I didn't feel it would be proper to fill out the questionnaire on the NDERF web site since this wasn't my experience, but after hearing your discussion this evening (22 July 2007) with Rollye James on Coast to Coast AM, I thought you might be interested. What I am going to describe is the circumstance of my cousin's death as related to me by her mother, Rose (my mother's cousin). I hadn't seen these people in several years, but had occasion to visit in 1997, at which time I asked Rose how my cousin, Lynn, had died.
Lynn was a victim of Down's syndrome, born in 1945. She also had other medical problems, being an insulin-dependent diabetic. She was 9 years older than me and I remember playing with her as a child, but I outgrew her pretty quickly as she never really matured beyond the mental age of about 10 or 12. She was not what is known as high functioning, but she could follow simple instructions, dress herself, perform some hygiene activities, etc. She could play simple card games like "War," and "Go Fish," but most board games were beyond her comprehension. Her parents cared for her throughout her life.
She died in 1990 at the age of 44. She had been ill with a flu bug for several days. On her last day, she had been lying on the sofa watching television. Her mother heard her speaking and thought she was talking to the TV, as she had been known to do that on occasion. She walked into the room to ask her if she wanted some juice or something else to drink. Lynn then asked her mother why Dorothy and Cookie were there (Dorothy was my mother, who Lynn dearly loved, and Cookie was her grandfather, my great-uncle, and she was closer to him than anyone was. My mother died in 1969 and Uncle Harry, aka Cookie, died in 1975.). She also named several other people, all of whom had been dead for years, said they were all there looking at her and she wanted to know why.
The thing is, Lynn had NO long-term memory and very little short-term memory. Under normal circumstances, she would never have remembered the names of those people, so even if seeing them jogged her memory so she'd be able to actually name them all, the question is...what or who was she seeing??? When Rose returned to the room with her drink, she found that Lynn had passed away in the brief time she was gone.
Now, I have to tell you, hearing this has had an effect on me, as well as on anyone else to whom I've told the story. It's definitely a consolation to think that my mom will be waiting to greet me when I die, but my question is, if it is her, what is she doing still hanging around? I suppose I've tried to dismiss most of my Catholic upbringing, but I like to think that death is just a step we have to take to reach the next part of our "lives," so to speak. I'm not sure if I believe in reincarnation or not, but this would seem to rule that out, don't you think? Do many of the people who report NDEs see their loved ones? I seem to recall that you said that a lot of the reporting people did.
I like to believe that this was Lynn's version of an NDE, but she was not to return. Maybe because they knew she'd probably lose her way, her loved ones came back for her. Then again, listening to you speak of people blind from birth having visual NDE experiences, or those who are deaf having hearing experiences, I'm wondering if Lynn's deficiencies weren't suddenly corrected and she died in a "normal body" with a normal mentality as she should have lived but for the genetic disturbance in her makeup.
Well, like I said, this wasn't exactly an NDE story, but I still thought you might be interested. I doubt if it would have any impact on your research, but if you want to use it for any purpose or any publication, you have my permission to do so. I thank you for taking the time to read this.