My appendix ruptured. For some reason the doctors were unable to diagnose what was wrong with me, despite being seen by several doctors. When my mother realized I was dying, she took me, yet again, to the emergency room and demanded they figure out what was wrong with me. We were fortunate that the doctor on duty that night was a doctor from India and he asked ME to tell him what is wrong. I told him that it was my appendix. I had told every other doctor that had examined me, but he was the first to listen to me and believe me. They had been set to do an exploratory surgery on me. But after the doctor had talked to me, he decided to do an appendectomy instead. This surgery was done quite a long time, like weeks, after my appendix had burst. Gangrene had set in by this time and my body was a mess. I bled out and died. My heart stopped while on the operating table. The last thing I remember before going under general anesthesia is the anesthesiologist asking me to count backwards from 10. I told her how beautiful she looked and then thought to myself, 'If only she gave up the blue eye shadow. It doesn't do a thing for her complexion.' I heard her and everyone chuckling at that last bit as I went under. I remember feeling somewhat mortified that I had said that aloud. The next thing I remember is coming out of my body. I was floating up towards the ceiling of the operating room and toward the light. At that point, it was just the bright lights in the operating room. I looked down and saw my body with many people around it. I did not feel any attachment to my body or regret upon leaving it. I felt mildly curious as to what they were all doing. I decided it was really none of my concern. I felt so light and free: free of the pain of the past several weeks and free of the pain of my life up to that point. I felt like I had nothing too important to keep me from leaving, especially since my body had been nothing but a source of pain. I felt more than ready to go. I continued floating up and out of the hospital. I saw the city and all the people going about their business. The higher I floated, the people and places growing smaller and smaller until I could see the earth itself growing smaller and smaller. I began to feel and see a complete connection to everyone, every creature, every plant, every rock - everything. I could see how we are all connected, part of each other, and part of God. I felt so much love. I felt a joy that is indescribable. I really don't have the words to describe how completely joyful, perfect, whole, and part of everything I felt and knew. Before I died, I questioned everything. Here, I knew everything and there were no more questions.
At one point, I floated into the clouds and decided to stop there for a bit. I have no idea why I did that and it doesn't really matter, I suppose. I stopped just for pure joy. I remember becoming smaller and smaller until I became part of the cloud. I became a water particle and then smaller than that. I kept shrinking until I was just like an atom, perhaps. I could see each particle of the cloud and what we looked like down to our tiniest level. It was beautiful; we were beautiful. I had shed the sense of my body very quickly. I was simply nothing and everything all at once. I eventually left the cloud, still with no sense of a 'body.' I was I. I was pure energy, purely beautiful and whole. I was pure love and yet still 'me.' I left the earth and went toward the light very quickly after that. I was part of the light. I could have stayed there forever and I maybe did because time no longer existed. I then became aware of three 'Beings.' They were golden light and beautiful. We were one, yet separate somehow. They sometimes had a form and sometimes were only an amazing golden light. I knew them somehow, but not from the life I had just left. They called me their beloved daughter and said that I had a choice to make. I could come with them and dwell in the light forever. Or, I could go back to being the daughter Margaret. I couldn't understand why they thought I would want to go back. Being there with them was so beautiful. They told me my lessons were not complete and I still had much to learn and much to teach others. They told me that I was needed. They told me that they are always with me and that I must remember that I am not alone. None of us are ever alone no matter how much we may feel so from time to time. Life is beautiful even when we know nothing but pain. My choice all came down to love and responsibility to one another. So I chose, very reluctantly, to come back. Going back into my body was not as easy as leaving it. I woke up vomiting in the recovery room and felt incredible pain, both physically and emotionally. (I feel somewhat sick to my stomach just thinking about it now.) From time to time, I wonder if I made the right choice, and if in any way I have managed to learn or teach anything at all about love.
Date NDE Occurred: 1974
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness Surgery-related. While under general anesthesia. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function)
My appendix ruptured. Gangrene had set in by this time and my body was a mess. I bled out and died. My heart stopped while on the operating table.
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 the doctors and nurses trying to revive my body. I was told later that that is what happened.
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. I don't live my life feeling at one with everything for the most part. Sometimes I get that sense, but it's not a constant feeling or experience. I see what's in front of me, not all around me near and far. That's a tough question to answer.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I became one with everything
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
I may have been there forever or for only a second, time had no meaning.
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 could 'see' everything. Now I need my glasses or I bump into everything.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I could hear everything without words or sounds being made.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
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? Yes The three 'Beings' that I met were very old and I knew them as part of my family, although I had not ever met them during my life.
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 and then I was the light. I don't know how to describe it.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I was in a place that was filled was light. Jesus said, 'I am the Light...' I used to think that was a metaphor, but my experience of heaven and God was of Light and energy.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Pure 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 or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I knew and understood everything. Unfortunately, I lost that knowing when I came back to my body. Or, perhaps, it's a blessing that I forgot.
The experience included: Life review
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? Scenes from my personal future I knew and saw my children yet to be born. Maybe that is who the three 'Beings' were: my three children waiting to be born again. That I don't know for sure, but have sensed it is true.
Did you come to a border or point of no return? I came to a definite conscious decision to return to life I did not want to return to my life, but I felt an obligation, a responsibility of sorts. I needed to finish what I had begun, to learn and to teach. I had a responsibility to the children I had yet to give birth to. It's very hard to explain something that I knew without real reason, as we know it.
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? Other or several faiths I was raised Lutheran, but also the 'old ways' of Iceland were honored in my family. I had my doubts about Christianity and had left the church a few years prior to my dying.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I became much more interested in the 'old ways' of my ancestors.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Other or several faiths Pretty much the same as how I was raised, although I do not go to church very often, nor do I any longer have a formal practice of the old ways. I believe in God completely and came back from my experience knowing does exist.
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 thought heaven would be different. I'd always imagined a magical kingdom of a more earthly nature. I had thought my grandmother or someone else I knew who had gone before me or that Jesus would come to me and take me with Him and he’d greet me. I believed I'd see Jesus and it did not occur to me that perhaps God is one and is simply known by many names. I thought I'd remain as my ‘heavenly body’ and me would still look like ‘the me’ I knew. It was very different from what I had always thought and was taught it would be. I thought there would be trillions of angels singing in a choir. There was music, but not like what we know as music. It was just part of everything.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I know God exists and that love and kindness are all that really matters.
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 already described the three beings I met and they spoke to me, but not with words. Although I remember our communication as them speaking words to me.
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.)? Uncertain I felt the presence of God. I felt one with God and surrounded by God, who I know in this life as Jesus, but I did not sense that God has a certain or only one name. Jesus, Muhammad, etc. are just names we give to God to help us understand and feel connected. I knew that to be true then, and I believe it to be true now.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes I became aware and knew that I had existed in many lives prior to being Margaret, and not always as human.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes I became one with everything and knew, felt, saw how we are all connected. As I was leaving the earth I could see the connections as strands of light at first and then I couldn't 'see' those connections, but it just was.
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 I knew God and was very aware of God's presence and existence as separate from me and as part of me. God definitely exists.
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 learn and to teach, but for others it may be different. I'm not sure if that is 'special knowledge' or not, but it's my 'special' purpose for this life. Right now, I am in mostly a learning phase of life, although I believe God brought my best friend into my life for us to learn about what true love is from each other. My children have taught me so much about love and all its challenges. Love is not an easy thing for me, as my nature is somewhat self-centered. On the other hand, I do love with all my heart and soul. I need more work on loving the 'unlovable.' That includes learning to love the 'unlovable' aspects of myself. I'm not sure if that answers your question. I believe we all have a special purpose.
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 To learn and to teach. Love is the meaning and the purpose.
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife probably exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I was very aware and knew that life continues after death, although in a different form from what we experience here.
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? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
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? Yes Forgive and be forgiven. Let love lead your choices and be of service to others in whatever way you can: Big or small.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes To remember, always, that none of us is alone and we are loved beyond measure.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Not compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Oh, yes. Very much so. My experience was one of pure love and joy.
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 answered this question a bit earlier. I began to care about people more so than I had before. I also began to care about the earth and how we take care of it - or not, as is the case today.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I'm more compassionate and loving. I'm forgiving. I feel things more deeply. I'm more connected to living now, not because I'm fearful of death, but because life is very short and we have so much to learn before we go.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Words are inadequate. Life can be brutal at times and sometimes it's hard to remember such joy and not be present in it. Other times remembering is a comfort and gives me hope. There are also times when I come close to feeling here and now what it felt like to be in heaven. There are times that I remember that heaven and God are right here within us and all around us. Over all, I never doubt that I am loved.
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 th There is a lot I do not remember. I don't know everything, now that I am here again. But my memories of my time in heaven are more vivid to me that anything else I have experienced before or since then. It was the defining experience of my life. Prior to dying, I felt very awkward and uncomfortable with someone who was experiencing grief or any type of crisis. That changed for me, I changed. My mother worked as a counselor at a detox center at that time and she worked during the day, but also a lot of evenings. Sometimes her clients would call the house looking for her when they were in crisis - about to go off the wagon or whatnot and if she weren’t there, I would talk to them. I was fourteen years old at the time with very little life experience and certainly, no experience of addiction of any kind, but I always somehow knew what to say to them to help them. I can only think that somehow God was giving me the right words to say to help them. I never told my mother, but they began to tell her how I had helped them and 'saved' them. In 1974, it was a very different time than today. My mother never told me to stop talking to them when they called and so I would talk to them in the evenings when she wasn't home. Who I was before would have never been able to do that. Forgiveness is also something that came much easier for me, afterwards. Understanding people and loving them. Thank you for doing this. I haven't thought about my experience for a long time, not really. It was so long ago. Just writing about it has brought back the joy I knew and I feel very close to God. God bless you and keep you.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I'd rather not describe my experiences.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared it with my mother very soon after I was released from the hospital and we were at home. Her reaction was positive. I've shared it with a few close friends and I've shared it with a few people who have felt hopeless. I shared it with a philosophy class I was taking, not in detail, but the gist of it. The teacher scoffed at me and explained to me that it was simply my brain still functioning and dreaming it up to comfort me. That seems to be the popular explanation these days, but that's ok. I understand that for some of us we need to experience something before we can really believe it. That's how I was in many ways and still am. I know it was real.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain I don't remember because it was so long ago. I may have heard or read about it.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely rea.l I viewed it as a true experience, because I experienced it. The same way I am experiencing my sitting here at my table on my balcony and typing these words, hearing the TV on a program to which I'm not paying attention. How do I know what I am experiencing right now is real? I just do. I know the difference between a dream I have had the night before and the reality of waking up to my day-to-day life. How? I just do.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I believe it was a blessing that not everyone gets to experience. It was a beautiful experience and as real as I am breathing right now.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I'd rather not answer the question.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Not at this time.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? I can't think of anything right now.
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