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Nancy L's Experience

Experience description:   

Have you heard the saying, 'Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.'? Well, at thirty-two I was losing weight and had terrible abdominal pain each time I ate, until just the smell of food could cause me to cramp up. So off to a gastroenterologist I went. That day, October 1, 1967, I landed in St. Joseph Hospital in Milwaukee. All the testing of my gastrointestinal track perforated my small intestines and now I had peritonitis all the way to the acute stage; death knocking at my door. So at night I was taken into surgery where I lost the last ten inches of my small bowel and the cecum of my large bowel. I woke up in the intensive care which was new in St. Joe’s; heart patients and major surgical patients in the same unit. Just a small sheet pulled between beds separated the patients. I had high fevers bad enough to put me into ice water—ouch that’s cold! But I liked it because my thoughts and words were lining up in place again. Days went by like this, and I have no knowledge of how many. But I could feel whatever kept me alive was leaving me and I knew I would have to tell my husband to try to raise the kids without me. He came that day to spend his five minutes at a time with me and said, “Please Nancy—you have to try harder. We won’t make it without you!” I was instantly angry. He was thinking about himself and not about me. I was in a tough spot; a disabled husband and four children. My thoughts went to my Elizabeth, only three years old. She represented all four of the children because she was so young.

I decided to gather whatever energy I had left to say a prayer. 'Lord, I always believed in You. How come you haven’t come to help me yet? If you don’t come soon, I won’t make it.' Then I just laid there waiting to die. Just seconds later, I felt myself come out of my body and was looking down at myself.  Then I was out of there, going down a semi-dark tunnel, with doors on the right side every so often. First thought—“Oh how wonderful to know that my soul exists! But to know this I must be dead. I can think, hear, talk to myself, and I don’t have a body!” Then I got really frightened. Where was I going and what was going to happen to me next? Then it happened! In the tunnel, a light I saw in the distance suddenly was right in front of me. It said, 'Nancy, do you want to come with me?” The love that came with that light was the most overwhelming experience of my young life. All anger, fear, anxiety, hopelessness was taken over by a love I have never been able to describe. Past all comprehension, I felt it take over me so I said “If you come any closer I will have to go with you. I need to think this over.' The light then gave me the time and space to make a decision. I heard the sounds of a choir and the harmony was so perfect it seemed almost past all harmony. Beautiful! Then I saw my father, Joseph, pacing back and forth all excited! I couldn’t make out his facial details as though I was seeing him through a veil. He had been dead for six years.  A most faithful man to my mother and his children as I had ever known. A very loved man and I still missed him. The anger I still housed was something I had not dealt with since he died from a slow, painful battle with prostate cancer.  Why would God allow this to happen to so good a person; a man who didn’t complain much and a faithful Catholic in practice as well as belief. I had never dealt with this either. But there he was and I knew who had him. By this time I figured it out. I was talking to something divine in a zone of no time, no distance.

So I told the light I had to go back. I had made a vow in my marriage and they needed me. I didn’t want to go back but it was the right thing to do. Now the light was listening and said, 'If you are going to go back, in order to get well you must sleep in my peace.'  Okay! I thought, 'Sleep heals so I’ll do that.' I turned to Dad and told him it was okay now, that I would just see him later. He nodded. Then I turned to the light and asked, 'What should I tell people about you when I go back? They all fight about you—they disagree and argue about you.' His reply was in absolute authority. 'I am over all the churches. It is not to be your concern.' Then—zip—back I was in my body, feeling my fingers and thinking, Did this really happen? The peace from the tunnel came back with me. No anger—just the love of my light still there. Well, I thought, time to take a nap. Now, in that sleep, my vital signs turned from dying to recovery.

At the time of your experience was there an associated life-threatening event?   Yes  I underwent surgery for Crohn's disease after suffering a perforated intestines and acute peritonitis

Was the experience difficult to express in words?  Yes     How can I explain love that took away fear?  There are no words to explain the love that surrounded me.  It took away all anxiety, fear, especially the fear of death.

At what time during the experience were you at your highest level of consciousness and alertness?    After I said a prayer to the Lord asking for help, I told Him I always believed in Him and asked how come He hadn't come to help me. If He didn't come soon I knew I would not survive much longer. This was about 3 or 4 days, maybe more, after surgery. I felt myself dying for some hours before I said that prayer, knowing whatever was keeping me alive was leaving me from the inside out. As soon as I came out of my body, my state of consciousness became acute. It stayed this way throughout the experience.

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   It became much more acute.  I was aware of everything.

Please compare your vision during the experience to your everyday vision that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.   It was the same.

Please compare your hearing during the experience to your everyday hearing that you had immediately prior to the time of the experience.   It was the same.

Did you see or hear any earthly events that were occurring during a time that your consciousness / awareness was apart from your physical / earthly body?   Yes   After I left my body, I was up at the ceiling looking down momentarily.  I saw myself lying in bed, hooked up to the IV, drainage tubes, and oxygen. I did not see the people that were in the room.  My first thought was 'My soul is real!  I am not in my body anymore.  I must be dead'. Very quickly I entered a tunnel.

What emotions did you feel during the experience?   Initially I felt fear, in realizing I was probably dead.  Then excitement, in knowing that my soul existed, that life after death is true. The fear left when I entered the Light.  This is when I felt peace.  

Did you pass into or through a tunnel?   Yes   Shortly after leaving my body, I entered a semi-dark tunnel that had doors on the right.  I was afraid to open any of them, unsure of what I might find. I moved through at a moderate pace, not under my own power.  After I passed the doors, I saw a light in the distance.  This light then seemed to come to me, surrounding me with a love I can't describe in words.  I then heard God speak to me.

Did you see an unearthly light?   Yes   At the end of the tunnel a brilliant light surrounded me, filling me with an indescribable feeling of love.

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
Out of the light came a voice I understood to be divine, asking me 'Nancy, do you want to come with me?'  I said, 'If you come any closer, I will have to go with you.  I would like to think it over.'

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 deceased (or alive) beings?   Yes   I saw my father off on the right, waiting for me to finish talking to the light.

Did you become aware of past events in your life during your experience?   No  

Did you seem to enter some other, unearthly world?   Some unfamiliar and strange place

Only that there was no time or distance in this place.

Did time seem to speed up or slow down?   Everything seemed to be happening at once; or time stopped or lost all meaning
There was no time and no distance.  I was in a different dimension.


Did you suddenly seem to understand everything?   Everything about the universe
I understood that I was being myself in another dimension.  I understood that If I chose to go with the Light, I would understand everything about the universe.

Did you reach a boundary or limiting physical structure?   Yes
The Light was one boundary.  I could not proceed further until I chose to go with the Light or not.  Another boundary was a sort of veil in front of my father, preventing us from being together.

Did you come to a border or point of no return?   I came to a definite conscious decision to return to life
The Light asked me to chose to come with him or return to life.  I decided to go back because my husband and children needed me.  My husband told me shortly before I left my body that I needed to try harder, that they would not make it without me.  I asked the Light a question, 'People fight over you. What do I tell them about you if I go back?'  He said, 'I am over all the churches.  It is not to be your concern.'  Then He told me that to get well, I had to 'sleep in His peace.'  That made sense to me, because I knew that sleep heals.  I said goodbye to my father at that time, and he nodded to me in understanding.  I had an understanding at that time of how much my father loved me.

Did scenes from the future come to you?  No 

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness suggesting that there either is (or is not) continued existence after earthly life (“life after death”)?   Yes   Yes, I immediately realized there was life after death when I left my body.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that God or a supreme being either does (or does not) exist?   Yes   God spoke to me.  The love and peace of the Light was very obviously a divine presence, and worth living and dying for.  I knew that this love is for everybody, not just some people.  I felt very humble, but valued.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that you either did (or did not) exist prior to this lifetime?   Yes   I had an awareness that I was still me after I left my body, and there was no other me than this one.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness that a mystical universal connection or unity/oneness either does (or does not) exist?   Yes  

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s meaning or purpose?   Yes   I knew that He would help me through life's hardships if I asked Him.


During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding earthly life’s difficulties, challenges, or hardships?   Yes   I knew that He would help me through life's hardships if I asked Him.

During your experience, did you encounter any specific information / awareness regarding love?   Yes   I knew that God's love is for everybody.

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?   Yes   I knew I had to go back and look after my family.

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 was taught that life existed after death, but I had no clue that it was like this.

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 th   I remember this experience very vividly, in detail, even today after 48 years.

Discuss any changes that might have occurred in your life after your experience:   I began reading the Bible intensely after my experience to see if I was crazy or not.  I discovered that everything about the Light experience was in the Bible.  I understood the Bible in the profound. I began teaching  religious education, and eventually Bible studies.  I was able to accept the difficulties that came in my life, and did not walk away from them.

My experience directly resulted in:   Large changes in my life

Did you have any changes in your values or beliefs after the experience that occurred as a result of the experience?  
Yes   My beliefs were heightened, because i know that I KNOW.

Do you have any psychic, non-ordinary or other special gifts after your experience that you did not have before the experience?   Yes   My prayer life is heightened, because I know who I am talking to when I pray.  My prayers are answered now much more than they are not.  I pray with and for people, and the prayers are answered.  People come to me all the time and ask for my prayers, because they tell me I have a special connection to God.

Are there one or several parts of your experience that are especially meaningful or significant to you?    
I never mourned my father after this experience, because I know Who has him, and that I will see him again.

Have you ever shared this experience with others?  
Yes  I talked to the doctor about it in the hospital after I was released from ICU.  He told me not to pay attention to it, that funny things happen to people in ICU.  I told my sister and brother about the same time.  My brother told me I was not known to hallucinate, and time would tell me the meaning of it.  He believed in my experience.  My sister told me to read the Book of Job.  I understood Job in the profound. It was very reassuring to me.

Did you have any knowledge of near death experience (NDE) prior to your experience?   No  

What did you believe about the reality of your experience shortly (days to weeks) after it happened:   Experience was definitely real   I knew it was real, because I just knew!  It was life changing and comforting.  All of my anxieties about my illness went away.  I made a miraculous recovery after returning.

What do you believe about the reality of your experience at the current time:   Experience was definitely real   I feel the same way about the experience. It was definitely real.

Have your relationships changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   I view troublesome people as people in trouble, who have a need.  I am not as judgmental as I once was. I do not condemn people, only actions that take them away from God.

Have your religious beliefs/spiritual practices changed specifically as a result of your experience?   Yes   I started reading the Bible.  I had an incredible growth in my spiritual side.

At any time in your life, has anything ever reproduced any part of the experience?   No     

Did the questions asked and information that you provided 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?       My passion is that everybody reaches the Light someday.  I would like to see everyone educated about the reality of God and His love for each one of them.