I was in the shower the morning of January 8, 1998 getting ready for work when all of a sudden I felt like a lightning bolt went off in my head. I immediately fell into a coma but since I was in a stand-up shower, I fell in a sitting position against the back wall of the shower. As I was falling (which was in an unconscious state) I must have struck the shower faucet because when my wife found me the water was on cold. That fact obviously caused my blood pressure to lower, thus forming a blood clot in the artery that had ruptured in my brain. I remember my wife yelling at me, it is what brought me around. My head was killing me and she was on the phone to 911. I remember them transporting me to the hospital.
The next conscious memory I had was of my body shutting down. I can recall the sense of doom I felt as I could physically feel my energy leaving my body; I was so scared and I don't know how to explain this but I mustered the strength to come to long enough to ask my wife to get me a priest and give me my last rites. I guess she did so, but at this point, I fell back into a coma and at some point I remember standing on the edge of a cliff and in front of me I saw a mist, a floating fog, but for some reason I knew it was bottomless. All I could feel, hear, and see was sadness. It was at that moment of realization that I knew my right hand was raised. I turned my head and looked at my hand and I looked up to see that I was holding the left hand of Jesus. I knew in my heart it was Him. He didn't look at me; he just turned me away from the edge of what I can only call the abyss, and led me away and towards darkness.
The next thing I remember is coming to and asking my wife to get me a priest. She told me she had already done so, he had come and given my last rites and that is when I told her that he didn't do a good enough job so she did get me a second priest and I was blessed again. At the time, I thought what I had experienced was just a bad dream, but it was three months later while watching a 'Discovery' program about near death experiences did I realize what I had experienced. I was sitting at home, still convalescing, when this man was interviewed about what he had seen. Word for word he described exactly what I had seen. It was at that moment that I realized I had died and come back. I began crying uncontrollably and put myself into shock.
Over time, I have accepted what happened to me as a gift, but to this day, I still question as to why I wasn't allowed to stay. Overall, God wanted me here, too many things occurred after this event and before I was discharged from the hospital to think otherwise. My coma, both from the rupture and induced after surgery lasted four days. When I was awakened on the 12th of January, I was told by my surgeon that the bleeding was so bad in my brain that he couldn't get all the blood out, as a result he told me that I would suffer a stroke within the next ten days. He also said, that while I was conscious I should make arrangements on how I should be taken care of since the stroke may put me in a vegetative state. The stroke came two months later, and was minor enough to not cause me any loss of motor or cognitive abilities. Furthermore, I contracted contagious spinal meningitis while in the hospital. For some unknown reason, which I believe is stated in my medical records, the infection disappeared without explanation and the last two of five spinal taps where completely clear of the infection. I still question why I'm here, I question it constantly but I don't know that I'll ever find the answer.
Date NDE Occurred: 'January 8, 1998'
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Direct head injury Ruptured gigantic cranial aneurysm. 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
Had suffered a ruptured gigantic cranial aneurysm on the morning of January 8, 1998.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
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? Less consciousness and alertness than normal From its beginning to end.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? From its beginning to end.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
Were your senses more vivid than usual? Incredibly more vivid
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Actually, there was no sound during this experience in the sense of sound as we know it. However I could feel and hear sadness within my being.
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
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 As I stood on the edge of the abyss I realized I was holding a hand with my right hand, which was raised up. I looked to my right and upward and saw that I was holding the left hand of Jesus, He was looking forward and I was viewing His profile. Jesus neither spoke to me nor looked at me. He simply walked me (though neither He nor I walked, it was more like floating) around and led me away from the abyss. My next recollection was coming too and asking my wife to get me a priest because I wanted to receive my last rites. She told me that I had already received my last rites, and without trying to be humorous, I responded that 'He didn't do a good enough job.' She did get me another priest, who anointed me a second time. At that point I fell back into a coma and only recall three events over the next three days, the sound of a jet engine, the feeling of g-forces (the lift off of the med-evac helicopter) and a doctor asking me my name.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? No
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Fear and confusion, I could not rationally grasp what this experience was. In all honesty, I thought it was just a dream. It was not until three months after the event did I receive a confirmation that it had been an NDE. I was watching a 'Discovery' episode on NDEs when I watched a man describe almost word for word what I had experienced the day my aneurysm ruptured. It was at that moment that I realized I had actually held the left hand of Jesus and been led back to life by Him. At that moment of realization that it had actually happened I began crying like a baby and basically had a mini nervous breakdown knowing I had come so close to death.
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
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
The experience included: Boundary
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Yes I was standing on the edge of a cliff, looking down into the abyss, one that was filled with sadness and I sensed that if I stepped forward I would fall into the abyss of sadness for eternity. It was Jesus holding my hand that kept me from doing so; I believe He wanted me to just see and sense the sadness but not go into it.
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 was your religion prior to your experience? Conservative/fundamentalist Non-practicing Roman Catholic
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes As soon as I came to a realization that it happened I searched all over where I was living for a Catholic priest who could help me to come to grips with what I had experienced. After visiting every parish, I came to realize that not a one of them was interested in what I had experienced and none would give me the time to talk to them at length about it. This was the turning point between the Catholic religion and me. My beliefs are much simpler now; God lives within us, going to a building once a week to offer shallow and insincere requests for help through prayer is not my idea of what is expected of me in the eyes of the Lord. I know that I can speak directly to God as often as I want without going to a church to prove to others that I love God. I also view the death of others in a positive way. When my dad was dying, I went home to see him and told him in the hospital that it was okay to die, that the other side of this life existed and that he had nothing to fear. I also told him that we would be together again. To this day, I have not shed a tear for either my father or mother passing away. I was truly happy for both of them, maybe even a little jealous.
What is your religion now? Liberal Non-practicing Roman Catholic
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes As soon as I came to a realization that it happened I searched all over where I was living for a Catholic priest who could help me to come to grips with what I had experienced. After visiting every parish, I came to realize that not a one of them was interested in what I had experienced and none would give me the time to talk to them at length about it. This was the turning point between the Catholic religion and me. My beliefs are much simpler now; God lives within us, going to a building once a week to offer shallow and insincere requests for help through prayer is not my idea of what is expected of me in the eyes of the Lord. I know that I can speak directly to God as often as I want without going to a church to prove to others that I love God. I also view the death of others in a positive way. When my dad was dying, I went home to see him and told him in the hospital that it was okay to die, that the other side of this life existed and that he had nothing to fear. I also told him that we would be together again. To this day, I have not shed a tear for either my father or mother passing away. I was truly happy for both of them, maybe even a little jealous.
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
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No Things have changed for me internally in how I think and react to situations but I would have to say no only because my wife does not believe I experienced anything because she never witnessed a flat line on the medical life support equipment, so to her, it never happened.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
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? To this day the entire event has meaning to me. The sadness that I felt, saw, and heard reminds me every day how nothing in this life means anything to me except for people. No money or inanimate objects or possessions mean a thing to me, I don't care about anything except people, family, friends; they are all that matters in life here.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes It was after the realization that I had experienced, at least in my mind, an NDE. The first man I shared it with was a truck driver, we had met at my place of work, and we were just idly chatting when I began to relate to him what happened. Within minutes, we were both crying, sharing, and just feeling the goodness of being alive. I have had that experience with many people since that time. The last time I related what happened to me was this past April, with the vice president of a company, and wouldn't you know it, we ended up crying with good tears. I can't relate it with a dry eye because it was such a powerful event. As far as influencing them, I can't say for sure, but I know they thank me. Many have told me that that is just what they needed to hear that day, or that they would go home that night and pay a little more attention to their children. And some have come back to me and said that I have inspired them to be more positive and forgiving of the shortcomings of others.
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 From the moment in time that I realized I had held the right hand of Jesus my view of what happened has not wavered a bit. I feel as strongly now as then of my beliefs in life after death and am anxiously looking forward to the final crossover. I guess ten years ago when I knew I was dying, I was so filled with fear but as a result of the experience I no longer fear death or the other side.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No While not reproduced, I did have one other experience that I cannot explain logically; it was more a spiritual event. I was still in the hospital and was just beginning to start to walk again; I had been in bed for over two weeks at this point. I was getting out of bed to go for a walk with my wife. She had her back to me when I stood up and felt a finger poke me dead center of my chest knocking me back on the bed, and at that exact moment I could see, and hear every single word of prayer that had been said for me enter my body and flow throughout. I literally could see the words flowing through me, down my arms and legs, through my chest. I just sat there and started crying and my wife turned to me and said what's wrong and I said to her, 'Have you ever heard the phrase the power of prayer?' She looked at me like I was crazy. Then I told her what had just happened and she said that my mother-in-law had gone to all the local churches in my city and had my name added to prayer lists. I had no knowledge of that until my wife told me. So while it's not a reproduction of anything I experienced on the 8th of January, 1998; it was another validation to me that the life after is for real.