The First Time I Died
I died on February 5, 2005 in an ambulance on the way to Atlantic Maryland General at Ocean City, Maryland. I was dead for nearly five minutes. The most striking aspect, that which is a remarkable lesson, and a vivid experience during my death is how nothing about life was reflected upon or valued. In my case, and the most memorable part of the experience lies in evidence that, although I am here presently, I did indeed die and have not returned at all. At least, and surely not from the world I died away from.
Allow me to explain this clearly.
I had been suffering from Type II diabetes for a long time, perhaps as long as two decades. Not one to bother with doctors, I never discovered my malady until years later in 2006. Seasonal physical breakdowns were attributed to my getting older. Besides I am a work-a-holic who lived in Florida and spent all my holidays working in New York. Catching a bad cold right before Christmas of 2004 seemed just bad luck; I didn't think much about it.
The cold grew worse. By the time my wife and I were heading back south after Christmas day I reeled from pneumonia; though I figured it was just a nasty cold or flu.
As is our routine we booked a room at the Claridge Hotel in Ocean City. Cathy's mom lived in Berlin - just outside Ocean City, MD. We would always spend a day or two visiting Cathy's family and enjoying the Ocean City winter night life. But I wasn't enjoying anything that year. I felt horrible and finally succumbed to bed while urging Cathy to socialize without me. When she had her fill, she wanted to continue our trip back to Florida. I could not get out of bed and pleaded for another day to gain my strength.
I never did feel better. On February 5th Cathy wanted to call for help. My skin turned as pale as the bed sheets. I could barely move. I figured that my body was shutting down for whatever biological reasons; I just had to go with the flow. I am no stranger to illness, before learning about my diabetes. I have not been ill for a moment since gaining that knowledge. But then, getting sick and drifting into comatose like states, was not uncommon for me. To make matters all the more risky, I also practice deep self-hypnosis and mediate frequently. That virtue has probably "reset" my body many times in the past; curing who-knows how many problems. Still all the astral flights one can make cannot cure pneumonia. Finally, I agreed with Cathy and instructed her to call the front desk and order up a ride to hospital.
While she phoned I glanced out the window to determine how to dress. The sun shocked the blue sky like a bright winter sun can do especially over the ocean. Yet it was February and sure to be cold. Cathy made mention that indeed it was cold outside. She suggested attire but I couldn't move, not an inch. I decided to drift off and Cathy panicked.
Things moved quickly from that moment on although that might have been all illusion through the eyes of a dying man. Four medics were rousing me, asking all kinds of questions. I snapped back into consciousness and replied candidly and in an air of normalcy. They took vitals and determined that I needed to get to hospital; one medic who sported a handsome mustache guessed correctly that I suffered from pneumonia. They helped me get up and just had me wear underwear and my nightshirt. On to the stretcher I went. Out of the room, down 5 floors and through an active lobby where it seemed everyone employed by the Claridge dashed into the lobby to wish me well - or, at least, to watch the commotion.
I lacked enough strength to do much else than to automatically wave at the well-wishers. Not until I hit the cold air did any real sense of consciousness come back. I must had been burning up with fever and the cold air just stabbed at me. I had no covers. Instead I tried to snuggle further into my nightshirt. To make matters worse, the sun stung my eyes. While two medics grappled to get me into the ambulance, the other two headed for the vehicle's cab, I must had looked like a criminal being lead into a police station - hands hiding my face and head while cringing from the sight of day! Once inside my situation, improved I thought. The doors closed, the cabin gathered heat and lacked any bright light; mostly little lights from all kinds of instruments surrounding my stretcher. The medic with a mustache sat on my right. A young medic with dashing blonde hair sat to my left. They were doing their job and chatted encouraging phrases at me, contacting the hospital and hooked me up to all kinds of machines. I figured they didn't need me bothering them by trying to chat back or fighting their efforts to strap whatever they were strapping me up into. So I just lay there and went with the flow. But, oh, I felt really ill. Suddenly, I realized that my position on the stretcher - a prone position without a pillow - forced mucus into my windpipe. I began to suffocate! I didn't want to move too quickly as they were working my body like a couple of cowboys hog-tying some poor beast. The medic on my right was telling me something about my blood pressure when I tried to announce my predicament. I panicked when I realized I could not speak. I was indeed suffocating! Then, in an instant, I went out.
According to the doctors in my family, I passed out cold. My body shut down. Blood drained from my brain. My heart stopped and when I was shocked back to life, blood returned to my head and I, while still gaining consciousness, hallucinated. I am familiar with that kind of experience. I have passed out a few times in several dentists' chairs and a few times in the hard pews of Saint Joseph's Church, and a couple times after being clocked in a bar room brawl or two. For a while back in those days, I actually hoped that Dr. Beyer's needle aimed at my 3rd molar would knock me out because those hallucinations got to be interesting. I had more than once enjoyed the unattainable favors of unattainable girls during some of those returning trips back to my senses. This time, however, there was no hallucination.
Whatever I had become, wherever I found myself existed in an involuntary world. There was no "I." I did have what one could call an acknowledgment of self, yet that self comprised of nothing you or I would term as myself, not a bodily self. Most strikingly is that this entire experience was not a conscious experience while moving through it, only a thing I reflect upon. At the time there seemed to be no time and no past moment, no reflection or self-consciousness of even the present moment. I existed in a location - not a definable place - and it wasn't me at all, but whatever I was in that location; or better stated, what I was existed at that location. Looking back, I had been at that location for a very long time, perhaps years; maybe longer. Yet, looking back on it, it all took place within under five minutes. A paradox.
Before I move on I'd like to say that death is quick, not at all like passing out or like that actor in a movie who just has to get his final words out. I was here and instantly I was elsewhere. And, as explained above, had someone been able to hold a conversation with me while "over there" and had I'd been told that I once existed elsewhere and had a name and a previous life, I'd probably reply with something like, "Maybe. I'm not sure, let me think&ldots;Yes, maybe there was life before this life, maybe."
At some point I noticed the proverbial white light. I recognized this light and I knew it would be there. Once I saw or sensed this light it instantly became omnipresent but not bright. This was no blinding light. It also had depth to it. I could be sucked into it.
Just as the light filled the entire location, like forming a sky dome suddenly, I became surrounded by nodules; literally hundreds of them. They floated all around me in a cloudy sea of white film or fine dust. I didn't question what they were. I knew they were people. Looking back, I think, the nodules were the heads or minds of my deceased relatives and friends. What struck me after the experience is that all these heads were turned away from me. Ever so close, right on top and all around me, yet turned away from whatever I was at that location. Above us the white light caused the entire location to jolt. In an instant it extracted from what I was all the light I possessed - even though I did not acknowledge that whatever it was it took from me that I ever had in the first place. At the very same moment, what remained behind - me - dropped hard like a rock into a black abyss.
As I mentioned to you before, this time, however, there was no hallucination. The act of regaining blood back to my brain accompanied a creeping, stalling climb back to my senses. There was no pleasurable trip. My body just gasped for reality. As fast as I dropped away, I had returned. No sexy girls, no images of wealth, this experience was real. Not only was it real but the moment I regained my senses I realized it was the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me. I jolted in complete disappointment of being back. I even questioned why at the moment I gained all my senses. I regretted returning. The answer came to me clearly; almost in a verbal reply from the vanished reaches of that location - for Cathy.
That made it all more real and puzzling, at the very moment I was telling myself what a strange hallucination that turned out to be, and while the medic with the mustache cried out how glad he was that I was back, that they had lost me, something invaded my reality. As I turned to the medic on my right who held away wired pads in his hands to acknowledge that I had rejoined them, I noticed that the ambulance wasn't moving. I glanced up and saw a driving rain hitting the back windows. I was soaking wet. I started and when I turned my head from one to the other medic, I found that the young blonde medic had turned into a medic about my age.
I did not return at all. I went to somewhere I had not been. Since then, I have come to realize that I am somewhere I have never been before.
I wrote this down once I decided that relating the tale to listeners just stopped making sense. I really do not know what happened; where I was or the dynamics of the event. I would very much like to pass judgment and say that it was all indeed a dream. I know better. I'm not only the type to hallucinate about Pamela Anderson but also one to be fully aware of myself during such trips. What took place happened outside the world as I know it. Everything I relate here is through retrospect, not from any awareness of the experience while it took place. The most puzzling aspect is that I moved from a sunny day to a rainy one. That people switched. Since then I found many people switched and even places and things. I am distraught to find that people here - now - do not care for each other as they did there - then. I am not saying that the world is that much different, we do watch out for those around us "here." But we watched out even more "there." I would love to say that my brain got damaged during the event. That is what I am told by those who suppose to know how such near-death experiences occur. I want to believe that, I do. But I don't believe that at all. Nor can I argue for or against it. If I check the weather on that day over Ocean City, yes, it rained. The medics shrug off the young medic. It's all part of the hallucination. After all, I am here now. It was raining here then.
But not where I came from.