I see things much differently now. I rarely talk about the night of my accident and what I experienced because in the past my college friends didn't understand and denied it happened or called me crazy.

I do not fear death if it happens because I know I will be in a good and loving place. I used to believe that when you died you were one with the earth. Not so much anymore .. it's so much more. Now I know our soul/spirit lives on .. I am not sure what's on the other side of the tunnel I saw, but there is something embracing, loving and good.

When I hear friends talk about losing a loved one or I lose someone close and dear to me. I feel extreme empathy, but at the same time I tell them that their loved one is in a much better place. Sometimes when I see accidents on the road/highway I get an overwhelming feeling and my eyes water, but then I know it was their time and they are in a better place.

On March 1, 2008 at 1:00am, I had been up for over 24 hrs because I was studying for an exam and the night after the exam my friends and I decided to go to the local bar to relax. I got upset at a friend and I set off to my "place of peace" which was about 30 miles down a two lane highway, a rest stop where there was open land and the smell of the air was so refreshing and relaxing. I made it about half way, but with the alcohol and the lack of sleep I dozed off while heading there. It happened to be in a long stretch where the road has no bumps in the roadway that could have awakened me. I remember dozing off and I don't remember what was happening outside or with my car, but I remember being in a tunnel of light .. the light was so embracing and loving. I saw a dark figure in the distance of that tunnel and smelled a familiar perfume. I knew right away it was my grandmother that had died in 2001. She told me (in Spanish) .. it wasn't my time because I had a long life ahead of me .. And that I needed to turn my wheel as hard as I could to the right and get out of the car as soon as I could. I awoke and did as she had told me. Had I not, I would have hit a tree head-on at a fairly high rate of speed. Once my car came to a stop the grass that had been so dry, caught fire from one that had started in my engine. I had seconds to think otherwise I would not have had time to get out of my car. I grabbed my phone leaving everything else of value inside to burn. In a state of shock about what I experienced I couldn't dial for help, but could redial the last person I called and that was a friend.

It all happened so fast I was in utter disbelief. I was lucky because had I delayed in any of the actions or really panicked I don't think I would be here today. A few of my friends that were studying at my university told me it was my body shutting down and preparing to die. But to me it didn't explain seeing and hearing my grandmother or smelling her perfume. I had such a strong connection with my grandmother that the day before she went to the hospital (she had a heart attack a day earlier), I collapsed walking my dog and felt so weak that didn't go to school the next day. I remember my parents coming home after work to tell me she was in the hospital and that my brothers and I needed to go say our goodbyes to her. I couldn't say goodbye .. I remember telling her she was going to be ok and I loved her, because I had hope since she was so strong that she'd be back to herself despite what the doctor explained to us moments earlier in the waiting room. We went home that night I couldn't sleep alone in my room upstairs so I slept in the living room to be closer to my brothers' and parent's rooms. But I knew when she passed because she came to visit me and told me she was going to heaven .. a better place .. where she didn't have to suffer anymore and she was going to be ok. I got up walked to my parent's room and told my parents what happened and a few minutes later we got a phone call from my uncle telling us that she had passed away.

I don't know what's on the other side of that tunnel, but I know its heavenly. I know because my grandmother told me the night she passed, so I am ready. Of course I want to live my life to the fullest, but whenever my time comes I am ready.