In 1981, I entered Hope Haven Children's Hospital for two major spinal surgeries to correct scoliosis of the spine. I still remember pulling up to the large white building with oak trees in the asphalt parking lot. Right before the first surgery, the doctors were milling about and acting concerned.
My mother had a very stern look on her face as well and I became very frightened. I decided that they must know that I was about to die during the surgery and they were trying to keep it from me. I mustered up every ounce of courage that my 13-year-old body had and I asked my mother, ‘Am I going to die?’ Her face became even more concerned and that's when I knew my suspicions were correct. I immediately became hysterical. I was crying and trying to get up and leave. The nurses held me down and gave me a shot in my hip to calm me down. Whatever they gave me had the opposite effect. I became even more agitated to the point that they decided to go ahead and wheel me down to the operating room to put me under. I remember being pushed down a hallway screaming for my mother, seeing the florescent lights on the hospital ceiling quickly going by like dashes on a highway.
Once in the operating room a strange calm came over me, like acceptance. I was sure this was my last hour on earth that I would be conscience. A blonde haired, somewhat worn-looking woman came into the room wearing scrubs. She had bright blue eye shadow. She looked and acted intoxicated. She was German and she warned me that the drugs to put me under would cause my mouth to be dry when I woke up again. In her German accent she said, ‘vhen you vake up again, your mouse will be dry.’ I thought, ‘No need to warn me because I won’t be waking up again.’ She put a needle into the top of my hand and told me to start counting backwards from 100. I obeyed 99. 98. 97.
The next thing I remember is floating above my body looking at a group of people frantically working on me and adjusting machines of some sort. My back was wide-open and bright red. I remember one nurse, in particular, speaking loudly and sternly saying over and over, ‘We're losing her! we're losing her!’ I then realized I heard the telltale beep of my own flat line. I kept thinking how incredibly strange all of this was. I was at the ceiling, I could see the lit up exit sign and the silver chrome water-sprinkler that was installed to activate, should there be a fire. The next thing I remember I was in a waiting room of the hospital and my mother was in that room, alone, sitting in a chair crying. Then I was at home in my older sister Tammy's bedroom. She was sitting on the edge of her bed and appeared to be praying. After that, I was shown a quick 13 years of my young life review. I quickly saw/relived all of the most awesome times in my life. There was a ‘clip’ of me laughing with my sister Tammy, one with my best friend Lenny M., then a scene of me opening presents, and a scene of me winning an award in band.
The next thing I remember I was outside in the night sky going up and up. I remember looking down and seeing the earth, and still I kept going up more and more. I had no fear whatsoever. The next thing after that I was lying in a beautiful autumn forest. I opened my eyes and looked up at a bright sun. It didn't hurt my eyes to look at it at all. The sun radiated love like I could never imagine and absolute comfort and acceptance, I was absolutely euphoric.
Suddenly, I was walking in the autumn forest and there was someone to my left. I was given explicit, stern instructions to not look to my left. Of course, I obeyed. The being walking next to me told me there was no need to worry any longer. The second operation was going to go just fine and I would live to be an adult and to stop letting myself be burdened with fear and worry. I was so incredibly happy and content to walk with this being. I was totally consumed with absolute joy.
The next thing I remember is being slapped in the face repeatedly while the nurse that had said, ‘we're losing her’ screamed my name. LISA! LISA! I remember trying to raise my hand to stop her from hitting me but I couldn't. Then the wave of excruciating pain hit me like a freight train and I knew I was back in my body, back in the hospital. I was crushed with disappointment. I saw the nurse who had worked so frantically to save me a few days later. She came into my room for something and she was lost in her own thoughts doing her job. I said, ‘Oh hey! Thank you for working so hard to save me during the operation.’ I watched the color drain from her face as she stared at me wide-eyed and frozen. She quickly left the room. I felt badly because I didn't understand why she had that reaction.
The hospital and my doctor told my mother NOTHING about what happened. She and I had no idea that my heart had stopped until sometime later when a brave nurse came forward and told my mother that my heart had stopped for around three minutes. They had to revive me and she thought my mother should know. She begged my mother not to tell anyone that she had told or she would lose her job. Of course, my mother kept her promise. If I had to describe my experience in one word, it would be love, pure love.
Date NDE Occurred: 10/1981
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
Isn't there always a life threatening event? Otherwise how would we have died? I was having spinal surgery.
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 Before I descended I saw the O.R. staff working on me. I lost awareness of my body.
I lost awareness of my body
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 knew everything was 100% okay and would always be okay. It was an other-worldly knowledge.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? While I was walking with God and He was explaining things to me.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
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. My vision has always been excellent but everything in the NDE was WAY better than on earth.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Better than on earth.
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
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes At the time of the NDE I thought it was the sun, but staring directly at it didn't hurt my eyes. I now know it was God.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place It’s in my description: an autumn forest.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? At first I was bewildered but then I was in love with everything I was experiencing. I felt incredible peace or pleasantness; Incredible 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 Read my description
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control My past flashed before me; out of my control. I had a life review.
The experience included: Awareness of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
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 southern Baptist
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I testify that God and Heaven are definitely real.
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 southern Baptist
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? No
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 There was a presence walking beside me and speaking to me telepathically.
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 at I would be okay through both surgeries.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God definitely exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes that I would be okay through both surgeries.
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? No
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife definitely exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists Yes I was told I could not stay yet.
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 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 there is a God and Heaven is real.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
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. Large changes in my life.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No
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 see spirits of deceased family, hear voices, feel presences. I received a phone call from my father after he died.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Absolute love.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Immediately
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
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real
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? There is a God and Heaven is real. I was told I could not stay yet. I was going to live and continue to have a life. It was communicated to me that I would be okay through both surgeries. I felt united or one with the world.