It was the autumn of 1964. I was 18 years old and had not been feeling well for quite some time and I didn't know why. My mom was cleaning the pantry as she did every year. I laid down on the couch and felt guilty because I wasn't helping. At that point that I decided I might feel better if I got up and started moving around.
We washed the shelves, cleaned all the dishes and I was in the process of putting a large stack of dishes back on the shelf when I blacked out and blood started pouring out of my mouth. The next thing I knew, I was sitting in the bathroom. My mother and brother had changed my clothes and I was wondering what was going on. I guess my mom was upset because I made a mess out of the pantry again. They called for an ambulance but it wasn't there yet, so my mother and brother took me to the emergency room at Christ Community Hospital on the south side of Chicago.
Once in the emergency room, the blood started pouring out of me again. I covered a nurse in blood. I remember feeling very, very cold. When they put the blood pressure cuff on my arm, it felt like they were crushing my arm. It hurt. At that point, they started pumping whole blood into me. I blacked out.
I felt myself get up and leave my body from the center of my forehead to the center of my chest. I was whisked away through a dark tunnel. I saw what appeared to be an opening filled with light and an gorgeous orchard of trees covered with pink flowers. It was so beautiful. I wanted to go there. I was amazed because in my earthly life I didn't even like pink!
When I started to go into the orchard, I was pulled to the left and was instantly engulfed in the most beautiful white light. I never felt such complete love, complete understanding, complete compassion in my life. I felt like I was just sitting in this light and being loved. I don't know how long it lasted. I really wanted to stay.
At one point while I was next to the light, I had a life review that took a split second. Everything was happening at once and it was over in a flash. I was told that my life was ok. It was then that I realized that I was without a body and I felt frantic for a moment. I was allowed to look beyond and see what seemed to be the entire Universe. It was beautiful and there was a realization that I knew everything that had ever happened or would ever happen —I had total and complete knowledge of everything.
Again I was engulfed in the white light and again I made it known, through thought transference or telepathy, that I wanted to stay. But I was told that I was not finished yet and I had to go back. At that moment I found myself back in the emergency room on the table with a priest standing over me, giving me last rites.
I found out later that my mother and brother had been told that I was dead. They had pumped 21 pints of whole blood into me. When I came back the bleeding stopped and they couldn't find any reason for it to have happened. They had suspected a bleeding ulcer, but they could find no evidence of it. I never had a reoccurrence. They said I should have felt a lot of pain, but I never felt any pain at all.
I never considered myself an outgoing individual prior to this experience. But for years afterward I reached out and joined every religious organization that I could find, trying to find an answer to why I needed to come back, what it was that I was supposed to do, and also to try to find a place where I could recapture some of what I felt on the other side.
I never mentioned this experience to anyone for many years, because I was afraid people would think I was crazy. I'm still not sure why it happened to me or what I am supposed to do. Possibly it's just to let others know that there is something to the “Other Side” and death is not to be feared.