I was driving to school from a dental appointment with my mother and her dog in the car. This was one of the rare times I got to drive. At the intersection of a boulevard and street, I stopped to make a left turn. The light turned yellow. I expected my mother to yell at me for taking too long to turn, like she had done so often in the past. The two oncoming vehicles, a delivery truck and a car, looked far enough away that I expected them to stop for the light. In the middle of my turn, I saw that neither vehicle was stopping. I floored the accelerator; it looked like I had cleared the intersection when the truck struck the rear of our car.


Everything happened in slow motion - the car spinning, the dog being thrown forward into the back of the front seat, the interior molding of the car falling down, my mother being thrown under the dash. I thought of being in a bombed building in London during their air raids in WWII. (The car had seat belts, but they were a novelty and not used.) My mother's face is etched in my memory, looking to me with such fear and pleading for help. Then, there was only darkness. There was no thought, no feeling, and no body. It was just a strange kind of sensing, "knowing" that didn't use words.

After what seemed like quite a while, I sensed that I was traveling, fast and far toward "them." I had the impression "they were waiting for me" and knew I wanted to be with them. There was a dim light ahead, growing brighter. I was just getting close enough to try to make out who or what "they" were when I was stopped, like I had hit an invisible wall. Everything was black again. I sensed a "voice" saying "not yet." I was back in the car suddenly and it was still spinning. It hit the curb then began moving slowly backward into the intersection. I knew I had to stop it. The brakes didn't work. Shifting into park didn't work. My last resort was setting the parking brake, which finally stopped the car. The engine was off, but the radio was still going strong.

As I stepped out of the car, I marveled at not being injured and became puzzled over how my strange experience felt like two or three minutes but apparently was over in two seconds. My mother had a gash on her forearm from hitting the heater grille. People from the corner gas station hurried toward us. One man took a rag from his pocket as he came to me, grimacing and staring at my face. I reached up to my left temple and felt blood. My only injuries were a gash next to my left eye and reduced vision in that eye for several weeks.

I tried to put my experience into words so I would always remember it. For days after the accident, that experience consumed my thoughts. In the middle of the night, I would sit in the hallway of our house, reliving the experience. I felt that God had spoken to me. My fear of death was gone. I was certain of an afterlife, in that strange form I had experienced. I didn't tell anyone for over 10 years. I didn't think anyone would believe me. Then I read about other people having near-death experiences.