In the summer of 1998, I was going down the stairs at the music school in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark where I taught. I had just heard my students' end-of-term concert. I got a sudden pain in my chest and a feeling of pressure on my chest, which I now recognise as angina pectoris. (I had had a similar experience two weeks before, but an ECG a couple of days later had failed to show anything abnormal.)
I tried to walk home but the pain and pressure got worse. I wasn't far from the hospital but I didn't think I could walk there and looked around for a taxi. Instead, a bus came and I took that one or two stops to the hospital. At the hospital gate, two porters helped me and put me into a wheelchair. They ran with me to the emergency room.
There the doctor found that I had ischemia and an abnormal ECG (ST depression, as far as I remember). I was given several doses of nitroglycerin spray, which gradually relieved the pain in my chest but gave me a terrible headache.
I was admitted to the cardiac ward. After initial checks and a repeat of my story I was left on my own for a while (I have no idea how long). Suddenly at the foot of my bed I saw and heard a children's choir singing absolutely beautifully. It then dawned on me that I knew all the children. They had been my violin pupils in London many years before. I had taught them (33 in all) when they were about 3-8 years old. I had always had my doubts about being a good enough violin teacher, but now I was "told" that my teaching had been good enough and that I had meant a lot to each of those children. I saw my teaching and my relationship with the children from their point of view, so to speak.
On the right of the choir there was a kind of counter that made a sound like a ratchet, the kind of ratchets people use to make a noise at British football matches. Every thought and action in my life was being examined at lightning speed and the amount of love in them was being measured. There was a column of green light on the right that grew higher and higher as the amount of love was counted and measured. My life was passing before my eyes at lightning speed. It became very clear that the only thing that mattered in life was how loving my thoughts and actions are. I knew this theoretically before, but now I really knew it.
I didn't get further in this life review than my life as a violin teacher in London (up to about the age of 27) because I was suddenly pulled out of this experience when a male nurse came and injected some medication into a vein in my left hand.
The experience was both wonderful and unforgettable, and at the same time frightening. When I first saw the choir, I thought, "Oh no, I'm having a near-death experience." I was only 45 and felt too young to die. My father had died when he was about 43, so I was afraid I was going to suffer the same fate. (I had read about near-death experiences some years before, so I was familiar with the concept.)
I was given a lot of medication and a temporary diagnosis of Prinzmetal's angina. There was some doubt about the diagnosis. I had no hardening of the arteries. It wasn't until 2017 (nineteen years later) that a scan showed a right coronary artery anomaly - something that I had apparently been born with.
I never spoke about my experience for fear of ridicule. Not everyone shares my interest in spiritual matters. However, after hearing a lecture by Pim Van Lommel in Copenhagen in March 2018, I told him my story. He said immediately, "You haven't told anyone that before, have you?" He was right, of course.
At that time I was taking part in a heart rehabilitation group, so I plucked up courage (spurred on by Pim Van Lommel's accounts of many heart patients who had had NDEs) and told my story. The amazing thing was that out of the five patients in our group, four had had NDEs but none had mentioned them to anyone. It was a very moving and uplifting session - not least for the male cardiac nurse who ran it.