As an avid mountain bike enthusiast, I participated in a racing circuit and was preparing for an intense and long-distance race completing the season. This requires long rides on the road. My husband and I had just moved to a small town north of Grand Rapids and needed to carve out a new route to ride and build our saddle time and endurance. I had just purchased a brand new road bike but had not put the new clip-on peddles in time for a quick ride. I didn't want to go, long day at work, but knew I needed to go.
Fall season in West Michigan causes extreme problems with the sun setting on the horizon. I remember half-halfheartedly riding out of the driveway with my husband in front of me. We were going to do 20 miles and call it good. However, I had not ever been on this route with him and asked if he would mind if we just rode on a linear trail located close to our house. He talked me out of it and said that he was excited for me to see this new route. I trudged along with my feet atop the pedals, cussing the whole way. Thought I should have taken a few minutes to put them on.
As we made our way to the rural part of the ride, we had passed a few runners who did not see us approaching them, and almost ran into us because they were blinded by the low sun on the horizon. I remember thinking it would a bad night for them had they been run over by bicycles. I remember making a point of double-checking at intersections, as cars approached, to make sure people could see us. We kept pushing along, me, cussing all the way. I remember climbing a hilly road by a friend's house and wondered how they were doing.
The next thing I remember is sitting in a field with a man sitting next to me, can't remember what we were talking about, but, I had taken off my bike helmet, bandanna, sun glasses, and bike gloves. I remember them sitting right next to me in a neat and orderly manner. I couldn't see the face of the man sitting next to me, but, we both had our knees up and were resting our arms across the top of them. I seem to recall a laugh or two and polite conversation as we looked at a car sitting in the intersection of this road. The car door to the driver's side was open and it appeared the windshield had been crushed and pushed inside the car. Nobody was around; no other cars or people were in sight.
The field behind us was very green and whoever owned the corn growing there had a good year. I could smell fresh cut grass or something earthy in the air: it was very fresh and pleasant. The thing that bothered me was that I couldn't see the man's face, we talked but no direct eye-to-eye contact, and I seemed to be looking at him through the corner of my eye. It was almost like I was bashful, but I had the feeling I was very close to this person. I could tell he was my age, had dark hair, and I knew his build.
I remember hearing a voice that said 'someone up there loves her very much and was watching over her. We typically take bike/car accidents to the back of the hospital, not the emergency room.' I woke to the sound of a young girl crying. I looked around and saw that I was hooked up to a lot of wires and tubes on a white sheet gurney. It was then I saw my husband's face and asked him what happened. He told me that we were riding east on a road with a weird 'Y' cross road and a young man heading west hit me.
Because my husband was riding in front of me, all he heard was a loud screech, a loud thud, and glass breaking. As he turned around, he could see the windshield on the kid's car was gone and there was a huge dent on the top of his hood. He saw the kid jump out of his car, crying and screaming, but wasn't able to see me anywhere. My new bike was crushed in half and lying on the ground by the driver's side front tire. My husband jumped off his bike and ran to the car. I was hit square, flipped head first into the windshield, and then thrown onto the ground on the passenger side of the car. None of us had a cell phone, so my husband sent the kid to find a house or someone close by that could call 911.
He was afraid to touch me, I was in a heap and he wasn't sure of the extent of my injuries but decided to roll me on my back. Outwardly, it didn't appear that I had any broken limbs, but he did notice that my bike helmet had collapsed around my head. I was covered with cuts and blood, but no bones poking out. He said he kept talking to me, telling me to let him know I was all right. I opened my eyes and asked him who he was and what was it he wanted? I closed my eyes and he said I was out cold again. Within minutes, the first responders arrived. Not even a mile down the road, an ambulance crew pulled off for a few minutes to eat some dinner. I was placed on a stretcher and put into the ambulance with head, neck, and spine boards. They immediately hooked me up to an IV and were ready to do CPR because my vitals had dropped so low. The ride to the hospital was about 15 minutes. After arriving at the hospital, they immediately sent me through a series of x-rays, and scans, to find out what I had broken. They were especially concerned because I had a serious concussion and thought my brain was going to start swelling beyond my skull capacity.
I remember a man standing next to me while I was on the gurney and holding my hand as I passed through to each scan. I remember him holding my bike helmet. I couldn't see his face, but I had the feeling this was the same man I was talking to earlier in the evening in the cornfield. I had been at the hospital for quite a while before I had come around. I was out for about 2.5 hours. The little girl crying brought me around. I heard she had just gotten her driver's license and had rolled her car because she swerved to hit a deer. I remember telling her I was going to make sure she was okay and taken care of while I was there. There also happened to be an older gentleman, not too far away from me, who kept crying out in some sort of pain. I told the doctor to stop worrying about me, and take care of him.
As I gained more clarity, I couldn't remember how I got to the hospital and asked my husband to explain. I was sore, every bone in my body ached. I had a whopper of a headache, and blood all over me. All I could think was that I needed to get out of there and go home. So I did, the hospital was not able to find any broken bones, my vitals had returned to normal, my brain seemed to have stabilized, and they didn't feel any need to keep me overnight. A friend had come to the hospital earlier in the evening and dropped our car off so we had a way to get home, at some point. I remember crying all the way home. I woke up the next morning in a complete fog. My husband had stayed up all night to keep waking me up to make sure my concussion wasn't getting worse.
I slept for 5 days straight. I remember nothing about the day before this accident, the day of (except my conversation in the field), and nothing for 5 days, thereafter. I returned to work about a week later to try to keep moving. I could hardly walk and thinking was very difficult to do. Once I got my bearings back a little better, I had my husband drive me to the place where I was hit. There on the ground was my bandanna, sun glasses, and bike gloves in a neat pile as if they had been placed there and patiently waiting for me to come back and get them.
My bike helmet was crushed and had splintered into pieces. The entire backside of my helmet was completely blown out. Had I not had this helmet on, I could see what hitting my head on the windshield would have done to me: I would have died right there on the spot. After a few weeks of not seeming to recover, my family doctor sent me to an orthopedic surgeon for a consultation. After this doctor's review, he discovered I had a torn ACL [Editor's Note: One of the most important major ligaments of the knee connecting the bones of the knee joint.], torn Achilles tendon, and torn rotator cuff.
This doctor also sent me to a neurologist for further testing with my brain injury. I was then referred to a specialist that works with people who have serious brain injuries. I had lost verbal, motor, and problem solving skills because of hitting my head. Not only did I have six major surgeries to repair parts that were not picked up by the hospital, I had quite a lot of physical and brain injury therapy. I've returned to almost a completely normal life, which has taken almost ten years. The only pain I feel is in my hips, and I get terrible headaches on occasion.
The last headache I had, we went to the emergency room at the same hospital. I was in a dark room with my eyes closed tight to help with the pain. I heard the door open and a man began to speak to me. I recognized the voice and opened my eyes but had never seen this man before in my life. I told him I knew him but couldn't figure out how. After a small conversation, his eyes grew wide and he said, 'You're that woman??' It turns out he was the paramedic on duty that night. He said he remembered me because they never 'take bike/car accidents to the emergency room.' I must have remembered him talking to me, during the course of being taken care of and transported to the hospital. He reminded me again that someone loved me very much and was watching out for me that night.
I'm not one to ever talk about bad experiences. I typically keep those sorts of things to myself. However, a few months ago, I had heard something on the radio about accident victims and Angels coming to their rescue. I was talking about it with my husband when it occurred to me that we never talked about what we were talking about when we were sitting in the cornfield. He gave me a look that told me he wasn't sure what I was talking about, so I probed a little further. I told him we were sitting in the cornfield talking about something. I had taken my bike gear off and we were sitting there looking at the car.
He told me that I 'never sat up, we never sat in a corn field because there wasn't a corn field, and I was out cold for several hours'. 'Are you sure? I distinctly remember sitting there with you'. He said, 'Nope, no conversations.' I've had quite a lot of spiritual activity occurring this year and decided to seek out some spiritual help with trying to resolve the intensity of my experiences. I lost the love of my life at the age of 22 to a drunk driver. He was going to ask me to marry him that coming weekend, but never got that chance. It was the single most horrifying thing I had ever been through; and left me lost and afraid for a number of years thereafter. I met my husband in an odd turn of fate, and we've been married for 25 years. He is incredible and life with him has been wonderful, considering where I was 30 years ago after the death of my boyfriend.
However, I never talked this situation about either with my husband or anyone else. Odd things began occurring this year with my former love washed all over it. I sought out spiritual help to figure out what the heck was happening and why all of the sudden, now. During one of my appointments with my spiritual therapist, I became brave enough to ask about my accident and ask why I didn't die that night. Of course, the answer was it wasn't my time. However, I did learn something very interesting about that night. I hadn't put the pedals on my new bike.
That, in and of itself, saved me in more ways than the helmet did. I was asked if my hips still hurt. I said, 'yes and have been all over trying to figure out why they still hurt after all this time'. My spiritual therapist told me that I had ignored all the signs thrown to me that evening about not riding my bike. Because I didn't take the time to put the pedals on, it allowed my Angels to hold me back from the car when it hit me. They were holding me by my hips. The man sitting with me in the field and holding my hand at the hospital was my former love.
Date NDE Occurred: 10-17-2003
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Accident. Direct head injury. 'Life threatening event, but not clinical death'
I was hit by a car while riding my bike.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Neither pleasant NOR distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Uncertain I'm not quite sure I understand this question. I could see the car that hit me, but I did not see any people around me. I heard a voice talking to me which a number of years later I heard again and it was a paramedic.
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
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was sitting in the cornfield talking to a man that I wouldn't look at; however, I knew that I was close to him somehow. Colors and smells were very vivid. To this day, when I pass a cornfield or are in the country, my senses seem to go into overdrive.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
Time didn't seem to be of concern; it was laid back and pleasant, like there weren't any other concerns in the world at that time.
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 am able to see things now that others don't seem to be able to see. I am more observant with my surroundings.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I always have buzzing in my ears. It's hard for me to be in a crowd because I can hear everything. We recently went to a concert and I wanted to leave because I could hear all the conversation going on around me, which was irritating the heck out of me. I wanted to listen to the music not people catching up with their friends or talking on their cell phones. My husband is not able to hear the same things I do.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
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 My experience included my former love, who tragically passed away almost 30 years ago. He seemed to never leave my side.
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? An unusually bright light
Did you see an unearthly light? No
The experience included: A landscape or city
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 calm and happy sitting there. Nothing was scary or frightening to me. It was a peaceful and pleasant environment, a beautiful countryside in the fall.
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? No
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
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? 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? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated I do not believe in organized religion, but have always been a highly spiritual individual and do recognize there is a higher order of life.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Unaffiliated- Nothing in particular- Religious unaffiliated I still do not believe in organized religion, perhaps more so than before. However, I have always been a very spiritual person and believed in a higher order of life. My spiritual beliefs and a higher order has become very heightened and at times intense.
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 have always believed in a higher order and Angels. I have no doubt I was in good hands that night.
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
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? 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? No
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 Uncertain It took me a number of years after my accident to realize what had occured to me that evening. I believed in life after death, however, my experience only confirms there is.
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? Not 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? No
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 Sitting in this field, I could tell that the person next to me loved me. I also heard that someone was watching over me and loved me very much.
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. Fortunate or unfortunate, I have always believed my existence on Earth was for a purpose. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what that purpose was, so I could get it right. I don't believe in organized religion but do believe in a higher power. I believe my experience has allowed me to become far more in tune and aware of things that I never noticed before in life. I don't let things happen to me now, wonder why that happened, I take charge, and figure it out. I feel more in charge of myself and it seems my spirituality continues to grow the more I learn. I no longer feel the importance of materialistic things, I want experiences not things. I still have a lot to learn!
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes Yes My relationship with my husband is much stronger. I continue to have a relationship with my former love. I have a few friends who think I've lost my mind and avoid me, and have failed at the attempt to reconnect with my former love's family. Two other friends have become closer because, they too, believe in LAD [Life After Death] and NDE. I've also developed a number of very heartfelt relationships with people who I never would have had the chance to meet had it not been for my experience.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes I couldn't talk about it for a very long time. It was almost ten years to the date that I learned that my experience was a NDE. I had always thought my husband and I were having a conversation while we were waiting for the ambulance. I never asked him about what we were talking about, it just had never occurred to me to ask.
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 The experience was very vivid and crystal clear to me. Whereas the days leading up to and many thereafter are all in a fog.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I have always been told that I have a highly intuitive sense; however, I've been selective about when to use it. Now, though, I don't do that: I pay extreme attention. I've also always had a very vivid imagination, I'm beginning to understand that I have psychic and channeling abilities.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Yes, the tragedy of losing the love of my life and future was the single most devastating thing that ever occurred to me. Being 22 years old at the time left me completely vulnerable and lost. I have had images and thoughts of this man being with me throughout and there have been a number of instances where things occurred that were not coincidences relating to him. I've had a broken heart for many years, and after realizing what I experienced, began a healing process that I never thought would happen. I needed to pay attention, and not having this experience would not have allowed me to open up and be more accepting to the beauty and peace of higher powers.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I have always been hesitant to talk about my accident and until recently, did not realize that I had a NDE experience. When I began to open up and talk about it, ask questions, and begin to understand the entirety of the situation, I had to share it with someone. I have the most incredible and awesome husband a girl could ever have in this life. I've been to psychics, mediums, and even went through a past life regression hypnosis to come to terms with the death of my former love. He's completely accepting of my journey and has been my sounding board and guidance counselor. After my love died, within a matter of time, I disconnected with his family. This past year, I was reacquainted with one of his relatives and reconnected with his whole family; AND, it included bringing my husband along, who they love. However, I have vaguely mentioned some of my beliefs and experiences and found that made them hugely uncomfortable and standoffish. These people are very involved in their 'religions' and I find it interesting that my experiences make them very uncomfortable. I stopped talking about it with them so as not to lose their relationships, however, I feel they are steering extremely clear of me.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I've always been interested in this subject matter, but didn't realize until just recently that I had one myself. I've had several friends that have had them and I was always intrigued by their personal stories.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I knew the experience was real, I just thought it was with my husband, not my former love. Realization didn't occur for almost ten years because I never talked about it.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I have no doubt about it. Until I started asking questions about it, didn't realize what I was looking at.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes Certain things give me flashbacks: driving through the country and seeing cornfields, something on TV or a movie can bring me back to that night; the voice of the paramedic that saw me in the hospital a few years later. I have dreams about a cornfield and sunflowers.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? One thing I struggle with is my inability to understand this experience until a number of years later. I've gone through 8 years of surgeries, therapies, pain treatments, and pills. It was about a year ago that everything was behind me. I wish I could have realized what I experienced far earlier than I did; and, much of it had to do with asking questions and talking about it. What I've discovered this past year has been incredible and life strengthening for me. Maybe I wasn't ready for it until now, but, I'm aware now and trying to learn and understand everything, I can about it. I've cleaned out a mental and physical closet with this experience.