After about a month of experiencing angina pain, which I mistook for bronchial pain, I was examined by a cardiologist on June 24 2004. Not liking what he 'heard', and given the results of echocardiogram, he scheduled me for a nuclear stress test to be performed the next day. After failing the test miserably he admitted me, and scheduled me to be moved to a hospital that specialized in heart disease for an angiogram. I remember being put on the cold table for the angiogram at about 6pm on June 28. Finding my aorta 100% blocked, and two other arteries 90% blocked, they told my wife to call the family as I was moved (still unconscious) for cardio bypass surgery. Although unconscious, I somehow knew what was going on and felt myself 'leaving', only to find myself in a dark void. I was convinced I had died, wondering where the light was that I had heard about and totally lost as to what to do next. I felt as though I was floating in this void in a confused but very peaceful and serene state, almost happy to be there and anxious to find my way to 'the other side'. I remember calling out for help 'mentally' and a figure appeared. I knew this to be my father who had passed on four years earlier. I remember wondering why he was the one who came and not my mother who had died in 1964 from a cerebral hemorrhage. She had told me a year before she died that when she left (somehow she knew from a vision or something that she would die sometime around her birthday) she would always be there for me. I asked my father why there was no light or tunnel, and if he was sent to guide me on my future journey 'across'. I felt sad and angry when he told me that he had come to send me back to the land of the living. When I objected strongly he told me that 'I still had more to do' and that my 'job on Earth was not yet finished'. I asked what he meant by that and he raised his right arm (although he was not in a clear human form he was able to point to a direction behind me). When I turned my head to the left to see where he was pointing to I suddenly felt myself being drawn away. I opened my eyes to find myself in a hospital room, with tubes down my nose, throat and various parts of my body. I was then frightened as I could not use my lungs to breath, but was assured by a hospital staff member that I was being oxygenated, he would remove the tubes soon and I would be breathing normally and more comfortably. Many say this was a dream, but I have never had such a real dream before or after. I never dreamed of my mom since she died, and only dreamed of dad twice since that experience. There is no doubt that I was in a spiritual waiting room. Later I asked why a procedure which I was told normally took four hours took nearly eight hours. The only response the doctors ever gave was that there were complications.
Date NDE Occurred: 29 June 2004
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related During cardio bypass surgery (triple bypass) Other 'While undergoing triple cardio bypass surgery. Normal procedure takes 4-6 hours, mine was 7 hours.'
I was on life support (heart and lung) while undergoing triple bypass surgery.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Mixed
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes
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? Normal consciousness and alertness
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was equally alert during all phases of the 'experience', although I was upset when told that I had to leave what was a peaceful and stress free place to return to what I thought I had left behind. I would guess my most 'alert' point was when I tried to convince my father that I did not want to return to the land of the living and was upset that he refused to take me across to join all my deceased relatives and friends.
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
It was as though time did not exist.
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 felt as though I was in a dark void and searching for a light to guide me. My vision of my father was not that I could see and recognize his features as if he were alive, nor was he transparent. I just knew who he was. There were no colors or light yet I knew he was there, almost like a shadow.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. There was no sound, only peaceful silence. My communication with my dad was almost like mental telepathy.
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
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 I was eventually greeted by my father with whom I communicated mentally.
The experience included: Void
The experience included: Darkness
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? A light clearly of mystical or other-worldly origin
Did you see an unearthly light? No
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Peace and serenity.
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? I felt united or one with the world
Did you suddenly seem to understand everything? Everything about the universe
Did scenes from your past come back to you? My past flashed before me, out of my control
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from the world's future
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 was your religion prior to your experience? Moderate Spiritualistic as regard faith in a Higher Power. Renounced all religious ties several years prior.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What is your religion now? Moderate Same as above
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
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Yes At first I was angry with everyone, because I did not want to be in the land of the living and resented not being allowed to cross over. I think I blamed my family for being the reason I had to return. However, I no longer hold in my feelings and have no problem telling people what is on my mind.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Uncertain
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? 1) I was curious as to why there were no lights. 2) I was happy to be there but it was as though I did not know how to get to where I should go. 3) I was happy to see my dad, thinking he was sent to guide me across. 4) Unhappy when he said I had to return.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes Although some pragmatic friends and relatives said it was only a dream, others with whom I shared the experience told me that either they or someone they knew had the same experience.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Uncertain My wife suffered a ruptured appendix at the age of 9. She said that she was heading down a tunnel of bright white light before she was 'returned' during her surgery. The only way it affected me is that I was surprised I did not see any bright lights or other means of guiding, me which left me confused as to why I was in something like a holding pattern.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real It was more real to me than during the time that I spent afterwards in the recovery room (except that I remember I needed ice to rehydrate myself in the post op room). The event was vivid and very real.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real The experience was three years ago and I remember it as if it were yesterday.
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? Although I don't know if I ever feared death before, I don't fear dying. However, I have experienced severe panic attacks and no longer take risks as I would before the event. I wear a life jacket on board my boat and don't take unnecessary chances. I am only now beginning to appreciate being alive, but have no fear of being dead. Since then there has been much trouble, pain and heartache in my life surrounding my daughter's drug addiction, I think maybe that is why I was sent back until everything here is finished.
I also have a compelling and inexplicable need to teach others things like boating safety and to serve with the USCG Auxiliary as a Volunteer Life Saver. I also have a greater appreciation for others who volunteer or otherwise serve in life saving capacities. I feel compelled to help others less fortunate (including animals) and am more amazed at the wonders of the universe. I feel responsible for the lives and safety of others. It is hard to explain.
Are there any other questions that we could ask to help you communicate your experience? Find a way to interface with those who have a better understanding of the reasons with regards why some return and avoid death and others do not.
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.