I had been in the hospital for two weeks and my cardiologist told me and my parents that my heart was not compatible with living (verbatim). He drew over 2 liters of fluid from my pericardial sac and I was sent back to my room in the Intensive Care Unit. About 4 hours after he withdrew the fluid, I began screaming and crying and had my hands around my neck, saying it was hot and felt like someone was choking me. A scan immediately following this event showed that the fluid had returned.
Nearly one year after this experience, I recalled a second, parallel experience as if it were happening for the first time. I was in my hospital bed and nurses were running around and using excited voices, trying to save me. I was above my bed looking down and saw myself and Jesus was beside me, holding me like a child. I felt a rush of overwhelming love and joy flood me in a warm, honey-like texture. It came in through my eyes, ears, nose and mouth and I became completely peaceful and calm. I was given a choice about going home to heaven or staying. He didn't actually identify himself, nor say 'heaven', but I knew Him and what He meant by heaven. It was a very difficult choice, because I saw colors and lights that I had not seen on earth and felt joy and love, as I've never known. I wanted to GO! I told Him that I had to stay until my parents died. I felt they could not withstand another child dying (my sister died in 1976).
Time was going very slowly for me, yet the nurses were moving at a very quick speed. I did not see exactly what they were doing, but I knew they were trying to save my life. Meanwhile I saw bright lights in a circle near my hospital door. They were lights and colors that I cannot describe. They were moving in a circle and sparkling. I did not think of this as a door at the time, although it seems that's what it was. Where I was, it was totally quiet (although I could still hear the nurses in the background) and it flooded all of my senses. I heard, tasted, saw, felt and smelled the universe. I felt I had just been given a glimpse of life after death. I also saw my grandparents in the room, sitting so that we were in a triangle. They told me not to worry about praying, because they were there to do it for me. We held hands and they prayed for me, but it was silent. I still had the feeling that my senses were flooded. I felt surrounded in a bubble of love.
After this experience, I was in the hospital another 10 days. My doctors thought I was a miracle! They don't know how I survived all that fluid rushing back into my already seriously damaged, enlarged heart. I came out of my 'fog'. I had been on a very dangerous, strong medicine and had terrible side effects that they were treating with various drugs. I was fairly zombie-like. In the next 17 days, the IV drug began to work and I came off the transplant list and walked out of the Intensive Care Unit. I was 50lbs lighter and very weak. When I was admitted, I could not lift my head off a pillow without passing out. This had been going on for 2 weeks while I tried to increase the IV medicine at home.
Date NDE Occurred: August 2008
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? No Illness 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I had just had more than 2 liters of fluid removed from around my very enlarged heart. It came rushing back and I was screaming and holding my neck like I was choking.
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 heard nurses talking excitedly around me. I was not able to verify it was during the time when the fluid was drained from my heart, but I know it was.
I lost awareness of my body
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal It was like an adrenaline rush to all of the senses at the same time. It was very fast and revealing. It doesn't compare to an 'earthly' experience.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I saw light and color and Jesus was in the hospital bed holding me.
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
I would say both apply. Time seemed to go slower than usual for the 'conversation' with Jesus. Time stopped or lost all meaning also fits. I have no idea how to describe it. It was like being taken out of time.
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. My vision prior to the experience was in and out of consciousness as my cells were not getting enough oxygen. During my experience, my vision and all my other senses were heightened.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I heard the nurses around me talking in excited voices. I also heard silence, although it flooded my senses. It was hard to take it all in at once.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
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 actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes My grandparents, who died in 2003 and 2006 were at the foot of my bed in two chairs forming a triangle around me. We held hands and they told me not to worry, they would pray for me. This seemed to happen after Jesus was with me.
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 I saw lights in a circle. It wasn't light like I have seen on earth. It was pulsing and very bright. That's the closest I can come to describing it.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place I was still in the bed, but above the bed as well. I don't feel I ever left the room, but I was outside myself.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Complete elation, overwhelming joy and love.
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? No
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
The experience included: Awareness of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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 recall telling Jesus that I could not leave my parents. I thought they could not withstand another death of a child. This is when I decided to stay.
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? Christian- Protestant I had been saved and baptised as a child. I did not attend church regularly.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I wake up thinking of Jesus and pray to Him often throughout the day. Every so often, three times since 2008, I get a feeling of calmness that is like my experience that day in the hospital with Jesus.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant I have an absolute belief in Jesus Christ.
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 a general belief in Jesus. I grew up in the church and so knew of Him. I was not a regular church-goer, nor did I pray on a regular basis. Now when I wake, it's the first thing I think of. To pray and be grateful.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I wasn't sure about religion prior to my NDE. I wasn't sure that the answers were all inside each of us. I had a fatal illness, but experienced a miraculous recovery. I haven't had a bad day since. Not a day I feel sorry for myself, fear death, or worry, I just haven't had a bad day since my recollection of this experience.
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 knew the presence in the bed beside me and below me were Jesus Christ. I felt I was both in the bed and about 10 feet above my bed. I communicated with Him, although I do not recall hearing a voice. I knew Jesus Christ was in the bed with me, holding me like a child. I experienced Him in all my senses and it was other-worldly.
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.)? Yes I knew Jesus Christ was in the bed with me, holding me like a child. I experienced Him in all my senses and it was other-worldly.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes I learned that a oneness exists. Not anything specific, just a feeling. As if I just knew.
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes I had an absolute awareness that I was in the presence of Jesus Christ.
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 It was shown to me like a timeline and some are on this side and some on the other. The 'afterlife' is not some faraway place or a big here and there difference. It's just on the other side of death. Rereading this, it sounds non-Christian, but it was definitely heaven, just closer than we think of it. It's almost inside us. It's very hard to describe. I had an absolute awareness that I was in the presence of Jesus Christ.
The awareness that we cannot fathom how much we are loved by Jesus.
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? Uncertain I feel like I learned a lot of things that I have forgotten since my recollection in early Aug 2009.
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 Absolute awareness that there is continued existence. It was shown to me like a timeline and some are on this side and some on the other. The 'afterlife' is not some far away place or a big here and there difference. It's just on the other side of deat
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 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? Uncertain I cannot recall anything else specifically. Just a general 'makes sense' now.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes An awareness that we cannot fathom how much we are loved by Jesus.
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 I feel I don't have 'faith', I know I have faith. People say my faith is strong, but I feel like I cheated, I know the answer. There is no doubt in my mind. I was with Jesus. When I pick up a bible or pray, I feel closer to Jesus and that experience comes more into focus for me. I cannot regain the wonderful feeling of love and joy, nor see the colors and lights, but I know that one day I will die and will be just on the other side of the timeline. It won't be a big deal in terms of not being alive on earth, but will be a great celebration in heaven. I learned that 'oneness' exists. It is not anything specific, just a feeling, as if I just knew. Large changes in my life.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes There's nothing dramatic, but I have changed, so therefore, my relationships have changed. All for the better and with a Christian focus.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Shortly after this happened, I tried to write it down and explain. I knew that there were no words to describe the colors and the light. Nor were there words to describe the love and joy I felt. They were colors and lights I had never seen, and love and joy I had never experienced.
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 Although I feel there is a lot I have forgotten or a lot that has gotten fuzzy for me, I was definitely more accurately aware of this experience than others at the time. I was on pain-killers, anti-nausea drugs among various others and my rememberence of my hospital stay is holey. I just remember little snippets of the days.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I knew my uncle had cancer, but that it was ok. He was diagnosed about a month after I knew it. I have 'feelings' about things, about how they'll turn out. I had a 'dream' when I awoke and knew a man's name and saw a wreck. I felt I needed to find his wife and tell her what had happened. I wrote it all down in great detail, but could never find his name in a police report, using the internet. I also have seen my grandparents again twice: once, on Easter in 2010 and again at my uncle's funeral last year. During the first occurrence, we were holding hands in a triangle. We were talking but I didn't hear anything. I saw us sitting together, but I was looking from behind myself. The second time they were younger and my grandfather was wearing a hat and ducking his head under the graveside canopy of my uncle.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Directly following my experience, I was so joyful and happy and my nurses and doctors noticed it. They remarked about being drawn to me. I knew they were drawn to Jesus. It was Him in me they could see, not me. This seems especially significant to me.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes At first I wanted to tell everyone! Most of my friends are thrilled to hear my experience, but some have very, almost offensive questions. I believe I was meant to share both the way I handle my illness and Jesus with people. As strange as this may sound, I am just now ready to tell the details of my experience. It has been four years and I have told few people pieces of the experience, but not the entire recollection. It is time to tell it now.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No I wanted to tell mine (this is the first time I've told it completely), before I read about anything or any other people's experiences.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real It took nearly one year for me to remember my experience, but when I did (as if happening for the first time), I was sure it was real. I am still sure it was real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real To the day I die, I will know my experience was real. I feel 'tuned in' to a different reality now. I don't feel superior in any way, but I feel like I know things that not everyone knows.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Not completely, but I do get feelings of calmness like I had that day. When I've had these periods, things were not going well with my health and it feels like Jesus is with me again. Hard to explain, because I always feel He is with me now, but during these times, it's been more like my NDE.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I just think it's important to emphasize that I was not a practicing Christian at the time of my experience. I rarely thought about it. Now I wake up thinking about Him and go to bed thinking of Him. It's brought a wonderful joy and certainty to my life.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No, I think it's very thorough for my experience.