I wrote this before I had done much research on the subject of NDE's. I did not want my perception to be altered by other stories. I shared my 'story' a little over a week ago and it has been read over 2000 times, shared on Facebook over 600 times, and has traveled all over the world. I am humbled by emails of people who have personally told me what my story meant to them and have also connected with others who have had NDEs. Including my Dad, who I would never have known about his unless I shared mine. It took courage for me to share it so publicly, but it had been the best thing I have ever done.
You know those moments in life that really make a difference, moments which snatch you right out of your induced hypnotized state of selfish perception. They shake your core, opening your spiritual self to everything beyond. For a second in infinity you realize the insignificance of everything, except for Love. Well, I have a story to share with you: A true story: My story. It is far from easy for me to share this so publicly. As a matter of fact, hardly anyone knows about this most profound experience I went through recently. I kept it to myself for a while, terrified to open up to anyone about it. I needed time to contemplate the meaning and wrap my head around the experience itself. Plus, there is the fear of sharing it with people, ‘What will they think? How will I be judged? Will anyone actually believe me?’ The response from the few people I have slowly told has given me courage to get past those holdups. Their reactions have reminded me that even a personal experience can have a rippling effect in other’s lives. That no matter how hard it is some stories are meant to be told. I am ready now.
I hope you are too. This is my story: Nothing shakes a family quite like illness can. A year ago, some very concerning symptoms started happening to me. For a young, relatively healthy female, I wasn't too worried at first. Until, the medical tests kept coming back negative and my symptoms kept getting worse. My doctors and I started at the bottom and worked our way up the ladder of every possibility, but to no avail. No test revealed a problem, no medication helped, and even minor surgical procedures didn't stop my problems. Stress wouldn't be an adequate word to cover the feelings I had for months and months of not knowing what was wrong with me. My life was flipped upside down, in more ways than one. Not to mention that some of those months included unrelated personal heartbreaks. Things were not easy. I had to be strong and wear a smile as much as I could.
Even when my own husband couldn't look me in the eyes at times without tearing up because of the fear of losing me, I still had to be strong. I treasured every simple, happy moment in those long months. Reluctantly, it was proposed that a hysterectomy would be an end to the symptoms. Surgery would also give my surgeon a better look at what may be happening inside me and possibly some answers. We scheduled the hysterectomy and prepared ourselves for a long, but hopeful recovery. I had no fear going into the surgery. It wasn't my first major operation. I knew the risks. I knew there would be pain. I knew it would be difficult not just for me, but for my family. So my total abdominal hysterectomy (I got to keep my ovaries, but one had to be biopsied) and a second 'sthetic surgery proceeded like normal in mid-May of this year. I was quite comfortable afterwards, if you can call the feeling of being hit by a bus comfortable.
When I was recovering in the hospital, I had a morphine drip that I could push every 30 minutes, my mid-section was wrapped, and I had a very sexy drain tube coming out of my stomach. All of this was exactly as I expected it would be and I maintained my upbeat attitude. When the lab results came back of my uterus and the ovarian biopsy, we were all relieved to hear I was in the clear. Everything seemed fine! I was released after just two nights; ready to recover at home and get my health back. Get my life back. But that is not what happened: Just a few hours into being at home, my pain started to drastically increase. Nothing I wasn't prepared for though. I popped a couple of Percocet and chalked it up to post-surgical pain. I have a high pain tolerance, which has been tested numerous times before. So, I just settled into the comfy recliner my husband had moved into our bedroom and tried to sleep it off. Nope. By midnight, I was on the floor of our bedroom in the fetal position, screaming. The pain was crushing. The only way to describe it is as if someone had ripped open my stomach with their fingers. Pulled out my organs and intestines, shoved them into a blender, blended them on low power, poured gasoline on them and then lit them on fire before shoving them back into me. That still doesn't quite describe it, but it’s as close as I can get. I would never wish it on anyone or anything.
My husband, Sawyer, rushed me to the Emergency Room. The physically gut-wrenching pain was so intense that nothing else in the world mattered to me, except ending that pain. At the Emergency Room, I was seen immediately. Not a good sign. I could barely speak, I was on the verge of passing out, and all I wanted was an IV with a very strong painkiller. I remember them saying my heart rate was 185 (my normal is 60) and I had a low-grade fever. I can’t remember what my blood pressure was, because I honestly didn't care about anything except the excruciating pain. I was readmitted into the hospital.
The CT scans showed that I had a paralytic ileus: a complication from anesthesia, in which my intestines had not woken up and were bloating. On a second look at my scan, it was seen that I also had a belly full of blood. I was bleeding internally. The next few days after that, I can barely remember. I was sick, deathly sick. Doctors came in and out, nurses around the clock, medical staff, and visits from only family. Sawyer never left my side. The pain was all that existed to me. I was not allowed to eat or drink in case I needed to be rushed to surgery and also to help my intestines wake up. I was told to walk around as much as I could. Every step was pain, every movement; even after an injection of my precious painkiller.
My doctor talked of surgery to locate the mysterious bleeding site, but another surgeon countered the idea due to my other complication, at least for then. We were at a standstill. I was stable, low, but stable. I was to continue to be closely monitored. I received two blood transfusions and tons of antibiotics. My family was fighting back tears when they were around me. My husband was showing strength and empathy beyond expectation. It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to us as a family. Yet, through all of it, the only thing I could think of was the pain. I hurt so badly. Pain was my world: pain that I could not imagine any living thing having to ever experience. I barely slept because I was so uncomfortable. When I did manage to close my eyes for a few minutes at a time, I dreamt only of the pain and fear, usually scaring myself awake.
Except for one night: My eyes opened and I was surrounded by white. No walls, no floor: only misty, white space. I was standing up straight and tall, a feat that I had been unable to do since the surgery and the pain….the pain. To my utter surprise, it was gone! I was comfortable and warm, calm even. Feelings I had long forgotten about. My body wasn't sick anymore. I felt light and smooth. I was wearing a soft, simple white gown. I felt amazing.
In the distance, through the mist, I saw him, Anthony. He was sitting on a white bench and waiting for someone. As I approached, he stood and turned to face me. I was so happy to see my long passed friend again. It seemed as if time had stopped and there was a strange formality about everything. He smiled his famous smile at me and placed his right hand on my left shoulder. No words were spoken between us, but his eyes were locked on my face. That is when I saw it start to appear. Behind Anthony and to my right, a brilliant Light. It was small at first, but growing brighter, stronger. It was the most glorious thing I have ever witnessed. Radiating colors and feelings of which words could not ever possibly describe; sparkling hues of golden blues and Love. It was brighter than the sun, but didn't hurt my eyes to look directly into it. Heavenly. I could not look away.
The feeling I had was similar to a feeling of seeing the person you love after being away from them for too long. That Light was pure, unconditional Love and I felt it. It was everything. It was everything that ever was and ever will be. I wanted to be part of it. The urge to follow it, walk towards it, melt into it was overwhelming. I belonged there. It was calling to me, waiting for me. I looked back into Anthony’s eyes, his hand still on my shoulder. I was overwhelmed with joy and love. The expression on his face confirmed what I knew. Yes, that was The Light and Anthony was there to walk me into it. He was there to take me home.
Suddenly, somehow, I remembered Sawyer. I looked down below my feet, to the left. Through the fogginess of the white floor, I could see my husband sleeping on the tiny foldout couch in the hospital next to my bed. Feet and arms hanging over the sides and fully dressed. I felt a longing towards him. I wanted to go down there and lay next to him. Comfort him and tell him everything will be okay. I wanted to be with him. It was as if I had answered an unspoken question without speaking a word myself. I looked back at Anthony and he smiled once more and squeezed my shoulder lovingly. My decision had been made clear without even a whisper escaping my lips. I wasn’t ready to go. My feet became as heavy as cement. I could only stand there and watch as Anthony walked toward that most glorious Light and it engulfed him, leaving me behind. Falling slowly backwards through the white space, the moment faded away from me.
I opened my eyes again: the pain. The pain was crippling. My body so weak and frail, there was nothing I could do but endure it. The rhythmic sounds of my IV drip echoing through the room. A reminder of where I was: my hospital bed. To the left was Sawyer, sprawled out on the tiny pullout couch. The next day and night revolved around my pain, just like all the days before. As the pain would wear off, it was like a countdown to see how much I could handle. Mentally I would be clawing my way out of my skin, wanting to abandon the suffering to which I had been tied. I was trapped inside my broken body. At the end of every three hours, I would be crying, pleading for an end to it, every time. I tried hard to put on a brave face. Grit my teeth and bare it.
Once the pain was injected into my IV, the metallic taste flooding my mouth, the cycle would start again from the beginning. I know Sawyer wished to trade places with me, but I would never have allowed it, not even theoretically. My body was wearing down. I was a skeleton covered in gray skin with a distended belly full of blood. My eyes glazed and dull, my hair oily, bruises from IVs covering my arms and multiple needle pricks from blood tests, hollowed cheeks, and cracked lips. I was breaking down, fragile. Life is so fragile. The night following 'my dream' was my miraculous turning point. I hated waking Sawyer up every hour to help me get out of my bed so I could use the restroom. I had decided to let him sleep and try to do it on my own, which I proudly accomplished.
When I finally settled myself back into my bed, I felt wetness under my legs. Depressed that incontinence was now bestowed upon me, I reached under the sheets to check. I pulled up my hand and was horrified to see blood soaked fingers. I was sitting in a pool of my own blood. I could literally see it seeping through the sheets, spreading. The next 15mins were a whirlwind of controlled chaos. Nurses, my husband, my Mom, tests, and bleeding: so much blood. It was literally pouring out of me like a faucet and clots of it. I believed it was the end for me. This was it. After talking to my doctor and checking my vitals, the nurse informed us that the doctor said this was the blood that had been sitting inside my belly and was being expelled vaginally through the internal stitches. The blood they expected my body would eventually reabsorb was suddenly being released. As long as my vitals remained stable, as stable as they had been at least, then I was okay.
He would be there to examine me soon. I passed over 2 liters of blood and well over 800 cc’s of fist-sized blood clots or larger, which the nurse said looked like my liver. This all happened in under 45 minutes. My room looked like a horror scene. As if by some miracle, my pain was dramatically decreased in that instantaneous moment. I finally had some relief from the agony I had been enduring for almost a week and only at the price of an unexpected blood bath. The next 48 hours my heart rate finally started to drop from the 140 range down into the 90's. My blood pressure improved, my hematocrit had remained stable, and my intestines were waking up. I was finally allowed to start liquids. Campbell soup juice never tasted so good. I was getting better. Two nights after the blood bath, I was discharged from the hospital. My doctor gave me his personal number for me to text him my heart rate and blood pressure stats every few hours. Of course, I was terrified I may have another internal bleed. He made himself available for any concerns and checked on me often. I still had pain. But this pain was the type I was originally prepared to handle. I could finally start my now much extended recovery.
Two weeks after being home, I had another bleeding scare which put me back in the Emergency Room but stopped mysteriously. For a month after that I basically stayed in bed and slept. Even now, I am still recovering. My incredible family took care of my children and my remaining friends checked on me constantly. Then, there was Sawyer: I have no words for what he did for me through all of this. I don’t know what I would have done without all of them.
For months now, I’ve kept this memory relatively private, but every day it has been on my mind. Just the sheer beauty of it still leaves me in awe. Prior to my NDE (near death experience), I had no real knowledge of them. Of course, I had heard of them, like many of us have, but never put much thought into them. To me, they weren't relevant and I most defiantly never expected anything like this to happen to me personally. It wasn't a preexisting thought in my head and nothing my imagination could have ever created. The research I've done since has only confirmed my experience for me. There are amazingly similar experiences and feelings from people all around the world. Some who have died and some who were close to death. There is no doubt in my mind that what happened to me was real. This story is not meant to be preachy.
I have always considered myself to have a healthy balance between faith, spirituality, and science. I have not changed my views; rather I believe it has solidified what I've always felt in my heart and soul to be true. No matter what religion you practice or if you have no faith at all: there is one thing that cannot be denied, Love. I've always believed that God is Love. There is a greater energy out there that we are all bound to and I am witness to it. I need no other explanations. What I am left with is a knowing, the existence of a higher power. A greater entity in whatever way you choose to believe in it or not to believe in it. Any doubt that I may have ever had about an afterlife or Heaven, has been erased. It exists. I no longer fear death. I fear pain, but not death.
Death itself is the most beautiful thing you will ever experience. I have stood at the edge of eternity and had the divine privilege to choose to come back. I made that choice for Sawyer, for love. Even as I type that, I am tearing up. I no longer question the purpose of life. I feel more peaceful than I ever have before. Although pain, selfishness, and brutality will sadly always be part of this world, I know that there is a world of Love and Light beyond this. A place of peace beyond what our mortal bodies can comprehend and it is waiting for me and waiting for you. -Jessie S
Date NDE Occurred: 'May 22, 2013'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death' Two complications from an abdominal hysterectomy- a paralytic ileus and internal bleeding from an unknown source.
I was bleeding internally and was in a lot of pain. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink for over a week, in case I had to be rushed into surgery. I had two blood transfusions.
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 I saw my husband sleeping below me.
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 Once I came out of it, I kind of forgot about it for a day or two because my pain was so intense. Once the pain stopped, I could remember in vivid detail what happened in my experience. Compared to my status at the current time, being on strong painkillers and having severe pain, I was much more alert and aware of what was happening because the pain was gone suddenly. It was the only time I did not feel pain.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? From the beginning to the end of it.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I 'felt' more. Visually things were amazing, but I felt like I was communicating with my 'passed away' friend through thoughts. I felt at one with everything.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Hmm, I don't remember hearing anything during the experience itself. But when I opened my eyes from the experience, I first felt my pain return and then heard my IV monitor.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No No tunnel that I can remember, but I did 'fall backwards' through space.
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 best friend, Anthony. He is the only person I have been very close to that has passed away.
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? No The most glorious sight I have ever witnessed. It was everything.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm It was a white space. Kind of like an endless room of soft white.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Overwhelming Love and Peace. Happiness. Joy. Oneness. Comfort.
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 I know that above all Love is the most important. I feel peace even now.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain Once my decision had been made, I was unable to move forward towards the Light.
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 Once I had 'made my decision' based on my love for my husband, I was not allowed to follow Anthony into the Light. My feet would not move.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Secular unaffiliated I was raised Catholic, but I like to incorporate other religions. I see myself as 'spiritual' rather than 'religious'.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No Not really, but I felt like I was on the right track anyways.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Secular unaffiliated While I still practice the Catholic faith, I still consider myself 'spiritual'. Any religion or faith that practices Love is correct in my eyes.
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 do not doubt that there is a 'life' after death and that there is one supreme energy that connects us all- God- through overpowering Love and peace.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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 One of my best friends who passed away June 9, 2011 was there to greet me. He was so happy. We communicated, but not through voice.
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? Yes I had my doubts about life after death before my experience. I no longer doubt it.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes Yes, we are all connected. All living things.
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' does exist. It is the spirit that binds us all together. It is hard to describe.
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 My purpose is to Love and show acceptance; to have more patience and to teach through Love.
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes They are trivial. Most of our daily stresses do not matter in the large scheme of things. What matters 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 I just have a 'knowing' that there is something greater for us when we die. That we are all connected.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly 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 possibly 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? No I was just so at peace and comfortable during my experience. I knew that most things we worry about are minor. Above all, Love is the greatest gift. To be closer to God is to Love.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes It was all about Love.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes God is Love and Love is everything.
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 Slight changes in my life. I don't have much change, except that I have more peace and I am easier to forgive faults in others.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No Not much.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Very much so, I find that only people who have experienced an NDE are able to truly understand.
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 itself more than I remember the entire hospital stay.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I did before the experience and have not noticed a significant increase in them since, not yet at least.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The Light
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It took me a week before I told my husband. I was scared to tell anyone because they were all so afraid I was going to die, that I didn't want to tell them how close I really came. The first person I told was Anthony's mother, then my husband. After that, I told a few close friends but not much detail. A week ago, I completed a 'short story' about my experience and made it public through my Facebook account.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I had heard about them, but no real knowledge. I honestly wasn't interested in them at all.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real It was very real to me. It has always felt more like a memory.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I still believe it is real.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No