The summer between my eighth and ninth year of school was the longest, and most difficult of my life. Actually, it was almost the LAST summer of my life. I had just completed a very good academic year, where, upon graduation I was voted by my fellow students and teachers as the 'most likely to succeed'. I was given the 'merit' award for the best student/athlete in my class, and was looking forward to beginning my high school experience.
Shortly after school let out for the summer, I began to have repeated serious asthma attacks (something that I had not had to deal with prior to this time). These attacks were so severe; I was hospitalized three times in a four week period in late June/early July. When the fourth severe attack occurred a couple of weeks later, I was rushed to University of Michigan Children's Hospital (Motts) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. After several days of treatment, my doctor told my parents that they would like to keep me hospitalized for up to three months to run comprehensive tests. As there was no way my parent's insurance would cover this length of stay, I was released with instructions to return immediately at the first sign of any breathing trouble.
Within a couple of weeks of being released, I caught a severe chest cold. While I was lying in my upstairs bedroom at my parent's house, my breathing became very difficult. I could feel my chest tightening up, and each breath was more difficult to take. Unbeknownst to my parents or me, my chest cold was actually pneumonia, and this subsequently threw me into a full blown asthma attack. My breathing became labored so quickly, I didn't have a chance to call out for help, and soon I was gasping for breath, barely breathing at all. I felt sheer panic and helplessness as I tried desperately to draw oxygen into my lungs. I prayed for help that someone would come and check on me. I knew I was about to die but I could do nothing to draw attention, as I was too weak to move.
Suddenly, I found myself floating near the ceiling of my bedroom, looking down at my motionless, lifeless body. It did not seem the least bit strange or scary to me at all - quite the contrary - never before or since have I felt such an indescribable sense of peace, calmness, warmth, and above all - totally immersed in unconditional love. Words cannot possibly convey the overwhelming feelings that I was having. (To this day, I still shed tears of joy when I recall this experience.) It seemed totally natural to be looking around from my vantage point near the ceiling. I could clearly see myself lying on my bed, no movements of any kind, looking very - dead; my sister Mary applying make-up in the bathroom; my mom in the kitchen cooking supper, singing some song from 'My Fair Lady'. I could see some of my other siblings watching TV in the front room, as well as the side yard of our house, the sun shining, and the traffic going up and down the street. The walls in our house appeared translucent, they were there, although faintly, but I could pass right through them. Amazingly, none of this seemed strange at all - it seemed quite natural. Above all, I felt love, as I never knew it could be. I felt like I was wrapped in this love, and it was as if a healing hand had taken away all my pain and discomfort. I did not want to leave this place - this feeling - I wanted to go forward.
Just as suddenly, I found myself back in my bed, with my asthma attack totally over. I still needed treatment for the pneumonia, but that was the LAST serious asthma attack of my life. I thank God for the incredible gift He shared with me that day, and I look forward to my return to Him when my mission here on earth is over. Death no longer holds any fear for me! (However, I am still a little concerned about the process - LOL...)
As my life has progressed, I have had a total of four specific instances of divine intervention, and I am truly humbled and thankful for these gifts. They have helped me with my children, my family, my friends, others I have met along the path of my life's journey, and with myself.
Date NDE Occurred: Summer of 1969
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness Other Severe asthma attack at homeThe severity of the asthma attack actually stopped my breathing - I had died.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Wonderful
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes 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 It's very difficult to describe, but during that specific time, everything made sense. It was like I was given the gift of understanding - there was a total absence of fear, all-encompassing love and protection.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? During the entire time I was out of body, I was hyper-aware.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning See transcript.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? All boundaries seem to have been removed. They were still visible, but were translucent/transparent. Strongly, I felt like I was seeing with something other than my eyes.
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
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
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
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? This is the hardest thing to try and explain - words will not come close to capturing the feelings, but I'll try: Total, unconditional, all-encompassing love, compassion, peace, warmth, safety, belonging, understanding, overwhelming sense of being home, and joy.
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
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a barrier that I was not permitted to cross; or was sent back against my will
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What was your religion prior to your experience? Conservative/fundamentalist Catholic
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I no longer fear a judgmental God - one that is looking for reasons to exclude me from Heaven. I now see the beauty in his creations, and know that He wishes for us to be joyful, loving beings while we experience his creations here on earth.
What is your religion now? Moderate Non-practicing Catholic
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I no longer fear a judgmental God - one that is looking for reasons to exclude me from Heaven. I now see the beauty in his creations, and know that He wishes for us to be joyful, loving beings while we experience his creations here on earth.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I encountered a definite being, or a voice clearly of mystical or unearthly origin
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes This too is hard to explain. I came away knowing that there is a reason I am here. I have a purpose for being here that, although it may not be totally clear to me, I will fulfill in due time. I came to understand that we all have a purpose, and a primary part of that purpose is to love one another, and help one another experience the splendor of creation.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain I was only fourteen.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Words cannot possibly capture the incredible love, peace, acceptance, connectedness, calm and joy that I felt.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I seem to have the ability to predict things at a rate greater than statistical probability would normally allow - I have not tried to develop this ability any further.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The entire experience is especially meaningful to me. Growing up in a strict fundamental Catholic household, I was scared to death that I would never get into Heaven. This experience has put my mind totally to rest on that issue. I know what is waiting for me, and I look forward to the day that I am called to come home.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I did not share this with anyone for over thirty years. Since then, I have only shared it with a handful of very close friends and family members. Strongly, I am just now feeling compelled to discuss it more openly. Some that I have shared it with were visibly moved, while others were more dismissive.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. The immediate healing from my asthma attack was lifesaving. I would have surely died had it not been for this experience.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. The experience is just as vivid and real in my mind today as it was when it occurred thirty-five years ago. My feelings about it have actually intensified as I have gone through life, as greater levels of understanding have been reached. Because I was blessed with three other instances of 'proof' that the divine is real, how could I not have a more intense and deeper understanding of this experience?
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No