Carol I NDE
edited for clarity by Judy Shea 5/29/11
My mother, brother and I were staying in a guest house next to the hospital where they were treating me, and every day I'd go over there and would have my blood taken and my condition monitored. This particular day was my brother's 15th birthday, and I was lying in a hospital bed waiting for my results to come back so I could get out of there and hang out with my family.
After a time, I noticed, almost idly, that there were long stretches between breaths and I had to remind myself to take one. I could feel myself fading and I knew, without question, that I was about to die. I had a strong sense that this was both okay and necessary. I understood that death was not an enemy, that my death was one of many required to move the human spirit forward. I was glad it was me this time and not someone else. This pretty much answered the question I had been asking since I came down with aplastic anemia, which was "Why me?".
My mother was by my bedside while I talked about giving away my pitifully few possessions, such as my stereo and my books. I asked her to please tell my older brother that I didn't mind. And, with that, I surrendered. I simply let go of life.
I immediately found myself wrapped in a velvety blackness which held a feeling of being somewhere else. There was no pain, no fear; I was still around, aware of what was happening - but for the moment nothing WAS happening. Then, in the next moment, I found myself reliving my life, and I mean my WHOLE life - every bit of it - and it took no time at all. When I saw the film "American Beauty," I thought that the person who wrote that final speech about when your life passes before your eyes must have had a near-death experience. It's exactly like that. It takes just a moment, but it stretches on forever, with some parts standing out more than others.
You could call it a "life review," but it was more in-depth than that - it was multi-faceted. These were the facets: 1/ I experienced incidents from my life from my own point of view, 2/ from the point of view of whoever was with me, and, 3/ from the point of view of a witness - a watcher of sorts - and all simultaneously.
One occasion I relived affected me deeply. I was in the eighth grade, and I was with my friends at school - leading them on in verbally abusing another one of our friends. It was cruel behavior and I was drenched in it. I got to be me and experience that secret little thrill you get when you are cleverly mean to someone. I got to experience the admiration, tinged with fear, of the girls who were going along with me, and lastly, I also experienced the humiliation and pain of the one we were tormenting. I got to not just see her; but to BE her, including her being huddled next to the lockers, alone and crying, after the rest of us had left. I found myself full of remorse - first, over what I had done, and then over the fact that I was dead and couldn't make up for it. My mind and my heart were crying out, "I'm sorry! I'm so, so sorry!" when I heard a chuckle and felt a presence with me in the blackness. The presence expressed amusement over my despair and answered, with heart and mind, something to the effect of, "You were just a kid, how bad could you have been?" Along with this communication, I was embraced by love - a love that had layer upon layer of compassion. It felt like home. Home! - like coming inside from the snow to a warm fire, the smell of good things cooking and the laughter of family. And it was euphoric beyond anything I'd felt before or anything I've felt since.
Then I remember waking up. The nurse told me I had given them quite a scare, that when they tested my blood, the counts were too low to sustain life. They had been worried they wouldn't be able to give me a blood transfusion in time to keep me from slipping away. I, on the other hand, was disappointed I was still alive.
Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? Yes. I can describe some of what happened, but not the whole of the experience. It has a fullness of meaning that we fumble for on this plane of existence. It's like trying to describe color to someone who has always been blind. You have to have gone through something like that yourself to understand it.
At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event? Yes. I had been diagnosed with aplastic anemia and was in a hospital in Tacoma, Washington, awaiting transport to Seattle for a bone-marrow transplant.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? The most alert and conscious I've ever been was during the entire experience.
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal every day consciousness and alertness? More consciousness and alertness than normal.
If your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience was different from your normal every day consciousness and alertness, please explain: The most alert and conscious I've ever been was during the entire experience.
Did your vision differ in any way from your normal, everyday vision (in any aspect, such as clarity, field of vision, colors, brightness, depth perception degree of solidness/transparency of objects, etc.)? No
Did your hearing differ in any way from your normal, everyday hearing (in any aspect, such as clarity, ability to recognize source of sound, pitch, loudness, etc.)? No
Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I felt every emotion there is, and I felt them all acutely.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel or enclosure? No
Did you see a light? No
Did you meet or see any other beings? Yes. Someone came to me. The presence felt and sounded male and he had a surprisingly humorous personality. I remember thinking that if he was the angel of death, he was the kindest angel of all.
Did you experience a review of past events in your life? Yes. And from it, I learned a great deal - and I have tried to be a kinder person - partly from the knowledge that I will experience the consequences of my words and deeds when I die again, and partly because I'm aware that there are consequences of my words and deeds right now.
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? Yes. I know the name of the girl I hurt. I could have contacted her and asked her if she cried alone after the incident. But it didn't feel right to do so. Saying I'm sorry now would only make me feel better, not her.
Did you see or visit any beautiful or otherwise distinctive locations, levels or dimensions? No
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? Yes. Every moment of my physical life was compressed into what felt like a very short period of time. To answer the next question - everything was experienced all at once and time was sped up. It was both.
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? Yes. I found out that we don't die.
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? No
Did you become aware of future events? No
Did you have any psychic, paranormal or other special gifts following the experience you did not have prior to the experience? Uncertain. I'm not sure they are special, not sure they are gifts and not sure I didn't have them before.
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes. I shared it immediately with my family and with others who've expressed interest over the years. Their reactions depend on what they already believe.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? No
How did you view the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened: I immediately knew that the experience was definitely real. I've never questioned the reality of the experience.
Were there one or several parts of the experience especially meaningful or significant to you? This question made me laugh. like..."You experienced the Afterlife, other than that, was there anything meaningful or significant?"
How do you currently view the reality of your experience: I still know that the experience was definitely real. My view now is that I wonder how many people need to have near-death experiences before those of us that have stop getting asked "Well, yeah, but was it really real or do you only think it was real?"
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience? Uncertain. I don't know what they would have been like if I hadn't had the experience, though.
Have your religious beliefs/practices changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes. And they are still changing.
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience? Uncertain. I wouldn't say "reproduced," but, whoever was with me in the darkness is with me still.
Did the questions asked and information you provided so far accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? No. But I couldn't comprehensively describe the experience. As far as the questions go, I would say you chose very well.