I never had a whole lot of belief in a divine power mostly because I found it all to be hard to believe. Sunday school was a weekly social event and I enjoyed the stories the teachers told us every week, but that is just what they were to me - stories. Following the teachings of the church, I took my communion when I was twelve. Sunday school ended and I started going to the church service and junior high school.
Junior high school uncovered the scientist in me, but I still had a strong allegiance to God and prayer. I soon found that I needed to have a cause or reason for everything. Darwin's theory became more believable than the Bible. It was more logical and made more sense. The more I studied science, the more I moved away from the church. I stayed on this path until I was nineteen years old and my beliefs were rattled to the core.
My mother passed away after having three operations and suffering in severe pain for almost a year. That merciful God that I was taught to believe in had abandoned her. She never once gave up her faith in God. How could this maker of miracles let her suffer so? I prayed for her healing. How could he take her away from me? I wasn't ready for her to go. How could he let me down? It was then that I gave up what little faith I had left.
I had no use for the church, God or prayer anymore and was an unbeliever. My sister-in-law was a strong Catholic and she wasn't going to give up on me. She would pray for my soul and me every day. She even had her priest visit me in the hospital.
The upcoming surgery was no big deal to me. I had an operation when I was about four or five years old and really don't remember much about it except that I had a sore throat and I had been promised some ice cream. This operation was a little more serious, but routine at this hospital, with little chance of complications. Linda, the lady next to me in my semi-private room, was having the same surgery by the same doctor on the same day.
Linda was just a little more concerned than I was. She started to bite her fingernails and then she stopped and showed me the little white rim on her nails.
'It took me six weeks to get my fingernails like this,' she said, holding her hands out to me to show me the little white rims on the tips of her fingers.
'How did you get your nails to grow so nice?' She held my hand and examined each nail, one by one.
'I didn't do anything to them. They just grow.' I told her not to worry. My Aunt Ruth, who worked in the Emergency Room, had said that our doctor, 'Doctor 'T', was the best in the hospital.'
Father Tim came into my hospital room just as they were prepping me for my operation. I told him, 'I didn't believe in God anymore,' and that I needed proof.
He said, 'When the rain falls, it makes streams and then rivers'.
'You can see it and feel it.' As he poured some ice water into a glass, he continued, 'You can pour the water into a glass and drink the water.' Father Tim smiled and handed me the glass.
'Why you can even freeze it and make it hard or you can boil the water and it will evaporate.' Then he asked, 'When it evaporates, you can't see it anymore, is it still there?' 'Is it still water?'
'Yes,' I said.
'But how do you know?' He was looking straight into my eyes. 'You can't see or feel it anymore.' Father Tim came a little closer, 'How can you believe that it will be water again?'
'I don't know. I just do.'
'That's why it is called blind faith, 'and he turned and looked at me again. 'I don't know how or why,' he said, 'but I believe you will find your way back to God.' Father Tim put his hands together as he said, 'Your sister-in-law asked me to come and see you.' He took a deep breath and asked, 'May I pray for you?'
'Okay,' I said, 'knock your socks off, I guess a few prayers won't hurt.'
In his prayer, Father Tim asked God to heal my soul as well as my body. I didn't think much of it then, but I have been thinking about it ever since. As soon as he finished, an orderly stuck me with a needle and rolled me down to the operating room. The last thing I remember is someone telling me to count backwards from a hundred. I wasn't feeling any pain as a warm sensation when through my body and I dropped off into a deep, heavy sleep.
When I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw was my roommate. Linda was sitting on the edge of her bed biting her fingernails. She was so happy to see my eyes open that she rang her buzzer for the nurse. The nurse came in and checked on me and then I dropped back off. It was like I was in and out of a deep sleep.
The next morning I awoke to find myself connected to tubes and bags. That is when Linda told me that I had been out of it for three days. I really had her worried as I just had the same operation that she had.
A severe infection had set in, I didn't know it at that time, but I had Lupus and my body was fighting itself. At one time, I had flat-lined and shocked back. That is why I had all the extra medication, tubes and bags. I had blamed the medication and my semiconscious state for all the weird dreams that I had at the hospital. The dreams were my little secret.
Linda left the hospital five days after her operation, but I had to stay for two weeks. I didn't see her again until a year later.
A year later, Linda decided to find me and celebrate the anniversary of our operation. We went out to dinner, then I got a baby sitter, and we went down to the local bar for a few drinks. We had a good time talking and laughing. Then she told me how scared she was when I flat-lined in the hospital. Some of the things she told me were just like it was in my dream.
The dream where I felt like I was in a deep sleep then I was floating toward a woman. There was something familiar about her. I couldn't see her clearly, but she looked like an angel. My attention was drawn to the room below me. The curtain was pulled around the one bed. The nurses and doctors were trying to revive the body in the bed. Linda was sitting on the edge of her bed biting her nails.
Then the spirit and I were gliding down the hall toward the emergency room. People were walking in the hallways. Doors were closed, but I could see into rooms. Unnoticed by the people in the hospital, there were spirits or angels all around. I wondered, 'Are these God's messengers at work?'
When we arrived at the emergency room, I could see everything that was happening. My Aunt at the Nurse's Desk. A young paramedic was asking for Doctor 'T'. He said, 'One of the doc's three sons was bitten by the doc's three dogs.'
Before I could think about it, we were back in the semi-private room. The doctors and nurses were still busy working on the woman in the bed. I remember as I looked down at them, I said to the angel, 'Why don't they just let her die?' I did not realize, at that time, the body that I was looking at was mine.
'She must live,' she said in a soft calming voice. 'She has a son to raise.' Then in a commanding voice, she said, 'You must go back now.'
I turned to look at her. It was my mother. Since her death, I always dreamed of her pale with bed sores and bandages, but this time it was different. It was the first time I had seen her looking so young and healthy. Mother looked like a beautiful twenty-two year old woman with a perfect body.
Just then, before I could say a word, I was pulled into the lifeless body below. I felt pain.
It was a weird experience, but I often think about it and tell people about it when I feel they need to know that a loved one has moved to the next level. And that death is not to be feared, it is just the passage that we must go through to discard our bodies to go to the next level. The next level is where we are met by the spirits of those who have gone before us.
Date NDE Occurred: August 1968
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related Other Had an operation to remove appendix and gall bladder. I had developed a bad infection.
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 I was more aware of things going on far away from me and aware of souls.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? The whole time.
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 was at the top of the room where a ceiling was. I didn't go in or out of doors or walk, but I was all over that hospital.
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Did your vision differ in any way from normal? I could see everything very clearly. I could see in rooms with closed doors. Down into rooms. And I just zipped from place to place.
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
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
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 See narrative above. I saw my body, but didn't think it was me and I spoke to my mother who had passed away.
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? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm I went all around the hospital to places I had never been.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Felt good, warm, love, wellbeing.
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 Unsure
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I went from unsure and unknowing to there IS something.
What is your religion now? Conservative/fundamentalist
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I went from unsure and unknowing to there IS something.
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
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? No
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I am more opened mined.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I felt it was just a dream mixed with words and sounds I heard while I was under medication.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? It was then I knew my mother was alright, no longer in pain and happy.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes About five years.
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 definately not real I felt it was just a strange dream.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. I know that it is not just something in my head, but others had the same experience.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I would like to do it again and again.