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When I was four and a half I had surgery to remove my tonsils. Something went wrong during the procedure and I hemorrhaged. All I can remember during the surgery was seeing a brilliant warm, white light. I awoke from the anesthesia surrounded by my parents. I could see the worry in their eyes. My Dad said, “We almost lost you.” I remember not understanding what he meant. I received three blood transfusions and stayed in the hospital for two weeks.

Once I returned home, my Mom forced me to sit outside daily to regain my strength. I would sit in the backyard and play with the neighbor's kitten, Snowball. She had fluffy white fur and one blue eye and one green eye. One day about a month after my surgery, I went out to play with Snowball. I found her in the tall grass, lying on her back. She was stiff and cold and a yellow jacket flew in and out of her opened mouth. I ran back in the house to get Mom. Mom took one look at Snowball and brought me back into the house.

My mom then tried to explain the concept of death to me. She told me to think of flowers. How flowers sprout from seeds in the spring and become strong and beautiful in summer. And how in the autumn they become wilted and dried up and then disappear in the winter. She said that this happens to all living things and that if every living thing didn't die then there would be no room for new flowers, kittens, or even people. She asked me if I understood and I said yes, but I could sense that she was uncomfortable with the subject and didn't ask her any questions. But I had a big one. I understood that my body would one day get old and stop working but what would happen to my mind, my thoughts? You know, the essence of me. Mom never talked about the concept of a soul, yet my four-year-old mind knew there was more to me than just a body.

All the rest of the day I wrestled with the thought that one day I would just cease to be. It just seemed impossible to me that suddenly, in an instant, all of me could be snuffed out like a candle flame. That night in bed I kept ruminating about dying. I was upset and rubbed my eyes, pressing hard on my eyelids. All of a sudden I felt myself shoot out of the top of my head. I found myself floating in inky blackness. My body, if you can call it that, lacked definition. It felt like I was made of clouds. Even though I was in pitch- blackness, I was not afraid.

After a while I became aware of something below me to the left. I looked down and saw a large blue ball slowly turning. I saw shafts of sunlight shining on blue water and brown soil. Large white clouds floated over the whole scene. I knew that I was looking at the earth. It was quite beautiful and peaceful, but I felt no urge to go back there. In fact, I felt rather dispassionate about the whole image. It was nice to look at the earth but I had no emotional ties to it.

Time seemed to stand still. But after a while I became aware of something above me to the right. I turned my attention upward and saw a beautiful golden staircase backlit with the most spectacular warm, golden white light imaginable. Mere words can't explain how breathtakingly fantastic it was. Even though I wasn't close to the stairs, I could see intricate carvings in the gold. I wanted to get closer to the staircase and as soon as I formed the thought in my mind, I started to float over to it. I had the definite feeling of movement when I looked at the stairs yet they weren't moving. The closer I got to the staircase, the faster I went. I reached out with my arms to touch the stairs and my fingers started to tingle with anticipation. Just as I approached the bottom stair, I heard a booming male voice loudly yell, "You are not supposed to remember this!"

The next instant I found myself back in my bedroom. I started crying because all I wanted to do was go back to that beautiful staircase. I knew that if I reached the top that I would be home. I guess I was crying rather loudly because my dad came in to see what was wrong. I knew that the whole experience should be kept a secret so I told dad that I was upset about Snowball. He gave me a kiss and told me not to worry, Snowball was in a better place.

I kept this whole experience a secret for many years. In 1969, when the Apollo astronauts sent back photos of the earth taken from the moon, I realized what I had experienced was real because I had seen these images ten years beforehand. I never told my parents, and my siblings were told after my parents passed. All the while I felt I had recovered a memory of being in between lives. I never thought I had an NDE until I read an article in one of my nursing magazines two years ago. It listed the physical and psychological side effects of an NDE. I almost fell off my chair as I read. I had almost all of the side effects listed.

For years I've been struggling with being sensitive to loud noise, violence, and bright light. Even the slightest dim light at night bothers me. My normal body temperature is usually 97 or below. I react violently to some medications. And I've had two episodes of anaphylaxis with no discernable cause; the allergist told me I was an enigma. I can't wear a watch for too long because it will run fast, slow down, or just stop working. Right now I have a dead battery in my watch but as soon as I put it on, it starts to run and will keep running until I take it off. I can't be around electrical things for too long because they will malfunction. Sometimes computers will suddenly drop off line when I walk into the room. In fact this is my third attempt to type all of this and send it to you. The keyboard just seizes up and I can't type.

I have always had some ESP ability. I just "know" when things are going to happen, and I can sometimes "read" minds. I can get just about any plant to grow. And animals love me. One of my friends has a cat, Chubby, that is afraid of people. She runs and hides when company comes over. Yet, when I come over, Chubby runs right over to me wanting to be held. One day, as I sat at my friend's kitchen table drinking tea, the next thing we knew, Chubby was outside at the kitchen window frantically clawing to get in. Once she was let in, she immediately jumped into my lap. My friend never ceases to be amazed.

Even bees and wasps listen to me. If they get in the house, all I have to do is open the door, call them and they fly right out. Now at work, I'm called the bug lady because I can get any bug to go outside. I have had many prophetic dreams. When I was eleven, I dreamed my Dad was going to die two days before he did. I told my sister about the dream but she didn't believe me. She certainly changed her feelings when my Mom got the phone call that dad was dead. After that, for about six months, I was in constant contact with dad. I felt his presence on my right shoulder. All I had to do was think of him and there he was. I could hear his voice in my head and he would answer any questions that I had. My mom found out what I could do and she started begging me to "Ask daddy" all sorts of things. After a while I started to get spooked by all this so I asked my mom not to make me ask dad any more questions.

I always felt the need to nurture. That's why I became a nurse. My patients tell me that I have a very calming presence. Now I am a Reiki Master. Although I don't have a practice yet, I do give Reiki on a consistent basis. Many people comment on my "healing hands." Once I gave Reiki to an autistic girl who lost the ability to speak. I told her I would try to make her feel better. I had my hands on her head for a few minutes when she grabbed my hands and took them off her head. I thought I had probably bothered her, but she put my hands on her face and proceeded to kiss them.

I have often felt that I'm not of this world. It's hard to explain, but I feel out of place. Even though I love life and am so thankful for each and every day, part of me wants to be "back home." I often wonder what would have happened if I could have retrieved more of that memory. It was so frustrating to be so close to going up the stairs then be yelled at and sent back to my body. I have tried numerous times to go back to that memory but I just can't get past that booming voice. Oh well, some day I will.

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