In February 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My mother, who I have always been very close to, but lived 60 miles away, was naturally horrified. Although she was not particularly religious, I remember her saying that she had prayed that if anyone should die, let it be her rather than me. Ironically, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer literally two months after my own diagnosis. She was told that she could have chemotherapy but that there was no chance of it curing her so she refused treatment in the knowledge that she would die. I started an intensive course of radiotherapy after three operations to removed two growths in my breast and all my lymph nodes (which were thankfully clear of cancer cells). This I completed by late September of that year. I then had another operation to remove my right fallopian tube and ovary, which had been enveloped in a large dermoid cyst the size of an orange. In hindsight, it was too soon after the radiotherapy as my immune system was severely compromised. Within a couple of weeks, my stomach wound was still not healing properly and I developed an infection. My mother, at this point in time, was still mobile and active and hoping to make it through till Christmas. Within the first week of November, I became very ill; feeling dreadful, with a temperature, vomiting everything that I ate or drank back up. I was visited by an out of hour's doctor who prescribes antibiotics, which I was unable to keep down. 24 hours later, I had a pulse rate of 180-190 and was totally red from head toe. When my eyeballs started to roll back in my head and I was losing control of all my functions my husband realized that he had to get me to a doctor immediately. It was at this point that I was having out of body experiences. I felt as if my body was on autopilot and I was floating above it and totally aware of what was happening but not being at all concerned about it! I felt very calm and peaceful and as if nothing mattered any more, in fact quite euphoric! I recall being driven to the health center by my husband on the Friday night and assisted into the doctor's room where he took one look at me, listened to my heart and immediately called the hospital to tell them to get a bed ready for me. From the gist of the conversation, I think they said there were no available beds and I recall him shouting and swearing down the phone at the nurse on the other end that I was dying and needed a bed now! I then remember him asking my husband if he could get me to the hospital quicker than an ambulance to which he replied yes. On arrival at the ward, they immediately tried to get an intravenous line into me but all the veins had collapsed apart from one in my foot, which they managed, to access. Over the next day, I remember drifting in and out of consciousness whilst being fed a concoction of antibiotics to fight the infection in my blood. By Sunday, I seemed to be getting better but then I took a turn for the worst in the afternoon and they moved me to a private side room. I recall my blood pressure being taken and that they were concerned because it had dropped considerably. I then lost consciousness and was out for a couple of hours. During that time I had a beautiful vivid 'dream' that I was in a beautiful colorful flower garden with blue sky and sunshine standing on a gravel path and in front of me was my mother looking about 20 years younger as clear as day! All she said to me was, 'I'm okay now and you're going to be fine.'This 'dream' was so vivid and real to me that even today, 10 years later; it's as fresh and clear as it was then. I woke up and immediately and said to my best friend who had been by my bedside that I had to find out how my mother was as I had just had the most amazing dream about her. Little did I know that my mother had started going downhill on the Friday night 60 miles away and that my friend had just taken a telephone call from my brother while I was asleep to say that she had just passed away! Unfortunately, she was unable to tell me as the consultants had instructed her not to say anything in case the shock pushed me over the edge and they'd lose me too. I was finally told two days later when I was out of danger myself and found out from my brothers who were with mum when she died that they had told her that I was ill in hospital but being well looked after. It almost seems as if, because I couldn't come and say goodbye to her she visited me in hospital instead. My friend who was with me also recalls that whilst I was sleeping before she took the call there was a warm sunny glow in the room although the weather was dull and cloudy outside.I have felt my mother's presence over the years, especially when driving (we always went out on trips to garden centers and shops when we visited each other). She was a keen gardener, she knew all the Latin names for every plant and flower, which is why I think when I saw her in the dream she was surrounded by the most colorful flower garden I had ever seen. Eight months ago I went to see a medium who straight away asked if I had lost my mother as she had a lady who was sending lots of motherly love, she then told me her name was Margaret which is my mother's name and that she is surrounded by vivid colors and beautiful flowers. She told me that her job is to welcome and look after little babies and children that have passed over.The medium also said that mum was saying that she was sorry she had not had a chance to sort out the books before she died, and asked me if that made any sense? In fact my mother was a keen collector of books (her house was like a library) and wanted to leave her collection for us all to use and enjoy after she had gone. I had also lent her a book, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, to read which she had not returned before she died and it was still there. Unfortunately when I called my ex-sister-in-law (my brother and her split up shortly after her death) about six months after mum's death to ask if I could come and go through the books and get the one I had lent her, she told me that it was impossible, as she had got rid of all the books. (My mum lived in a granny annex adjoining my brother and sister in laws house) so I presumed that is what she meant. My mother was also proud of my artistic ability. She went to adult education classes to learn to draw and paint when she was alive. She always wished that she could paint as well as me. It made a lot of sense when the clairvoyant said she was insistent on letting me know that she was doing a lot of painting in watercolors and that she was showing her a bright white marble library building where she can go and read any book that has ever existed! I have to say that after my visit to the clairvoyant I felt that what she had told me only confirmed my own believes about an afterlife and my lack of anxiety and fear concerning death.
Date NDE Occurred: November 2001
At the time of your experience, was there an associated life-threatening event? Yes Surgery-related Life threatening event, but not clinical death
I had an infection of a scar resulting in cellulitis and severe septicemia and MRSA after an operation.
How do you consider the content of your experience? Entirely pleasant
The experience included: Out of body experience
Did you feel separated from your body? Yes I could clearly hear conversations between the doctor and my husband and the nurse.
I lost awareness of my body
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 just felt free from the physical constraints of my body and felt free from anxiety and worry, I could hear everything that was being said by the doctor
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? When I was having the out of body experiences.
Were your thoughts speeded up? No
Did time seem to speed up or slow down? No
Were your senses more vivid than usual? More vivid than usual
Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. I seemed to see more clearly during the experience.
Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience. My hearing was more acute and clearer.
Did you seem to be aware of things going on elsewhere? No
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 When I slipped into unconsciousness on the Sunday afternoon in hospital, I had a vivid dream or vision of my mother (whom I thought was still alive.) She was standing opposite me on a gravel path in a beautiful garden filled with the most colorful flowers who told me that she was okay now and that I was going to be fine. I found out two days later that she had passed away that Sunday afternoon 60 miles away in her home.
Did you see, or feel surrounded by, a brilliant light? No
Did you see an unearthly light? No
The experience included: A landscape or city
Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world? A clearly mystical or unearthly realm The garden I was in with my mother was not of this world, the colors were so vivid and the quality of light was beautiful. Everything seemed clearer.
What emotions did you feel during the experience? I was totally at peace and unconcerned about my condition. I felt tranquil and that nothing really mattered anymore.
Did you have a feeling of peace or pleasantness? Incredible peace or pleasantness
Did you have a feeling of joy? No
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? No
Did scenes from your past come back to you? No
Did scenes from the future come to you? No
Did you come to a border or point of no return? No
God, Spiritual and Religion:
What importance did you place on your religious/spiritual life prior to your experience? Slightly important to me
What was your religion prior to your experience? Christian- Protestant although christened as a baby I was not a practicing christian and had fairly strong affiliation towards the Bhuddist faith of way of thinking.
Have your religious practices changed since your experience? No
What importance do you place on your religious/spiritual life after your experience? Moderately important to me
What is your religion now? Buddhist
Did your experience include features consistent with your earthly beliefs? Content that was entirely consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience
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? No
Did you see deceased or religious spirits? I actually saw them
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
During your experience, did you gain information about premortal existence? No
During your experience, did you gain information about universal connection or oneness? No
Did you believe in the existence of God prior to your experience? God probably exists
During your experience, did you gain information about the existence of God? No
Do you believe in the existence of God after your experience? God probably exists
Concerning our Earthly lives other than Religion:
During your experience, did you gain special knowledge or information about your purpose? No
Did you believe that our earthly lives are meaningful and significant prior to your experience? Are meaningful and significant
During your experience, did you gain information about the meaning of life? No
Did you believe in an afterlife prior to your experience? An afterlife definitely exists
Do you believe in an afterlife after your experience? An afterlife definitely exists No
Did you fear death prior to your experience? I slightly feared 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? Not 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? No
During your experience, did you gain information about life's difficulties, challenges and hardships? No
Were you compassionate prior to your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
During your experience, did you gain information about love? No
Were you compassionate after your experience? Greatly compassionate toward others
What life changes occurred in your life after your experience? Slight changes in my life
Have your relationships changed specifically because of your experience? No No
After the NDE:
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
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
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes I did tell my friend about my dream/vision as soon as I woke up.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had read books about this prior to my own experience as I have always been fascinated by this phenomenon.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened? Experience was definitely real It seemed so real to me and the fact that I was unaware that my mum had died at that exact time until 2 days afterwards proves that it was real to me.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience now? Experience was definitely real My memory of it is as real to me now as it was 10 years ago when it happened.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? No
© 2014 NDERF, Jody Long & Jeffrey Long, MD. All Rights Reserved.