This new procedure was a very traumatic time for me. I went through a lot of pain with this experience. I am not a writer. But my experience has to be told. I feel very strongly about that. I was 11 years old when our doctor told my mother that I had idiopathic scoliosis, an abnormal curvature of my spine. I would need an operation to fix it. At the time, this operation was experimental. The year was 1971. We went to the Children's Hospital and I stayed there for a long time, I think it was 8 to 12 months. I just can't remember. I came home with a full body cast. While I was there, after the first operation, I died. I remember waking up in the Intensive Care Unit with my mother sitting beside me. I told her this story: While the doctors were operating on me, I could hear them saying, 'She is not responding.' Then I could hear them and see them, but their voices were hard to understand. I am watching them but I am not sure what they are saying, but I can feel their panic. I feel sorry for them. I turn my head away so I don't have to look at them. I told my mom that I was walking under a wave, a HUGE wave, and I was not getting wet. There were colors of the rainbow that I have never seen. Inside this wave, I felt happy and I had no pain. I was so glad to be there. I did not know that I could feel this much joy! I saw an old woman up ahead of me. I could only see her back. She had curly grey hair and a slender body. There were also lots of people and no bodies! I just felt their presence all around me. I still feel their presence to this day. I could hear her telling me to 'hurry up'; she had so much to tell me. When I got closer to her, she turned around and I looked at her in awe! She had 'my face' 'my eyes' 'my nose' 'my hair' she looked just like me: just an older version. She told me that she was 84 years old. She said, 'Catherine you can't come here right now.' I remember crying. I told her that this body had too much pain and I didn't want it. I asked her if she could give me another one. She looked deep into my eyes, (I remember feeling like I was looking at a million stars) and she said, 'You have to live in that body and it won't always hurt you. You have to learn to live with it. You have so many things you have to do before you can come here. You can't die until you are 84.' She went on to say that I have to help people that needed me. She said you're needed to help people find their gifts. She said everyone has one. I have a gift to show them and help them find their gifts. There was so much for me to do! She told me to, 'Turn around and go back.'When I did, I saw some doctors in this big room with a glass where a bunch of doctors were sitting, watching a team of doctors operating on me. I could hear their thoughts and feelings. I remember one doctor saying or thinking that this operation was bogus and they were using people as guinea pigs. He felt sorry for me. They put screws in my head and pins in my legs. The voices in my head were filled with negative thoughts. My mother said I told her I did not want to be a guinea pig. She wondered where I had heard that word. I believe that we are all born with gifts; we just lose sight of them as we live this life experience. I will never forget this experience. Much love, Catherine
Date NDE Occurred: Oct 1971
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Uncertain. Surgery-related. Clinical death (cessation of breathing or heart function or brain function)
I went to the hospital to have an experimental process. I was born with idiopathic scoliosis, curvature of the spine. I was having halo femoral traction, which is a device put into your head with weights on the screws and pins, which are then placed into your legs with weights on them. I was in this device for several weeks. The point was to push my body to be straight enough for an operation.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Neither pleasant NOR distressing
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I explained that in my story: the doctors the hospital.
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
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was in the wave and did not see the woman! I remember feeling divine love, joy, happiness; these words can't explain the level of energy and peace I felt. I wanted to stay there forever. To this day, it is still in my memories. This happened 40 years ago! When I woke up, I wanted my mother to feel this. She said she took my hand and felt a shock of energy that she said took away all her fears of losing me in that moment. This experience set the stage of what my life would be.
Were your thoughts speeded up? Incredibly fast
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? Time seemed to go faster or slower than usual
Everything felt like it was going faster.
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. This happened in my childhood. But has affected my everyday experiences in my whole life. I am very intuitive and sensitive to people. I have a sixth sense about people. I was this way since I left the hospital 40 years ago. I am able to see beyond people's fears and into the core of most issues.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. Hearing was muffled with the doctors and very clear with the old woman. I am sensitive to loud noises and taken away with soothing music.
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
Did you see any beings in your experience? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any deceased (or alive) beings? No Just seeing the old woman who was me!
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? Uncertain Rainbows of light
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm The wave and the rainbow
What emotions did you feel during the experience? All emotions: mad, sad, scared, happy, joyful, crying
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 myself or others
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? Scenes from my personal future Not pictures of my future but I was told what to do, by the older woman: who was me.
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 I was told to come back.
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Not important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Catholic my father was baptist and my mother was catholic. as a child we went to both. very confusing.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? Yes Since childhood they have. The last 30 years I have had the same belief I had when I had my near death experience. I believe we are all one. I also believe in past lives being there for our learning, but only to explore if you are stuck in this lifetime with no joy. I am always looking for the highest good of a person and reflecting that back to them so we can find meaning and purpose for their lives.
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Greatly important to me
What is your religion now? Do not know I am spiritual not religious. I have a personal relationship with my guides.
I believe we are all one and I learned this when I died.
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I was 11 years old and was not fully aware of everything that had happened.
It was'nt until I was older that I understood what it all ment.
Did you have a change in your values and beliefs because of your experience? Yes I began to see how much value my life had.
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 The old woman, she spoke to me for a while. The people I felt around me gave me comfort and an overabundance of love! I still feel their presence. I am divinely guided.
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 Just myself and energies of people-guides
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? Yes she told me I had to come back I had a gift to share.
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? Uncertain I did not see universes I experienced knowing I was connected to everything.
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? Uncertain I did not experience a god or supreme being I experienced my own evolution. my expanded self!
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God does not exist
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? Uncertain I know that I am here to up lift humanity to their highest good by helping them find their highest good: their gift!
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are not meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? Yes I felt and experienced a love that I cannot express in words. People are drawn to me because they sense something in me they need. I have a deep level of kinship with humanity that even blows my mind. I knew my passion and what I suppose to do the very d
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife does not exist
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? I am uncertain if an afterlife exists Yes In my experience there is life just not in this body. We are all very special beings with gifts.
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I did not fear death
Do you fear death after your experience? I do not fear death
Were you fearful living your life prior to your experience? Slightly fearful in living my earthly life
Were you fearful living your life after your experience? Moderately fearful in living my earthly life
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? Uncertain deep inside me I have a knowing that nothing in this life is more important then loving yourself. I say this because I know how wonderful the human experience is suppose to be. my gift is to help you find yours. that is what she told me and that is what I do.
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? Yes I was already having problems with my health and it has been a battle all my life.
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Moderately compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? Yes love I felt from her! the old women was unbeliveable ! I knew she was me but I knew she loved me more then I would ever know in this life. I am still trying to love her as much as she loved me.
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 Large changes in my life. When I was 50, I had another near death experience: I was in the ICU in North Carolina. I had a blood clot that almost killed me. I remember the same experience I had as a child except this time I was told I had a choice. That is the difference and I chose to come back and complete my journey. I am 53 and still changing lives.
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? Uncertain Uncertain Maybe my ex-husband thought I was crazy. I have had many people not believe me. I am not here to prove anything. I just allow life to be there for me.
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? Yes Writing it was difficult. Telling it is easy for me. I am much better at verbal communication than in writing.
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 it like it was yesterday. I also had another experience later in life when I was 50 and I had a blood clot and was rushed to the hospital. This time I was given a choice. when I was 11 years old I had no choice.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? Yes I am very intuitive, that is how I help others find their gifts and find where they are stuck. I had this gift after my hospital stay. My mother said it scared her.
Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you? What is meaningful to me about the whole experience is I wondered why I was so strange my whole life. I had a horrible childhood and suffered a lot. But what kept me going was I knew my life. No matter what, I was VALUABLE!! The fact that I was worth so much inside of me, helped me. My experiences have helped so many understand theirs. That my gift is what kept me alive.
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes My mother, first, close friends and some of my clients; if anyone asks me if I believe in near death experiences, I will always tell my story.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I do now: this web site!
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real I could never block it out. I felt it all in me.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real I am still using the gift I was given.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes I described this before. I had another near death experience when I turned 50 I had a blood clot. This time I saw the same old lady and again she was me: same eyes same face, and she said that I was all done and I could go now and she said I had a choice I could come back if I wanted. I was shocked that I had a choice, because I did not have a choice when I was 11 years old. Anyway I decided to stay.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I don't know what it all means for sure. Within all my heart and soul I know we are all connected and that there is no separation from anyone. I cannot explain it. I can only say I have experienced it and I only told half of what I felt because in the other realms, feelings are intense in a way that cannot be described in words that I know. The feeling is like lightening striking the wind.
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.