James W NDE 4962
edited for clarity by Judy Shea 7/16/11
On June 6th 1981, I was hit by a car while walking home alongside the road. I was transported to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, where I began recovering from a dislocated hip, abrasions and an exploratory abdominal surgery.
After a few days my temperature began to rise steadily. My abdomen became distended. I was suffering from peritonitis. My temperature continued to rise over the next couple of days, as antibiotics were unable to stem the infection. Eventually I became ill enough to warrant emergency surgery. My temperature had reached alarming levels. Right before surgery, I tried to call my sister-in-law to ask for prayer; but her mother refused the charges. Her mother was a Christian, but the phone bill always caused her more anxiety than anyone's state of health or salvation. I was very distressed by this inability to communicate with them, but at least they knew I was recovering, not dying.
The ride on that gurney to the operating room was very traumatic. I knew I may very well not survive it.
Once I was under anesthetic, at some point I realized I was floating above the surgical team. This realization quickly gave way to a feeling of being lifted away into darkness. I was immediately struck by a sense of overwhelming calm. A place where anxiety of any type was impossible. I was then struck with overwhelmingly strong feelings of complete foolishness, silliness and stupidity and surprise all rolled into one.
"What had I been worrying about all my life? Why had I cared so much about things that meant so little? What had I been afraid of?"
If I was ever in need of salvation... it was already mine. It could not be undone. My destiny was a foregone conclusion.
Where I was at, was no place to be afraid of. Quite the contrary. I still long for that sense of overwhelming tranquility. The sense of everything being exactly as it was supposed to be. A definite sense of having been there before. So many feelings of freedom and rightness and perfection... I can only describe it as "the peace that transcends all understanding." The eternal presence of God. And there was also a very strong sense that "This is REAL!"
That was the most emotional part of my NDE.
At the same time as I felt all that, I had a sense of movement. Very fast movement. I then "arrived" at my destination. I was floating in the air in front of my brother-in-law's parents' house alongside a figure dressed in a long hooded garment I could not make out the figure's facial features, as they seemed to be in shadow. Though we were floating about thirty feet in the air, I had no fear and it even felt solid. The best way I can describe where we were, is that it was like another dimension, where we could see into this dimension. The atmosphere of the dimension we were in was a dull yellowish-brown haze, much like the gradient between the bottom and top of a large cumulus cloud. But the "dimension" below us was quite natural looking. The figure, whom I assumed, or felt, to be male, never spoke and never moved.
As I looked down at the house – a house where there was a very deep Christian influence, I first noticed a great many people surrounding it. These people, I did not recognize, although I could make out their faces. Beyond those I could see well, stretched a multitude of people into the horizon. That horizon joined the dimension of the one my companion and I were in. The earthly horizon joined the heavenly horizon. Those up close, I sensed were alive at the time, while those in the distance, I sensed as departed. The people up close were all praying for me. I believe they were kneeling. And their prayers appeared as smoke rising into the heavens. They were all facing towards me, more or less, all over the yard.
I then felt myself approach the front window, moving though the cement porch as if it didn't exist. I then looked through the window, and inside were some of my family members.
My sister and her daughters were sitting on the steps leading upstairs. Several others were around the living room and adjacent TV room. My sister-in- law was serving food or drinks to everyone. Their attitude was one of muted concern. Not like a wake, but just simply that they all needed to be there at that time. It was at this point that the NDE ended.
The reality and stability of the NDE was replaced by the disjointed and ridiculous nature of any run-of-the-mill dream or hallucination.
Suddenly panic engulfed me and I found myself running naked in a sheet at the local Laundromat. I was trying to call for an ambulance at the pay phone. I was trying to tell people I needed to go to a hospital. I then heard a female voice saying, "It's okay... it's okay...you're in the hospital."
I awoke in the intensive care unit with about fifteen tubes and IVs in holes I had before and in holes I didn't have before. The nurse had been giving me an alcohol bath. I spent the next 10 weeks recovering.
My surgeons informed me that they had had to resuscitate me several times. One said, "You are very lucky to be alive – we were ready to put the toe tag on you."
What I have taken away from this experience is this: I do not fear death, as most people do. For many years afterward, I had no fear of death in any way, shape, or form. As the years have gone by, however, life in the flesh has tended to water that down somewhat. But I still do not fear death as someone who has never had such an experience usually does. And It seems I can sense the degree of that fear in others. I feel badly for people who have lost their loved ones. But I have a hard time truly empathizing with them. I know they are there... somewhere. Hopefully in the same warm place I was, or better. I try to explain that, but it seems to lessen their fears very little. I guess you just have to have seen it for yourself.
The NDE did not lessen my faith in Christianity, but rather strengthened it dramatically. I don't think the figure who was with me was Christ. More of an angel, or simply a companion or "witness" to what I witnessed. I have no other explanation for his presence. The multitudes tell me that our prayers have real substance. That when our plight is reported in the newspaper or by word of mouth, people... many, many people pray for our recovery or our soul or whatever. And those prayers come together as one giant prayer to heaven. When people ask me to pray for someone now... I don't just say I will. I pray for them sincerely because I know my prayer lends something to all the rest.
But the experience also left me somewhat bitter towards self-righteous Christians who speak with authority about that which they really know so little. If salvation is from Jesus, and I believe it is, I truly believe now, that it takes little more than simply asking for it.
works may be a dead faith. But how can you have one without the other, anyway?
And just who are we trying to impress, with any measly good thing we can do for
anyone else? Really?
Was the kind of experience difficult to express in words? Yes
At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event? Yes. Clinical death.
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? From the time I began leaving the operating room till I met my "companion".
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: From the time I began leaving the operating room till I met my "companion".
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.)? Uncertain. I really don't remember hearing ANYTHING.
Did you experience a separation of your consciousness from your body? Yes.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Calm, peace, foolish, silly... stupid. Déjà Vu.
Did you pass into or through a tunnel or enclosure? Uncertain. Just a sense of movement towards my "companion".
Did you see a light? Uncertain. I saw the ambient light at my eventual destination as I approached it, and a sense of brightness above me.
Did you meet or see any other beings? Yes. My silent, robed, hooded and faceless "companion".
Did you experience a review of past events in your life? Uncertain. Just what I realized about all the unimportant stuff I had perceived as important before.
Did you observe or hear anything regarding people or events during your experience that could be verified later? No
Did you see or visit any beautiful or otherwise distinctive locations, levels or dimensions? Uncertain. Just as described above. The dimension my "companion" and I were in, from which we were viewing this dimension, seemed featureless.
Did you have any sense of altered space or time? Uncertain. Just the feeling of two dimensions intertwined.
Did you have a sense of knowing special knowledge, universal order and/or purpose? Yes. Everything just seemed a foregone conclusion.
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 seem to sense the fear of death in others, but it may simply be I'm looking for it more.
Have you shared this experience with others? Yes. They can't really wrap their heads around it. They show a certain interest, yet they always seem very skeptical. It depends on their beliefs. Judgmental Christians want to call it a warning for me to get "better." I think for a very few, it gives them a little more hope. Many skeptics dismiss the whole thing as an hallucination. I know differently.
I don't use it as a rational for belief, though. The profound faith I came away from it with, better serves me to sway others with strong arguments, based on observable realities.
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: After I had just had the experience, I saw it as "definitely real." It was just REAL. It was solid and followed a definite, logical sequence that was unlike a dream or hallucination in any way.
Were there one or several parts of the experience especially meaningful or significant to you? The entire experience was meaningful and significant.
How do you currently view the reality of your experience: I still see this experience as "definitely real." Exactly the same as how I felt from the first.
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience? Uncertain. I don't know how I would know this. I try not to worry or sweat the small stuff, but life in the flesh pulls me back down into fleshly worries and anxieties. More so as the time between my experience and the present increases.
Have your religious beliefs/practices changed specifically as a result of your experience? Yes I have more faith. I have far less fear of God and more respect for God. I am far more tolerant of less "perfect" believers and far less tolerant of dogmatic "perfect" Christians. I believe there are others of different faiths who will find this same peace at death, yet I admit that it is hard for me to reconcile this belief with Christianity. I do not have the answer to this.
Following the experience, have you had any other events in your life, medications or substances which reproduced any part of the experience? No
Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the experience? No
Did the questions asked and information you provided so far accurately and comprehensively describe your experience? Uncertain. There are times when I believe I experienced more than what can be put into words.
Are there any other questions we could ask to help you communicate your experience? No.