events were not concretely perceived, but who knows how much our human physiology distorts what we perceive? I saw them as real, but jumping back into normal routine (time to get up and go to school) sort of puts the experience in its own separate, special place.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was probably real Today, I don't really separate my experience from my mother's experience. I think of it as shared. I've spent a fair amount of time with dying people. It is pretty common for them to report seeing people that aren't there. They see people who are already dead or people they don't know. I've never known someone to report 'seeing' someone who is still living but isn't really in the room. To me this implies they aren't hallucinating, but it doesn't exclude the possibility that they are dreaming while awake, contemplating death and their loved ones who have died. I'm rambling. I guess I believe we are more than mortal, but am open to physiological explanations and that is how I view my experience.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No