I was scheduled for a routine dilatation and curettage procedure and laparoscopy in October of 1990. As far as I knew, I was in good health otherwise. Sometime during surgery, I remember having the feeling of rapidly moving forward. I was not aware of any bright light until I seemed to emerge from what I thought was a long hallway.
It was then I saw incredibly brilliant light. I hesitantly moved slightly forward and was standing in front of a person. It took my eyes a few moments to adjust and I've never felt my heart beat so wildly. The person in front of me was my mother (she had passed away less than six months before). I don't know how to describe her except to say she was glowing, not just her outward appearance, but from within. She had the most beautiful smile on her face and I couldn't believe it. Just as suddenly as I recognized her, I felt enveloped in the most comforting warmth of love. I don't know of any words to describe it, other than it was all-encompassing.
To her left were three other people who were also glowing. Their faces were not visible but I know from their outline that two of the three were my maternal grandmother and grandfather, the third I'm not sure of. Just off to the side and closer behind my mother was another person that I couldn't really see, but I somehow knew it was my aunt, one of my mother's sisters. I remember reaching out towards her and she lifted her hand toward me and lovingly told me 'Not yet.' That was all she said before I felt that I was being pulled away from her. I was fighting and trying so hard to stay where I was. I remember feeling the saddest I've ever felt in my life. I don't think it was from leaving just her, but leaving where I was.
The interruption I felt was apparently someone trying to wake me. When I awoke in the recovery room the nurse informed me that I had left the red mark that was on her cheek and said that I had hit her while saying 'No, I want to stay!' I didn't remember anything about it at the time because I was still sedated. I do remember the doctor telling me the surgery went well but I didn't understand why I was so sad. Over the next several days, I realized that something had happened to me and I didn't know how to explain it. I had never experienced anything similar to this. But it was only after relating this experience to my husband that he told me about the doctor's comments on a few breathing problems.
I can tell you this has changed my life. I have always believed in an afterlife but I now know how wonderful it can be. I've only told a few people about this because I'm a private person. I don't consider myself a very religious person but I do believe in a God. My father passed away less than a year ago, and it was sad to let him go, but oh so much easier knowing who, and what, greeted him at the end of his journey.
Date NDE Occurred: October of 1990
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain Surgery-related Other During outpatient surgery
The physician voiced some concerns to my husband after the surgery about breathing problems, but said everything went well overall with the surgery. I was not aware of this until some months later.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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 I think when I first realized it was my mother standing in front of me.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I think when I first realized it was my mother standing in front of me.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Only the feeling of rapid forward movement.
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. Field of vision was blurred past my mother, beautiful bright white light; the figures of my grandparents were less solid.
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? Uncertain It felt more like rapidly moving forward and then emerging from somewhere but not necessary a tunnel, more like a hallway.
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 My mother very clearly said 'Not yet.' Just slightly behind her and to her right I knew was my aunt although not clearly visible. To my mother's right and closer to me were my grandparents, I knew by their outline and I'm not sure how else I knew, but it was them.
The experience included: 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 Not until just before I stopped moving.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I felt as if I traveled somewhere but unsure where. It felt more like a different level or dimension, definitely not a distinctive location
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Unbelievable warmth of love and acceptance, feeling of belonging, happiness like I've never felt.
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
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes It wasn't so much a physical boundary, I felt I wasn't allowed to go any closer to my mother when she said 'Not yet.'
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? Moderate
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Uncertain As I said earlier, I didn't consider myself a really good Christian. I've always believed in doing what is right but don't beat myself up if I make mistakes. Apologize and move on. I've always believed in a Creator, but I don't necessarily insist that mine is the only one. I don't think I've changed my beliefs at all. But the experience sure made me happier my heart.
What is your religion now? Moderate
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain As I said earlier, I didn't consider myself a really good Christian. I've always believed in doing what is right but don't beat myself up if I make mistakes. Apologize and move on. I've always believed in a Creator, but I don't necessarily insist that mine is the only one. I don't think I've changed my beliefs at all. But the experience sure made me happier my heart.
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? No
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain Some people are not comfortable discussing death and I would not approach the conversation with those; however, some friends are very open for discussion and since I volunteer in a non-profit dealing with women with cancer, we've had some interesting conversations among the volunteers and friends. As far as my immediate family, they don't question what I say happened and I have a close relationship with my husband and children.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Uncertain I was unsure at first if this had just been a dream. My mother had passed away less than six months prior to this event. Hers had been a very painful death and I had been praying for a sign that she was okay. I thought possibly, I had needed an answer so badly that I had dreamed it. But in my heart I knew this had been real.
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? The love, the warm acceptance is still hard to explain to anyone.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes A few days after, I told my husband, he didn't know what to think. It was at least five years before I said anything about it, and the two friends were mildly surprised, not about what happened, but I think that I shared it with them.
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 I was in shock at first when I realized what had happened but in awe of it also. It wasn't a subject that I was even remotely familiar with and it was at first overwhelming, but I was so elated.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I now view this experience as nothing but positive and promising. I am a very private person and have told only a few people. I have recently had the opportunity to share this event and the wonderful experience it was with several very close people in my life who had loved ones in a hospice situation. Relating this has been very comforting to several people.
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? It took me a short while to understand why I felt so disappointed about waking up from the surgery. I wondered if I harbored some death wish, but I know I didn't. On a bad day, I can take a short break, remember, and feel how it was with the experience. I won't ever take a chance on forgetting that feeling. THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE IT.