My eldest sister, 19 at the time, had just come home from work and made some fried eggs and french fries for lunch. She had made the potatoes exactly the way I liked them, very thin and crispy. We sat at the table opposite each other. As was my habit I wedged myself between the back of the chair and the table and started eating rather hungrily and at the same time talking with my sister. I put a couple of fries in my mouth and tried to speak at the same time. I found that I couldn't manage both, so I chose to swallow first forgetting that I hadn't chewed. The moment I did it I realised I had made a terrible mistake. Actually as  terrible as the pain I was feeling cutting through me. It was like I had swallowed a razor blade only slightly less sharp. I tried to bring it back up but it was impossible. I tried to make it go down a bit faster so that the pain wouldn't last too long, but that was impossible too. The potato was taking its own sweet time making sure I was feeling every little millimeter it was cutting through. In the meantime without realising it, I had stopped breathing. I suppose it's a totally natural reaction to pain but I forgot to start breathing again.
What my sister experienced was as follows. She saw her little sister just sitting there with her eyes shut, not eating nor replying to questions, probably just acting up. So she left me in peace and carried on eating. A bit later she lifted her eyes only to see me sliding off my place at the table as if in slow motion. She started shouting at me that that was enough and to behave myself. Still no response on my part. The moment I was about to hit the floor head first she jumped up and grabbed me. She started screaming at me and when that didn't bring any results, she started slapping my face. None of which changed anything. She was trying to think of a way to reach the phone and call for help without letting go of me, when I opened my eyes and very casually I asked her what she was doing there.

On my part, one moment the hateful pain was there and then it was no more. I was somewhere really dark. I'm me the way I was a moment before, no change. I'm whole and I can move in any direction I want without any effort whatsoever, but at the same time it's as if I'm all eyes. I can see even behind me and darkness is all there is to see. There is nothing to be afraid of though. I feel comfortable in that nothingness and a little as if I'm waiting for something to happen. As I'm floating in slow circles I notice a white dot and I decide to go toward it. I start moving the moment I thought it but in a very lazy manner. As I was floating I found myself thinking of my life and it wasn't the people I knew I was thinking about or the things I had done or had done to me. It was like I was carrying with me the essence of everything I had lived through during my life. But most important I had TWO kinds of experiences with me. Those that made me feel happy and satisfied and those that made me feel sad and disappointed.

As I was getting closer the dot was growing in size. A little before I reached the white opening I heard someone call someone else (I supposed later that it was my sister calling my name, but I didn't recognise at the time either the voice or the name). I thought to myself that it had nothing to do with me and just went on. I found myself between the darkness and the most luxuriant white light you can imagine. It was made of all the colours of the rainbow and more but it was not hard on the eye. It was warm and welcoming and more important, it was me. Yes, it felt as though that light was alive and eager to receive me in it and I was just as eager to become part of it. My exact thoughts were "I'm Home" "That's where I belong." 

As I was thinking, I reached out with my hand to touch it (I cannot remember seeing my hand though) and at that very moment I felt the presence of someone beside me, on my left. I knew he was there and without having to look I knew exactly what he looked like. He was dressed in a colourful something or other but what stayed with me was his face. He had long shoulders, brownish-fair slightly curly hair, a longish face darkened by a short beard and the most amazing eyes. They had a colour between pale blue and light grey. Although I knew he was there I never turned toward him. I was intent on going into the light but as I was moving toward it I heard him. "What are you doing here?" he asked. "I belong here," I replied. "That I know but what are you doing here now?" he asked again.  A thousand answers were ready to come out of my mouth but before I had time to voice them I knew he was right so I kept my silence and waited. "It is not your time yet" he said in a kind but also firm way. "You still have a lot of work to do." I wasn't ready to give up yet. I was readying myself to refuse but then something inside me realised the truth of what he had said and that was the moment I opened my eyes and saw my sister standing above me almost pulling her hair out and the chip was just nearing my stomach still cutting away but the pain was not important to me anymore.

For years I kept the experience to myself partly because it was too sacred to me to share it with non believers until eventually I heard and read of similar stories. I still believe it is sacred but I tend to tell it whenever I encounter somebody who thinks that death is the end or who has experienced the loss of a dear one.

I don't know if they believe me or if it helps them as much as I hope when I decide to tell it, but what I know is that what happened to me has helped me realise that all the people are important because each one of us comes here for a purpose. It made a young girl that I was believe in her importance in this life, whereas before I had never considered good ol' me any more important than a fallen leaf in the wind.

Looking back, my life has been probably a little more eventful than I would have wished for. I have definitely influenced a lot of people (I want to believe in a good way) than I could have dreamed of at the tender age of 15, by just being there and me. With telling of what I experienced I hope I continue doing so even if I have not met you (yet).  

As an afterthought I think I ought to tell you that at the time of my experience I had distanced myself from anything religious almost a year previously.