It was either February or March of 1993. I had finished my clinical work, and would be graduating from dental school in May. My graduating class was in Cancun, Mexico for a celebratory vacation. I was there with my (then) fiancé who was working toward his PhD in Pharmacology. It was a relaxing experience, after a very difficult fourth year of school.
I remember that it was another beautiful sunny afternoon on the beach. There was no real wind, and the colored flags which were used to indicate dangerous water conditions, and the need to exercise caution, were removed.
My fiancé was with some of my classmates at the hotel's pool by the beach. I could see them, and make out their laughter, but not distinct voices or conversations. I decided to walk into the warm water by myself. I was in water that was barely to my hips, and I don't remember feeling anything other than relaxation and enjoyment of the moment. When I decided to try to return to the beach, I noticed the flow of water at my feet. It was moving swiftly outward, and I tried to pull my legs forward to slowly inch my way back. Instead, the water was moving upward on my body, toward my waist.
I remember feeling foolish. The water wasn't very deep, and what would my friends think if they had to come and 'save' me from shallow water. I also knew that I could not get back to shore on my own. I remember calling for help, repeatedly, and no one heard me. I could see my friends at the pool, and further down the beach, but there was no one any where close to me, on the beach or in the water. I remember wondering where everyone had gone, and how had I managed to get myself into this situation.
I forming the thought in my mind that 'I am going to die' and experiencing fear for the first time. Then, I remember thinking 'It is not my time'. My next thought was "Perhaps this is the way that everyone feels, before they die". I think I remember feeling a feeling of resignation, of surrender. I don't remember thinking about anything else, or about anyone else at that point.
My next memory is of the presence of two 'men' ( I know they were male beings) on my left side, and of a hand on my left hand guiding me back to the shore. I remember looking down at my hand, and at my engagement ring, and knowing that I would never marry my fiancé.
I must have said thank-you to these 'men'. I would have said it many times, but I have no memory of doing so. There were no words spoken, at any point. Although I know these were a male presence, I remember not being able to see their faces. I distinctly remember feeling a hand, a physical hand, on my own, and feeling that my life was now spared, that I was now safe.
Once on the shore, I
remember looking back into the water, and along the shoreline. There was no one
there, except for people visible off in the distance, and back at the hotel.
Walking or running on sand is not easy. It was impossible for anyone, to have
moved with such haste away from that spot on the beach. I know that I was
'alone' prior to my experience - there was no other human presence near to me.
To me, the only possible explanation was that my life was saved by two 'male'
At the time of this experience, was there an associated life threatening event? Yes There was a strong under-current. I was not a strong swimmer, and if 'someone' had not come to my aid, I am certain that I would have drowned.
Was the experience difficult to express in words? No
At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness? I was alert, and my 'normal self' until I had the feeling that I was going to die, and that there was nothing I could do about it. Then, I felt a feeling of resignation, and I think sadness. I never thought of this before, but I think things became more hazy, more dream-like at that point. I don't know if this makes any sense.
How did your highest level of consciousness and alertness during the experience compare to your normal everyday consciousness and alertness? Normal consciousness and alertness
Did your vision during the experience differ in any way from your normal, everyday vision (in any way, such as clarity, field of vision, colors, brightness, depth perception degree of solidness/transparency of objects, etc.)? Yes My memory is of things having a haziness, and ethereal quality immediately after I accepted that I was going to die.
Did you have any visual impairment during your normal everyday life immediately prior to the time of the experience? No
Did your hearing during the experience differ in any way from your normal, everyday hearing (in any way, such as clarity, ability to recognize source of sound, pitch, loudness, etc.)? Yes I remember sound lessening when I accepted that I was going to die. I remember that when I was returned to the beach and 'his' hand was released from mine, the sounds returned to their normal intensity.
Did you have any hearing impairment during your normal everyday life immediately prior to the time of the experience? No
Did you experience consciousness / awareness apart from your physical / earthly body? No
Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring at a time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body? No
Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during the time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body that you later (after your experience) verified really happened or was real? No
Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during the time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body that you later (after your experience) verified did not really happen or was not real? No
Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during the time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical body that were located far beyond any possible physical sensory awareness of your physical / earthly body? No
What emotions did you feel during the experience? Fear, sadness, resignation, gratitude, profound relief
Did you pass into or through a tunnel? No
Did you see an unearthly light? 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
Did you encounter or become aware of any beings who previously lived on earth, but whose earthly lives had ended prior to the time of your experience (they were deceased)? No
Did you encounter or become aware of any earthly beings who were alive at the time of your experience (they were not deceased)? No
Did you seem to encounter a mystical being or presence? As above, two male beings to my left, in the water with me. I remember the presence of two 'men'. I remember a haziness surrounding them, and everything in my field of vision at that point. I am sure they had heads, but I do not remember them having discernible faces or features. I would have remembered the faces of the 'men ' who saved my life. I would have looked them square in the eyes, and thanked them. I would have hugged them in thanks - but I didn't. I didn't do any of these things.
Did you become aware of past events in your life? No
Did time seem to speed up? Time seemed to slow down, if anything. Or perhaps a better way is to say that I think it slowed down around me, outside of my experience. It felt somehow like my experience of reality, and 'life' were completely separate at that moment in time.
Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure? No
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there is continued existence after earthly life (“life after death”)? Yes The 'physical' presence of beings who could not be there. The awareness that there is a life outside of this earthly realm.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there is no continued existence after earthly life (“no life after death”)? No
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being really does exist? Yes My thoughts were not vocalized. My thoughts of death could only have been heard by God. There is no other explanation. There were no other people anywhere near to me who could have witnessed my distress and come to my aid - it was physically impossible.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being really does not exist? No
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that some or all of us currently living our earthly lives did have some type of existence prior to our current earthly lives? No
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that some or all of us currently living our earthly lives did not have some type of existence prior to our current earthly lives? No
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there exists a mystical connection, oneness, or unity that connects some or all of us currently living our earthly lives with something else, such as other being(s) or other thing(s)? Yes My unspoken voice, my prayer, was heard - by someone. I prefer to label that someone as God.
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there does not exist a mystical connection, oneness, or unity that connects some or all of us currently living our earthly lives with something else, such as other being(s) or other thing(s)? No
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s meaning or purpose? No
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness
regarding earthly life’s difficulties, challenges, or hardships? No
During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love? Yes but perhaps not in the way I think you mean. I knew at that moment that I would not marry my fiancé, that I did not love him.
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? No Again, I truly wish that I had.
What occurred during your experience included: Content that was both consistent and not consistent with the beliefs you had at the time of your experience I 'wanted' to believe in a divine purpose, in a force greater than ourselves - but I had given up. I had spent many years coming to terms with the 'knowledge' that if it isn't scientifically defensible, it doesn't exist. There were rational people, and then there were those who wore crystals, and fell into the 'wackadoo' territory. This experience told me ' not so fast, there is much more to this life, to this existence than you think'.
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: I believe strongly in the presence of God in our lives. I didn't before. I felt that 'if' he existed, he was the puppet master version of God which my mother presented him to be, and I didn't find any comfort in him.
Now, I truly believe in his presence. I also believe that everything on this earth is at its most basic level - energy - and that all of this 'energy' is connected. There is no separation.
With respect to
compassion, I am striving to be more compassionate to everyone, and everything.
I'm a work in progress. With respect to fear of death - I fear the impact which
my death would have on my daughter, on my family. I fear the process of dying -
the pain involved - I do not fear death itself anymore.
Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience? Yes I know God exists, and that he hears our prayers.
Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts following the experience that you did not have prior to the experience? No
Have you ever shared this experience with others? Yes My mother, last year. My father is terminally ill with metastatic prostate cancer. I flew home to visit them both, and told my mother the story with the hope that it might bring her some comfort. She didn't believe me.
Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience? Yes I had read stories of people's experiences. Honestly, I had always chalked it up to effects of anesthesia, and altered consciousness.
What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened: Experience was probably real I knew it had happened, but I didn't want to believe that it had. Everything else in my life was exactly as it had always been, and nobody else had witnessed the experience. It was easier to discount it as an altered perception on my part.
What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time: Experience was definitely real I know this experience was real. There have been other experiences in my life which have could not have occurred without divine intervention - I know this is real.
Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience? Uncertain I would like to think that they have, but as mentioned, I am a work in progress, and each day I aspire to be a better mom, and wife, and person.
Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience? Uncertain I am much more spiritual, but I do not belong to a specific faith.
At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience? Yes When I was ten or eleven years old I remember diving off a dock in our lake. I remember looking up through the water and seeing the rays of sunshine, and the outlines of my friends on the dock. I remember trying to get back to the surface of the water, and not being able to. I remember thinking, 'why don't they see me, and why don't they help me? ' I remember it seemed to take an eternity, and yet it could only have taken a few seconds to occur - how else could I have breathed ? Somehow, I was 'released' and I broke the surface. I was not aware of the presence of anyone else, or anything else with me under the water. But, as I type this, it occurs to me that this experience felt exactly like the one in Cancun.
Is there anything else that you would like to add about your experience? I am truly thankful for it, and I don't fear it, or telling anyone about it any more.
Did the questions asked and information you provided so far 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? Reading the stories of others is comforting. For me it is an affirmation of the existence of a hereafter. I made the painful decision to euthanize my much loved Yellow Lab Sam on the 9th of September. I found this site by searching for after life stories. I am thankful that I found it.
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? I am concerned that the possibility of 'publishing' people's stories and media attention might serve as an incentive to fabricate them. There is a comfort in knowing that there is no compensation provided for these submissions, and that most of the stories are based in truth.