This is hard to do because it happened so long ago, but the most important message I was told by the beings of light, was to tell others. Of course, back in the 1970's the phenomena of NDEs was not widely known, so I was considered a bit daft when I tell the story. It's a long story.
My husband was a deputy sheriff and I was the mother of a busy 2-year-old son. I had been to the doctor with symptoms of pain and a feeling I was pregnant, but that something was wrong. He told me it was a cold that had settled in my uterus and that when I experienced pain, I should take a warm bath.
One Sunday I came home from church and the pain returned. My husband was at work. I took an aspirin and drank a beer. When my son was asleep for his afternoon nap, I took a bath in our large old claw-footed bathtub. I became weaker and weaker until I feared I couldn't get out of the tub. Finally, I managed to get out and grab the enormous robe I'd worn when pregnant with my son from the hook on the bathroom door. Our bathroom was upstairs, but I made it down the stairs to the living room couch. My two year old woke up and found me. I was terribly weak and in pain. I felt like I would lose consciousness. I got to the phone and called the sheriff's office dispatch. They said my husband was busy with a traffic accident and would come home when his work was done. I called my husband's aunt. She said her father was ill, but if she got him taken care of she would come. I got back to the couch and told my son to go to the neighbors' (elderly people he was always running over there to visit) and stay there if mommy 'fell asleep and wouldn't wake up'.
My husband's aunt finally came. My son played with toys near us. The pain got worse. My husband came home and called the doctor. He left for pain medicine. The pain was by now nearly intolerable. My husband came back with Tylenol 3, which riled me so badly I jumped off the couch with a rage I never experienced before or since, and went after him screaming and cursing. Then I fell back on the couch, weak as a dishrag. He knelt beside me and told me to take out my contact lenses. I told him I couldn't. He said I had to. I told him I couldn't. He said I had to. I said, 'fine!'
I lifted up my head, popped my contacts into his hand and went into convulsions. He slapped me conscious, ran to the phone, called the doctor, cussed, and screamed at him that his wife was dying and 'to get his fat ass over here'. He also called the ambulance. The pain was gone, but I felt loopy.
I couldn't stay conscious continually; I was in and out, in and out, with every beat of my heart. My husband told me later that the doctor dismissed the ambulance and told him to bring his car around front (I know, we should have sued the doctor, but we didn't). My husband realized later that the doctor thought he would bring his patrol car and drive to the hospital with lights and siren, but my husband brought our family car. The ambulance people were still there and put me on a stretcher and I was loaded into the family car. The doctor followed to the Med Center in his car.
When I was on the stretcher, I saw my husband and son dressed in black funeral clothes and holding hands. The looks on their faces were heart wrenching. My husband looked as lost and forlorn and my little boy.
I hadn't been in the back seat of the car very long when I felt a floating sensation and warmth filling me up like hot chocolate on a cold winter's day. The floating turned to flying and euphoria. I had never felt so good in my entire life. I thought, 'if this is death; boy are sick or disabled or elderly people in for a wonderful surprise. I'm young and healthy, but this is so much better.' I realized how heavy my body had been, how many aches or pains I had had and not realized. To be free of my body, flying, was amazing.
Then I was in a dark tunnel. The now 'proverbial' light was at the end of the tunnel, and I was moving toward it. I sensed beings in the darkness surrounding the tunnel. They were crying out to me in anguish. I recognized two of them. They were begging me to help them. I felt so powerful, invincible, that I moved toward them to grab their hands and bring them out of the dark and into the tunnel. A voice told me sternly not to do that. He said (yes, it was a 'he') that there were rules, and I didn't know them. I could not take people out of the darkness, but they could drag me into it. He said to keep going straight ahead and that I knew nothing about anything, and shouldn't presume that I did or I could get into trouble.
I reached the precipice at the end of the tunnel. There were spherical lights as far as I could see. Inside the spheres were searing bright white lines that reminded me of the filaments of an electric light bulb. I remember distinctly thinking that I had to find something earthly to compare the insides of the spheres to in case I ever had the chance to tell anyone, and I settled on the filaments inside a light bulb.
I wanted to run. I knew if I joined these lights, I would be one of them forever. I didn't know who they were, or what they did, but I knew that they weren't idle. They had a purpose. The voice reminded me of the vision I had of my husband and son in funeral clothes. He said if I didn't go back to them, I would disrupt some 'plan'. The plan would be repaired and everything would eventually be ok, so I could go ahead if I wanted. The consequences of my untimely demise would be that my husband and son would suffer in ways I could not imagine and I would know that these sufferings were because of my selfish decision not to go back. I would know this throughout eternity. It would not be a huge sadness for me to bear, more like a prick of conscience that could never be totally healed. No big deal, unless you consider how long eternity is. So I said, 'OK I'll go back, but can I at least just finish whatever it is I'm supposed to do and then die, skipping the whole 'old age' thing?'
It was as if I had said the funniest thing ever. I heard the whole cosmos laughing. I got the impression that time was an illusion, and to these beings, a second or a millennium was equivalencies.
I heard a voice calling as if from far, far, and away. The voice said, 'I need you'. Then I saw green and a car door handle. I asked, 'Where am I?'
My husband said that we were on Highway 61 on the way to the Burlington Medical Center. I realized I was in a car, on a highway. I was in and out of consciousness again.
We got to the hospital and I could only hear every other word spoken by the doc and my husband. I was taken to a room where the longest needle I had ever seen was inserted into my uterus to withdraw blood. I seemed to be able to stay conscious then. I screamed when the needle was inserted, but otherwise was rather circumspect. They brought me a warm blanket. I went to surgery.
At some time during the surgery, I found myself in a long black hallway. I was moving uncomfortably fast. I didn't seem to have legs or feet to stop myself with. I saw a light. I went toward it. I thought perhaps if I concentrated on turning that I could turn into the room where the light was. It worked. The next thing I knew, I was staring out over the Mississippi River. It was getting dark. Cars had their lights on. The bridge separating Iowa and Illinois had cars stopping to pay the toll. I thought that I should go down, peek in the window of the car, and if folks screamed I would know that I was a ghost. Then I remembered what 'the guy' had said. I don't know the rules.
I thought, 'What if I get stuck out on the Mississippi River and am a ghost forever frightening folks in order to stave off boredom?'
I decided to turn around. If I passed through something solid, I would know that I really was a ghost. I turned around and saw a window with molding.
My husband told me later that a light was on in that room because it was a makeshift waiting room that a nurse had told him to wait in. It was on the fourth floor of the old Burlington hospital by the river. If you looked down from the fourth floor, you would see that toll bridge. It's really freaky to think that this really happened. The building is no longer a hospital, but every time I cross that bridge, I look up at the fourth floor of that building. My husband saw me float through that room and right through the window. He said I looked like 'fuzzy TV reception'. Years later, he saw white satin pajamas and said that I had looked like I was dressed in white satin when I went through the window. He said he looked at the clock in the room so that he would remember what time I died. It said eight o'clock. I never saw my husband in the room. I traveled through it too fast.
The doctor who operated on me wasn't the same one who came to the house, but he was the physician on call that night. After the surgery, when he came into the recovery room and I was conscious, I felt total love for him and thought, 'If it couldn't be me, I'm glad that this wonderful man gets to go.'
I felt a bubble of love surrounding both him and me. There was a resident with him who seemed very nervous around me. The doctor and I were in some sort of surreal bubble of love and light. The resident was annoying.
When I returned to the doctor's office in Burlington to get my stitches removed, everyone was very sad. I was told that I wouldn't be seeing the doctor who had operated on me because he had died a few days before of a sudden massive stroke. Instead, my own incompetent doctor took my stitches out. I asked him if euphoria accompanied shock, because I couldn't make sense of what had happened. He told me no, but looked away and mumbled something about rare reports. I didn't tell him anything else. I didn't trust him.
Date NDE Occurred: 'September, 1976'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes 'Convulsed from shock, finally taken to hospital in another town, about 30 miles away.'
I had been bleeding internally for several hours due to a rupturing fallopian tube. Finally, it burst after much pain. I convulsed and the doctor came to my home on a late Sunday afternoon. The ambulance came, but they loaded me into the family car. There was a lot of confusion, and I was in and out of consciousness and helpless.
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? Yes Once went I went to some other place like heaven, and then again when I wondered around while I was being operated on.
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 Well, I think if I were in a totally unfamiliar situation which required acute concentration, probably my adrenalin would make me similarly alert and focused. Normally, my environment is familiar enough, that I don't NEED to be that alert. Plus, now I have arthritis and am getting on in years.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When my body was in surgery and I was floating down the hall of the hospital and out the window of the room where my husband was waiting. I was mentally alert, but felt strange about the circumstances.
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
Time was really inscrutable. To this day, I have trouble believing anything but that time is really an illusion. I think that is why the light beings laughed when I tried to get a promise I wouldn't have to live through a long old age.
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 was and am very near sighted. Of course, I could 'see' perfectly without a body or eyes. In fact, when I was on the precipice to the world of lights, I 'squinted' so that I could see the lights run together and I thought about a passage in the Bible comparing heaven to a jeweled place. I could see how someone might describe it that way.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I couldn't hear the doctor or my husband very well. I could hear 'the guy' and I heard the otherworldly light beings laugh. Or maybe I just sensed their laughter, but it sure seemed hardy. When my husband called me back, his voice, at first, was so faint, that it was almost inaudible, then I made out the words, but it was as if he were a million miles away. Oh, I forgot. I heard flute music; beautiful flute music. I had played the flute in junior high and high school and at some point, I realized that I was somehow creating that beautiful flute music. I was astonished, because I had never reached that level of skill in life.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
The experience included: Tunnel
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes
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 These were the light beings. They were searing light filaments surrounded by pastel auras. I didn't understand who they were, but I believed that if I died that is what I would be also. It wasn't frightening though. I understood it as blissful and indescribable. I didn't and still don't have a clue about what these beings do, but I believe they do something wonderful.
The experience included: Darkness
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 experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Bliss, love, happiness, gratefulness.
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
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No I felt that no one understands anything. I still feel that we know about as much about reality as a tadpole knows about world geography. I wasn't dead that long.
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
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes This is what I have referred to as the 'precipice' at the end of the tunnel. It's like standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon. It is hard to put into words.
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 I came back to prevent needless suffering of my son and husband. Not the suffering of grief over my death, but the messed up lives they would have led without me. My absence would have created a tear in the fabric of some plan that would have been repaired through the suffering of others.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant
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? Christian- Protestant
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 had taught Sunday School the morning of my illness. I was and still am a Christian. However, I think we interpret our faiths through too narrow a lens. Basically this is because we are earthly beings who are limited by our biology and environment. "Now we see through a glass darkly, then shall we see face to face" That is both Biblical and Platonic. "Love one another"
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Uncertain No one dies. We need to keep this in mind as we live. We can't make ourselves disappear, even if we wanted to. On the other hand, we are forgiven if we forgive ourselves and embrace love. But we will know eternally our own true face. I have read a lot of CS Lewis and especially The Great Divorce rings true with so much of what I think I came to know from my experience, and so does his book 'Till We Have Faces'.
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 I just think of the voice as 'the guy' who filled me in and kept me out of trouble. I have no idea who because he was just a voice, I never saw him. Then of course there were those light beings I described in narrative.
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.)? 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 That would be that if I didn't go back into my body I would be disrupting some sort of universal situation or plan. On the other hand, no matter what I did, it would be fixed, darned up like a sweater that had a hole in it. I don't understand it too well.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God definitely exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I don't know if God exists the way people imagine him. Anyway, people imagine Him all different ways. But somebody has a plan. Or somebodies. Or some entity. Call it or Him God, because there is no other word.
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? Yes I have a sense that I am supposed to be filling out this questionnaire even though I'm tired and not sure my husband would approve.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are probably 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? An afterlife definitely exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes Death as we think of it isn't possible. That was one reason I had to come back. Whatever we do is nonerasable. It doesn't mean that if we do something horrible we aren't forgiven or can't go to heaven, or suffer terribly, it just can't be erased. That s
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? Moderately 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? Yes Just that everything we do matters very much because we are eternal. Remember that this life is just a tiny part of your entire existence. Just like we tell our teens how important responsible behavior is in order for them to live a long fulfilling life filled with good things. You could consider your earthly life your teen years. Don't screw it up for your "adult" self.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes Only that life is so short, that pain and hardship are nothing to fret about. Pain in life is sometimes part of the healing process. I don't really get this either.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Oh God, it was all love. Unbelievable love everywhere. Wrapped in it like a bubble.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Slight changes in my life I was 26 and had one small son. Now I am 61 and have two sons, four grandchildren and one on the way. My husband served four terms as the county sheriff. I retired as a mail carrier. Life is good.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain Uncertain I realize the importance of relationships and that the meaning and purpose of my life is connected to this.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Much of it was surreal. I mean, it was like nothing I had ever seen or experienced. I don't think I can remember all of it, but I feel like I know things. Sometimes I don't know if what I think I know is from that, or I am just imagining it. Nonetheless, I remember trying very hard to put things into words when I was experiencing it, because I felt like it would be important to tell about it. Even if people thought I was off my rocker.
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 more detail about the NDE beause it was just too weird. I mean, if you went to Mars you wouldn't forget it, would you?
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes About a week after my experience, I tentatively shared this with my husband. When I got to the part of wondering what to do outside the window of the hospital room, he finished the story for me saying, 'And then you turned around and you were gone'. I mean, that freaked me out. That's when he told me that he had seen me go through the room and that he thought I was trying to tell him good-bye. The truth is I didn't even know he had been in that room. He doesn't like to talk about this to this day, because he both knows it happened and has trouble accepting that such a thing could happen. He's a cop.
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 Well, the fact that my husband independently chimed in with what he saw convinced me of the reality of it. Also, the tunnel part, life review, everything was so real to me. How can we tell if anything is real? We can tell because it sure seems to be and rings true.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It jives with a lot of what I've read; the new physics, Edgar Alan Poe's concept of time in a leaky bottle. Of course, many years have passed and other people have reported very similar experiences.
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.