My Near Death Experience

Reflections on this World and the Next

This is a difficult hub for me to write because it touches on a time in my life that I am still processing.

Five years ago I was a thirty year old mother with two little girls, aged 2 and 3, and a 3-month old baby. My husband was pursuing his PhD. and we lived in married student housing on the university campus; housing that we lovingly nicknamed the "academic ghetto" because of its cinderblock walls and black mold. When I wasn't feeding children, wiping bottoms or chasing after my toddlers, I was immersed in writing poems and short stories. Writing became my lifeline and the only escape I got from the perceived drudgery of my life. Emotionally I felt like I was treading water everyday, and if I stopped for one moment, I would drown.

I was also severely overweight, obese some might say, and my health wasn't right. I had become so used to the chronic infections and pain that I didn't know what it felt like to be "normal" anymore. I thought that was just how it is: you get married, have kids, feel like crap.

Oh, I had been to doctors, but they told me my problems were all in my head. They viewed me as a psychosomatic female and I tended to agree with their assessment.

March of 2004 my propensity for infections increased. In addition to mastitis I suffered from weird infections in my nether regions. I called my midwife and my mother, crying, wondering why I was so sick all of the time. Shortly after these phone calls I caught what I thought was a normal cold- but it wasn't. It ended up developing into a very rare Group A strep pneumonia with complications of septic shock.

Septic shock is pretty nasty. In a nutshell: bacteria enter your bloodstream and infect all of your organs. One by one your major organs shut down until your heart stops and you die. The odds of surviving septic shock are rather grim. Some say there is a fifty-fifty chance of survival, but E.R. doctors I've talked to said the statistic is more like a twenty percent. The late Pope John Paul II died of complications of septic shock from a urinary tract infection. Septic shock is the reason many people die in hospitals. Septic shock is usually the main reason for death from pneumonia.

Dante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest Heaven (The Empyrean); from Gustave Doré's illustrations to the Divine Comedy, Paradiso Canto 31.
Dante and Beatrice gaze upon the highest Heaven (The Empyrean); from Gustave Doré's illustrations to the Divine Comedy, Paradiso Canto 31.

On the Brink

When I arrived at the E.R. my blood pressure was 65 over 30 and I was in acute renal failure. The hospital staff didn't know I had septicemia so they did a CAT scan of my body. After the scan they wheeled me into the section of the E.R. where my husband and 3 month old baby were waiting. The intern, a blonde man with wire frame glasses, told me:” From your scan it looks like you have either pneumonia or a blood clot in your heart."

The room went crazy for a moment and I felt like I was looking at my husband and child from the wrong end of a telescope. This might be it. The end of my life. I began to pray that I could stay on the earth and remain a mother to my children.

At that point I was separated from my wide eyed infant and confused husband. The staff wanted to check if my IUD was a source of infection. But my blood pressure was so low that they couldn't give me any pain medication. They put me under anesthesia and told me to be calm while putting a square, see- through yellow mask over my face. I panicked. Was this it? Would this be the last time I saw the world?

They were working on me when I became conscious again. I couldn't move or talk, but I could sense that they were working on me. I couldn't open my eyes. All I could see was an orange light stretched into the shape of a coffin. I prayed again that my eyes would open so they could see I was awake. My eyes must have moved because someone said: "Don't worry Mrs. Clement. We are putting you under again."

The next time I became conscious they were shoving a pic line through my neck and into my heart. I screamed and tried to rip it out of me, but someone held me down and I was asleep again.

The third time I became conscious I was no longer in my body.

There was no body, no time and no space. It was like I was weightless, drifting in an infinite black ocean. There was no me. I was merged into the nothing that was all pervasive. I was not afraid nor was I happy. I was waiting.

In the midst of this sea of nothing a voice spoke to me. It was a voice that I didn't hear with my bodily ears-it was vibrating, everywhere and commanding. A decision had been made.

The voice said: "You will live!"

Woman Talking About "The Void"

Life after Death

Eventually I awoke from my induced medicated coma in the MICU. The pain was awful but I was guided and cared for during that time by, I believe, physical and heavenly forces.

Wiithout being told, I already knew that my milk had dried up and that my children were being protected and cared for. I was also held and soothed by the arms of angels, both living and unseen. These angels surrounded and held me during painful episodes of that first week in the MICU and beyond.

The day I was finally wheeled out of the MICU the staff looked surprised. Here I was, Lady Lazarus, back from the dead. Many couldn't believe that I had made it. Earlier when I was on the brink of death the MICU nurse had told another staff member, not realizing my father overheard her conversation, that I would not live through the hour. Everyone was shocked that I had survived.

When I was settled into my new hospital room I had a panoramic view of the city. I will never forget how the sun glinted off the buildings and the rush I felt, despite the pain, of being alive. It was like having given birth, but better.

I did wonder about my NDE, however. What was this place of darkness? Where were the tunnel and the light and all the rest of it that I had read in books by Moody and company? The idea of eternal darkness sent a chill down my spine. Later, as I did research into NDE, I found out that others had experienced the place I had been. Some called it "the void" and it was the stop before going down the tunnel. The void is a way station and a point between this life and the next. I was not dead but I was not living-somewhere in-between.

I no longer fear death. I no longer wonder if there is an afterlife. Many atheists and scientists believe what I experienced is just a trick of the brain, but I disagree. What my NDE gave me was confidence that there is life after death and that we are loved infinitely and eternally.

I have renewed respect, zest and joy for life. Though the ride has been bumpy, I have changed my life for the better since my NDE. I have taken a pro-active role in acquiring my health again. I treasure my children and my role as a wife and mother and am so grateful that I have been able to have three more children since that time (twins are in the mix!). Almost losing my life has taught me how to live with more power and passion.

Months after I left the hospital I would cry a lot, over little things mostly. The movie that made me cry the most was the French romance Amelie. For those of you who haven't seen it, Amelie is a movie that celebrates the small things in life; skipping rocks over water, crème Brule, the way the wind moves through an empty cafe. The little things are important because by recognizing and enjoying them we live in the present. We joy. My NDE taught me that love and life are the greatest gifts and instead of "getting through it" we should allow ourselves to be still and enjoy where we are at. I am no longer "goal oriented" because that focus means that something better is just around the bend. Nice idea, but what if "around the bend" never comes? What if, to quote Jack Nicholson, this is as good as it gets?

It is my belief that we should honor and treasure the opportunities for connection within our families and communities. We shouldn't wait, we shouldn't hesitate. We should love-before our lamp flickers and vanishes into the night.

Comments 38 comments

C. C. Riter 7 years ago

A most wonderful hub. Been there, done that more than once. I wrote a hub a while back reflecting on it in satirical form. People laugh at it, but it is partly true. The Flying Walrus and a Naked Angel by 2C's if you are interested.

I too recall being on the table while surgery was being done, twice. Not fun, but I could still see the humor in it all. thanks for the hub dear and I wish you wellness and happy Mother's Day too.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

A very moving story, and I'm glad it wasn't your time :)

I had a near death experience myself, only it wasn't an illness.  I was held up at gunpoint and had the cold barrel of a gun pressed against my neck.  If you care to, you can read it here http://hubpages.com/politics/httpwwwhubpagescomvic...

Bless you for sharing your story, welcome to HubPages and Happy Mother's Day.


K.D. Clement profile image

K.D. Clement 7 years ago from USA Author

C.C. and trish1048, thank you so much for commenting and sharing your stories with me. It is amazing the variety of NDE stories out there.


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

You're welcome, K.D., hope you had a lovely day :)


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 7 years ago from Central United States of America

K.D. Thank you for sharing the crisis that has been so real in your life and that you have been able to accomplish goals you headed to after that. You are surely a busy lady with all the little ones in your life too. Keep searching and keep writing.


A.M. Gwynn 7 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. It was more powerful than you can even describe wasn't it.

I hope people as communities, and we as a society, will begin to tell more of our stories.


seamist profile image

seamist 7 years ago from Northern Minnesota

KD

Thank you for sharing your NDE story. I have always been interested in the subject. I am glad it made positive changes in your life, and your little ones still have a mommy. Stay well and live long. Bless you.


Camping Dan profile image

Camping Dan 7 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. Too often doctors do tend to write off some people as having only the problem in their head. It is just a reminder to find a physician that will really get to know us and help us with medical problems of all kinds.


nilesh 7 years ago

nice to see you back again after death.... is this really a true story???????


K.D. Clement profile image

K.D. Clement 7 years ago from USA Author

Nilesh,  yes it is! Do I know you? :-) It is 100 percent true.  I could have given more details-especially spiritual details-but there are many things about that experience I will not publish in a hub.  My hubs are non-fiction-I won't publish my poetry or short stories on hubpages because it would make it difficult to shop around to literary magazines and the like.

 

Frogyfish, A.M.  Gwynn, seamist, and Camping Dan:  Thank you for your comments and well wishes.  Yes, it was more powerful than I described here.  It was an amazing experience and I feel so blessed to have had it.

Camping Dan, one of my greatest frustrations before, during and after this experience is the medical community.  I have had to take my health into my own hands because I have never been taken seriously-even after this "incident" with septic shock.  I suspect that I have an auto-immune disorder of some sort but I have never been diagnosed.  Instead I cut out all sugar, gluten, refined starches and dairy from my diet and have turned my health and life around.  One day I hope to find a physician that will help me understand what has happened to my body and my life. Until then I will continue to rely on my inner body wisdom and my spiritual promptings.


maguijo profile image

maguijo 7 years ago from Ohio

Thank you for sharing your story! I enjoyed reading it.


newsworthy 7 years ago

Its a new day dawning everyday that you survived such horrible bacteria in the blood stream. And you are reason to share with others!

Thanks for your comment at septicemia hub.


reggieTull profile image

reggieTull 7 years ago from Virtual Space

Wow - KD, thank you so much for responding to my request, thank you so much for sharing a story that held me to the page - gripped. As I read, your writing made me think of the little things...I like the breeze through the cafe...I am glad I waited a bit to read your hub since the comments and sharing have been tremendous. Thanks again!


C.Ferreira profile image

C.Ferreira 7 years ago from Rutland, VT

KD...Great Hub. I especially like how you promote living in the moment because we don't know if we'll make it around the next bend. Beautifully written.


K.D. Clement profile image

K.D. Clement 7 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for all of your great comments. I appreciate it.


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States

Fascinating article. It's so rare to have the curtain pulled back. I think you are fortunate on many levels. I agree with my peers that this is very well written.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

great story. I am fascinated by NDE's. I have not really had one of my own although my life has flashed before my eyes many times they would not be classified as NDE's. Thanks for sharing this.


tdarby profile image

tdarby 7 years ago

Amazing, thanks so much for sharing. Your story is very touching.


Jewels profile image

Jewels 7 years ago from Australia

What a blessing to have had the experience, even though it took illness for you to have it. I've done spiritual practices for many years now and the black space is a familiar one. My teacher calls it Darkness Visible. Even though it is dark there are presences and spaces and textures within the black. I teach meditation also so knowing nonphysical spaces is a wonderful pursuit.

Thanks for sharing.


MoniqueAttinger profile image

MoniqueAttinger 7 years ago from Georgetown, ON

K.D. - this is a wonderful gift that you have shared here... Thank you.


carolegalassi profile image

carolegalassi 7 years ago from California

Wow, what a great hub, kudos for sharing and writing such a beautifully written work. It has encouraged me to not take the little things in life for granted. Your hub gives us a glimpse of an after life which I have always believed to be true however, I could just not picture it because it was an unknown.

You are a gifted writer and I appreciate your candid and willingness to express your experience to us all.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 7 years ago from malang-indonesia

thanks for share about your experience.


C.V.Rajan profile image

C.V.Rajan 7 years ago from Kerala, India

That was a wonderful narration, easy flowing from the heart and yet very captivating.

To day I posted one hub on the subject of NDE and when I looked for similar hubs, I came here and I am glad I did. Please have a look at my hub too:

http://hubpages.com/hub/Open-heart-sugery---the-gi...


mdlawyer profile image

mdlawyer 6 years ago

Your hub is really great. I like it.


IdeaMorphist profile image

IdeaMorphist 6 years ago from Chicagoland

My goodness! I was expecting something about a tragic car wreck. Or if it was health related something like cancer or a seizure... this was so eye opening! Thank you for sharing so more can be aware of an uncommon yet deadly problem.


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

What a moving testimony. I just came out of the hospital with a horrible case of pneumonia. The doctors couldn't understand why I wasn't responding to the antibiotics like I should have. I saw worried looks on their faces and could hear it in their voices but dummy me, was thinking pneumonia was nothing more than a mere flu or cold. Now, since I'm not completely recovered, I am frightend by what happened to you. At any rate, I am so glad you made it through for your babies. Thank you for sharing, I think?????????? Smile!!!!!!!!!


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

K.D. This is an amazing well writen and clear communication of your experience. Thank you so much for sharing. I had a dark moment like you described, that void and warm yet total black made me feel as if I was confused on what had happened. My heart stopped during delivery with my first child, she was 28 weeks along and we were in a car accident, I remember feeling warm and as if I was melting and then into complete darkness, it was weeks later in recovery that I was told they had lost me yet was able to bring me back. I've never been willing to tell anyone of my experience till now, thanks to you I have finally set it free. I too believe in life after death. Your story is very powerful and touching. Thanks and Peace :)


K.D. Clement profile image

K.D. Clement 6 years ago from USA Author

lisadpreston, thank you for sharing that. So sorry you had pneumonia. Septic shock is a primary reason people with pneumonia die. I am so glad you are well.

Thank you for sharing your experience katiem2. I had a bit of cognitive dissonance after my experience...what was all the blackness about? Peace backatchya! :0)


the pink umbrella profile image

the pink umbrella 6 years ago from the darkened forest deep within me.

Im always so interested to hear about other's experiences with getting a peak into the other side. you are so lucky to have experienced it, even if the experience came out of a seriously dangerous situatiion.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

KD-This is a beautiful hub and I voted it up. I found your hub b/c I finished one on 'Silence-A meditation experience' and linked the word void to this hub.

I would like to make some comments in regards to this experience if I may.

1. I am a nurse and I apologize for the unprofessional manner in which the nurse spoke about you within ear shot of your father. It is a standard protocol that patients are not discussed anywhere other than in the report room or when conferring with a dr. Gossip and tongue wagging just isn't acceptable.

2. I am not surprised to read about your experience and the aftermath of the emotions. It is blissful when experiencing the nothingness of who we are and the connection with our Creator. It is difficult to return to our human form b/c there is a heaviness to its energy opposite the lightness that our 'nothingness' brings.

3. What a gift-to experience death before death and come away with an understanding which annhilates the fear. What remains is the joy of each present moment which you spoke so eloquently about.

Wonder no more...you have been to the other side and back. So nice to meet you. :)


SamboRambo profile image

SamboRambo 5 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

Thank you for sharing that. I think the rest of us need to hear these things.


RSBrauer profile image

RSBrauer 5 years ago

Wow! Incredible story. I've never experienced anything even close to this, but you really did a great job of telling a good story.


Amber Mandala profile image

Amber Mandala 5 years ago from Perry, Fl.

Awesome hub. I enjoyed the read. I too had something like a NDE back in 87'. It was life changing for me as well.

When we share these things with the world, we help bring light into the world. Thank you for sharing this part of yourself, your life experience.


Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 5 years ago

Brutally honest, compelling and heartfelt. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. I am so happy that your experience has moved you spiritually and that you have a renewed zest for life.

Although, I have never had a near death experience I can relate so much to what you have written on another level. I understand wholeheartedly and share with you the awakening of life's greatest gifts.

Amongst, the finer things in life I cherish the awareness of the beauty that lies around us and resonates deep within.

Hugs to your recovery, enjoy each day!

Sage


Cordelia July profile image

Cordelia July 4 years ago from Fountain Valley, CA

How amazingly written. Thank you so much for sharing a frightening experience with us!


Sonya L Morley profile image

Sonya L Morley 4 years ago from Edinburgh

I enjoyed reading this from beginning to end; it is a moving, interesting and well-written account of an amazing experience, thank you so much for sharing it.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

Re-Read this one again and it is just as compelling when I read it the first time. Thank you for your recount of your experience.


Nilanjan Ghosh profile image

Nilanjan Ghosh 2 years ago from KOLKATA (CALCUTTA),INDIA

Death is not the end...a fascinating creation which indicates that it is just a transition. Very well written!

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