While comatose I experienced horrific nightmares involving all the stories I had heard from my clients but involving those I loved. I could hear my two dogs screaming as though someone was hurting them. On two occasions, I found myself in the ocean and gradually sinking because of fatigue. A boat nearby couldn't see me and I gradually slipped under the water. I had the distinct sensation of drowning. After what seemed like days, I remember thinking I could not tolerate these nightmares anymore, especially the sounds of my dogs screaming.
Immediately I found myself in the desert. It was night and the sky was blue/black with millions of stars, a dirt road, and an ‘adobe’ type motel. No one was in sight. There was an overwhelming sensation of contentment, peace, love, that everything and everyone I loved was fine. This sensation was so powerful that I know I will never feel it on earth. I was in a triangular motel room with another middle-aged woman and a child about ten years old. We went out onto a patio and in the night sky it looked like a train moving up into the sky. People were running to get on the train. There was an incredible light shining from this train. It was white and incredibly bright but I could look at it without difficulty. I knew I was supposed to decide whether to get on the train or not. I was undecided and immediately the nightmares started again.
After some time I wished I could have that ‘dream’ again and immediately I was in the desert again. Exactly the same circumstances. This time I was still undecided but remember thinking I needed to go back and be with my daughter. I believe I woke up at that point. I remembered every detail, every sensation and feeling and still do today. The sights, colors, feelings of love and contentment have never diminished. I recall this event today with as much detail as I did when I woke up. Almost no one will talk about it with me but I know what I experienced and have never felt the slightest doubt about its meaning.
Date NDE Occurred: 'October 3 - 10, 2011'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Illness 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I collapsed suddenly one night and was unable to move. By the time the ambulance had taken me to the hospital, I was comatose. I had not been ill. They discovered I had septic pneumonia, was comatose, and had a urinary tract infection and an infection. I was comatose for a week while I deteriorated and was eventually intubated along with the attendant medications as I steadily deteriorated. Eventually I went into kidney failure and my daughter was told I had a five percent chance of surviving.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain I described nurses and physicians who cared for me who I remembered while I was comatose. I think the sensation of drowning occurred when they were suctioning my lungs. Nothing else.
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 More conscious and alert in that nothing else mattered. Complete, total immersion in the experience as though someone had their arms wrapped around me and I knew nothing could hurt me. It allowed me to focus on what I had to do. A sense of awe but also complete understanding of what was happening.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I would describe it as focused. Nothing else mattered but this experience. Certainly conscious and extremely alert, but so safe and happy.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Faster than usual
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
As I said, the decision to go or come was immediate. I was in the motel room in one moment and suddenly on the patio outside as though I was ‘being moved around’.
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. Since I was comatose (as confirmed by an EEG) my experience immediately prior to the experience was a nightmare. It happened to be the one where I was drowning. It was at night in the ocean. There was a storm and the waves were high. I could see a boat but kept slipping under the water and experienced the water filling my lungs. When I suddenly found myself in the desert, it was dark but I noticed the beauty of the sky and the stars. There was no water in sight. The landscape was pure, clean and beautiful. Everything was clear visually but the outlines of objects were clean as though in a drawing. There was no sense of fear or apprehension. It seemed like it was supposed to happen and was occurring as it should. What was ‘impressive’ was the immediacy of the change from nightmare to experience and back again. I thought it and it happened.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. They had given me an antibiotic which they normally don't use called Gentamycin. It affected my hearing and still does. I have no memory of hearing anything or anyone during the coma. The feeling that I could ‘hear’ my dogs screaming seemed like a dream, not actual hearing. I ‘heard’ the voice of my veterinarian whom I know well, comforting my dogs. I don't recall hearing anything else before or during the experience. It was all ‘felt’ as in my belief that I had a decision.
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? I sensed their presence
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes I had the vague sense that my father was ‘helping’ somehow or was there to make sure I was alright. He passed away in 2006.
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 White and extremely bright, but not blinding. I felt a need to look at it and remember thinking how beautiful it was.
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place The desert was almost ‘created’. It was so perfect. I have been to the desert at night but never experienced the complete quiet and wonder that I did in this experience.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Absolute contentment and peace. Some huge and omnipresent presence of love and safety. Intense feelings to remain.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
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? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
The experience included: Awareness of the future
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes I was aware that this patio I stood on was the ‘edge’ and to get on the train would mean I would be taken up into the sky to God, my father, and all the doggies he and I cared for and had passed.
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 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? Buddhist I had been Buddhist for at least 10 years but in working with women who were sexually abused as children, I found it unavoidable to confront my questions about God's existence. I think I believed in God but he wasn't a part of my life.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes I pray regularly and continue to meditate. I have become interested in Christianity/Judaism and am reading about the history of these religions. I am more interested in understanding why people believe in Jesus, Mary, and the history contained in the Bible.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Other or several faiths Buddhist and strongly Christian, possibly Catholic. I now have no doubt whatever of the existence of God. Only one friend and my physician understood immediately what I already knew. That I was blessed. That God intervened when my kidneys stopped functioning, I was comatose and unable to help myself. I was given a choice and I know what will happen to me now when I die. I will never feel that contentment, peace, love on earth but I know I will experience it again when I die.
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 This experience in a few seconds confirmed my belief in God or a greater being forever. I have no doubt about the experience or the feeling that my death will ultimately lead to the same sense of peace. I previously believed in God but I didn't feel it and He wasn't a part of my life. That has changed drastically in that I pray and meditate on a regular basis. Because of the treatment I received in ICU in order to save my life, I have been left with only 20% kidney function. I may face the end of my life on earth earlier than I previously expected. My concern now is to understand the purpose of the experience and why I was returned to my life. Since returning my mother passed away, both my dogs died, I have been in and out of hospital and as a nurse am aware of what 20% kidney function means. I don't understand this but I believe there is a purpose and I hope to sometime understand it.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes This experience confirmed my lifelong values and beliefs that we must live lives of compassion and love. I now know I am right in my belief that I must continue to help those who need help and that whatever the situation, ultimately love will win. I have been in violent situations and confronted violence and realize that at the time I may have died suddenly however this does no longer makes me doubt my feelings about others.
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 A feeling of being surrounded by feelings of love and peace. As though the air was permeated with feeling. As though someone/something huge was watching me to take care of me. Such love.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I sensed their presence
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? No
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? I was uncertain if God exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? Yes As though huge warm arms wrapped around me. The feeling that everything including my daughter would be not just ok but would thrive was very strong. I remember thinking that it allowed me to make a completely focused decision without having to worry about anything or anyone else.The feeling was everywhere, the entire sky, the surroundings, everything I was aware of. I can still remember the feeling and I am certain that this feeling was spiritual and sacred.
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 probably 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 The overwhelming sense of contentment will continue after physical death. I somehow was absolutely certain of that. I have no memory of a voice or tangible presence however I was told that this is what you will experience after you die in terms of feeling
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? Slightly 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 probably 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 I am certain that there is an "afterlife" whatever that may be and that in my case, since I can't judge others, it will be as peaceful and contented as I experienced in the coma. There is ultimate justice and "reward" for living a good, compassionate and loving life.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes Intense all consuming love from another much larger presence. Undoubtable.
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 am certain now that there is a ‘presence’ whom I believe to be God who I can pray to and who understands my fears and needs. Those things we don't talk about. I have discovered that prayers are answered however not always in the way we expect. I find it comforting to meditate and still adhere to Buddhist philosophy. It is equally comforting to pray to God and in many cases more so. I have been inundated with one crisis after another since October of 2011 and I have never wavered in my belief that this is God's plan and that he cares for me.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes I used to worry I'd done the wrong thing or said something wrong. I know now that what happens is the way it’s supposed to be and that as long as I live with the belief that love and compassion are paramount that my life will unfold as it should.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes The description of the desert, etc. was easy. I could not and still cannot describe adequately the incredible feeling of contentment that I felt. It was absolute, undeniable.
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 can only compare this experience to the birth of my daughter. It was equal to that event and in some ways stronger. I remember every detail as though I had just woken up. I've drawn pictures of it because I thought I might forget but I know now there is no chance of that happening. It will be with me until I die.
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? The fact that I saw a train. It puzzled me and it was months after the fact that I remembered that my father used to work on trains when I was a child. Perhaps I am over analyzing this but it made sense to me as a message that he was there looking after me while I was sick. My mother was ninety-two and for whatever reason did not come to see me in the hospital. But I know my father was there.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I told my daughter who was sitting next to me when I woke up. She thought I was confused and possibly brain damaged. The fact that I was not brain damaged was indeed surprising to everyone, as I had been walking around for weeks before my collapse with an oxygen saturation of seventy two percent, which is hypoxic. The neurologist was certain I would be brain damaged and expressed wonder and surprise when he performed a mental status after I woke up. My daughter will not discuss it but my doctor just nodded and said ‘you saw the light’. My best friend said immediately ‘you were blessed’ and listened intently to my description of what I experienced. Fortunately, neither she nor I had any doubt whatsoever. I have not tried to tell anyone else.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes From the occasional client. I have watched one or two programs on television regarding the possible biological reasons for near death experiences. I was uncertain of their existence. I think I was open to any possibility.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I think at a time during which I was completely helpless, my daughter had no support whatever and the physicians had come to believe that I probably wouldn't survive that God intervened and saved my life. I still believe this and have not altered my feelings in any way. In fact the memory of the experience has become more important to me than anything I can think of and has been a ‘grounding’ experience in that I know who I am and I know when I die it will be incredible.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I suppose it is a near death experience, however, I haven't read anything about this phenomenon as I see no reason to justify it. My feelings about what I experienced are unshakeable in spite of the difficulty sharing it with so few.
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? It simply is what it is.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Very comprehensive. Thank you for allowing me to write it down.