Edited for clarity by Judy Shea 3/27/13
On 5/31/12 I recall being very distressed because I had relapsed on cocaine after having had a substantial amount of clean time. Almost six years had gone by since my life had become stable again. However, I was having problems in my life—specifically, family situations that had me feeling down and out, and I had reverted to my old ways. I was very miserable. I recall on more than one occasion calling unto God, asking that he just take me, for I was suffering a great deal. That day, I had called my father crying, stating I literally just wanted to die. And that same day, I did cocaine. A few hours afterwards, I was sitting on the toilet in my bathroom when I suddenly stood up and then jolted backwards, landing in the bathtub. I then started to have what I think may have been a convulsion. I have never had one, so I'm not sure. I knew I was in trouble because I was in the house alone, and who was going to help me? I was frightened at what was taking place. Above the tub and to my left, there was a small window. I could hear my neighbor out there walking her dog, so I reached for the window, trying to gain her attention. But I couldn't control my body movements and was unable to. After about twenty-plus seconds, I stopped trying—because I died. I remember being so disappointed in myself for dying an addict.
For a short time, I looked down at myself, lying in the tub with my eyes open. Suddenly, a white, almost blue, sphere/orb appeared. It seemed to speak to me telepathically, saying, "It's OK, we can go now." My faith automatically kicked in and I said, "God, please forgive me!" and "Please, I love my wife, my kids, and my mother (whom I hadn't reconciled with.) I am not ready to never see them again!" I then had a vision of a tunnel that was pulling me closer. I prayed the "Our Father," and the "Hail Mary," and then repeated these prayers once again… and nothing—it was still pulling me. I then realized it was over. I knew I had only moments to accept the Lord Jesus, who had died on the cross for my sins. I became very desperate and made another attempt, saying, "God, show me who you are, show me how to LOVE." Immediately after saying the word "love," I bounced back into my body and took a huge breath of air!
I frantically scrambled to get out of the tub, shocked at what had just
happened. The earth's gravity seemed to be weighing me down and I struggled to
stay on my feet as I stumbled outside. A passerby stopped and asked if I
needed help. She called 911 and I was rushed to the hospital, where it was
discovered I had renal [kidney] failure and a blood clot in my leg.
At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes. Renal failure, and deep vein thrombosis in my left leg.
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No. At first I was in shock but after waiting a day and speaking with doctors to rule out any unconsciousness or hallucinations, I realized that what had happened was definitely real. But it was going to be difficult to explain it to others.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I saw the sphere.
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 never felt so alert, for I had always known it was an event that would one day come (death) but I just didn't expect it so soon.
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. The sphere was vibrant in color.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I paid attention to every detail. I stood at attention, whereas I often have a poor attention span.
Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during a time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body? Yes. I saw the sphere and then all other existing sounds became very vague.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? First, disappointment and desperation. Then an overwhelming feeling of gratitude when I bounced back and that precious gift, the breath of life, was restored to me.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? Yes. I suddenly had a vision of a tunnel that was pulling me toward the sphere at a steady pace.
Did you see an unearthly light?
Yes. A white, almost blue, very vibrant sphere or orb.
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence, or hear an unidentifiable voice? I heard a voice I could not identify.
I can't describe it. It was unfamiliar to me.
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
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? Yes. A friend who had died from an overdose—I felt his presence and I knew I would be meeting with him again.
Did you become aware of past events in your life during your experience? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm.
This sphere was nothing I had ever experienced, and it had something distinguishing about it. It was definitely mystical.
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning.
What seemed like seconds could have been much longer, I'm not quite sure.
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? No
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? Uncertain
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No.
I was begging to stay but I feel the ultimate decision was God's. Whether it was God or a mediator, I knew the ultimate decision was not mine. But by wanting to return, I knew I was putting myself in the position of accepting and dealing with life, with all its difficulties, just as it was.
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there either is (or is not) continued existence after earthly life (“life after death”)? Yes. I know I died and yet my spirit continued. I have detailed memories of the event and I vividly recall every emotion I felt.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being either does (or does not) exist? Yes. I know for sure that God exists. The word "love" was the last word I said. I later realized my wife had recently put a Bible quote in the bathroom that said "Love is patient, love is kind, love endures all things…" This, to me, was no coincidence. It is almost as if God knew this was going to happen and so my wife was driven to put that framed quotation there on the wall where I would see it. I had never paid much attention to this word "love." I don't know what exactly drove me to even ask God to "show me how to love." And since that time, the word "love" has had a whole different, more profound, meaning to me.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that you either did (or did not) exist prior to this lifetime? No
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that a mystical universal connection or unity/oneness either does (or does not) exist? Yes. I felt one with the sphere. The voice I heard seemed unfamiliar, and yet it keeps occurring to me that it was similar to my own voice. (I'm not sure I can explain that.)
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s meaning or purpose? Yes. Same as above.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s difficulties, challenges, or hardships? Yes. Same as above.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love? Yes. The word "love" stands out so much, for it was the last word I said before taking a huge gasp of air back into my lungs. The breath of life.
During your experience, did you encounter any other specific information / awareness that you have not shared in other questions that is relevant to living our earthly lives? No
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge or purpose? Yes. My purpose is to share my story with as many people as possible.
What occurred during your experience included: Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs I had at the time of my experience.
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 as accurately as other life events that occurred around the time of the experience.
Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience: For one, I have since remained clean. And, also, I continue to be grateful, as I go over this experience in my mind several times a day. I have since became much closer with my family and things have gotten much better. I am currently in a happy place in my life.
My experience directly resulted in: Large changes in my life.
Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience? Yes. My spiritual beliefs and my belief in God are very intense. I know for sure God is with me, for he was there at a time when I needed him most. This has led me to believe that he is everywhere at all times.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? Love !!!! God is love. To know love is to know God. First and foremost, loving him and loving myself.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain. A similar experience had happened to me in the past. Not as real to me as this one, but afterwards, I felt some weird things, like animals being extremely friendly with me and children I had never met, knowing me and saying my name. I believe I had been close to death at that time, also. But I never saw a sphere like I did this time or had that understanding of love.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? All about love !!!!
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes. The next day, I started talking about it. After talking with a chaplain and fellow church members, I came to a realization about what had happened.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain. I had heard some things and I was open to it, but never imagined I would have an experience, myself.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened: Experience was definitely real. It was overwhelming at first. It took a little time to take it all in.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time: Experience was definitely real.
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes. Things are a lot better. I am a lot more patient and calm.
Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience? Uncertain. I was always rather spiritual, but now I can't help but believe in God, for now I have confirmation.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes. During the time of the dystonic reactions, I soon found myself at a place called St. Rita's in the Bronx, NY, from where it is said Mother Theresa's bloodline was, or still is, as a nun. Some things took place there that I would like to discuss if I am contacted.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? No
Did the questions asked and information that you provided accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Yes
What could a national organization with an interest in near death experience (NDE) do that would be of interest to you? Continue bringing forth similar encounters to help me realize I am not unique. And I look forward to hearing from many more people who have been similarly blessed, by being able to read about their experiences.
Please offer any suggestions that you may have to improve this questionnaire. Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? All was good.