This was written only a couple months after the experience. It is posted in my blog. I was still recovering from major brain surgery and trying to find words for what I had experienced.
I gave the surgeon a high-five and told him, ‘You’ll be a rock star!’ as I was being rolled into the operating room. Talking and hospital activities faded as I drifted into unconsciousness.
Then, suddenly I was wide awake, but I wasn't in the hospital. I wasn't in this world. It was unspeakably beautiful all around me. The colors were so vivid that they seemed to emanate light. As I began to take in what I was seeing, I realized that I was sitting on what looked like an enormous wing. It was bright, colorful, the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The brightness was so intense that it should have been blinding, but it didn't hurt my eyes at all. My vision was acute there. I could see even the tiniest detail clearly.
The wing was auburn and gold and then browns, too. For some reason the color surprised me. I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about it, but I guess thanks to TV, I expected angels to be white or light gold. I was fascinated by the material that the wing was made of, because it was made of something I had never seen before. It was almost like melted metal, but it was partially transparent, like a gemstone and was extremely bright with light. The wing was strong, as though it wasn't made of particles, but rather was one solid thing. I could see amber colored ‘veins’ running through it, like veins that run through marble. I reached down to touch the wing, to feel what it was, but couldn't feel it. I don’t remember if I saw my hand as I reached down.
All of it was other-worldly, and yet it felt like ‘home’ in a way I can’t describe. There was an overwhelming feeling of love, like I’d never known before, but somehow knew existed. I knew this was the Love of God, but it was so much more intense than I could have imagined. The love was soothing, comforting, and irresistible. It was all-powerful and overwhelming; it ‘lifted me up’ with a joy and hope. There was no fear or sadness. I felt like I could spend forever just taking in the beauty, the love, and incomprehensible wonder all around me.
I remember thinking that it felt as though everything I had done wrong in my life had never happened. I hadn't realized, before that moment, how those memories had weighed heavily on me. Today, when I read about the visions men in the Bible had, my eyes fill with tears, because I know what they saw and how hard it is to describe. There was peace, joy, happiness, and the lack of any pain. It was clear to me that I was in a different dimension than I had known. I knew that I was no longer in my body, on earth.
Around me, outside of the glorious glow of the being that held me, was nothing. But I sensed that there was much more beyond this place. I felt perfectly safe. There was no fear. I am sure that what held me was an angel. I thought of my family who I had left behind. But I didn't feel upset or worry for them. I knew that they would be cared for in my absence, so much so, that I only thought about them briefly. There was a very, very faint sound, like the rushing of air or water far off in the distance. I started to try to sort out my surroundings.
I noticed that the source of the love was to my right, up above my shoulder. Peace, joy, and comfort were all to my lower left. These feelings were an outgrowth of the love. I don’t know the significance of where things were, if they related to the being that held me, or something else.
My thoughts went back to the world from which I had come. I knew that I was finished with the life I had lived there, and it seemed like such a small span of time that I had been there. I realized that it wasn't as real as where I was now, and that this dimension was somehow hidden from those who lived in the world. But I knew that the time in the world was necessary. It was where we realized the existential need we had for our creator. We chose the only true life that exists, through His all-powerful spirit. God’s power and love filled everything there with eternal truth that has always been and always will be. This was ‘glory’: This was ‘holiness’. The chasm between humanity and this place was very clear. God had reached down to man to bring him here. These were among the things that somehow, I just knew.
At that point I felt a ‘tingle’ in the lower part of my left leg. I had a fleeting thought that the surgeon must be working on something that affected that part of my body, which is interesting, because I was in this place and not the hospital. From seeing that, I believe that this was a dimension which parallels the one we are living. The sensation caused me to look down. Down to my left and over my shoulder, I saw what looked like silhouettes of people. Their bodies were dark, and I saw no details of their faces. They weren't solid, like the angel. They were clearly made of particles, mostly dark, and then there were a very few particles that were light. Each silhouette had a glow around it that was bright and glorious, like the wing. I understood that they were somehow part of both worlds. There were a lot of these silhouettes. They moved and they talked to each other. Although I could not hear them, I saw their gestures and their mouths moving when they were turned to the side.
Then I heard a voice say, ‘The multitude is petitioning for you.’ The voice was another thing that I find so difficult to describe. It was male, very strong and powerful, but yet it was gentle and filled with love. I remember having the thought that I could linger here forever, and just experience this joy, this beauty, and this love. I was excited and expectant. Then I looked at the silhouettes of people again. I was amazed and touched that so many of them were praying for me. I heard the voice again, ‘The petition is granted.’
In the next instant, I was aware of feeling my physical body. I hadn’t noticed before, but I had not felt my physical body during the experience except that ‘tingle’ in my lower leg. I heard women’s voices. I was in the recovery room in the hospital. The colors were gone; the feelings of love, peace, and joy lingered like a close memory. I fought hard to hold on to those feelings. I fought back the tears. I was not at all sure that I wanted to be back here. I longed to be back in that beautiful place, with that love, peace, and joy. I was very conflicted. But I knew from the words that had been spoken that it had been decided where I belonged.
I started to talk and kept talking, nearly non-stop for at least several days about how ‘I was in heaven!’ I was corrected by the staff, ‘No, sweetie, you’re at the Medical Center. We’re not letting you go to heaven today.’ I was told repeatedly that ‘You are going to be all right, everything is all right.’ I heard the nurses talk among themselves as I lay there, feeling as though I was caught between two worlds. They whispered things like, ‘She keeps talking about going to heaven.’
Realizing that I was back in the physical world, I instinctively tried moving my legs and my arms to see if the surgery had damaged anything. Everything worked perfectly, and I was so thankful. I knew then that I was experiencing a miracle, being alive, and being whole. The surgeons had done a miraculous job, but I knew that God himself had given my life back to me in direct response to the prayers that had been said for me. It was only later that I learned just how many people had actually been involved in that prayer effort. As it turned out, it was, in fact, a ‘multitude’. It is humbling beyond words that so many people prayed for my life. That thought still brings tears to my eyes. I believe that what I saw was a gift. I saw the great contrast between that world and this one. It was life changing to see all of it so clearly.
As I lay in my bed recovering, I would look out my window and I saw for the first time, how completely devastated God’s beautiful world was. I felt a strong sense of mourning over how broken this once-beautiful world is. It is only a remnant now of how beautiful it was created. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew, and it made me sad. For whatever the reason, I had been given a glimpse of glory, and the thought of somehow living this life independent from the source of life and love seems insane to me.
I’m sure there are skeptics who would have plenty to say about the side effects of anesthesia, or people dreaming while they are in surgery, but I don’t care. I know what I saw. The experience has profoundly affected me. I see my current life as something brand new. Something, which, I believe, could easily not have been part of the plan. I feel a new and intense gratitude when I wake up each and every morning. Things that used to bother me don’t matter. People matter. Life matters. Love matters. Knowing and standing for the truth matters. I am always aware of the other dimension, but in a more personal way than what I had known as ‘faith’.
My memory still takes me back to that place almost daily. The heightened awareness of that other dimension has dulled with time, and I need to think back, to meditate and remember. I don’t want to ever lose that. I continue to see life differently. I became aware of so many things that I was oblivious to before my surgery. Like how people are strangely unaware and uninterested in things going on around them. It seems like people are somehow tuned-out to the natural world. It’s like they are distracted with inconsequential, useless things. I’m aware that this world is nearing its end. Fortunately, I’m not alone in that awareness. Fortunately, I’m not afraid to die.
An interesting story, almost as an affirmation to me of everything I saw, happened when a friend came to see me when I’d just gotten home. She brought me a little statue of a fairy. The fairy had two holes in its wings, decoratively, and they were right where my angel had the spot on his wing. I thought, in my still fuzzy head, ‘She bought it because it would remind me of the angel.’ Of course, she had no idea that the angel had a spot on its wing. But to me, it was as though everyone knew just what he looked like. I only told that story to my friend recently. She couldn't believe that I hadn't told her sooner. But I look at the fairy every morning, where it still sits, beside my bed, and it reminds me.
This is my account of what I saw and experienced. I have pondered, prayed, and wondered why I was allowed to see the things I saw. I do not know the reason. I only know that I saw something that few people are privileged to see. I share this story because it is true. My hope is that God uses it to bless others, and encourage them. There is a life beyond what we know. We learn in church that the soul is separate from the body and is eternal. That is a more concrete reality to me now than ever before, and when it’s time for me to go back to that place and beyond, I will welcome it. But in God’s unsearchable wisdom, He has me here on earth for now. I pray each morning for His strength to help me live this day well. The story of Jesus speaking with Thomas in (John 20:29) often comes to my mind ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’.
Date NDE Occurred: Januare 3, 2011
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related. While under general anesthesia. Life threatening event, but not clinical death
I was undergoing surgery to remove a 4.5 cm brain tumor, near my brain stem when I found myself in another dimension.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes The facts have been checked out. In my description above, I saw people praying for me. But they appeared different to me than they do here. I clearly left my body and existed outside it.
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 My initial response is to write!!!!!!! I was acutely aware of not only the smallness and relative insignificance of life in this temporal reality, but of many things at once. I was more alert than I had ever been. I could see better than I can see on earth. I could see things light years away and I could see on a microscopic level. But I didn't understand all of this at the time. I only realized it later. My vision was perfect; my hearing, my alertness. I would describe them as perfect.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? Nearest to the end, after I had 'gotten my bearings'.
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
I was outside of 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. Like I stated before, my vision was perfect. I was able to see outrageously far away and also microscopic. The people on earth I saw looked different from that dimension.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. It's difficult to describe. I heard only pure words. They weren't heard with my ears, though. They were spoken into 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 Nope, no tunnel.
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Unearthly light
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? Yes Only the light that emitted from the being who held me (angel).
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? Some unfamiliar and strange place It wasn't mystical. It was material. It was gloriously beautiful but not ethereal. It was real.
The experience included: Strong emotional tone
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Love. Peace. Joy. Rest. Fulfillment. Comfort.
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
The experience included: Special knowledge or purpose
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe I knew there was more I would understand, but for the moment, I knew that life on earth had been a brief, created thing, which was very important, but was not my true life in which I would live eternally.
The experience included: Life review
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No Everything I had done wrong had never happened.
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 I was a sincere Christian at the time of the event, trusting God to get me through my surgery.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes See above
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Christian- Protestant All that I knew to be true was confirmed by my 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
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes Not values, but understanding of the world and the truth of what is happening here. I am passionate about sharing truth with others.
The experience included: Presence of unearthly beings
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 heard the angel speak to me.
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? Yes That life on earth is a created, brief thing. Something we have to pass through to be with God eternally.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No I wouldn't call it a "oneness", no. I felt very special and dearly loved and knew that others were as well. His love was so great that it was immensely greater than needed to love every single spirit as He loved me.
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? Yes This is also in my description. I was told the multitude was petitioning for me and that the petition was granted. It was God who granted the petitions.
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? Yes I discern truth and falsehood, good and evil. I am often aware of spiritual entities presences. I am, far more than ever, passionate about truth and reaching people with the love of God and Jesus Christ.
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? Yes I already did above. (sorry, I wrote it all out in the description section)
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 Absolutely!. Beyond absolutely!. What I was was so much more real than what we are experiencing here in this world! That was true life.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I slightly feared death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not 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 Yes, this world and life is just a vapor. It is important when we are here, to be sure, but so much greater is true life and reality that in comparison it is just a vapor.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes yes, that they were so small in comparison to what was real and true.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes see above. :o)
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. You need another option - MUCH MORE GREATLY IMPORTANT TO ME! Large changes in my life. You need another option - MUCH MORE GREATLY IMPORTANT TO ME!
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes I've lost closeness with many friends who don't understand me now. My husband initially didn't understand but he persevered, and today we are closer than ever.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes It took me nearly three years before I could express it well enough to speak in front of people and tell about the experience. The difficulty is that my mind sees the experience as a great, multi-faceted abstract. It feels like trying to funnel it down into one thought at a time when I try to describe what I experienced. It is difficult to tell it in a way that makes sense in this world. I have spoken to two other NDE survivors, however, and we very easily understand each other. It's as though we barely need words. I think it's so difficult to describe partially because there is simply no vocabulary for it. When I hear someone else attempting to describe the experience it's like I can see through their eyes exactly what they are trying to say. Also, when I read of visions of the supernatural in scripture, I get tears in my eyes because I feel like I know that place.
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 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? Yes I sense spiritual entities at work in people, places. I am aware of angels’ presence at times.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Experiencing my salvation. Everything I did wrong never happened. That I so dearly loved.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I shared it immediately. I've never stopped.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain Little to none
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I immediately knew, beyond any doubt, that it was real. Nothing could convince me that it wasn't. You might convince me that my car isn't real, but not that this wasn't real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real
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? Jesus was and is God. My experience doesn't prove that, but I believe that it does prove the existence of the immortal soul and spirit of man. Naturalism is pure nonsense. It breaks my heart that people block out the truth of the miracle that they truly are.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Your questionnaire is actually very thorough.