When I was 5, I was playing in my room when my mom walked in and told me and two of my older siblings that we could go swimming.

She said it was hot, to not worry about waiting on her, to just go on ahead. My brother John and I changed very quickly and in a instant were running down the hill to the pond. John ran on ahead of me and dove in at the furthest end of the pond from our house. He was already doing laps to the center and back as I was just getting in to wade. I could only dog paddle. We had never been allowed to swim alone before. We knew Dad would have never allowed this if he were home, so there was a sense of wild freedom.

I was careful to watch out for drop offs and not go over my head as I dog paddled close to the bank, until I noticed a piece of wood floating. I layed on it to see if it would work as a raft. It did. I used it to go to the center of the pond. When I reached the center, I called out to John to "Look at me!" John quickly swam out to where I was, grabbed the board away from me, and climbed on it himself and took off towards the bank, continuing his laps.

I sank while struggling to keep my head up, realizing I should have never come out there without learning to float or tread water first. My eyes were only above water a few seconds before I was sinking deep in the water, kicking and screaming, tumbling and gulping. It was a horrible feeling, knowing you are somewhere no one can see you hear you or even know you needed help. The water was dark, I couldn't tell which way was up or down any more. I was afraid I was kicking in the wrong direction, I needed to stop and think for a minute. My throat hurt so bad, screaming under water was making it worse. I wanted to cry, but I needed to think.

Then I noticed it didn't hurt any more. I wasn't kicking, screaming or crying. I thought, I am fine. I thought my parents must have lied to me, they always said don't go out too deep or you will drown. I felt I hadn't drowned. I couldn't wait to tell my 4 older siblings that you don't drown, we can too breathe under water.

Then I noticed the dark brown muddy water had turned a light bright transparent green. I felt so happy and excited, like I discovered something no one ever has before. I felt I was sinking down deeper towards the bottom, and found it funny that the fish were bumping into me, nudging me. I was facinated as I watched them swim, watching the fins, tails and mouths open and close, wiggly right in ront of me.

Then I was cuious as to why everything was different now. When Dad took us fishing, sometimes us kids would try to catch a fish with our hands, but they were too quick. They were afraid of us. Why weren't they now? I thought about the plastic treasure chest in our gold fish bowl at home. Somehow I knew I was now an object like that. I realized I was dead.

I thought about being a dead girl at the bottom of that pond forever. People would search for me and never find me all the way down here. I was at the deepest part of the pond. Families would come and swim and be grossed out that a dead girl is down here somewhere. My family would always know I was down here. I didn't want to ruin it for everyone. (More memories of my thoughts come back as years go by. At first I just blurted out the basics, afraid of what I was saying. I just wanted to get it over with. Many years later, I relaxed and allowed myself to just go with the memories and not be afraid of any part of it. Some may say it is "embellishing." It is not. The memories just unfold as I learn to accept/understand them. I used to skip over parts because I didn't know how to describe it or even explain it to myself.)

Then I felt my vision rise up. It was like I was eyeballs only. My eyes stayed at the surface of the water for awhile, as I noticed my vision was now different. I could see under and over the water at the same time. Two views at once. I decided I was bored with under, I saw fish long enough, there was not much more to see down there. Above water was more intereresting. Bright sunshine, beautiful green trees, a beautiful blue sky, it was a wonderful summer day. I rose up a little above the pond, and knew it was silly, but I still felt a little afraid of heights. I decided to go up slowly and stop when I felt afraid. I got to tree top height and felt that was far enough for now. The view is something I will never forget. I could see above the pond, above the road, above the river, and up the hill was our house, and I could see the train tracks farther down the tracks than being on the ground. I was near the tree tops and it was cool. Then I saw my family.

I saw that at some point my mom and sister Teri had arrived at the pond. They were sunbathing on a bed sheet at the entrance of the pond. They were sitting, rubbing lotion on their arms and legs, looking at their skin and each other as they talked. They hadn't even noticed I was gone yet. I was mad that they should have been watching me. I felt the close female-ness of their conversation, and knew it was too old of a conversation for me. I felt jealous of Teri, being able to talk to mom like that. Now I never would. Then I looked down at the opposite end of the pond and there was John on MY BOARD!!! 

I felt rage and blamed him for my death. John didn't need that board, but I died without it. I gained knowledge at that meoment that I never knew before, but could never deny again, and have found to be more true the longer I live. My family did not love me. That rage blew in like a strong wind and dissappeared with acceptance like the wind blows away. I was fine, I now saw the benefits of death.

I didn't have to listen to my parents anymore! I can go wherever I want and not get in trouble! I figured I could fly, since I could hover over a pond. I decided I might as well go do what ghost do. I imagined a group of old people sitting around a table in a kitchen of an abandoned house some where, as they all turned to look at me as I come in. I thought of ghosts and dead people as old at first, then thought kids die sometimes too. I guess I will go find some ghost kids to play with. I imagined flying around with them like Peter Pan. I quickly adjusted and looked forward to the freedom and adventure without a body. I was glad to be free of that family, they didn't love me, and that wasn't right. That isn't how life is supposed to be. I gained a strong sense of justice, right and wrong at that moment. Just as I decided to take off, I heard a female voice tell me to wait, to not go yet.

I asked why not. She said if they find me soon, I might go back. I argued that they haven't even noticed I drowned yet. I couldn't even see my body, it was way down under water, in the middle of the pond somewhere. How could they find me in that great big pond, in all that deep water? I was told to wait. I thought I would for a few minutes, then I am leaving. (Then I have some sketchy memories of some things I am not sure of, like tagging along 3 boys carrying fishing poles walking down the highway, who kept ignoring me. I could hear all their thoughts, being eye level to a bill board as you enter town, running around with kids in a yard in town, and going inside houses to see what they look like, across from my Grandma's house. I don't know if these are real or not, but they never fade, I just feel silly talking about it.)

My firm memory goes from hearing that Angel tell me to wait, don't go yet, I might go back, to waking up, hanging over John's right shoulder, looking down at the grey pavement of the road, and pond water coming out of my mouth, and down John's back. John complains to mom, "Can I put her down now?" I see, from hanging upside down, Mom and Teri up ahead walking towards home, almost to the train tracks. They turn to look back at the same time, and see my dead body is now alive. Mom grabs her chest and makes a big sigh of relief, nods her head yes to answer John's question, and her and Teri keep walking home. They are whispering something. It seems they are going to keep this a secret from my Dad. Mom doesn't want to get in trouble. John drops me on the road and runs up after them.

I am standing there, sick, with a belly full of pond water, now faced with the fact that my family dosen't love me and knowing it is not fair. I am literally like a "drowned rat." I don't want to be HERE. I want to go back THERE. This used to be the end of my memory, but I began to remember something more.

As I stood there, before heading back home, I seriously considered going back, walking to the pond, and going back in. I was about to go flying, I was going to have fun. I was shown a new life. I didn't want this old one now. The Angel appeared, hovering above the road. Before, I just heard her, now I saw her too. She was what you think of as a Angel: dressed in flowing white light, all of her was white light, hair, face , hands, gown, everything. She told me "No." I said, "But they don't love me." She admitted this was true, but said I would have love some day. I asked when. She said it won't be for a while. I knew I would grow up without it. I knew I wouldn't have it until I have my own family. She said I will have a lot of love then. I asked where will I find it, she pointed toward the town. She was gone. I walked on home.

I believe it was that night, I am not sure, I laid in bed, and looked at my story books. As I turned the page to The Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe, I knew some day I would have a lot of kids' beds lined up like that. I felt I was shown a promise, a glimpse into my destiny.

On Christmas morning, about 40 years later, I stood back and admired our 7 adopted girls' present, new canopy beds, all lined up in one big new room, and suddenly I had a flash back of being 5, and looking deeply into that story book page.

A few of the things that happened after that drowning. Once I saw a spirit climb out of me and go out the window to go play. Once I burst out singing Jesus Loves Me in Sunday School so loud that the kids covered thier ears. I was coloring a picture of children in line to sit on Jesus's lap, and felt I was next, waiting my turn. It seemed real, I felt like I was in two worlds at once. Once I woke up from a nap and saw 3 people standing by my bed, dressed from about a hundred years ago, and the next time Dad took us fishing, I wondered off in a day dream into the woods where I saw a wildflower growing out from under a rock.  I was in awe of that flower, despite it's dry cracked enviroment, it was dancing freely in the wind. Somehow it told my fortune, just like the Angel did. Not in words, but as a role model. I thought of girls at school, in pretty dresses and long hair with bows, fancy shoes and socks. Then there was me, poor, skinny, pixy hair cut, hand me downs, right down to the socks and underwear. I thought of fancy flowers in flower shops, like those fancy girls. But this wild flower was like me, all it needs is to be glad to be alive. It doesn't need love and care, it is strong and dances to show off it can survive on it's own. It some how made me feel I would be just fine, no matter what people do to me. Some day I will dance in the wind to celebrate my victory of surviving.

At age 35 , as I was going through a divorce after 16 years of marriage, I was reminded of this, as I had danced about 6 hours straight on the river bank one night. Even though there were a lot of people there, I just danced alone in my bare feet. I celebrated my victory. I had been put through hell my whole life, but I was still here. I didn't care what anyone thought. I lived through it all. I was abused in every way throughout my entire childhood, hated, knocked out cold, and laughed at. My husband and his family treated me almost as bad. But I had just prayed and asked God why. He answered me "My Child." My tears of sorrow immediatly turned to tears of joy, knowing that God was saying I am his child, his family. I knew I needed no on else. I had 3 sons who loved me , and I always had God.

At age 25, I died from a tubal pregnancy, went through the tunnel into the light and begged God to let me return to raise my 3 boys. As soon as I "woke up" I said to myself  "What the hell was that?!" I made myself forget, like I did with every thing else that ever happened to me. When nobody ever cares about you, you have no one to tell.  I didn't tell anyone at first. Then one night, as I sat alone looking up at the stars, the memory of the drowning played back in my mind like a movie trailer. I went and asked my mother, then Teri , then John, had I drowned when I was little? They had forgot all about it. But yes I did. My mom said she knew my Dad and his family would blame her for it, just like they did when Junior died. (Her first born, who died at 9 months from illness.) Then I was just concerned with the facts, how did they find me, what do they remember. They don't remember how they found me, mom said she thinks she told John to go where he saw me last, and he felt around under there until he felt me. John said all he knows is he got in a lot of trouble that day because of me, as always.

This is when the flash backs started. They frightened me, I couldn't understand them, but I knew they were true. I started talking. 20 years later, I started writing my PTSD memories from my child hood abuse, hoping I could trap them  in the pages. I filled several notebooks. When I finished, I woke up the next day and reread it. This is when I noticed, among all the filth , trauma and abuse, were tiny pin points of light scatterd: the drowning, the after affects, spiritually transformative expierences, ESP, bonding with nature, me healing people, being led to them through instincts I didn't understand. Out of body experiences, after death communication, all before I knew what any of these words meant. The reading, researching, and the internet have helped me understand and give words to what I thought was just me and bizzare unexplainable craziness. However, once I started telling people, my PTSD and anxiety from abuse was cured. My NDEs cured my PTSD.

I have learned, God and Angels were always there when I needed them. I have to always believe my instincts , listen and I will hear, and to let my love be stronger than my anger. When I am led to preach, I preach, led to love, love. I cherish miracles as they happen now, I don't dismiss them. The last one was in Jaunary. I testified to a step daughter and my mother in law in her kitchen, and a circle of light glowed around us the whole time. They witnessed it as well. we all felt like we were held in a sacred space. We talked about it later, and it was odd to hear them describe what I felt/saw, as if I was telling it to them myself.  I could go on all day about the miracles I have witnessed. I am not special. I was just on the other side twice, and God wants us to be a witness to his Love. How horrible would I be to not do that, out of fear of ridicule. I owe Him big time. People can call me a liar, crazy, a fool, idiot, they can say I just want attention, or anything they want. I am praising God. That is all. I will until my last breath.