First Person Interview as told to Elaine Smith (NDERF Volunteer):
Karen's near death experience was in the summer of 1975. She was driving in their car with her ex-husband on a vacation near Durango, Colorado. She was traveling with a cat without her seat belt on. The cat got down by her feet and Ms. Berry was trying to get the cat away from her feet. When she looked up, she was on the wrong side of the road. The car spun on some gravel and flipped. Ms. Berry was thrown under the car. She doesn't actually remember the accident, but others told her this is what happened. Her then-husband said he could only see her feet from outside of the car. Some people stopped and got the car off of her. She wasn't breathing, but then later spontaneously started breathing again.
She states that her experience is hard to describe, that there really are not words for it. She found herself floating in black space, floating up toward a bright light in the distance. There were ‘beings’ there to help her so she wouldn't feel alone. She didn't actually see bodies, and she didn't recognize any of them. She had the sense of being in a wonderful place. There were no words communicated to the ‘beings.’ It was more like they were communicating by thought. They said such things as ‘don't be afraid, we're here with you.’ As she got closer to the light, it got brighter and brighter. She had the sense that the light was God. Up to that time, she had no religious background. She felt she was going to God and that there was nothing to be afraid of. Suddenly, she felt herself being pulled back. She felt she had something to do in this life on Earth, and that her life wasn't over yet.
Since then, it has been her life's work to figure out what it is that she needs to do. She is not afraid of death. Before the experience, she never really thought about death. She was in the hospital for one week after the accident. Her mother thought her experience was ‘strange.’ Then she read ‘Life after Life.’ She felt the experience was strange but very real, and that coming back was not as real. She had strong dreams afterwards, mostly with religious content. She started studying religion and eventually went to a seminary school. She found that fifty percent of the people in her class had experienced a near death event. She became a Christian, and has attended church since. She's a gifted dreamer and prays to get dreams. She dreams a lot about death and fire.
Fifteen years ago, Ms. Berry was in another car wreck, which scared her badly. She believes that is when the unconscious memory of her first accident came to the surface.