After a normal and relatively easy childbirth, I began hemorrhaging uncontrollably. I had to have emergency surgery to remove my uterus, but that didn't stop the bleeding. The medical term is D & C. I lost so much blood that I went into cardiac arrest and had seizures and a stroke. CPR was performed, but at one point, I was no longer responding and was pronounced clinically dead. My family was notified.
That was part of the experience. After I came back to life in this world, I was still very unstable, still bleeding, unconscious and needed a second operation. The doctors needed a special window of opportunity to present itself before surgery could be performed with at least a 50% chance of survival. I was kept alive and eventually had the surgery, but was in a coma with the prognosis as not good. Several times, I had no brain activity at all. I had several separate experiences during this time. I had at least four different, separate and distinct experiences of clinical death that I remember. I don't know what medical conditions surrounded which experiences.
I coded at least twice. At least once, I was pronounced dead and unable to be resuscitated. My family was informed that I had passed. After I came back to life, I was in a coma for several weeks. I believe I had some of my experiences during the times I coded and during the coma as well. I was hemorrhaging faster than blood could be transfused. My blood platelet count, which normally should be at 800,000 or so, was down to 80. Every part of my body was bleeding out; therefore, there was no blood oxygen to get to my heart, brain, or any vital organs. I'm amazed and humbled that I'm even alive today.
I coded twice; at least once, I was pronounced dead after efforts to revive me failed. I went into cardiac arrest, had strokes and seizures, and I was in a coma several weeks after that. Because of my fragile condition, there was no way for doctors to know how much damage my brain, heart, kidneys, and other organs had sustained. They estimated that IF I ever woke up from the coma, I would face at least daily dialysis, some measure of brain damage, and that I could expect to be in the hospital rehabilitation for at least six to eight months after waking up. That is if I woke up.
The amazing thing is that when I woke up from the coma on December 7, 2001, and could undergo testing, everything in my body seemed healed. My brain functioned; my organs kicked into gear, and on December 12, 2001, I was released from the hospital with a clean bill of health.
Another amazing aspect was that my soon-to-be ex-husband from whom I'd been separated for seven months, was still my medical surrogate and had tried to have my life support terminated so he could have custody of our two young daughters. All around the medical trauma was unbelievable drama. He kept taking my sons, siblings, and mom to court while I was in the hospital fighting to stay alive! It was madness, but I was thankfully enjoying life on the other side." "I had just turned 40 years old and was giving birth to my fourth child. My husband and I had been separated for the second time, this time for seven months. It was a rough marriage. There was a restraining order against him, but the terms were relaxed for the impending birth. He had only supervised visitation with our first daughter, who was 20 months old at the time. My daughter and I had been living with my mom, along with my 16 year old from a previous marriage.
All my childbirths had been easy, with relatively short and mild labors, natural without anesthetics. This time was expected to be an easy birth too. But some odd things happened before the birth. First, it was in the name of the baby. I looked at several names and pick out a few, but none of them seemed quite right. Then a couple of months before the delivery, out-of-the-blue, the name ‘Faith’ came to me. It was a solid and definite feeling about the name. I was to name her Faith. No discussion, I was certain she had already been named Faith, and it was to be her name.
Next, I went to look at the hospitals and decide which one of the hospitals my doctor practiced at that I would give birth. I had chosen the other one for my first daughter. This time I was urged by some other force to get the run-down on security, because, my thoughts said to me, ‘if my ex's mother comes down and they try to take the baby, I won't be able to get in touch with my lawyer to stop them.’ It was a bizarre thought, because his mother wouldn't be likely to come down from Chicago, and if she did come, all it would take to contact my lawyer was a simple phone call from the hospital.
The third event was that I had moved from our home and had found a new one in which to move. I paid the deposit and moved in some things. Oddly, though, I went grocery shopping and bought canned foods and non-perishable items to last at least six weeks, because something told me that I wouldn't be able to shop for at least that long. So I bought enough food to last two months.
The fourth and fifth oddities happened the day of delivery. I went for a check-up and was told that I needed to go straight to the hospital as I was already in labor. I wasn't feeling a thing, so I asked if I could stop at home first and pick up some things. I was given an emphatic ‘NO’ from my doctor and went straight to the hospital. I hadn't eaten lunch and was starving. My mom had always told me that it was wise to eat before going to the hospital so you'd have strength to get through labor, and I'd always done that before. So after I was settled in at the hospital, I asked my ex to get me some food. He gave me a banana and went off to look for something more substantial. I started to eat the banana and called my girlfriend, Susan, to tell her where I was. Then the nurse came along and snatched that banana right out of my hands, telling me I couldn't have anything to eat! Boy, did I think of some choice words for her (I didn't say any of course). I couldn't believe it. I asked her why I couldn't eat the banana and she explained that everyone coming in to delivery was a potential surgery and could asphyxiate if they had food in their stomachs! Well, I'd never heard that one before with three other children and told Susan the same! So I told Susan I'd have the baby by 11:00 p.m., and would be eating a pizza afterward. I thought that maybe the nurse was just in a bad mood. As it turned out, she quite possibly saved my life by taking that banana away.
When I'd checked into the hospital, I had to fill out the usual paperwork which asks if something happens, do I want to donate my organs. I had always answered ‘yes’ to this question as I believe in the practice. This time, however, my late father's words resonated inside me. He had said that he never wanted to be in the position near death or at death and they might not resuscitate or try as hard if the organs were needed. I'd never considered it before now even though I'd heard those words long ago. But this time I followed my gut and didn't sign DNR and didn't sign for organ donor. It was unusual for me but again something I strongly sensed I had to do: it was like Dad was sending me a message.
So here were five strong, undeniable, yet inexplicable messages out of the blue that later I realized were all connected and pointing to and preparing for, the traumatic events that were to occur following my daughter's birth.
Back to the delivery room: I was pretty much in pain-free labor and it came time to break my water, as was normal for me. Afterward, the baby came quickly, but my ex was contorting my body in difficult ways and I was becoming angry, possible pushing harder than I should have, and expelling the baby in what seemed to my body, a rush down a tubular slide. There she was.
Everything happened fast after that, and I didn't quite understand the dire situation in which I was. Immediately following delivery, I began to hemorrhage. I wasn't paying much attention, and I think I called my sister Alison to let her know Faith was born and in good health. I felt fine, so I wasn't bothering about what the doctor was doing. Apparently, he treated me with drugs to stop the bleeding and contract my uterus, but they didn't work.
Next step: emergency surgery to remove the uterus. I guess I was already going into delirium because I didn't seem to get the word ‘emergency.’ I told Alison what the doctor proposed and asked her if she thought I should get a second opinion. While we were discussing this, I was being prepared and wheeled down to the operating room on a gurney. The doctor was alarmed and frazzled. When I asked him about a second opinion he answered, ‘Sure you can get a second opinion, but you'll be dead by then!’ I was scared to death that I would die under general anesthesia because I'd always had that fear, so I asked him if I could just get local anesthesia like I'd seen done when women have c'sarian section. I argued with him because I'd seen it on TV when women can be awake and conscious during childbirth with a c'sarian but he won the argument. I must have passed out after that.
The surgery was performed, but the uterus was contracted like it should be. The doctors couldn't figure out where the bleeding was coming from. A blood count revealed that my platelet count was down to 80, a normal platelet count is 800,000. I had a condition called Disseminated intra-vascular coagulation (DIC), which resulted in both micro-clotting in vessels and exhaustion of my blood platelets. After my surgery, I was still bleeding heavily and taking blood transfusions every half hour. I was sedated and strapped into my bed.
I was delirious and going in and out of consciousness. My organs began shutting down. I went into cardiac arrest a couple of times and also had at least one stroke. I don't know which times I had which NDE because I was not aware what was happening to me medically in this world. I know that after the first surgery, I was still bleeding and the medical team was desperately doing everything they could to keep me alive. My primary obstetrician took my mom aside and explained to her that they had done everything medically they could do, and the only thing left to do was pray. She told me that he drew a picture on the wall with his finger, to explain a prayer tree that had started for me. The doctor called his wife and asked her to call her church friends, and others did the same. I learned from my brother, months later, that an unknown person had even put the word out on the internet and unknown people all over the world had prayed for me. That in itself is incredibly humbling to me. I am overwhelmed even now by that response by total strangers.
I had periods of lucidness and periods of delirium, periods of unconsciousness and consciousness, and twice I coded. Once, I was pronounced dead. I had an out-of-body experience when I was coming off the effects of the morphine. I was trying to get out of my restraints, and thrashing about. I was screaming that they had no right to tie me down. Suddenly, I was out of my body and looking at myself in the face. I said to myself, ‘Jennifer you look like Lynda Blair in the exorcist!’ I stopped screaming, laughed, and fell back into unconsciousness as I re-entered my body.
I think the first NDE I experienced was when I was suddenly wide-awake. My thoughts were lucid but I was definitely not in this world. I didn't exist, actually. I was aware that I existed only as a thought, and I quoted to myself, ‘I think, therefore I am.’ I thought about Descartes and wondered what he knew when he said that, and that I understood now what it meant. Wherever I was, it was neither black nor light; it was perhaps a void. I fancied myself like a genie as I hovered there. I was perfectly lucid in thought, but was aware that I was nothing more than thought! I considered it as being curious. I was not afraid; everything was peaceful beyond understanding. Then it ended as suddenly as it began.
Another NDE I had was very different. I was in a space this time. I pondered that I had known of stories of NDEs where people had floated above their beds and saw their bodies below them, or had seen a bright light and the figure of someone beckoning to them. I was aware that behind me was a light and an entrance of some kind that was like an arbor. I couldn't actually see it, I was simply aware that it was there. I pondered that if I ‘turned around’ then I would be able to ‘see’ the light; I knew it was there for me. I use quotation marks because I had no physicality, no shape, and no form. I still had thought but with no eyes or body. For a split second, I was curious, but that is as long as it lasted. In the same instant, I knew immediately that if I looked I would not come back. I yelled at myself, ‘NO WAY! I'm not EVEN curious! I'm only 40 years old. I have WAY too much to do!’ I wanted back and then again, I lost otherworldly consciousness.
Yet another time, I was aware of being combined with all the other thoughts or shapeless and infinite souls of every person or creature who has ever lived or died, or been, or is, those waiting to be born and those who have already lived and died. I was aware of suddenly having infinite knowledge. I knew all languages, ALL languages at once, and all religious thought, all everything. I was one with the Creator and with Creation itself. I was the Creator. We all were; those who haven't come back still are. It's impossible to describe.
I was aware that my earthly body, my container or vessel of my soul had been shed, and I was so much more. I knew all things. I was God along with everyone else, and yet God was still there in superior existence, too: A universal power that was gentle and kind, humble and pure. God lives in me; the soul of God was breathed into my dead body when I chose to live. I had individual thought awareness of one being, yet was one of the whole, without definition or separation away from each other. We were in, through, and with each other. It was incredible, humbling, beautiful beyond beauty, and powerful in the most gentle and kind of ways. It was loving and peaceful in a way that transcends all understanding.
The other NDE I had was when I found myself in my late Uncle's operating room in Pennsylvania. Unbeknownst to me or my mom, his sister, or any other of our relatives in Florida, Uncle Bill had gone into the hospital for routine elective surgery to remove some polyps. He wasn't ill so it was supposed to be an easy routine operation. I found myself together with him, hovering in a corner of his operating room, watching his medical team cover his dead body. We didn't speak or look at each other really. He didn't wear glasses as he had in life, and it's the only NDE in which it seemed I had a shape or form, as did Uncle Bill. We communicated, without speaking and without words. We communicated a meaning that conveyed a knowing. I don't really know how to express it. We watched them cover his body, and then we turned and left the room. That is all I remember.
I don't know in what order I experienced these, except it seems they were probably experienced in the order I've just now explained them.
Back in the ‘real world,’ my soon-to-be-ex-husband was causing all sorts of trouble. My sons, mom, and siblings learned to their horror, that since we were not yet officially divorced, my ex was still my legal medical surrogate. He was deeply hostile toward my family, and me and hoped to implement my demise. He ordered the medical team to operate on me when there was no chance of survival and without consulting my family. He banned all of my family from the room and forbid them to have any contact with me. The hospital followed his directions.
He contacted his mother in Chicago and had her come to the hospital. My ex-husband took the hospital band from my wrist that identified me as the mother that matched the ID attached to Faith. He gave it to his mother to wear. She told the nursery nurses that Faith was her baby and demanded to see and hold ‘her baby.’ She threatened to take the children back to Chicago with her. My ex-husband went to court to get custody of both children while I was in the hospital fighting to stay alive. Our 20-month old hardly knew who he was, and had lived only with my mom and me. My family and he had three emergency court hearings in the course of as many days.
My entire body had swollen to three times its normal size, so badly that my rings cut deep into my fingers and had to be cut off my fingers. My skin was discolored to a purplish-blue. I had wires and tubes coming out of me from every place imaginable. My sons later told me I'd looked like something out of a sci-fi horror flick. I desperately needed a second operation to find and stop the bleeders within my body, but there was only a narrowly defined window of opportunity for there to be even a 50% chance of survival from the surgery. I had to be kept alive in hopes that my platelet count would raise enough and my blood pressure would drop enough at exactly the same time so surgery could take place. The time was getting short.
In a rare moment of awareness, I grabbed the nurse's arm and said, ‘Help me, I'm fading.’ She started to say, ‘No, your vitals are ok,’ but I coded in the middle of her sentence. I owe my life to all those people on the medical staff those days. They were determined to keep me here. When the nursery brought the baby down, and they saw her name was Faith, it changed their lives. Late in the afternoon of November 28, 2001, the window appeared and surgery was successful. After transfusions of 48 units of platelets, plasma and red and white blood cells, the bleeding was slowed to a manageable and non-life-threatening pace. I was now in a coma, having suffered severe blood/oxygen deprivation to my brain and other vital organs. I had suffered at least one stroke, and several cardiac arrests. Because I had machines operating all of my vital organs, there was no way for the medical team to assess the damages. They had to wait.
Once while in the coma, I woke up and could hear my mom, sisters, and sister-in-law, Joan, in the room with me. Joan was saying, ‘Jen, if you can hear me, squeeze my hand.’ She was repeating it over and over as she held my hand. Funny to think about it now, I had no feeling anywhere: yet I was aware she was holding my right hand. Maybe because it seemed her voice came from there? Anyway, I seemed to be aware that she stood on my right and my mom and sisters stood on my left. I don't know how I knew that, because I couldn't open my eyes. I heard her saying that, and I thought to myself, ‘Are you kidding me? Am I really that bad off?’ It seemed surreal. I had no idea what I'd been through. But she kept saying it and I couldn't feel anything and I couldn't open my eyes or my mouth or move anything. So I thought as hard as I could on squeezing my hand, on willing my hand, that I couldn't feel, to squeeze, and finally she excitedly said she'd felt my hand squeeze hers! She was sure! She was saying, ‘Call the nurse! Call the nurse!’ and I heard the nurse come into the room and Joan telling her I'd squeezed her hand. The nurse was sympathetic but skeptical, and all I could think was, ‘You have to believe her. It isn't wishful thinking; I really did squeeze her hand!’ Joan, thankfully, would not back down, she knew what she'd felt, and then I fell back into nothingness.
I awoke on December 7, 2001. The TV in the hospital room was on, and the doctor was sitting in a vigil by my bedside, head drooped, shoulders rounded in exhaustion. He rubbed his eyes as I raised my head to look around. Then he jumped up quick as a flash when he saw my head raised and eyes open, and began spilling out a series of typical assessment questions. ‘What's your name, do you know where you are, do you know what day it is?’ At this question, I looked at the TV that was running a Pearl Harbor Day documentary, with the date stamped on the bottom of the screen. I answered correctly December 7.
After I'd answered those and a few more questions, he started rambling about all the drama with my ex-husband, how he'd tried to have my life support terminated, and all the rest of it. I remember just lying my head back down on the pillow and thinking, ‘Can I just go back to sleep for three more days?’ Instead, a battery of tests was started. I'd had a feeding tube so they had to test my swallow reflexes to make sure that part of my brain functioned okay. They had basic problem-solving to do. They did MRIs. They took me back and forth between hospitals for advanced testing of various things; all kinds of things that we take for granted and never even think about. I passed all the tests. Then it was walking. I walked okay, too. Everything functioned. They'd thought I’d probably definitely have kidney damage. I didn't. They'd estimated that if I ever regained consciousness, I'd have to be in the hospital for at least six to eight months for rehabilitation. But everything seemed to be in working order. As I got stronger, I noticed people creeping past my door in the hallway, peering into my room to get a glimpse of the ‘miracle mom.’
I soon became aware of a presence in my hospital room. I couldn't see it but I knew it was there. It seemed to be Uncle Bill. He stayed in the chair by my bed for three days and nights. I think when he was satisfied I was going to be okay, he went on.
When I was transferred to another room and out of the intensive care unit, I still didn't realize how sick I'd been. I was confused about my relationship with my ex, though, and he was acting like a doting husband and father on one hand, and a ghost of a presence on the other. I had a tree outside my window in the hospital room, and I communicated with it the whole time I was there. I knew it by name, for I had touched and been one with its soul during an NDE. I can still feel it along with the sister wind that caressed its leaves and branches. I was seeing with the heart, through the heart, in and of the heart. Our hearts are where the soul originates, and all our sense and essence and flowing and being. A week later, on December 12, I was released from the hospital with a clean bill of health. It really was a miracle.
Date NDE Occurred: November 27-December 7, 2001
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Childbirth. After a normal and relatively easy childbirth, I began hemorrhaging uncontrollably. I had to have emergency surgery to remove my uterus, but that didn't stop the bleeding. The medical term is DIC. I lost so much blood that I went into cardiac arrest and had seizures and a stroke. CPR was performed, but at one point I was no longer responding and was pronounced clinically dead. My family was notified. That was part of the experience.
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes The facts have been checked out and verified.
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 I lost awareness of my body AND I clearly left my body and existed outside of it. Oddly enough, I never saw my body during my NDEs; while I was with my uncle, we seemed to have a defined entity, much like bodies, but that was the only time I experienced this kind of existence outside my body. I had an out-of-body experience that was altogether different from the other NDEs, when I was aware of everything going on in the hospital room, aware of myself and I think conscious or semi-conscious, before I bled out and died and then went into a coma. Apparently, I was thrashing a lot and heavily dosed with morphine so every time I began to come out of the morphine I thrashed around. They strapped me down to help keep me still. At one point, I was screaming that they had no right to strap me down. I was trying to get out and screaming and acting crazy, when suddenly I popped out of myself. I looked myself in the eyes and said, ‘Jennifer, you're acting like Lynda Blair in the Exorcist,’ whereupon I paused, laughed out loud, and rejoined my body, flopped back down unconscious.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was in my highest level of consciousness and alertness when I was physically dead. I had at least four separate and distinct NDEs where I was very much ‘conscious and alert’ on the other side, but either clinically dead or brain dead and in a coma on this side, and at least one out-of-body experience when I was physically conscious.
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 lost its meaning, except when I was given the choice to look at the light or to come back. Even then, time wasn't the same as we understand it. Universal thoughts, feelings, love, awareness, was suspended in time, but happening. The event with my uncle happened at seemingly normal pace, not fast or slow, just matter-of-fact pace. The first NDE when I found myself suddenly ‘awake’ and suspended seemed to have no time, but thoughts were normally paced, it seemed.
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. It's a different kind of vision. The vision during the experience isn't like seeing with the eyes: it's seeing through your heart, with your heart. Eyes aren't necessary. Vision is feeling, knowing, sensing through an expansion of love. Everything is incredibly clear. After the experience, when I woke up from the coma, everything was incredibly crisp, but I saw through my heart which was, and is, the true vision center.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Hearing wasn't hearing with ears, but understanding. I didn't physically hear anything that I know of, I simply understood things. I guess that could be construed as hearing clearly and thoroughly. I could understand all languages, all voices, and all thoughts of those who had passed before me. It was weird. We were like a river of flowing undefined body of water, as if I had just been poured out of my vessel that contained me here, and into the whole undefined, infinite body.
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
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you see any beings in your experience? I sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I hesitantly probed for my dad, who died in 1997, but I got the feeling that he stayed away purposely because he knew if he came to me that I would go with him. I was certain that he was sending me a message, though, that he wanted to play a few more peaceful games of golf on the perfect course before I came to disrupt his game, and wanted to kick me back to this life!
I strongly connected and became one with the people who had been on September 11th's flight 93, or rather with their souls. They were formless like I was a part of the infinite pool of wholeness and oneness. They seemed to consider themselves to be survivors of the tragic disaster, joyful, humble, flowing and in flight. But all souls were there, all one. Since I had several distinct experiences, they differed somewhat. When I saw my Uncle, I actually saw him and we had some physical shape and form in spirit. I can only guess that we must have been in the in-between and before going on to the join the universal wholeness: the ocean of One Spirit. The encounter was brief. Uncle Bill was going where I had been already from which came back. In some ways, I've often felt that he took my place. I was allowed to come back, so he went. But he came back and stayed in my hospital room with me three days and three nights after I awoke from my coma, until I was all clear health-wise.
The experience included: Void
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 See Experience.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I didn't sense a specific entrance to anywhere. I was just there. Either in my Uncle's hospital room, which was not unearthly, or in the Oneness, or in the void, or near the light that I chose not to peek at. They were all a little different. All, except the hospital room, were unearthly, though.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Peace, curiosity, wonderment, freedom, love and more.
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? Everything about the universe Everything seemed to be clear; I understood all languages, death and life, God, Creation, everything, love, peace, sorrow, joy, I knew all things, understood all things.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No Only in the sense that the events defined, in a way, who was there. The events themselves were not particularly defined or linear; only the identities which were made up of the events that represented them.
Did scenes from the future come to you? No I answered no to this because there were no really definite scenes, although, during some of the time when I made the choice to return, I did have some visions of my sons and my little daughter and another child (my baby) without a face. I had a sense that my little girls and my sons still needed me, and there was something very important. When the thought, ‘I still have way too much to do’ went through my being, it seemed to be something about my sons in particular.
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain During the NDE where I thought about ‘seeing a light’ and was aware of a choice to see it or not (I wasn't really aware of a choice per say, I just knew if I looked to see it, I wouldn't return, and in that moment chose not to look, and to fight to return. Later, after I awoke from the coma, I wondered for a time and was concerned whether I had defied ‘God’ by returning to life). I didn't really see a boundary but one was there. It wasn't limiting and it wasn't physical, but it was a place to cross over forever.
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 was suspended in time and space, it seemed, aware, existing of thought, and I thought about the stories or books I'd heard of about people ‘seeing the light’ and then returning to their bodies. I knew that if I looked, and there was such a thing, I would be able to see it, and for a split-second, I was curious to confirm such stories. In the same instant, I knew that if I did, it would be all over; I would be gone for good and never to return. In that instant, I scolded and urged myself, saying, ‘NO WAY! I'm not EVEN curious! Even though I was, I told myself otherwise. I'm only 40 years old! I have WAY too much to do!’ whereupon I struggled to go back and fell into ‘unconsciousness’ (blackness/nowhere-ness) again.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Other or several faiths I was raised a Catholic and was attending a Lutheran church at the time.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I have an entirely different understanding of God after the experiences. I believe that all are related, and trying to pin it all down into one religion or another is missing the point. We cannot define God, whatever we wish to call it. God isn't a person or an entity; God is undefined, fluid, existence, essence of life. Everything is a soul and spirit, even the rocks and the hills. If it is in nature, it is spirit and life. I realized especially the significance of the nature of being a soul with a body, rather than the other way around, which is the way that western religions teach it. When I came back from the experience, the words ‘they have it all wrong’ resonated within me when thinking about major western religions. I knew that I had been with, in, and most importantly, OF the Creation and Creator; that is the life that was breathed back into my dead body, and lives in me now. I had experienced that One. I was and am the One that lives in me. I had understood in ‘tongues,’ meaning I understood all languages and could communicate simultaneously with all. We were all one, so communication wasn't as much linear; with one word after another like it is in the world. Thoughts and ideas flowed, but not the same way. I knew all things, strange as that sounds. It was beautiful and humbling. The God that man has made into his image is very different than the God of Life Itself. The simplest lesson that Jesus taught: We are God. Jesus got it. He understood the deepest and most significant aspect of whom we are and who God is. Since my experience, my religious understanding doesn't really align with the standard Christian or Catholic understanding I was raised with or which I have been a part. The world doesn't seem to readily embrace this concept.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Other or several faiths I have an entirely different understanding of God after the experiences. I believe that all are related, and trying to pin it all down into one religion or another is missing the point. We cannot define God, whatever we wish to call it. God isn't a person or an entity; God is undefined, fluid, existence, essence of life. Everything is a soul and spirit, even the rocks and the hills. If it is in nature, it is spirit and life.I realized especially the significance of the nature of being a soul with a body, rather than the other way around, which is the way that western religions teach it. When I came back from the experience, the words "they have it all wrong" resonated within me when thinking about major western religions. I knew that I had been with, in, and most importantly, OF the Creation and Creator; that is the life that was breathed back into my dead body, and lives in me now. I had experienced that One, I was and am the One that lives in me. I had understood in "tongues," meaning I understood all languages and could communicate simultaneously with all. We were all one, so communication wasn't as much linear, with one word after another like it is in the world. Thoughts and ideas flowed, but not the same way. I knew all things, strange as that sounds. It was beautiful and humbling. The God that man has made into his image is very different than the God of Life Itself. The simplest lesson that Jesus taught: We are God. Jesus got it. He understood the deepest and most significant aspect of who we are and who God is. Since my experience, My religious understanding doesn't really align with the standard Christian or Catholic understanding I was raised with or have been a part of. The world doesn't seem to readily embrace this concept.
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 been skeptical about stories of near-death experiences, seeing the light, seeing one's body, etc. That changed. Also I had learned all my life that God is separate from us and doesn't want us to have his knowledge or immortality as described in the book of Genesis. I had different beliefs about what heaven was, about Jesus and about how believers are supposed to behave and what they're supposed to believe. My idea of God and Jesus and Holy Spirit changed radically. I learned that we are not separate from our creator except as we choose to be separate. Consistent with my former beliefs are that the universe is created and we are part of that creation. Inconsistent with my former beliefs is that we also perpetuate the creation, that we are God. It still is difficult and a little bit scary for me to say that, because I was raised to believe that it was blasphemy for anyone to say something like that, and anyone who believes it is off their rocker, and possibly dangerous! Jesus was considered a blasphemer by his peers, too. I had always learned that God is separate, "holy," omnipotent, demanding praise and sacrifices, and that humans are infidels, undeserving, unworthy, sinful by design. Now I know that I am God, however, an equal not a lesser. God breathed life into me and lives in me now. It's a humbling knowledge, though. it's also pure love. I believed in death, pergatory, and heaven/hell as a "place" you go "up there" to "live" out eternity, but i learned that isn't the way it is. We choose life to start with, and we can choose reincarnation into this world or another world, this universe or dimension or another, and this form or a different one. We can also choose to remain in the whole Oneness, and it is all flexible, not permanent, just as this life on earth isn't permanent, either. I have continued to receive revelations regarding religious beliefs as they have been handed down through the centuries, but here I'm relaying only what happened during the experience itself. I learned that it doesn't matter whether Jesus was married or not, or whether or not Mary was a virgin impregnated by a spirit, or not. Those are manmade necessities for faith, somehow! Knowing God inside me, I'm not sure why it's so important, except perhaps as an excuse to be imperfect, less than we are created to be, by saying only jesus was perfect and sinless and born of a virgin. NO. Jesus said we are all alike; he never put himself above anyone else, and often the opposite, and taught others to do likewise. Wash each others' feet. Serve. Humble yourself in love. Be courageous in the face of adversity. Do the right thing even if it means personal sacrifice or humiliation.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I value life, do not fear death but rejoice in it, knowing that death is not an end but a beautiful togetherness, flexible, unending, and another exciting journey. I still believe in God, but I see more clearly the exploitation of biblical knowledge for power and self-gratification by large organizations, and often by individuals. I see how insignificant our lives are as one self in comparison with the whole journey; our egos are bigger than they need to be.
Humans tend to be self-important, but we really aren't the hot-shots we like to think ourselves. Our scientific knowledge has come a long way, but is still in baby steps. It's much bigger than us. Mostly Christian idea of ‘heaven,’ ‘God's Kingdom,’ is all wrong. When we as people love enough and harness our love, really internalizing love's power, and believe in our godliness and holiness and magnificence in the same way, when we internalize and allow ourselves to be the creator, then we will know heaven. It's ok to argue with God. The God of man or man-made God is not the same as the true ONE presence.
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 would describe it more like infinite beings that I definitely encountered. I didn't encounter a being that was defined by physical shape. I also encountered infinite voices and again no voice like we understand a physical or earthly voice to be. It was more like thoughts or vibrations or rhythms, rather than voices. I'm not sure about the term ‘mystical’ either, since it didn't seem to hold any mystery to me. It just seemed the way it is. I don't know how to describe it. It just was. That's it. It is; it was.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I sensed their presence
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.)? Uncertain Jesus. I don't know how to describe it except in terms of how I was effected afterward, back in this life. I was with him, in him, a part of him when he was on the cross. The sorrow has sometimes been too overwhelming (an understatement), especially at Easter. It got to the point I couldn't attend Easter church services because the burden and pain (not physical)was too great. The outpouring compassion and sorrow of a broken heart for souls that live in fear of truth and love. I don't know, it can't be expressed in words. Also the magnitude of his love that drove him to the cross, to die. His death was taken with immense and unalterable love, even for those who tortured and killed him. I encountered Adam & Eve and Abraham
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes It was more of a knowing that life was infinite, without beginning and without end, that my time on earth is but a speck, a moment, a very short time relative to the whole
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes I encountered awareness in being one with the universe and with all things, especially as one with the Creator and all that is created.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes Yes, God or a supreme being exists; the irony of that is that we are all a part of that one supreme being, which is our home where the heart of us originates and lives, but separated from it by our earthly physical vessels (bodies). God is supreme, but we are God, so we are also supreme, but don't know it. Somehow fear separates us from embracing our true origin and existence. Where I went there was no fear. No worry. I felt more a sense of curiosity, a kind of "so this is what it's like!" Just being in the moment. Here I am. Part of the universal knowledge was understanding earthly sorrow left behind. But there It was all beauty, not in a physical or visual sense of beauty because where I was there was no color or shape, yet in the sense of emotion and knowledge wrapped into one that I can't possibly put into words. Pure joy, pure peace, pure love, purity itself that was love.
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 The infinity, oneness, flexibility, omniscience of all beings; that it is our physical bodies that separate us from the One that we are, as water poured from a pitcher into individual glasses, where we stay until we die and return to the whole. Knowledge was all languages, spoken and unspoken. The purpose I received was to circulate this knowledge, and the love, to get it to as many ears and reach as many souls as humanly possible, and then some. Knowledge that love is the purpose, or that the purpose of love, is life. Love doesn't come from life, but the other way around: life comes from love. Love is first, and generates life. Love is the breath.
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 I wish i had because it would've made returning to life here easier. Generally, though, I received information/awareness that the purpose and meaning is love. Love expands the universe and love is the connection, but it isn't "love" as in specific one-on-one relationship love, but rather a universal philanthropy that covers all, embraces and digests all so that all oneness is love.
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? An afterlife definitely exists Yes Yes, definitely, although it's hard to describe. I just know it, I experienced it. I "met" millions of lives who were living it.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I slightly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Not 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 meaningful and significant
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
Did you gain information about how to live our lives? Yes I encountered information that human interpretation of biblical or religious nature is often wrong, made by man and described or explained for man in human terms, but mostly wrong. That our human minds are young and frail and underdeveloped, almost primitive; that our lives are merely a moment in universal time, and we are like specks of dust, or merely cells all making up the one universal Creator. The only redemption we have on earth is love. Love is what makes us: we ARE love, it's what we are made of, not something we do. I encountered information that we are literally Jesus's brothers and sisters like he tried to tell his followers in his time. I learned his message was very much simpler than mankind has since made it. We are God. We come to this earth in human form and then begin to mold ourselves in to human likeness, taint ourselves with human habits. Jesus was no less human than we are; he chose to stay connected with God above everything else, and teach what he knew, even at the risk of death, but what he knew and tried to teach was not as difficult as we since have made it out to be. The Christian cycle of life is really not much different than Isr'l's cycle of defeat and faith in the Old Testament. Christians have the same, almost identical fallacies, just by a different name. Jesus warned his followers at the time, to not fall under the same human tragedy that his forefathers and peers had done, exploiting God and religion. His message was so simple, but it's been twisted and turned and exploited in the same way. And the earth will cycle as it's always done.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Uncertain It just seemed natural, that if faced and conquered with purity of heart that all difficulties, challenges and hardships are conquered through universal love/purity.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Large changes in my life. The way I view life and understand our existence is different. For several years afterward, I've had a hard time with motivation for this world because so much we place value on seems trite. I've known what I've known, but also not having had much understanding or support around me, I've tried to go back to ‘normal’ and feel I've been living untrue to myself. Sometimes my faith is complete, and other times I am caught up in what the world thinks and accepts, mainly because of my custody issues with my kids and ex-husband. They are getting older now, though, and I feel I can and want to finally speak-out and live-out. Large changes in my life. The way I view life and understand our existence is different. For several years afterward, I've had a hard time with motivation for this world because so much we place value on seems trite. I've known what I've known, but also not having had much understanding or support around me, I've tried to go back to ‘normal’ and feel I've been living untrue to myself. Sometimes my faith is complete, and other times I am caught up in what the world thinks and accepts, mainly because of my custody issues with my kids and ex-husband. They are getting older now, though, and I feel I can and want to finally speak-out and live-out.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes They may have changed for a time, or superficially. I've changed inside and that makes things more difficult because inside I'm not who I was, but outwardly I've tried to be no different. It hasn't worked. I think I was overwhelmed before I understood the full purpose and how to handle it with others.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes With this answer I will also answer the following two questions, which for my experience can't be answered by those answers provided. The experience is almost impossible to express in words. Even the best expressions are far too limited, even expressions like ‘love’ or ‘peace’ or ‘joy’ are just too banal. I was purely BEING, with all that encompasses. Yes, it is difficult to express. Likewise, to say my thoughts were speeded up would be inaccurate since we express and experience time in a timeline that goes from A to B, linear I guess. All thoughts were as one, simultaneous yet clear. They simply were, and I understood. It was more like layering yet also flowing. So I guess that would be most like ‘incredibly fast’ even though I don't think that describes it properly.
We didn't have senses in the usual sense of the word, so to try to capture it with this question is inaccurate at best. Just as all things were understood at once, so were all things touched. There was no limit or place where I ended and someone or something else began. We were one, inseparable, independent but not separate. On the other hand, my regular thoughts about myself seemed about normal speed: curious, interested.
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 the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I definitely have the gift of healing that I did not have before the experience. I had a little psychic ability both before and after, but I haven't developed them as much as I wanted to until now. They are there anyway, and I sometimes receive directives where or on whom to lay hands.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The entire experience, as well as the premonitions before and revelations after are meaningful and significant. Much of it, beforehand, I didn't really understand, though, and I do now. There was a tree outside my window at the hospital after I woke up and was well enough to move from ICU to PCU to finish recovery before being discharged. That tree was exceptionally significant.
My sister-in-law Joan who was holding my hand and wouldn't give up on me and insisting she felt me squeeze when I did, was very meaningful. The presence next to me after I woke up and was in ICU was significant. The people from Flight 93 have stayed with me. It was all very significant. Probably most significant was being with my uncle when he passed.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Some of it I shared almost immediately, like when I realized I was the only person of my relations who knew that my uncle had passed. At first, I wondered why nobody was talking about it, why hadn't anyone mentioned it? Then I realized they didn't know. My suspicions were confirmed when I asked what happened to him, and they didn't know what I was talking about. My mom told me later that she had heard him call out to her in her sleep, just like she had heard me call out to her during her sleep before anyone called her to tell her what was happening to me. I had to recover physically before I could say much, though. Everyone around me was very solicitous after I came to, and I wondered what all the fuss was about. I had personally had quite a ride and missed the flurry of commotion and anguish about my physical condition. I can't imagine what my sons and mom and siblings must have been feeling.
I did share with the nurses who were tending to me, though, probably more so than I did with my immediate family. I don't know if it was my experience or their experience that changed them more, but I would have to say, that more than several were impacted and influenced by the experience.
Many had not believed in a Christian God and the power of prayer, but after all medical avenues had been exhausted and I shouldn't have lived, and even more shouldn't have by medical standards, healed, well, it changed a lot of lives. Because my doctor, after having nothing more left, told his wife to tell her friends, told the nurses, family, and staff, everyone and anyone, to pray for me because it was all that was left to do, it changed many lives when I lived and healed. My best friend Susan and my sons Robert and Ben, and my sister-in-law, Joan, as well as my older sister Kit were the people I could really talk to about it all, and still can.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I had only heard about people supposedly dying and ‘seeing a light’ and knew that there was skepticism in the medical or scientific community that anyone could actually die and be reborn or resurrected, and had all kinds of fantastic scientific explanations about what ‘the light’ really must be. So when I was there, at the point of no return, I found myself thinking about the things I'd heard about seeing a light. I thought to myself that if I wanted to right then, and if it were true that there was a light at death, then right then if I wanted to, I would see it. For a split second I was curious to ‘look’ to see if that's how it really happened, and in the same instant knew that if I chose to ‘look,’ I would not come back. I ‘shouted’ to myself, ‘NO WAY! I am not EVEN curious, I'M ONLY 40 YEARS OLD: I STILL HAVE WAY TOO MUCH TO DO!!!’ and I sensed myself struggling and then I lost the unearthly consciousness. I think that must have been when I re-entered my dead body. I sensed God's breath granting my choice to live; God entered my dead body and filled my life with his life. He/she lives, not me.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real The reality was that I was dead, and then alive. When I came to, and was still in a coma, unable to feel my body or control it in any way, yet as conscious and thinking as I am right now, I wondered that I was really that bad off when my sister-in-law Joan was holding my hand telling me to squeeze if I could hear her. I'd had no awareness of everything going on in this world; I was gone out to somewhere else. But I went brain-dead again and had more NDEs before I woke up for good in this world. I don't know how to explain why or how I viewed the reality of the experience. I didn't really think about whether it was real or not; it was, I was there, it's that knowing that's part of the experience itself. It's surer than anything else. It's almost more tangible than this life is. It's more significant, lovelier, more real. Everything so crisp and alive, you feel the pulse of the universe; you hear its breath; you're aware of all the dimensions and time-zones and lack thereof. There is nothing on earth like it.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I’ve tested it, pondered various possibilities but they never compute. I've been back to talk with my doctors and nurses several times about the experience. It changed their lives, too.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No Sometimes meditation or prayer hasn't reproduced the experience itself, but have produced similar experiences, such as healing or seeing or knowing. Expanding beyond the physical body, but it's different. Out of body experiences are decidedly different than the NDEs I experienced, as are psychic premonitions or laying-on of hands. No, nothing before or since has ever reproduced the experience.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? A lot more in depth detail about the experiences and what was going on in the earthly life and the family and ex-husband chaos surrounding the situation. Also, there’s more about my doctor and the nurses and other issues. But that would be a book. While my body and the events happening with me were in Florida, I was with my Uncle Bill in Pennsylvania when he died. Unknown to any of my relatives in Florida, my uncle had gone into the hospital for elective surgery to remove some polyps. It was supposed to be a simple almost routine surgery, but he died. I was with him in his surgery room while together we watched the surgical team cover his dead body. Inexplicably, as we later learned, he had hemorrhaged just like I had. There's a part of me that still believes maybe he took my place for me. None of my relatives in Florida knew anything about it, but I did. After I woke up from the coma and relatives came to visit, I realized they didn't know what had happened with him. I clearly left my body and existed outside it.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? “Some words and questions are open to interpretation and could mean different things. Are our lives meaningful and significant? Yes and no, in the whole of infinity, decidedly not as significant by themselves as individuals, but in the reality of baby steps having some significance overall, yes because everything is connected. It’s a tough question to answer as written.