I killed myself but I was sent back. My NDE was a weird review of my life's events.
My suicide letter gives the necessary backdrop of information. Here it is:
'It seems there is never a good enough reason to want to commit suicide. To normal people who want to live suicide seems like an absurd and 'sick' idea. If you can comprehend that a person can only endure so much pain, and when large scale of pain happens on a regular basis it just becomes overwhelming. I used to wonder how anyone could become so broken they would want to end their own life. I thought a broken heart might one day mend if given enough time. Likewise, a broken spirit may never fully learn to live, but it could try.
I never took into account a shattered soul. Shattered, not broken, because broken implies that a repair of some sort can fix the damage. Shattered means beyond any repair at all. I never knew such a thing existed until it happened to me. A shattered soul happens when a broken heart never heals and a broken spirit gives up for good. That much pain and defeat combined with the constant struggle of trying to just survive the 'why?' shatters the soul. The heart drowns in its own pain. The 'why?' echoes off the walls of eternity and returns in amplified emptiness. The result shatters the soul into millions of tiny shards.
I suppose it's best to begin with the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. It was hate mail; hate mail from my son's father. Of course you might have jumped the gun on that last sentence. You are probably assuming he's an 'ex' of some sort. He's not. He is my son's adoptive father. It was an 'open' adoption and my son's adoptive father sent me hate mail. I started it. I sent him hate mail first. OK, it wasn't really 'hate' mail I sent him. It was more like 'disappointment' mail, as in 'you-lied-to-me, threatened-me, stole-my child-from-me-and-made-everyone-think-you-were-a-hero-while-you-were-emotionally-raping-me' mail.
By the way, I don't want intervention I just want to be heard. I want to explain why I'm thinking everyone around me would be better off if I were dead.
So here it is. I was living with my husband, Clay and I had two children by him, Amara, who was 6, and Jack, who was 5. Although my marriage was abusive and we lived in poverty I was told I either stayed or I would lose my two oldest kids. My husband claimed no worries concerning either Christian or Alex, who were both from another man named Eddie. But there were moments of abusive behavior toward Christian, who was then only 10 months old.
I got a job at Burger King a week after Alex was born thinking I would be able to save enough money to rent a trailer by the week for $65.00 so I would be able to move out. It was South Georgia and even if my husband had friends in high places who would grant him sole custody of Amara and Jack, I would still have some visitation rights. I could get food stamps and WIC to take care of the rest. It was a plan to give myself and my kids a new start.
I walked in for my first day at Burger King and the store manager pulled me into the back and asked if I had just had a baby. I told him I had and he said I could come back in a few weeks but it wasn't healthy for me to be there until I healed for a few weeks. I felt betrayed and sabotaged. I wondered who could have called him. The only ones who knew were my husband's family. (I later learned it was the Health Department that called. The head nurse was worried about me.) I no longer had a plan. I wanted to get as far away from there as I could. I didn't want Christian or Alex to be singled out because they were 'tainted' by the affair so I took a deep breath and moved back to Colorado, unwillingly leaving the other two children behind.
I had planned on getting a job but bad went to worse real quick. I ended up staying in my car for two weeks. Alex was three weeks old and his umbilical cord was infected. Even Christian got sick and I didn‘t know what to do. I couldn’t keep living in a car with a ten-moth old baby and a newborn.
I thought over and over about what would be best for the both of them. I had one contact that might be able to help me out of this mess. I had considered my options throughout my pregnancy and adoption had crossed my mind more than once. I had attempted to take exceptional care of myself during my pregnancy so that the baby would be healthy.
I even prayed about adoption but nothing could prepare me for the experience of losing my heart. Even when I was trying to do well it ended up hurting someone. That's how things got to this point. I screw up trying to help. How hard is that? I lost my heart trying to help my newborn son. I gave him up for adoption and made his life worse. Am I more hurt by this than I should be? Should I be experiencing less pain and emotional anguish over these matters than I am? I feel emotionally raped.
Although this was the straw, these situations seem to have been in my life since I can recall. I'm not sure why I just can't seem to escape this life.
I have had so many moments of consequences in my life I could not begin to relay them all. I probably have one of the most exhaustive files of sin ever recorded in Heaven, so many are the poor choices I have made. The stains on the pages in the boxes behind me screamed to be heard and were a testament to that fact. In the midst of all of my sin were a few moments of virtue. During one of those moments, I attempted to make one of the most difficult decisions of my life. I did so under the guidance and urging of the Holy Spirit and in His counsel there is no flaw.
My life stood completely still in that moment. I had been living in a constant state of tornado-like moments of irresponsible actions, immaturity and consequences. Looking at the chaos swirling around me, I saw one haven of stillness and peace. A decision had to be made whether to bring another baby into my world of chaos or to try to give him a home where he would get the stability he deserved.
So many thoughts went through my head at that time. I carried that tiny life. I watched the outline of his foot move across my swollen belly. I wished everyday my circumstances were different. I cried myself to sleep. It didn't matter if he was only a newborn baby. He was a part of me, my baby. He was a part of a man I loved more than any other I have ever known. He was also Christian's only full blood sibling. Amara and Daniel were old enough to understand and remember they had a baby brother. What would become of them?
In the end, the voice that cried the loudest to be heard was Alex's. I was homeless. My marriage was a never-ending revolving door of abuse, violence, poverty, and adultery. Selfishness had defined Alex's conception. Selflessness needed to define his life. I listened to the Holy Spirit (one of the few times I have done so) and gave Alex a new life. A life filled with hope and promise. I tried to give him all that I thought he would lack if I kept him with me. I thought about doing the same for Samuel but I lacked the strength.
I found a small measure of comfort in the fact I was giving him to the parents I would have chosen to be my own. I had assurances from both Graves and Lilith that there would be at least updates and pictures from time to time on his progress. I felt a small amount of pride at my ability to put my feelings aside, no matter how much it killed me to do so, and make a mature decision for this tiny newborn life. He relied on me to protect him and I felt I was doing that the best way I could at the time.
I don't know exactly why Lilith decided she wouldn't keep her word. But I learned I was to be cut off with nothing. No pictures, no further updates. I was told she was acting on the advice of a friend of hers from church who said I would try to take Alex away or interfere or whatever. In that moment, I began to wonder. It was finally easier to just tell my kids there was no more Alex or the doctor. Amara asked if they were dead. It would be better for them if they believed they were. At least there was finality in it. They could mourn and move on. I regretted so deeply that I had even given them hope that they might see Alex's progress every so often. I felt emotionally raped. The woman I had looked up to was a sham. Worse, she lied to me. Not a little lie, a BIG one. I was betrayed in a matter that was so deeply personal, so fiercely tied to trust. I had no idea how to even cope. I was never to get updates again. It may very well prove the end of Graves's marriage to keep me informed. Just saying they were dead meant I wouldn't be responsible for that.
My attempt at self-preservation and the attempted emotional protection of my children was construed as severe mental illness. I fell apart inside. My world wasn't Alex. I had made a decision. I actually did understand the boundaries and meaning of adoption. It was the perceived stability that their lives brought to my own. That's what I felt like I was losing. Not just updates. Not just pictures. But the illusion that it was a Christian household. That promises were ok to break. There's a promise that you'll be on time to a lunch date, and a promise that it’s an open adoption and I will give updates and pictures.
I guess that the first betrayal should have clued me in there would be a bigger one. Alex was given up for adoption to be a part of a stable family. For my part, I believed Lilith to be at total fault. It was her that wasn’t reasonable, her that was abusive, and her that was the promise breaker. She was the unchristian heathen. I didn't want to see any fault with the doctor at all. He had been my hero.
My views had changed over the years. Some things regarding the situation became more clouded than ever while others became clearer. In the end, I was deeply and bitterly betrayed by both the doctor and Lilith. I later learned that the doctor was suffering from dementia. I finally had to grieve the loss of both Alex and the man I thought the doctor was. Alex I lost the day I handed him over to the Graves. A part of him stayed with me as long as there were updates. The updates got worse and worse. Alex finally ended up in Juvenile Hall and later prison; having been destroyed by the way he was raised. To his dying day, the doctor accepted no responsibility for the part he played in Alex’s fate. Having stayed with Graves I now mourn the loss of my perception of him. Perhaps it's my view that is skewed now but we live and control our actions according to our perceptions. I wish I could go back and get things right. But I can‘t. Sorry.'
I remember being dragged into a beautiful courtroom that resembled a Coliseum. It began as I was drifting off, maybe from loss of blood (I slit my arm quite deeply, lost a lot of blood). I felt as though energy was being pulled out of me from my face and then my chest. I remember thinking I was convulsing but my body was still. It felt like my energy or substance was being pulled forcefully out of my body. But I experienced no tunnel I just found myself in that huge courtroom. Be forewarned, I have experienced an unusually and painful life. If you have a weak stomach do not read:
The courtroom was elegantly laid out, its design both impressive and elegant. The furnishings were distinguished and old world, crafted by talented artisans and constructed of materials resembling alabaster and marble. The Judge’s luminous bench towered over everything else in the room, and reflected the authority of the One who presided over it.
Outwardly, transparent glass covered the floors, reflecting back every object in the room with startling precision. In any other circumstance, the space would feel cold and unfeeling but flush warmth radiated from every surface.
I could no longer conceal my anger. Without thinking I started yelling about the injustices that had robbed me of wholeness all of my life.
'You said my dad was adversely affected and started to worry about how much time he would lose from work because of me? It’s his fault! If he was worrying about anything, it was that his dirty little secret might come out! Where were you? The first time I was molested I was four years old. Violently molested, held down against my will and violated! Four! Where were you then?'
My hands covered my mouth with lightning speed. Had I really just yelled at the Judge, at God, Creator of the Heavens and the Universe? I waited in horror to be smote to ash and dust.
No lightning bolts blazed from his eyes, no hate came from his lips. I remained where I was in the Judgment Seat, no ash, fire, or flame. 'Look at me'; his voice was low and gentle.
'I can’t,' I squeaked. I was too ashamed and too afraid to move.
'You can,' he said in a soothing voice, engendering so much love and trust to me in that moment. He reached over the bench with his hand and gave me his strength. 'Look at me,' he urged again.
When my shallow and tear-soaked eyes met his, I saw that moment of violation from his view. I saw his heart swell to its brink with torture and pain. I saw the Creator of the Universe cry out with pain. He reached out through time and distance toward me, and took my little hand in his. In that moment of violation, he sent his love and his comfort radiating through my little four year-old body. His giant hand, so full of light and radiance, dwarfed my smallness. We endured that moment together, the Creator and I, both tear-soaked and full of heart wrenching pain. Through my weakness, he gave me His own strength.
There was a sinister being there too. The Prosecutor. He was a smartly dressed, lawyerly type. He was a ruthless and hateful sort of individual, but brilliant at his work. He knew things people had said, hidden things that even the best criminal thought they had kept concealed. This person had a way to dig up and divulge everything. His guilty plea success rate was one hundred percent. He reduced the shamefully convicted to a blithering and infantile state of mind, destroyed by his accurate facts and intense accusations. By the end of their trials, every single one of them had gone insane.
I sat waiting my judgment and I was cowering under the weight of his legend. He sat across from me, professional and polished. His well-tailored suit hugged cleanly to every part of his lifeguard-like physique. He was deceptively beautiful, towering, and robust. His outward appearance fabricated a false sense of security, as though he could be counted on when everyone else had betrayed you. His hair was unexpectedly blonde, and his hands and face were resplendent. Only his eyes betrayed the abstruse reality of who he really was. They were an intense, fiery grey ignited in perpetual flame by the passion of his profession.
A sinister grin crept over the Prosecutor's face. Everything I had heard about his lust for guilt was true and then some. 'Your Honor, the Defendant is guilty of several counts of murder. I would like to present the list of victims to the Court now, for Judgment.' He was holding a thick, brown file in his hand. He walked over to the bench and handed it to the Judge.
In a move even Mich'l Jordan wouldn't have been able to get around my hand shot up. The Judge didn't even look up from reviewing the file.
'I definitely object. I couldn't have possibly killed that many people. Not only would I have noticed but I'm pretty sure the police and the newspapers would have mentioned a serial killer.'
I continued without even skipping a beat. 'I mean, who exactly did I kill? How did I kill them? What weapons did I use? What did I do with all of those bodies?'
I was sure my outburst would do little to convince the Judge of my innocence but I was beside myself. What kind of circus was this?
The Judge, now exasperated, read from the file. 'It says here, you bit Annette on her forearm on October 18, 1975 at 11:48 am on the Central Elementary School Playground'
'And she died from that? I don't think she died from that! I was outraged and confused.
'Why did you bite her?'
'Are you serious right now? Why did I bite her? I asked if she died from that bite and you want to know why I bit her. I'm pretty sure she was at school the next day.'
The Judge waited.
'I was in the second grade!' I protested. Still silent, He waited. 'I object on the grounds that Annette didn't die from my bite.' I was disgusted. My impassioned remarks caused the Judge to glare abrasively over the bench at me. I knew instantly I was out of line although I didn't quite know what for.
'Annette didn't die from your bite. You did.'
The Prosecutor grinned. He had me right where he wanted me. Snowballed and blindsided in between a rock and a wall. I would never be able to beat him if I didn’t understand how to play his game. He waited with quiet satisfaction for the Judge to explain.
'Do we agree on the definition of law?' the Judge asked me. I actually wasn’t sure but didn’t know how to say so.
'It’s a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question,' the Prosecutor suggested with a smug grin. I visualized his fiery eyes being doused by water, but it didn’t help. I sighed.
'No. We do not agree on the definition of law because I obviously don’t understand. This whole thing seems ridiculous. I’m not that bad a person.'
The Prosecutor pounced viciously. 'Really? Then why do we have such extensive files and charges against you?' He motioned to the tables behind him. Boxes and boxes of brown-clad files sat on top and underneath several felt-lined tables.
'What's in all those boxes?'
'Evidence. One hardly commits a lifetime of crime and has little to show for it. 'Store ye up your treasures' and all. There's your treasure, all stored up and waiting for you.'
I looked back at the Judge. 'I don't understand any of this.'
'You understand more than you realize,' the Judge offered sympathetically. 'Only time and trial will determine if you used that knowledge well. If you are to successfully argue your case before this court, there are matters of definition which must be settled on,' the Judge informed me.
His statement a little more than shocked me. 'You mean you actually want me to win?'
'How can there be any doubt?' he asked me in a tone that betrayed a shock of his own.
'What he means to say,' the Prosecutor interjected swiftly, 'is that he feels you need every advantage possible. His eyes narrowed for hostile effect.
I looked back at the Judge fearing the Prosecutor’s statement might contain a hidden truth. His stare bore deep into the recesses of the Prosecutor’s eyes but he spoke directly to me. 'Never believe the serpent who twisted my truth to steal my joy from me.'
'You mean the Garden of Eden?' I asked with trepidation.
The Judge’s severe look softened as he focused his gentle gaze on me again. 'The gift of insight I gave you has served you well in the past. Keep true to that now. And yes, I was referring to Eve'
The Prosecutor smoothed his suit once again. 'Back to the definition of law,' he snorted.
'I guess I don’t understand what the definition of law is by the Judge’s meaning,' I said, my response did little to hide my sarcasm.
'Law is a binding rule of conduct recognized by a community as binding or enforceable by an authority. Are we in agreement on this point?'
'Yes. I think so.' I really didn’t know. I wanted to stall to see if I could work a murder loophole into that definition of law.
'What confuses you?'
'Who is the authority and who decides the rules of conduct?' The answer was swift and left me without plan or recourse.
'I AM the authority. I decide the rules of conduct. I AM.'
I paused now, more so to think than to stall. 'I see. So if you create a law then everyone has to obey that law just because you think we should. This is your explanation of how I killed someone by a bite even though I was only a little kid?'
'By biting Annette you hurt her. When you hurt someone else, you diminish the condition of fellowship that all people need to grow. Most seeds will die or get too weak to be much good when you take away their water, soil, or sunlight. Likewise, a person will die or become too weak to be much good when certain things like fellowship are diminished or choked entirely. Does that make sense to you?'
It bothered me how much it made sense but at that moment, I didn’t care about making sense. I wanted an excuse, any excuse, to make things work out in my favor. I knew where he was going with this and I knew I would not have any excuse for any event in my life. I really didn’t fully grasp the murder part so I thought I would work that angle for a moment.
'So how does the murder charge thing work? How do you jump from a bite to murder? I’m not sure I get that.'
'Being angry with someone is the same as murdering someone as stated in Matthew Chapter 5:22. Un-forgiveness is like taking away from a seed its sunlight. As sunlight nourishes a seed so that it might grow, forgiveness nourishes a man’s soul. When you become so angry that you act on that anger or fail to forgive you are robbing yourself of nourishment but you are also robbing your neighbor of nourishment as well.
'If that’s the case then I have been angry at lots of people. But does that mean I’m guilty of murdering all of them? I just don’t get that part'
'What does the word murder mean? Is this by your definition or by mine, because your definition seems way out there?'
'Ok, by your definition. We’ll start there.'
'I don’t know, to kill someone?'
'Ok. What happens if you kill them?'
This had to be a trick question. I thought it best to answer slowly. 'Uh,…they die'
'Ok, by your own definition, murder leads to death, correct?'
'I know this will come back to bite me, but yes, murder leads to death'
When the moment was past, he spoke to me again. 'You hated me for years because you knew in your heart that I was there. You thought I should have done something but you don’t realize that I did. I bore the brunt of your pain in that moment. I carried you through it, allowing you to experience only a part of the pain.
Betrayals such as these, they kill completely. Seeds are planted from moments like that and choke the life from every part of your being. They grow quickly and spread like a cancer to your soul. You are right. You were only four years old. I was there. I was there to protect the child whom I loved from another’s sin of disobedience, the sin of someone’s sickness.
One of my laws is free will. I cannot break my own laws. I cannot control the thoughts, actions, and minds of others. Were that the case all would love and worship me but it would be meaningless. However, in that moment, in all of those moments, I also gave you the gift of me. That if you would seek me I could get you through anything. There is no travesty so great that the hand of the Living God cannot bear the load of it for all Eternity. I let you know that if you seek me, you will find me. In my hands, there is strength. I saved you that day from total demise.'
I was sobbing uncontrollably now. I felt like a four year old, imploring at the wonders of the universe and then shown that awful act of hate. I felt so small. I saw all of those awful moments from my childhood, each one frozen in time, robbing me of my value and self-worth. Each one an entire movie stilled down to just one frame but still revealing in entirety. I watched the montage of vile perversion and ruin echoing painful torment as I was violated throughout my childhood, first by a family friend, then by my father, and lastly by my older brother. It seemed a never-ending cycle of abuse, misuse, and betrayal. In each scene, I saw myself die a little inside, a little part of my soul ripped away.
Where I had felt so alone and unprotected in each moment of abuse, I now saw the whole picture. He lent me his eyes, his views – and worse – his heart. I felt the ache in the very depth of his soul as he felt the violation with me. I had never known that the Judge had experienced my pain with me, his soul as raped and shattered as my own had been.
He had been there all along, his hand ever present holding mine, his strength replacing what I lacked. He reached through time, distance, and space to give me his shelter and his comfort. He leaned over and whispered into my fragile and breaking spirit a simple word that shattered the darkest moments of my life. 'Hope,' was all he said. Every time he spoke it, the light grew brighter and brighter until it could not be quenched by the darkness which sought to consume it.
He spoke again, not words of judgment, but words of truth. 'You let the darkness define you instead of my strength and light. Why did you do that?'
'What mark was I supposed to hit?'
'I have explained that already,' he said.
'Yes, I know. I was supposed to love you with all of my body, spirit, mind, and soul and to love my neighbor as I loved myself. Two things come to mind. First, what happens when no one showed me how to love my neighbor? Who is to blame then? What if I hated myself? In that scenario, wouldn’t I have succeeded at both of your expectations?' I asked. I was proud of myself for finally finding a loophole in the Judge’s definition.
'Tell me how you could hate yourself when you were created in my image and after my likeness?' the Judge questioned.
The answer rolled off my tongue all too easily. 'No one ever treated me like I was created in your image. How was I supposed to know I mattered? How was I supposed to treat anyone different from the way they treated me?'
Pretty much the whole NDE was like that, parts of my life came up and God (or who I understood to be God)explained (more like I somehow knew vs. showed)what had really happened. The end of my NDE is as follows (again, taken from my writing and yes, I know it's cheesy, but you asked and I know of no better way to describe it that would do it justice. BTW, now I'm squaring off with someone identified as Jesus):
I did. It was a moment of brokenness and personal defeat. I was taken to the last moment of my life when I tried in vain to assuage the overwhelming pain and guilt by ending my life. The Prosecutor and courtroom seemed to melt away around me.
I had just finished writing the letter. I was curled up and broken, as bright red blood stained the sheet on my bed, forming a small, but thick pool beneath me. I was astonished at how quickly it flowed out of the gash I had just created on my arm.
I had intended to do myself harm. I had intended to die and had cut long and deep. I watched in dreadfulness as blood came pouring out of the new wound. In that moment, I realized the seriousness of what I had done. I realized all too late that I did not want to die. Not like this. I couldn’t get the blood to stop pouring from my arm. Jesus reached down to me from a distance again, this time his hand dug deep inside my chest and gave my hurting heart an embrace of tenderness. I felt the slightest easing of turmoil and hurt.
'Ice it,' whispered hope through the pain.
I leapt up from the bed and ran to the freezer. Two huge, melting cubes stuck to her arm and I watched as my blood turned thin and cold.
It seemed to take a lifetime to slow the bleeding, just enough so I could ascertain the damage I had inflicted upon myself. I sighed wearily knowing it would need stitches. I did not know how or if my arm would be able to heal without them. I had isolated myself on purpose and had no way to get help.
I curled up on the bed again, resolved to fall asleep, not knowing if I would live or die. Shivering and afraid I whispered in the darkness, 'Jesus, if you can hear me, forgive me for everything I have done. Forgive me of my sins and my weaknesses. Please come into my heart. Please let me live!'
Back in the courtroom, my mind raced quickly. I had no further memories. That had to have been the last act of my life.
'Not the last, but the first,' Jesus said, reading my thoughts and responding to them aloud.
'What?' I asked with confusion.
'I brought you here so that having eyes, you might see. Having ears, you might hear. I have heard and granted your request. I shall live in your heart every day from now on. Your hands shall be mine and your words will come from my heart. I will heal your wounds. For greatly have you forgiven. This day forgiveness has been measured back to you, and greatly have you been forgiven.'
I fell to my knees shaking. 'I don’t deserve forgiveness. I’m so sorry.'
'In one act of mercy, you kept the greatest commands I gave. Love the Lord thy God with all of your heart, body, mind, and soul. You learned to love your neighbor as you love yourself; that was loving me. You learned that you are nothing without me but with me, you are everything. When you spared your own life, you showed me that you loved yourself. When you asked me into your heart, you loved me. No matter how many debts you have had, you are forgiven. All you had to do was ask,' He said smiling. 'Go now, and sin no more.'
I watched Him slowly fade away as Jesus covered my bloodstained suicide letter in his own blood and grace. He used a single, old nail to tack that letter to the front of boxes of sin. Written boldly in his blood was the word 'forgiven'
I woke up to blackness but my eyes opened to light. The blood on the sheet beneath me was still thick and moist. My arm had stopped bleeding and I knew that he had sent his hand down to heal me yet again. As I moved to get up and clean my arm, I felt the notebook I had used for my suicide letter crinkle beneath me.
The suicide letter I had written was completely covered by a thin, red blot. It was lighter than my blood, so much so, that I carefully examined the blot’s substance. Cautious scrutiny revealed it was red ink from the pen I had written the note with. It had exploded over the letter, saturating it completely. Only the embossing of my desperate and foolish words was left. Jesus had indeed covered me completely.
I felt his hand again, like an old friend bringing joy to warm a weary soul. 'Get up and write,' he urged. I didn’t know how or what to write about but this time I did not raise my hand to ask. In faith, I simply turned the notebook over to a new page and followed Jesus's command. My heart came pouring onto the page until my hand became cramped and weary. Only then did I know I was finished.
As I read back over the words on the pages, I thought about the days and years I had devoted to pain instead of praise. His words came back to me: 'Every new day dawns with mercy.'
I realized as I read that what I had written was to my own soul. I had failed to show mercy to it the most. The revelation that I had hated myself more than I had anyone else caused a new flood of anguish to pour from my eyes. I had been my own first and last murder. I had cried out to the Lord many times with a painful offering of forgiveness for countless others but never extended it to myself.
I could feel his hand pull my heart through my chest and the warmth of his touch as he breathed in it. It was time to forgive myself. I felt new life surge through my body as Jesus gingerly placed my heart back inside. I clung to each beat as it pumped new hope through my veins.
'Jesus,' I whispered tearfully, 'if you can forgive me of all of those horrible things then I can forgive me too.'
For a moment, I saw Him, standing transparently in front of me. 'Love yourself as I have loved you. My burden is easy; my yolk is light. I don’t demand murder but I do demand sacrifice. Lay down your old life and follow me.' He vanished but I could still feel his touch.
Through swollen and tear-stained eyes, I looked down at my arm. The wound was long and deep but it would heal. I pondered how the events of my life had brought me to this point. The wounds might be long and deep, but for the first time in my life, I knew with certainty they would heal.
Date NDE Occurred: July 1994
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
How do you consider the content of your experience? Both pleasant AND distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? No
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 was aware that time and objects were different than they seemed to be when I wasn't in this state. Everything looked more like hollow energy or light (except the prosecutor who looked like fire).
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Pretty much the entire time. I recall feeling as though something was imprinted on my being. I can't really explain that. The whole experience passed quickly but in far more detail. Like it was all in a flash but it wasn't a flash. I woke up several minutes after I recall passing out so it couldn't have been that long.
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
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
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 far distances but it was more like beams of light were giving me clearer pictures, i.e. other beams of light that appeared to be solid masses.
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 moaning and crying faintly in the distance but perceived no increase in hearing. Things sounded different and I cannot find words to explain how they sounded.
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? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes The light pulled me violently away and into the courtroom which was light but a solid mass (at least I perceived it to be)
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm The courtroom as described above.
The experience included: Hellish imagery
What emotions did you feel during the experience? panic, sadness, regret
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? No
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
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? Everything about myself or others I understood that what was presented as God does not hate us, but loves and protects us.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
The experience included: Awareness of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from my personal future Difficult to describe. I saw other people's futures as well.
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I believe in Jesus, Satan, God, life after death, and Heaven and Hell.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Other Christian
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I did NOT truly believe in heaven, hell, Jesus or Satan... I was more of a New Age-ish sort of person.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Stopped being afraid to take chances and live to help others live.
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 That is in the description I wrote above. I encountered angelic but sinister beings and what could only be described as God and Jesus. See narrative above
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? No
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 Jesus, again see my description.
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes We are all connected that is why it is such a terrible thing to hurt another living thing animals included).
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 You would really have to read my book, he is described in GREAT detail. It's a lot to put in here."Despite everything I felt in that moment, I never knew truer shame or remorse until the Judge entered the courtroom. He was the embodiment of wisdom, sage beyond time and place. His appearance was lustrous and his distinguished manner commanded reverence. He spoke with an authoritative voice that produced a seemingly sonic echo off the courtroom walls. His honest but cutting eyes sought to find the highest justice."
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 I wish you could see and experience it the way I did, just a flash, but in that flash, the knowledge that everything will be ok.
We are all accountable for what we do to each other: 'Those who have hurt you will be put on trial for what they have done. You alone must answer for your charges; they alone will answer for theirs.'
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes Unconditional love and our job is to help one another find joy.
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 Jesus said there is life after death.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Greatly 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 prior to your experience? Are not 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? Yes
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes I would have to put the entire book in here but read question 36 for overview.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Slightly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Unconditional love and forgiveness is what the universe and life are all about.
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 want to really LIVE before I die and to help others do the same.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes I no longer have many people in my life because they serve no healthy purpose being there.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It took me years to find words to describe what felt like a few minutes but seemed like a lifetime. How do you explain a courtroom to someone?
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
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes It seems a silly thing and I know I will get slammed for it but I 'know' things about events and people which haven't happened yet. I've developed such a good track record, my sister swears I'm psychic. It's a long list too. Most of the time I think I'm crazy but things come to pass so much it is difficult to deny. It seems stupid to say I hear from God but I think I may.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Despite everything I felt in that moment, I never knew truer shame or remorse until the Judge entered the courtroom. He was the embodiment of wisdom, sage beyond time and place. His appearance was lustrous and his distinguished manner commanded reverence. He spoke with an authoritative voice that produced a seemingly sonic echo off the courtroom walls. His honest but cutting eyes sought to find the highest justice
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Years later
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes My uncle died on the operating table in the Korean War and came back. I just thought he was loopy.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I remember the experience more accurately than other life events that occurred around the time of the experience.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I only decided to really follow through with sharing what I know after another NDE following a stroke on Feb. 28, 2010.'Death is that quintessential moment when all of our potentials and possibilities end. The irrevocability of last chances lost and dreams never realized is the tragic reality we all face. Few can postpone the sinister touch of the grim reaper. However, that is precisely how my own narrow escape thrust me into a head-on collision with potential and possibility.
In the early morning hours on February 28, 2011, the sum of my unrealized hopes and dreams were impaled on the stake of uncertainty. I woke up from a fitful sleep knowing right away that something was wrong. I was having a stroke and by some divine miracle, I was able to call 911. I felt an odd sense of confusion and panic as the gurney rushed past ambulance doors and then flew by hospital walls. One thing was my only focus; staying alive. It was a compelling and violent desire to live, arising from deep inside the pit of my stomach and reverberating throughout my entire being.
'Mary, do you know where you are?' I could hear the nurse over the commotion of medical urgency echoing off the sterile walls of the trauma room. I tried to answer but an unseen enemy had taken my voice. 'Mary, do you know what month it is?' Her voice was distant, as though it were coming from the other side of a mirror.
'It's July,' I thought to myself, silently cursing the fact that my voice had been stolen away. 'It has to be July because it's Amara's birthday.' It didn't sound right. There was snow on the ground. I realized that I didn't know. I also realized I was dying.
I stood at the precipice of my existence. I could only repent over my own fruitlessness. The acquisition of squander had been my only purchase in the vast ocean of possibilities. Then, in the muddled bog of dissoluteness came one word: February.
Suddenly clarity began to flush coherent though and focus into my darkened mind. I began struggling against the mire of expulsion and found a new word: hope. Hope became enveloped by passion and empowerment. Vision and drive were added to my soul stew. I was being given a second chance at a second chance. Possibility had found me in a hospital trauma room at 4 a.m. I vowed a course change as my strength renewed. I had gifts, ideas, and solutions to offer the World and promised myself I would spend every moment of my time left doing so. My own potential might end one day but the possibilities I would leave others would endure beyond me.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? Jesus said there is life after death. We are all connected that is why it is such a terrible thing to hurt another living thing, animals included.
Unconditional love and forgiveness is what the universe and life are all about.