Let me tell you a bit about myself before I begin. I am a forty-six year old woman now. I live alone with my dog and my cat. I have multiple disabilities that keep me at home most of the time. My days are either Good Days or Bad Days, depending how my disabilities are affecting me. I live with some manner of chronic pain every day, from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed. I am stubborn, so I refuse to give in to the pain or illness, and I just live the best and fullest way I can for that day. I have a home health aide that comes here twice a week. She is young, so I end up redoing most of her work, but she is getting better as time goes on. My daughter is going to be twenty-four this month and is making a good life for herself since she left an abusive husband a few months ago. My existence today is due to her need for me as she grew up. There is no other reason am I here today. In the past, suicide was something I had planned, right down to the time I was going to do it. I knew that as soon as she was on her own with her life stable to the point that she no longer needed me, I was going to put an end to my life. I got a lesson I would like to share with you. I do hope it helps someone.
I started being ill in the early 1980s. Physically, it started about 1983 with my insides. Around 1985 I was hospitalized after I became unable to stand or walk due to a back injury I received playing softball in 1981. I was told I might never walk again. I was divorced at the time and trying to raise my daughter. I ended up never being able to hold on to a job, due to one illness or another. I found myself on welfare, unable to work at all. As the years passed, my illnesses got worse. In 1987, I lost forty-five pounds in about a three-month period. No doctor could find out what was wrong with me. I was finally diagnosed in the early 1990s and was told there was no cure or surgery that could help me. Not much is known about what I have, so I must live life as best as I can. Medication has not helped. I tell you that so that when I talk about being depressed, you will understand how and why I reached the depths of wanting to take my own life. I came to know a lot of humiliation due to my illness. Being as young as I was and not being able to live a normal life made me feel like I would never have love in my lifeï¿½so once my daughter moved out on her own, I would be alone. There is nobody that is going to want someone with even ONE of the problems I have, never mind all of them.
In 1992, I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I was informed in the emergency room that I was having a heart attack. The doctor and nurses were a little surprised at that, because I was only thirty-seven, I was white, and I was female without high blood pressure or high cholesterol. All of a sudden, I started crying because I did not want to die - death was starting to scare me. In the intensive care unit, relatives came and went. I had not realize what bad shape I was in. My ex-husband showed up in the room with my daughter. He told me not to worry about my daughter, because he and his wife would take good care of her because they did love her. That is all I remember of the visit. As my ex-husband was telling me that, I was watching what looked like a white coating starting to cover the door I was facing. It was moving from the bottom upward. It slowly covered the whole area so that everything I could see was of the cleanest, purest white I had ever seen in my entire life. My daughter has told me that at the time when she was there with her father, she had thought I had fallen asleep - but all of a sudden she heard the heart machine beep a long sound, and the line was flat across. They stepped back, as a team of about five people gathered around me, telling each other things to do and to get. They closed the curtain, and then she saw someone go in to me with the machine to paddle my chest. They were asked to wait in the waiting area. They were escorted out of my room and were told that someone would be out to the waiting area to tell them what was going on as soon as they could.
Meanwhile, I was engulfed by the best feeling I had ever had in my life. I was continuing further and further, deeper and deeper, into that feeling of where I was. Never had I seen or even imagined a place of such purity and peace. Serenity, tranquility, and a calm I had never known before were present there. I could tell there was no illness, no pain or suffering of any kind there. Nothing at all negative was anywhere in the area. Nothing bad or evil. The more I looked, around the better things seemed to become. I do remember feeling, and of saying aloud, "Awe!" because I was awestruck. As I looked ahead, I saw the softest whiteness I had ever seen. It was spread out as far as my eyes could see. It seemed to go on for miles in length and width. I was amazed and kept looking ahead, and I started to see a light bluish-gray color in the bottom of the soft whiteness. As I drifted on, I started to make out that the color I could see was really the silhouettes of many people together. Big, small, young, old - no one was of any race, because they were all silhouettes. There were many of them there. So many that I was not able to count them. There was a sense of unconditional love all around.
I wanted to continue. I wanted to know what this place was. I wanted to belong to it. As I got close to them, it seemed like a white fog was being lifted in order for me to see better and more clearly. At about that time, I was being approached by what appeared to be a woman. She came close enough to me to take my hand. I do know I felt love for her as soon as I set eyes on her. I got a feeling that she was loving and accepting of me, too. All the other people stayed where they were. They looked as if they were talking with one another. I do know that the woman and I talked for a while, but I do not remember what we said. Then I was opening my eyes, and my head was tipped towards the floor. I was trying to raise my head to see where I was, but my head was too much at an angle for me to lift it up. I looked to my right and there stood a stranger I had never seen before. He said, "Hi! You must not be comfortable like that. I will put your head up for you." Then he said, "You gave us quite a scare, young lady." The man was the doctor that had gotten my heart started again. I remember not wanting to talk. I felt very sad and empty. I was confused. I closed my eyes because I wanted to go back to the feeling I had just been having. I wanted the whiteness and everything else that was there. But when I closed my eyes, it did not work.
I did not understand any of it until I was watching TV one night, and someone came on that had had a near death experience. As time has gone on, I have come to realize that that's what happened to me, too. This is the type of thing that does not come up in everyday conversation, so I did not know anything about it until the TV program came along to open my eyes. The more I have seen things like this on TV, the more I have come to accept what happened in 1992. When I have tried to talk to people about it, I've been met with doubts about whether what I am telling them truly happened to me, or if I only dreamed it did. Since that day, I do know I have changed my thoughts and feelings about many things. I got to talk with two different people before they died and shared what happened to me with them in hopes of helping them not to fear death. I did develop a very meaningful relationship with a young man that died a few months ago. We could speak of death to each other because he was dying of Cystic Fibrosis.
I do not know why I am living today. My life is not good. I live, as I always have, except now time has made my illnesses worse, and I can add heart disease to the list. I still need help from time to time. I have needed help getting in and out of the bathtub for the last few months. But my hands are acting up, so my functions are limited again right now. If I take in any food at all, I need to have a bathroom nearby within the hour after I eat because I lose any foods I put inside. I live on disability and Mass Health now. Disability and Mass Heath do not cover the necessities I need to purchase for myself, so my apartment is not as full of food as it should be. I will never give up my dog or cat in order for me to eat better, because they are the only ones I get to give love to and get love from on a daily basis. My animals do not turn away from me when I am sick. They are here to love me, no matter what condition I am in. So, due to my finances, on a hot day I cannot even afford to get an ice cream cone from the Dairy Queen. There are a few times due to my life being so unfulfilled, with the lack of love and of people in my life, that the lonesomeness has made me cry out to the heavens asking to be shown what am I still doing here. Why did I have to come back? I suffer so much with physical pain, or the pain of lonesomeness - sometimes both at the same time. I do not know what to do with myself.
Before my experience, I had stayed with my mother in the hospital when she was dying of cancer. The morning she passed away, I heard her take a deep breath in, and then I saw her eyes open wide. She looked around the room with amazement. I ran to get the doctor, and as the doctor listened to her heart beating its last beats, I was wondering what my mother was seeing to make her have such an amazed expression on her face. She had not even opened her eyes for the last few weeks before that day. So when I had my experience the year after, in 1992, I found out what she had seen when she died on December 1, 1991.
My daughter is the reason I have not fallen apart. She is my walking peace of heaven. I do think of dying some days. In fact, I do wish I would. But I no longer am able to even think of suicide. I cannot even kill a fly or an ant if they come into my house. I put things that fly into my house, out. The other bugs, I have not had a problem with yet, so they are put out, too. I'm concerned that suicide might not bring me back to where I went in 1992, and I want to do everything in my power to go back there when the time comes. So, no matter how hard or tough life gets here, I will sit here and wait. Because death is not the end of life. Death is an existence that is different from this one, and a whole world better, too. I will wait until my time comes to go. I thank all the people of this website for giving me a feeling of belonging and a feeling of connection to people again.
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Heart attack