I grew up in an extremely abusive household and time away from responsibility was rare. One day in July near my tenth birthday, I got the opportunity to have an afternoon off to go to the pool and cool down. The girl who was supposed to be watching me was distracted by a boy and walked down the street with him. So even though I knew I was only allowed in the shallow end I thought it would be fun to go around the pool by holding onto the edge.
I got around to the nine foot area and my hands slipped. I don't remember sliding under the water but I do remember my feet hitting the bottom of the pool. I remember looking up and everything seemed to be in slow motion. I had a vague sense of surprise that I wasn't in the least panicked. Instead, I stood on the bottom of the pool looking up in wonder.
The images are clearly ingrained into my memory now. It was stunning and beautiful and not in the least scary. I remember my hair floating above me and wondering at how each strand swayed with the movement of the water. I can still see in my head how the light reflected off the blue painted sides of the pool and how the edge of the pool above my head was tiled with mosaic tile with a smiling sun at the very center.
Then I remember looking up into the sky and my vision cleared of the wavering of the water and seemed to expand out around me. I slowly but steadily felt as though the whole world somehow stretched and I (or the essence of me) floated into the horizon. I never looked back or wondered what was happening to my physical body- I didn't pause to think it strange that I didn't feel like I was in my body. Instead, I looked forward into the expansive blue sky and felt the most amazing sense of peace. I felt wholly loved, protected, peaceful, and safe.
I thought in that moment about my life and wondered why I had ever felt horror or sadness when the truth was it was so minor compared to the peace I felt at that moment. That it really never was worth worrying about. I felt there was so much more. More what I honestly can't say, just that was the thought I remember having. My next conscious thought was of waking up with my babysitter pounding on my back and coughing up water. I have never since felt that kind of peace in life. I am not scared of death in the least though because of it.
Date NDE Occurred: July 1997
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Drowning. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
I fell into the deep end of the pool and could not swim.
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 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 It is almost hazy in retrospect but at that time I remember thinking that everything was clear and that there was a vast amount beyond the knowledge I thought I had.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Probably after I remember floating up toward the almost cloudless sky.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
Time seemed to slow down.
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. I would say I was significantly more aware and vivid at that time.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I don't remember hearing anything but a dull thrumming sound. Almost like a heartbeat but slow and steady. I don't think I have ever heard anything else like it.
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
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt wonder and peace.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? I felt no longer in conflict with nature
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about myself or others
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
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? Greatly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes It made me ask more questions. I realized the religion that I studied at the time didn't equal what I experienced. It made me follow less blindly and study more religions. Ultimately I decided religion is a manmade construct and most have a nugget of truth but too many prejudices.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Other faiths- Unitarian and other liberal faiths
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience At the time I had just recently been baptised in a christian church and had been taught that was the only religious option. I "came back" believing that wasnt the case at all
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I walked away from the church. In small town Texas it made my life very difficult as it ostracized me.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? No
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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain I believe what I felt was a feeling of connectedness to everything and an awareness of how it all fit together and that I wasnt alone as myself
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? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? I am uncertain if God 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? Unknown
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 yes, I existed beyond my physical self. I know I was not there within my body which died- where I was heading or what would happen next I dont know though
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? Not fearful in living my earthly life
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Unknown
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant after your experience? Are possibly 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 That in the scheme of things the hardships I was facing were nothing and I couldnt imagine why I had ever worried about them.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes I felt wholely loved, protected, peaceful and safe.
Were you compassionate after your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Moderate changes in my life I came back knowing there is a spiritual life but no longer believing any one religion had the truth. I believe that we were all connected and that in of itself is the essence of a spiritual existence. I believe there is a world out there we don't understand and it is part of nature and the universe as a whole.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain Yes In some ways it makes me much more cautious of other people. After telling my mother and being told I was crazy and it couldn't have happened it made me realize people as a whole don't want their perception of reality tested. It made me aware I couldn't necessarily trust other people with my experience.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
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
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain I believe I have seen a ghost at least once in my life, though I don't know if that has anything to do with it.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I told my mother but she did not believe. Then I kept it to myself until I did a piece of artwork about it.
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 never doubted I experienced it even though my parents accused me of making it up. It was too vivid to be anything but an experience.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I believe I got a brief glimpse into what happens after we die. I think we go on and in my gut I feel we are all connected and our energy/consciousness (for a lack of better terms) go on.
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 just wanted to share. Sometimes I wish more people knew that it was such a positive experience.