I am writing this in honor of my son, Ben Breedlove, who had his NDE when he was 18 years old. He passed away 19 days later on Christmas Day, 2011.
Ben was diagnosed with a heart condition at age 13 months old, called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. His first cardiac arrest occurred on May 31, 2011 during a tonsil surgery. He did not express having an NDE.
His second cardiac arrest was on December 6 while changing classes during his senior year in high school. He felt he was about to faint, due to his heart, so he attempted to go sit down on a bench but passed out before getting to the bench. Students saw him pass out and turn 'purple'. They immediately got the school nurse who was very close by. She came over to Ben, assessed he had no heartbeat or respirations, started chest compressions and called for medical back up. A school staff arrived with the defibrillator and EMS arrived shortly after that. The defibrillator advised 'no shock' because of the type of arrhythmia he was in. The school nurse had known Ben and was aware of his condition and was a Christian. She prayed he would revive the whole time she was administering CPR and when EMS attempted to defibrillate. Ben revived after at least 3 minutes of no heart rate or breathing. This was confirmed by the nurse, EMS and school staff. He was then taken to the ER.
As soon as Ben, mom and Ben's best friend were moved from the ER to his hospital room, Ben shared his experience. He said while he was passed out, he was in a 'pitch white room'. The room had no walls and went on and on. It was “the most quiet I ever heard” and "it was the most peaceful feeling; the same feeling I had when the angel visited me (after a medical emergency where he almost died) when I was 4. There are no words to describe the peace.”
Ben continued, "The white was the brightest white I've ever seen but it didn't hurt my eyes. All of the sudden, I heard the best music I've ever heard. It was Kid Cudi's ‘When Will the Heaven Begin’ and it sounded soooo good, like it was playing out of the best speakers."
“I then felt a hand on my shoulder. It was Kid Cudi's. He led me to a glass desk. We were standing in front of a mirror and we saw ourselves and we looked **** good! I saw my whole life in the mirror, everything I had done, and I was proud of everything I had done. It was the BEST feeling."
"Kid Cudi then asked 'Are you ready?' I thought I was going on to heaven, so I said, 'Yes!' Instead, I found myself back on the floor of the school. I wish I never would have come back."
Ben shared these words with his best friend Grant, and me (mom) in his hospital room right after we got to the room and the nurse walked out. He was extremely sincere. He continued to talk to our family about it, but he declined to tell others. When I asked him to tell his experience to two of my lady friends, he reluctantly did so and gave a very pared down version. Afterwards, he kindly said, "Mom, it's not for everyone." I learned to not ask him to perform on command!
Ben also was compelled to create a YouTube video recounting his life with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and his NDE. Without mentioning it to us, he uploaded it to YouTube under the name "This is My Story” (Parts I and II). It didn't become known widely until the evening of his death. We, his family, do not know how the video spread and became known the night of his death because we didn't know about the video until the morning after he passed away, and by then it was viral.
There are many more details to this that unfolded over the next two weeks. He seemed to know he was NOT going to get a heart transplant as had been discussed. He insisted on going to school for a partial day one day even though he clearly didn't have much energy. He lasted almost half a day, but was very pleased to have 'one more normal day' and see his friends. Several days later he insisted, INSISTED, on visiting two friends. One was in the hospital with a ruptured spleen and the other, his best friend, was staying at home that day. He was VERY satisfied to have visited with them. He passed away two days later.
A book was written about Ben's experience, When Will the Heaven Begin? It has more information in it than I have provided here.
Ben did tell his sister, Ally, that "I believe God let me have that experience (NDE) so I wouldn't be afraid of dying and I would know heaven is worth it."
Ben was a wonderful, gregarious, fun-loving, loyal, very funny, intelligent young man. He grew exponentially in maturity and developed a deeper faith between his NDE and his death, which was only 19 days. We are blessed to have shared his life with him.