By now enough evidence abounds to support the true experiences of those who have gone close to, or beyond death’s door, and returned. Queen Noor’s book “Leap of Faith” comes to mind immediately, in which, she relates candidly, her late husband King Hussien of Jordon’s experience of seeing the light, prior to his final departure many months later. The video above should help to dispel doubts, if there are any, regarding the fact that life ends upon the exit of the spirit that propels it.
But closer to home brings me to my own mother who had to be hospitalized due to an intestinal infection along with other subsequent complications that took her to death’s door. In her state of partial consciousness she spoke about an urgent 6 o’clock appointment at a prayer tower. She had to get dressed hurriedly because she could not be late. “Hurry up, hurry up,” she told my sister Marcia, speaking softly from pain and grogginess from medication. Marcia, her loving loyal attendant, knew that she was “travelling” and watched and listened to her keenly. Most of her 19 grandchildren and a few great grandchildren had gathered around her bed in a mournful demeanor, no doubt sending up prayers for her keeping.
Those of us who lived overseas were on high alert. With our cell phone clutched closely, we worked almost mindlessly waiting on the final call. My sister Avis made hurried arrangements and got on the earliest flight to see her before the end; a visit that Mama does not remember, though she slept beside her in the bed and stayed for a week. She was down to skin and bones, rejecting all foods except Jello, and in what was anticipated as the last few days, managed to lock her teeth to prevent the intake of even water. In the meantime she complained that her efforts to get to the prayer tower by 6 o’clock were being thwarted. There were too many children, she complained, standing in her way. At 10 minutes to 6 o’clock Marcia left the bedside and went to sit in the backyard. Her strength wavered as she watched the clock in the final countdown and realized that she couldn’t stand there and watch as Mama took her last breath.
She went back to the room some 20 minutes later and found that Mama was still breathing. It must not have been her time, was the general thought, or God had granted her an extension. Full memory of her “journey” was regained along with her health. She did make it to the prayer tower on time, she recalls, but upon entering, she came upon a large group of extremely happy children, dancing and prancing. Upon seeing her they stopped and the eldest approached and admonished her to go back. “We cannot take you, it is not your time yet!” she was told, mimicking the soft but stern voice.
It has been said that the ardent prayers of eight people resounds as much to the heavens as a stadium full, a testament that we have attributed to her being back to her usual healthy weight and now eating whatever foods she prefer on any given day.
Kathleen Gardner’s story at celestial.kuriakon00.com/nde/kathleen_gardner speaks of her near-death experience. “It would have been remarkable even if nothing had happened afterwards,” it states. She had a severe haemorrhage after the birth of her second baby, found herself unable to breathe and, as she puts it, ‘popped out’ of her body. Suddenly, all her pain had gone and she seemed to be half-way towards the ceiling, looking down on the doctors and nurses trying to revive her.
‘The midwife was crying,’ she said. ‘I could see all the panic going on round the bed and I thought what a shame it was that they were paying so little attention to my new baby in its cot on the other side of the room.
‘It didn’t upset me though,’ she added with a laugh, ‘I wasn’t at all caring about it!’ Then she found herself going along a dark tunnel – ‘sloping slightly upwards’ – towards a circle of light. As she moved towards it, she began to feel ‘lovely, happy, peaceful, so wonderful it’s hard to describe’. Although she couldn’t see a hand, she sensed that somebody within the light was trying to reach out to her.
She thought: ‘What am I doing here? My husband will never cope,’ and immediately, to her disgust, shot back into her body, ‘like a train going backwards at 200 miles an hour.’ She felt agonizing pain again and asked herself bitterly: ‘What the hell did I do that for?’
That was in 1965 but to Kathleen, now 50 and an office administrator in Worcester, the episode is as sharp and crystal-clear as the day it happened. Never a day goes by without her thinking about it. What is even more remarkable, however, is that although the experience may only have lasted for a few seconds it fundamentally changed her life.
I’m totally different now,’ she said. ‘For a start, I can’t bear to kill anything. I don’t even use a fly-spray. I just feel a total respect for all living things. Now I appreciate everything.