I had not been in the department long; it was an unusually hot month of May. We had had several calls that day to respond to grass fires or forest fires in the area. I had not eaten much, and none of the fire trucks had any water or food left on them. I had been going back to back with calls that morning without really stopping for a rest. It was over 30 degrees centigrade.
As we responded to the large grass fire of over 10 hectares, my captain, on the first response fire truck, told me to wear my full bunker gear including SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus). I questioned him, as all of the others wore Nomex [Flame-resistant fiber] coveralls or just their t-shirt and bunker pants; but because I was still on probation, he wanted me completely suited-up. At the end of the call, my knees started to buckle. I communicated to several firefighters that I needed water, and was told there was none. On my way back to the truck, I took off the SCBA and bunker gear, and passed-out.
Time seemed to not exist. Though I recall being aware of my surroundings, they were not the surroundings where I had passed-out. I was completely surrounded by a beautiful, white light that words could not properly describe or do justice. It was nothing I have ever seen or experienced. I felt very much at peace and not afraid. I heard the most beautiful music, like classical or choir music. It was nothing like I have heard before; it was not anything human or from musical instruments I recognized. I did not feel anything except peace and happiness. I did not want to return.
As I pulled back into my body and began to wake up, it had become dark around me. I was aware of paramedics on either side of me with firefighters standing by watching. So much time had passed that I did not realize that the paramedics had arrived. I had completely lost time. Time seemed to not exist. I remember that I kept my eyes closed a little longer, not wanting to open them and to come out of this place.
I then tried to tell my captain and the paramedics about the light and the music I heard, but they stared blankly at me. They laughed it off, not wanting to listen to my enthusiastic description of what had just happened.
The firefighters on my department turned their backs on me, walked away and tried to get me fired, claiming that I could not handle the job. I had to fight to stay on, and made changes in the department for future calls by getting proper rehabilitation equipment on all vehicles. It was very challenging after the incident. None of my co-workers seemed interested in hearing what I had to say, so I kept it to myself for a very long time until I spoke with others who had also had a near death experience.
I have had very specific dreams and messages for people in my life since the experience. They are not for me to keep. I sometimes know things that I pass on to the person. It is as if I see a movie happening, a dream of sorts that can have a very bad outcome. So I warn them of what could happen, but the choice is always up to them. It scares the person, but every time they listened to what I had seen, causing a change in their course or direction so they are heading for a positive outcome. It has happened a handful of times now.
I am very intuitive, and follow my instincts now, regardless of what people think or say. I am often met with a lot of resistance, speculation, and criticism. This does not bother me, as I have learned through these experiences to trust in God and to listen to my instincts. It has served me, and others around me, well. I feel very grateful and blessed every single day. I see the beauty and miracles in everyday life on a daily basis now. I appreciate everything so much more after this experience.
Date NDE Occurred: May 30, 2003
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Life threatening event, but not clinical death
Heat stroke due to fighting a Wild Fire.
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? No I clearly left my body and existed outside it.
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 very aware and alert but in another realm, a different plain, and not on earth. It was so incredibly beautiful. I saw light beyond words and I cannot explain every color because they were not earth colors. The music was like nothing I have heard before or since. The peace and understanding that I felt was complete and I felt it to my very core. It was a place I did not want to leave. It was very fast, like being shot back into my shell of a body. I instantly did not want to be back in my body when I woke up. I woke up fine with no medical issues. I had completely lost time and had not been aware of any of my immediate surroundings while I was passed out. Although, I can distinctly recall the light, the music, and being somewhere that I knew was not on earth or in the shell of my body for lack of a better way of explaining it.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was completely engulfed, surrounded inside and out, under around me by this light, and I could hear the most beautiful music, but did not know where it was coming from, it seemed to be a part of me.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Time lost all meaning. I was not aware that so much time had passed.
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. During the experience my vision was crisp, clear, alert, aware, engulfed in light. Before the experience my vision was dull compared to what I saw and heard. I could not 'see' my body or those around me.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It was excellent but I could only hear the music, I could not hear what was going on around my body.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Uncertain What surrounded me seemed to be a blanket of incredible light, though it did not seem to be of any size, or limited like a tunnel, it was vast. The light was everything.
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
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 cannot put into words the color or brightness, it was beautiful, white and bright but did not blind or hurt to look at it. It was very comforting and completely enveloped me. I was not standing and my feet were not touching anything. It was as if I was floating in a blanket of this light.
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm It was not a place I had experienced before; it was very peaceful and beautiful.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Complete happiness, joy and peace. I felt no fear, no sadness. I left all negativity behind me.
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
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about myself or others After the experience I did understand things about myself, I was no longer afraid of death or dying and I had complete faith in God. I also at times get dreams or a knowing about others that I understand as a message that must be passed onto the person. I understood that some of our life lessons here on earth are about kindness and forgiveness and I try to help others, to let go of fears and negativity. I also see life's miracles. I feel blessed and very grateful.
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future At times, scenes from other people's future came to me in dreams or visions after this experience.
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? Moderately important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Other Christian I was brought up with one parent of Catholic faith the other Protestant. I attended both churches, they wanted me to choose my own faith. I have a strong Christian faith but not of a particular affiliation.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes See above.
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 I have no doubt that God exists. My faith is stronger than it has ever been. I am not sure exactly at what point I stopped being afraid but it was after this experience that my belief in God had no doubst, and I was no longer afraid of death, and overcame my fears in life. I trust whole heartedly in God, in a way difficult to explain in words to others, to trust wholeheartedly and in doing so have found a certain peace. The void I used to carry around inside is no longer. I am not afraid of death or dying, and I no longer feel alone, nor am I afraid to be true to myself.
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 cannot put into words what I experienced. I knew to some extent prior to but had doubts or questions, when I came out of the experience I had a better understanding and complete faith in God.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes My belief in God became much stronger as well as my core values, more self-confidence, able to stand up to others and speak more openly about this.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I heard a voice I could not identify I heard the most beautiful music and singing but not of earthly origin.
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.)? No
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes I am now more aware, about myself and others. I sometimes receive specific messages or information about people in my life that can negatively effect their lives that I need to share with them and discuss what I see. I am very aware of the beauty in my surroundings now, in everyday life especially in nature. I realized that I did not need to be afraid any more, afraid to try, to live, to fail, to love...I did not fear being true to myself or to stand up for what I believe in.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Yes I did feel that there is a connection, a unity or oneness that we are all connected through God.
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 felt without doubt during and after the experience that God does exist.
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 had a sense of all knowing, of being completely at peace, and being whole. Our fears and our time on earth is for learning lessons we need to experience while here. We are also here to learn kindness and forgiveness. It sounds so simple, yet it is so difficult for so many.
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 let go of our fears, to show kindness and forgives and to not judge.
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 felt certain that there is life after death but not as we know it on earth.
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? Greatly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are possibly 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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes I realized that life's difficulties challenges and hardships are part of our life lessons here on earth, and to trust in God and his plan for every one of us. These difficulties and hardships can often be a blessing in disguise, the mold and shape us and can even help others.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes To not fear opening my heart to love, and to love even those who do not love you back.
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 have no doubt in God and I am a much better person, far less selfish, more confident and fearless. Large changes in my life. I have no doubt in God and I am a much better person, far less selfish, more confident and fearless.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Some co-workers distanced themselves from me, some became toxic (especially at the time), but now they have strengthened by those who have opened up about their own experiences.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes
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 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 I receive intuition, dreams or messages and a certain knowing about things, of things to come, certain individuals who were usually going through a difficult time having to do with choices that will greatly affect the outcome of their lives.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? The beauty of the light and music was just so incredible, it really is not possible to put into words.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Right away, I was laughed at, mocked, it was very negative. Later in life it has helped others and was welcomed by very positive reactions especially by those who also have strong faith in God. It has also helped others to feel they can open up and share about their own personal experiences. Some of them changed their paths.
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 definitely real I viewed it as being real, even though others did not.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real It is just a sense of knowing, of trust and of having no doubts.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I watched a movie today called Heaven does Exist based on a true story; the angels that appeared to the boy that were singing to him during his experience struck a chord in me.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? It truly was incredible and very positive for me.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? You may want to ask or provide a link so that if people want to submit a picture, drawing or other to help describe to you what they saw or experienced.