During my childhood, I had a very close relationship with my father. He showed me all my world and taught me how it worked; at least, how he believed it worked. I admired and followed my father. I respected him and felt like he was more than a father, but also a friend in whom I could put all my trust in absolute safety.
In 1971 when I was twelve, he developed a diabetes. It was an overwhelming disease for him since he loved snacks especially chocolate ice cream. In those years, ‘diet’ ice cream didn’t exist as it does today.
I witnessed his struggle against reality, convincing himself he’d know when he had to stop eating the forbidden foods like cereals and sugar drinks. The results were catastrophic.
During the fifteen years he survived his diagnosis, he was seriously ill and admitted into the hospital several times. He was refused any suggestion to change his habits and disguised his reasoning with a pseudo-scientific assertions. His diabetes didn’t behave as usual adult diabetes and it happened to be a late onset juvenile diabetes (Type I diabetes). Although this is a medical oddity at his age, the diabetes advanced in long strides and it didn’t excuse him for his eating behavior.
After ten years of diabetes evolution, his retinae was so severely compromised that he had to be laser-treated.
I lovingly treasured our long talks about scientific and philosophical issues. They were top-level ones, really. He was an extremely cultured person who loved to read at an academic level despite being a a public employee without complete university training. How much he missed his reading ability when his retinae gave out!
In mid-1986, I was working at the coastal town of Concón, a couple of hours from Santiago, the capital of Chile. This is where all of my family lived. During a weekend in Santiago, I decided to take my father to the hospital for a leg injury that had become infected. I returned to Concón and kept in contact with the doctor who took care of him at the hospital. Eventually, the leg injury was the least important thing: the focus was in the great diabetes imbalance he had. That was the very reason why he had to remain at the hospital during the whole week; trying new schemes and timetables for his insulin doses and trying to convince him he had to respect the diet. He needed to follow the diet, not according to his ideas, but according to what scientific evidence showed.
At the same time, I had an uncle living all alone in the city Viña del Mar, quite close to Concón, suffering from terminal stomach cancer. A mom’s sister offered to take care of my uncle during his last days. The day before my uncle moved to my mom's sister's house, my father’s health was so good at the hospital, that I decided to travel to help with my uncle’s move. That very morning I had a talked with the doctor who was in charge of my father and he told me: ‘Your dad is so fine that I am just waiting for tomorrow’s morning sugar levels. If that’s normal, he can go home next morning’. That strengthened my decision to go to Viña del Mar.
My uncle’s move was very exhausting. A cousin and a friend of his worked hard with me carrying my uncle’s belongings. That night, I learnt my dad’s sister had seen my dad that very afternoon. He was to be discharged next morning and he had told her that he was so fine that he noticed that even his vision was improved. He also told her that he was committed to the diet and, eventually, that he was very happy.
I went to bed with these good news and fell down on my bed so exhausted that I didn’t even took my clothes off. I seldom remember such a refreshing sleep like the one I had that night. However, that early morning I had a very weird experience.
I feel I lived that, not as a dream, even though it might seem one. I opened my eyes; it had to be around 6:AM. It was still dark like night.
In total calm the next idea to come into my mind was: ‘My father is leaving and I couldn’t say goodbye to him!’ Within the calmness surrounding me, this knowledge was absolute. I didn’t wonder how did I know that; I simply knew it. I didn’t ask myself about how did I get that information if he was so fine and he was being discharged that very morning from the hospital. I clearly understood that ‘leaving’ directly meant leaving this world. It was in that moment I decided go to the hospital.
It wasn't necessary to get up and go catch a taxi. I was already at the hospital. I was seeing a corridor that I didn’t recognize. There were many open rooms on each side. It was at night; the same time I woke up.
There was nobody on sight at the corridor. I came into one of the open rooms and I saw dad sitting on a hospital bed. It wasn't the room where I had seen my dad last time I saw him. His sight was peaceful, brilliant and happy; the way my aunt had described him when she left the hospital last afternoon. I don’t remember saying any words. We looked at each other with so much love. Then, I took his hand and bid farewell to him with a mutual mannish and tight hands shaking, encircled by that great love that illuminated us.
Then, I am back on my bed. Mission accomplished. I fell asleep again.
About 9:00 AM the phone ringing woke me up. An only idea crossed my mind: My dad has died. They will tell us, ‘He got worse; we have to go see him’, but I know that he already left some hours ago. I had already said goodbye to him. I hear my mother getting up and answering the call. I am already getting up.
One minute later, my mother comes into my room and says, ‘Your dad got worse last night. They want us to go see him’. I was ready at the drop of a hat. I already knew the complete story. A great peace surrounded me. I didn’t feel despair; I wasn’t in angst. I was happy for him and because I had been able to say goodbye to him. I knew he didn’t feel any distress, except the concern of leaving without saying goodbye to me. Love allowed us the miracle of saying goodbye in the most intimate way and even better than if I had gotten up and physically gone to the hospital that early morning.
My father’s body was still alive, but they were working to confirm if he was or was not in ‘brain’s death’ state. He was found about 5:00 AM into a deep coma, with great breathing distress. He had experienced a massive cerebrovascular accident due to a carotid thromboembolism, while he was peacefully sleeping. Without delay, he was rushed to the Intensive Care Unit.
I went to the Intensive Care Unit and they drove me to see my dad. I had to wear a green robe, a pair of green cloth boots, a green cap and a facemask to be allowed to see him.
All in a sudden, I saw myself at the same corridor where I had already been early that morning. I came in the same open room and I saw my father’s bed in the same orientation I had seen it that early morning. The only difference was that his body lay totally loose on it, connected to a huge number of tubes and cables going into a series of machines and monitors. From his mouth appeared a tube connected to a hose which periodically injected oxygen into his lungs. He couldn’t even breath on his own.
Just like in my vision, I shook his hand and I physically said goodbye to him. Then, I left the room without fear, without pain, and in absolute calm.
They performed two electroencephalograms with both of them totally ‘flat’. They carried out an arteriography whose report would be within 24 hours, but my colleague (I was already a doctor then) who had to write down the report, showed me the images and he told me one half of dad’s brain was already dead and the other half was badly working. Nobody could live like that. There was enough criteria to pronounce a ‘brain’s death.’ Some days later, his body finally died.
I scarcely cried. When I did, it was for myself and for my aunts. Not for him. My mother was strong and spiritually elevated enough to be able to resist crying. She had a strong belief in afterlife. I really didn’t feel torn or hurt inside as I used to believe I’d feel when my daddy died. I felt sure he had left having said goodbye to his ‘only child’; that somehow, amidst the morning blues, we had met and said goodbye.
Obviously, after I got up that morning I was wondering how could all of this be? How could I be so certain that my father had gone, even though his body was hardly alive in the Intensive Care Unit, but I didn’t have the smallest clue about how these things went on. A dream is built from certain information and all the objective information I had, showed my father was fine and he had to leave home that very morning. I had nowhere in my mind from which I could build up such a weird dream.
The certainty about what I lived and knew was such that there was no plausible explanation. Yet somehow, I had connected mind-to-mind with my father in an altered state before the final separation from his own body. There’s no doubt that he must have looked for me and carried me to say goodbye, when he realized he wasn’t going to come back.
Almost two years later, the night before my wedding, I had a dream. I was climbing a hill in in what we call in Santiago, the 'pre-hills range of Los Andes.' Half-way up I saw a man wearing a very distinguished jacket and looking very elegant; a really strange view on a dirt-road hill. He came down in my opposite direction. As I got closer, I realized he was my father, but younger. He was about thirty-or-so years old. However, he carried a different sight. A happy one, as I had never seen in his eyes. It was my father coming down the hill in full of joy from the Heavens to be with me on my wedding.
Date NDE Occurred: August, 1986
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? No. Other: I had an OBE to visit my father who was dying at the hospital
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 The earthly event I was witnessing was my father on his death bed, some 4 miles away. He was saying goodbye to me.
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 experienced a constant alert level during the whole experienced. It was curious. I knew things I had no way to know. It was crystal clear in my mind, as if those things had been put there. The level of certainty was absolute. Curiously, my awareness about the fact that knowing those things wasn't possible, didn't work; I mean, I didn't question that information, at all.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? From the beginning until the end.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? No
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It was clear. Sort of like I was watching a video. No details, just the big picture. A kind of 'global vision'. I don´t remember seeing my own 'body' there, but I shook my father's 'hand', so, I must have had some kind of 'body'.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I remember no sound at all.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? Yes, and the facts have been checked out
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
The experience included: Presence of deceased persons
Did you see any beings in your experience? I actually saw them
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes The 'normal' knowledge I conveyed was that my father was fine and alive in the hospital and ready to be discharged. In terms of physical reality, he was alive for me. In the experience I certainly 'knew' he was dying and I had to say him goodbye.
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? Peace, calm, and an overwhelming love, as if I was in direct contact with my father. I SAW his eyes in total detail and that remained in my mind forever, even though the rest of my vision field looked blurry and somehow vague.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Relief or calmness
Did you have a feeling of joy? Happiness
Did you feel a sense of harmony or unity with the universe? No
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about myself or others. I really knew and undestood what was happening in front of my 'eyes.' Nothing about the rest of the world.
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- Other Christian Grown up as a Catholic. Studied in a Catholic School. At the time of my experience, I was committed as today with a liberal belief in Jesus and God based mainly in New Testament reading and personal experience.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes They became stronger
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant Grown up as a Catholic. Studied in a Catholic School. Nowadays I am committed with a liberal belief in Jesus and God based mainly in New Testament reading and personal experience.
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. I was Catholic at first. Then I lived a whole process of transformation that got me much closer to Jesus than what I lived through the Catholic church. Our experience, together with my father, was completely consistent with the ideas in the New Testament and with what we know Jesus preached during His passing through this world.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Only that what I believed became much stronger.
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 I saw my father. I didn't hear a 'mystic or supernatural' voice. Maybe there was no sound at all.
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
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? Yes Only indirectly: I felt a mind-to-mind connection with my father mediated by love. If that is possible, there´s no reason not to believe the universe is totally interconnected.
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 Strictly speaking, I didn't find anything about 'God', but I believe that the strength of love allowed it all to happen. If I had not been important to my father, I feel it wouldn't have happened.
John, the Evangelist said 'God is love'. I am aware that what I'm about to say is not a scientific assertion, but I feel so. If there is a force capable of changing the natural laws as love did that night, that makes me believe that love is stronger than human ever believed. I prefer believing that 'Love is God'.
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Yes That these things do happen. I LIVED one of these things.
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? I was uncertain if an afterlife exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists. Yes. At the time I was 'present' at the hospital, my father had already half of his brain dead or dying. It is impossible that he could have 'thought' of me. However I saw him sitting on his bed, right in front of me. I remember his sight as a peaceful one and happy to see me. It could be argued that it was an invention of my own mind. Maybe, but it still looks so scarcely probable since I was in a place I would only know some hours later and it resulted to be right as I saw it during my experience. The experience included a knowledge that had no way to be known by me at that point: my father was dying. So, I prefer the old scientific saying that 'If there are several explanations to a phenomenon, the real one uses to be the simplest.' In this case, I was woken up by the love of my father who was in a brain state absolutely incompatible with thinking; so, he was alive when his brain was not.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I greatly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I moderately fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Moderately 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 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 That these things do happen. I LIVED one of these things.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes That death is not a hurdle to love and life. If death is not a hurdle to love and life, would anything else such as life difficulties, lack of money, war, etc., be a hurdle to love or life?
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes All what I've mentioned before: Love is God. It is extremely powerful, even more than death. So nothing means a hurdle for love and life.
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
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes Even being quite opened-minded before, it made me stronger in my beliefs and it made me find a different vision about dying. I saw with different eyes what my mother told me about afterlife. I guess I believed her more after this happened. So, my relationships with people who had some link with afterlife became more intense.
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. I think the viewing of the sight of my father when we said goodbye has survived untouched until today, thirty years later. It is absolutely notable. I do remember well many other parts of my life, even earlier, but all the feelings and knowledge related with this event prevail untouched today.
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? When I saw the eyes of my father and I understood he was happy to see me.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I guess I shared it with my mother as we were going to the hospital, and I did it so to prove it was real. She believed me.
I didn't share it with many other people outside my family and today, I use to narrate it with selected people.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain. I'm not so sure. By the time I read Dr. Moody's book but I can't remember if it was before or after the event.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real. If it had left some uncertainty, I'd probably feel some degree of doubt about it. But everything I knew during my experience was demonstrated later, even though it was totally against every signal I had at that point.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real. If it had left some uncertainty, I'd probably feel some degree of doubt about it. But everything I knew during my experience was demonstrated later, even though it was totally against every signal I had at that point.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Just deep meditation gives me some sense of familiarity with the experience. I can't define it clearly, but I feel it as in the same classification. It's like I was in that same realm when I visited my father at his death bed.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I am a doctor. I work in a poor village in the suburbs. In South America, 'suburb' signals the poorest surroundings of a city. It is hard but I love what I do. I think my father feels proud of me and my sons today. That makes me see life with greater expectations and at the same time, feel deeply thankful for the life my parents gave to me not without personal deep sacrifice.
The goal they succeeded to obtain in me is the love I profess for living and for what I do. I find it extremely hard to replicate with my own my sons, even though I have far more resources today. But I'm forced to do, especially in a economically beaten country like ours. When I hear about 'Chilean economic miracle' I laugh to myself and I get surprised about how much lies the political world uses.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No, thanks a lot.