On February 8, 2011, I died 4-times during a heart attack and had a profound near-death experience.
After experiencing obvious red flag signals of a heart problem, I reluctantly agreed to a cardiologist visit. I had one scheduled for 3-weeks out but, on the previous night, I blacked out after standing up from sitting on the bed. My now-late wife worked for a cardiologist, who had also been our neighbor and when she told him that morning of my situation, he insisted I come in that day for testing.
Being the typical hard-headed man, I certainly didn't want to go and tried not to. I had a several-day business trip planned, leaving the next day, and I didn't have time for a doctor's visit. I had things to do! His office called telling me to come in as soon as I could. I went on doing "things," then the doctor called and demanded I get in there now. Off I drove, 15 miles, very aggravated, no time for this, I kept thinking. Making calls along the way only added to my frustrations.
Inside the office, I'm first treated to an echo test. Next, on to the treadmill for a stress test; it was here when the heart attack hit.
Shortly after the treadmill starts, I find myself laboring. This wasn't right. I'd done this test before and never had a problem. As the incline starts and the speed picks up, it gets harder, I'm breathing hard, my head is spinning I feel like I'm walking in deep mud and sinking fast. The tech administering the test said he needs to get the heart rate to 135 and hold it there a bit to get an accurate reading. I don't want to do this again so I keep pushing, but suddenly everything went dark.
I came to, laying on a table, and I'm surrounded by nurses and my doctor all seeming in stat mode and I'm hearing things like, "His blood pressure is 60 over 40 and dropping, we're losing him fast. Get nitro under his tongue and when that one dissolves get another in there. Get the IV started and squeeze the bag to get it in fast. I'm calling the operating room to get it ready." What the heck is going on, I think. I become more aware of the people around me, I can see not only those frantically working but others standing in the doorway with shocked looks on their faces. I get an overwhelming feeling I'm dying, I'm not going to make it, but the doctor said I grabbed his arm and said, "Hey, I don't have time for this. I have to travel tomorrow." His response was to let me know I wasn't going anywhere except to the hospital.
I'm tense, I'm fighting, fear set in. I want to beat death away before it can get me. I started praying to ask God to please let me live, then during that prayer the realization hit, this is totally out of my control. Thus, my prayer changed and I told God if it was my time to return home, I'm ready. I totally relaxed at that point, all fear left me, and that was a major turning point.
The doctor said he knew I'd prayed and God had responded allowing me to relax and his efforts to be effective.
I'm loaded into a wheelchair, IV attached, and someone with fast feet pushes me across the street to the hospital. It's like a movie scene: someone is at every door to have it open so we don't have to slow down Getting to the operating room was time-sensitive. I'm prepped and taken to the operating room for a heart cath procedure. During the prepping, a nurse very sternly told me I was in the midst of a very serious heart attack. That allowed some fear to come back.
They said, "You won't feel anything, but you can watch the procedure on the screen above you." I'm in a very bright sterile room and I suddenly feel all alone and fearful. I hear the doctor say, "We are now beginning." I go out. I'm in a tunnel, a dark tunnel, everything is swirling, I see some light flashes. My first thought is, "I'm dead and not seeing the white lights, I must be going to hell." Suddenly I'm conscious again.
People are walking away from me and I'm confused not remembering if I was to be awake or asleep during the procedure. I was just about to yell out and ask, and then I'm out again.
This time the tunnel is brighter, still dark and swirling but more light flashes and they are getting brighter, I progress and am just about to exit the tunnel where I can see a very bright blue sky, and I'm back in my body. Again, people are walking away from me, I didn't know until later they had been using the defibrillator on me. The fear has left but confusion remains.
This third time in the tunnel I've emerged and stood on a large rock cliff overlooking a most beautiful heavenly mountain river. The air is so fresh and clean, the sky is a most beautiful blue, and it's fall, my favorite time of the year. All the mountains are covered in vibrant bright colors, bright reds, glowing oranges, deep greens. I've never experienced such beauty. I hear a voice say, "Fall forward and come to me." Impossible, I'm thinking. I can't fly. Then once again I'm returned to my body.
The fourth time, I'm immediately back on that cliff enjoying that scene once again. I feel so comfortable, so relaxed. Nothing matters except enjoying this view. I look to the river and the water is crystal clear. I can see large fish swimming and they seem to be looking up at me. Birds fly by, look at me, and nod. I notice deer grazing along a river bottom. To my left, a road comes off the mountain and meets a steel arch bridge with wooden planks. An old flatbed truck comes off the mountain, gears clanging, and the wooden planks rumble as the truck crosses.
I watch that truck, following it, and my eyes are suddenly drawn to a very bright white light glowing on the riverbank. I can't take my eyes off that white light. Again, a voice commands, "Fall forward and come to me." I did, without giving a thought to any danger. Suddenly I'm flying. I'm gliding through the air like a bird heading straight for that bright light. I see thorn bushes along the river bank and think this will hurt, but I glide through them with ease.
Then I see him, a nearly indescribable sight, a personage all dressed in pure white, long white hair, long flowing beard, and a pleasing white aura all around him. He says J.. L..O.., Jr., come set with me. We sat upon a lovely stone wall and he speaks first somewhat sternly with me but with every word I feel unconditional love. He first goes through a life review pointing out mistakes I'd made, people I'd hurt, then turning to the good things I'd done. He then informed me it was not my time to remain in heaven, I had not completed my earthy task and I had to return but return with newfound knowledge and instruction.
The conversation went on with detailed instructions. Yet I was also informed much of these instructions would be sealed in my mind and they would be released when the time was right and I ready to receive them. I was to keep myself informed by reading, being observant, and living life to keep the spirit close to me. I would have new interests and explore never before explored interests. To always be alert to people who came within my path because messages would be delivered in diverse ways. Experience has proven that one certainly held true!
Suddenly I'm back in my body. I'm in a recovery room and I'm thinking I'd had a very weird dream. While I'm trying to sort it all out my doctor comes in and says, "I have good news and bad news. The good news is you are alive, the bad news is you died 4 times and I didn't think we were going to get you back. Your lower coronary artery was 100% blocked, it's a miracle you lived to make the drive here.
This began a replay of all that had happened in what I had thought was a dream. I knew now without a doubt I'd died and as the doctor said, 4 times I died. He stated that the last time I died he didn't think I would make it but he said it was as if someone walked up to him and said into his ear, "keep working we are sending him back."
Life has certainly been different since then. It wasn't a smooth sailing road, as I had life challenges to face that surely would have killed me had they not gotten that artery open. God knew this so he had to get this out of the way. I'd contemplated and nearly gone through with suicide a couple of times. God must have thought "okay you want to be dead so you don't have to deal with life, then I'm going to let you experience death and we are going to talk about a few things."
Having grown up in the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia and loving those beautiful views, I know God took me to that beautiful heavenly river scene so I would be comfortable and receptive to the message.
I now have direction, a mission, a God-Job to do. It includes spreading love and helping others feel good about themselves. While many revelations have been released from my mind there are yet many more to come. I know this without a doubt and live my life accordingly. I know not to fear death but to celebrate it.