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A Burst of Light Amid Violence

In December 1979 I awoke and found a male assailant beside my bed, and unfortunately I did not have my glasses on. When I sat up, the assailant put his hands around my throat and as I struggled, his grip became harder until I passed out.

I opened my eyes and saw myself lying on the bed and the assailant on top of me. I was watching from above the bathroom door which was in the direction of the foot of the bed. I then became aware of an all-encompassing darkness. A few moments later a burst of light surrounded me and I felt unconditional love. All pain and paralyzing fear disappeared. The next vision I saw was like a tunnel with a light at the other end. The walls of the tunnel weren't like walls, but smoke-like. I looked down at my hands to see if I was really there, but I had no hands or body. I felt that I had become "awareness" not a being. I moved toward the light and I heard my father's voice say, "It is not your time." My father had passed away a couple of weeks before and I had said my goodbye to him a week before he died. I know it was his voice because he spoke to me in his usual stern manner and in Spanish. When I heard him say, "No es tu tiempo," I felt a profound sadness because I realized I would have to return and face the assailant.

After the assailant left, I tried to gain my composure. I found I could not and became hysterical. I couldn't think of my family's phone numbers, police, or anything. I managed to find my address book and called my boyfriend. (He lived across town at the time.) He calmed me down enough to call police and met me at the county hospital. I know it was around midnight when I went to sleep. I called police around 2:00 a.m.

Unfortunately, my experience at the county hospital was horrible (the doctor chastised me). I also had to deal with the abortion of the assailant's fetus...very complicated, but I was happy to do this! I followed up with counseling from a rape crisis center. The counseling dealt with the rape only. They did not ask about near-death experience. I couldn't disclose this event to anyone because I felt I would have been placed in an institution. At that time, NDEs were not a common or acceptable topic. I'm sure my family would have committed me.

I moved away from the area but continued working. I made myself confront my fear of darkness a few months later and drove home at night. It has been a long journey to trust anyone and to this day I still check my locked doors. I’m always aware of my surroundings too. I was not able to tell my mother about the NDE until two decades later. I have a small circle of friends and do not use social media because the assailant has never been caught. For this reason, I prefer anonymity. I continued to help myself via self-help because I realized this experience would be with me and shape the rest of my life.

I attended the IANDS group in my local community. Their NDEs were not violent. I patiently listened to their stories but felt compelled not to share mine because of the violence involved.

The heightened state of awareness that I live with has been a blessing and a curse. I have dreamed of an assailant trying to break through my front door. I yell to my younger sister to help me "push against the door." A few weeks after this dream, I learned she was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. A couple of years later, I felt heart break when that younger sister died. I was on my way to be with her but three hours away. A week before 9/11, I had a dream of two shiny buildings exploding. I was not at ground level, but up in the air. I was so terrified that I could not return to sleep and sat at the dining room table for the remainder of the night. I told my husband the next morning and he replied it was something I ate. I also relayed my dreams to my mother and to my middle sister. I told a close friend too. My mother, sister, and friend told me that my dreams were evil. I don't think so. Sleeping is still an issue for me, especially the dreams.

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