I SAW HIM!
Nurse seeing patients in the clinic on a usual day notes that unusually three patients back to back had Near Death Experiences. Coincidence?
I scanned my list of patients for the day. Three unfamiliar names back to back in the morning; a prenatal visit, an INR (a patient on the blood thinner Coumadin) patient and a BP check patient. I knew the rest of the names on my schedule.
My first patient Pamela was 36 years old and 32 weeks pregnant. As I went through the prenatal questions, I watched the joy in her eyes and the peace on her face and felt my gut tighten. When she answered yes to the question of domestic and physical abuse in the past, I felt an inner prompting to ask the question burning inside me.
“Pam, have you seen the light?” I had this weird knack of sensing if a person had a NDE (Near Death Experience) in the past. I always saw serenity in them, no matter how bad of a situation they were going through physically, mentally or emotionally. The calmness always triggered my questions as I have a burning desire to know about the other world, our true home!
Pam smiled and softly replied, “Yes!”
“Would you mind sharing the experience with me?”
“Not at all!” She replied.
“So when did you see the light?”
“When I was being stabbed 44 times by my ex in front of our 4 year old daughter.”
“Yes, it’s true. He was always physically abusive to me.”
“How did you survive?”
“My friend had called the cops. They were on the other side of the door, trying to get to me. I had to hold on as I was afraid he would kill my daughter once he killed me.”
“So at what point did you see the light?”
“While he was stabbing me, I felt myself slip out of my body and travel in this beautiful light. I saw Him. Jesus! He told me not to worry. That everything will be all right. I then came back into my body.”
“How did you get out of the apartment?”
“After he stabbed me 44 times, he opened the door for the cops and they arrested him. The cop had to step over my body to get my daughter.”
I sat there stunned, listening. “Is your daughter ok?”
“Yes, she is better now but we both had to get help to recover.”
“What about the ex? Where is he now?”
“He served time and is out and moved away.”
“Do you worry about him?”
“No, I trust in the Lord. Like he is said everything is OK. I am married to another man who is very loving and I am happy with him.”
“How do you use this experience?”
“I speak to others about my experience especially to my daughter’s friends. They are 16 year olds and both my daughter and I speak to them especially if they have weird boyfriends that are controlling.”
“What do you have to say to the world as a survivor?”
“Be there for others, whether you are a parent, friend, neighbor or acquaintance. I had no support system from family or friends when I was being abused except that one friend who saved my life. Don’t be silent, but reach out and help.”
I asked her permission to share her story and she said softly,” By all means! If my story can save a life, my life is worthy of Him!”
I thanked her and had to center myself in my office for five minutes before I called in the second patient.
As he walked in, a young 35 year old called Mathew Joseph, my heart sank! “Another one Lord?” I mentally asked as I smiled and shook hands with him. As I checked his INR (Blood test) and reviewed his medical history, he answered calmly, the peace sitting strangely in direct opposition from all the medical issues he was having. He had three cardiac surgeries in the past and was on disability. So was his wife who had chronic back problems. He had an adult stepson and a 16 year old that was struggling academically and was in summer school. He matter of fact told me that every day was a struggle to live and sometimes he had to choose food over medicines. His INR was within range and we discussed his Coumadin dosing and follow up appointment and gave him a printed calendar with instructions, dosing and follow up appointment. Now that was out to the way, I turned to him and asked him,
“How do you manage all this? You seem so calm!”
He smiled and said, “Because I live in faith.”
“You have seen the light, haven’t you?”
“Yes! How do you know though? No one has asked me before.”
“I am not sure but I see the peace on your face and felt it. Can you tell me how?”
“My first surgery. During the operation, I saw myself leaving my body and going to the light. I saw him, Jesus! He told me that my purpose in life was not over and I had to come back to earth. I didn’t want to but I came back like he wanted me to. They told me that they had to do CPR in the table.”
“How did you feel Mathew?” His eyes shone with tears of joy!
“Happy! I did not want to leave him. He is beautiful, so full of love”
“Have you ever read Embraced by the light by Betty J Eadie? That book changed my life and gave me a better understanding of life and death.”
“No, can you write it down for me?”
“Sure”, I wrote in on a yellow sticky and gave it to him. He looked anxiously at the paper and something tipped me.
“Do you have difficulty reading?” I asked him calmly.
“Yes! I read but cannot comprehend or sound it out although; I understand it kind of in my head. I grabbed another sticky and wrote a number for the college of optometry in my city that gave children and adults with reading comprehension issues vision therapy that dramatically helped them improve. I should know, as my oldest went through vision therapy and is a third year student in college now and my youngest is presently getting vision therapy and is “graduating“ next week as per her optometrist. Mathew was very happy and grateful. I realized that hardships in my life were to be used to better his life. We need to share our knowledge to help one another and better each other’s life.
We briefly discussed the great spiritual battle for souls between good and evil that is happening in the unseen spirit world. He shared with me that he had seen evil, take shape by his bedside in the form of a handsome “doctor” who wagged his fingers at him and told him that he would die and not make it through operation #2.
“How did you know that he was evil, Mathew? “I asked curiously.
“His eyes had so much hatred for me and I sensed something bad around him.”
“Well? How did you respond?”
“I told him that I was ok with dying as I was going to Christ and I was happy about that” he smiled.
“Then what happened?”
“He disappeared on me, just like that! Poof! My wife was entering the room and did not even see him.”
“Do you tell her?”
“Yes! She had a hard time believing me but that’s ok! I just don’t understand one thing. What is my purpose in life?”
“That is a tough one Mathew but I think our purpose in life is to be the best version of ourselves daily and love one another like He loved us.”
“Yup! You don’t have to be a saint or sinner, rich, poor, talented or not, just put in the effort daily, be kind to each other and appreciate life daily. Sometimes when you are in a hospital/clinic/medical setting you might meet someone whom your stories inspire. This is what you are made for. There may or may not be an ‘aha’ moment”.
“So do your best daily?”
“Yes! Mathew! Let your life be an example for others. Practice what you preach as actions are louder than words!”
He left happy. I needed another five minutes breather in my office to recover as I mulled over our conversation. This was turning out to be a strange day---! I called in my third patient. A ninety year old called Eva Garcia for a BP check! Even though she was frail, she had a mischievous glint in her eyes and a ready smile. Her daughter Ava wheeled her in! This had to be a cosmic joke, I thought! Another one that has seen the light! What are the odds?! Maybe, I am meant to write about their experiences, I thought---.
The visit was straight forward. Her BP was better than mine. We discussed diet, meds, monitoring BP at home and any concerns. As I wrapped up the visit with questions about her support system, I learned that she had lost her husband when she was in her early 20’s, never remarried and took care of 4 children, the youngest Ava was 7.
“You were young Senorita Eva. Did you not want to marry?”
“No! I was not comfortable as I had 2 daughters and did not want to bring a strange man into the house.”
“Wow! How did you manage?”
“Times were hard but I did. We were poor but happy. All my kids are settled. Ava is a retired teacher now!”
“You should be proud. Did you miss your husband?”
“Yes but he wanted to take me to the light”
This was my opening---! “What do you mean Senorita? Did you have a near death experience?”
“No! Never, but I dreamed him after the funeral.”
“You did? What did you see?”
“He was in the light calling me to come to him. I told him no, the children were too small and I had to take care of them.”
“Did it give you strength to go on?”
“Yes, and everything turned out ok. I am happy.” I thanked her and Ava wheeled her out.
I had asked all of them if I could share their stories and they were happy about it and gave me permission to share this with all of you readers. I noticed that they were happy to be asked and share their experiences with me. They did not fear death but lived each day to the fullest doing their best. There was a calmness and peace about them as they had seen the other side and did not fear it.
I felt privileged to hear their stories and I am sure many more patients, visitors and family members have experiences like this to share. I make it a point to ask code survivors that are awake if they had any out of the body experiences that they remembered. It is an opportunity for them to relive their experiences in a nonjudgmental environment. I feel that as nurses we have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to help our patients through their experiences. I did not take extra time talking to them but instead got this information as part of their visit as I provided them care. I have always felt blessed to be a nurse and always feel humbled at the opportunities I am given to help another soul on its journey back to the light!
About spotangel, BSN, MSN
Mother,Nurse, writer, friend! Loves God above all!
Joined Mar '12; Posts: 172; Likes: 723.Aug 1Thank you for sharing. It's amazing you are so tuned in and able to discern when someone has had a near death experience.
This is almost something I would find hard to believe, until I had my own experience recently. Not a near death experience, a Shared Death experience.
I think sharing our experiences makes us better nurses.Aug 1I struggled with writing this but felt compelled to as I always follow my instincts. I read your article and was moved. Our world has become so techy driven that numbers and visuals take precedence over instincts and emotion. These pts were glad to share their experiences with me. I feel that when we ignore and not ask, that visit is not complete . Nursing is holistic and we more than anyone else in the health team have that kind of access with patients.Last edit by spotangel on Aug 1 : Reason: GrammerAug 1I think that asking patients, especially victims of abuse, to share their stories is really risky business. It's for the same reason that I would never ask someone in the military to tell me their stories of being overseas. I would never ask someone to relive their most traumatic experiences, especially since I'm not a therapist. For some (especially those with PTSD), it's just cruel. I've had patients open up to me and willingly share traumatic experiences without my prompting, and I'm more than happy to listen to them. But I'm not sure that it's a good idea to try to dig this information out.Aug 1I totally agree with you. Body language and openess should be key. I had a guy who had PTSD from watching his 24 year old son being gunned down in front of him. His body language was closed and I stuck to vital signs and help he needed.Aug 1Nice article. It was inspiring. My mom had a near death experience she shared with me, but I myself have not yet seen the light. It is still a huge mystery to me, and having recently lost a loved one I still wonder ...Aug 2Wow, what a great read and amazing experiences. God has blessed you with a special instinct and thank you for sharing these stories. I love talking to my patients but the way the healthcare is heading you don't have enough time to even assess them properly. Anyways, keep up the good work and share more stories when you have.Aug 2The funny thing is that today, I met my 90 yr old again and she and her daughter were thrilled when I told them about the article and promised to check it out! What I have noticed when people share their stories is the joy in their eyes and the peace on their face regardless of their age.Aug 3Totally inappropriate to use your patients for your own "research" into NDE.
Any belief I previously held is down the tubes. The first patient saw "jesus". That would be a completely subjective experience over what the 5 billion other people .. might "see" within a NDE.Aug 3Spotangel, I've read your post several times and at first I wasn't going to respond, but to be honest it keeps bothering me. I've thought about it and I have tried to see it in a positive light, but I can't. I just can't. I normally appreciate your posts but this one fills me with unease.
I'm not myself a survivor of domestic violence, but I have to wonder how I would have felt if I had been and had stumbled upon this thread. I have however met and talked to many victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in my previous job, and that fact no doubt affects my response.
Quote from spotangelWhen she answered yes to the question of domestic and physical abuse in the past, I felt an inner prompting to ask the question burning inside me.Quote from spotangelI don't know how to say this politely or kindly, but this sounds like your questions are motivated more from your desire to learn than about the welfare of your patient. How can you be sure that your questions will be beneficial and not harmful to your patient?The calmness always triggered my questions as I have a burning desire to know about the other world, our true home!
Quote from spotangelWhen I was being stabbed 44 times by my ex in front of our 4 year old daughter.”Quote from spotangelYour patient described a horrific crime. I have personally experienced violent attacks and I have used violence to defend my life, but these incidents were work-related, not personal. The perpetrators weren't targeting me personally, but rather my uniform. Despite having faced serious bodily threats, I cannot even begin to imagine the terror of that moment, or the sheer force of primal survival instinct that must have been screaming through that woman's mind when she thought her young child might meet with the same fate as her. The enormity of the situation she described, to me makes the immediate follow-up question "so at what point did you see the light" seem jarringly and painfully absurd.I had to hold on as I was afraid he would kill my daughter once he killed me.”
“So at what point did you see the light?”
I do realize that the written word leaves out a lot of nuance and that you in all likelihood were conveying empathy through your body language during the actual discussion but still, this is too clinical and detached for me. It's like you were discussing something mundane like for example your grocery shopping/dinner plans.
Just because this time seems to have worked out without afflicting any additional emotional pain on your patient, doesn't mean that next time it won't backfire in a serious way. I frankly think that probing into deeply private and sensitive subjects when the patient wasn't the one to bring it up, is ill-advised.
Quote from spotangel(my bold)I make it a point to ask code survivors that are awake if they had any out of the body experiences that they remembered. It is an opportunity for them to relive their experiences in a nonjudgmental environment. I feel that as nurses we have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to help our patients through their experiences. I did not take extra time talking to them but instead got this information as part of their visit as I provided them care.
I honestly don't feel like you ought to be doing this. In my opinion, when and if the patient brings it up, is the correct time to offer them a nonjudgmental ear.
When you initiate this discussion, how prepared are you for the different type of reactions your question might elicit?
What about the person of faith who didn't experience anything, but due to being made to think about this suddenly experiences existential angst wondering if heaven isn't for them or start to have a crisis of faith? You can hardly say; oops sorry, better luck the next time you almost die. (not that I think you would word it that way, but how do you undo the chain of events that your question set off?)
What about the atheist who reacts with anger at your intrusive question and who verbalizes that they've completely lost trust in your professionalism? How do you respond to that patient?
I'm sorry, I would have liked to write a more positive post, but the fact of the matter is that your post upset me, so these are my 0.02 for whatever they're worth.Aug 3@macawake
Yeah, this whole article seems pretty messed up to me... When I first started reading it, I thought maybe it was fake, like a fable. The story is told to express an idea. But realizing that she was actually suddenly asking patients about near-death experiences was very unsettling.. And the worst part was the woman who described her getting stabbed 44 TIMES, and fearing the same thing for her DAUGHTER, and then OP asks "did you see the light" nonchalantly, like ignoring that horrible incident to satisfy her own desires to confirm an afterlife. It's kind of sickening...Aug 3Clarification- That was not a follow up question to what she described . I just didn't go into the entire conversation on the post to keep it brief.
I will not deny that I am interested in the subject of NDE but I move at the patient's pace and only if she shows interest or says something to that effect.
Again, today a pt told me without prompting or questioning about an NDE and told me that she felt comfortable talking to me and usually feared letting people know as she did not want to be labeled "Cuckoo"(Her words). I have found it to be helpful when people bring up conversations about death and dying. It took me years to get to this level of comfort. I totally get it that others are not comfortable with this line of questions. I can honestly say that I never had people be uncomfortable when we discussed NDE . Instead they were surprised and like, 'How did you guess?".I don't ask every single pt but only the ones I sense have had NDE. Believe me, It took a while to get comfortable with my "gift' of sensing. Having said that, I respect all your opinions.Aug 3Quote from matcha-catI'm glad I'm not the only one who felt this way reading this. I would be so offended if a nurse or any healthcare professional ever asked me if I "saw the light" during any of my past medical crises. More so if it was when recalling a story about abuse. "Oh your husband stabbed you 44 times? But did you see Jesus?" And a 90 year old comes in for a blood pressure check and you have to ask very personal questions like why did she never remarry after her husband died when they were very young? Totally inappropriate.@macawake
Yeah, this whole article seems pretty messed up to me... When I first started reading it, I thought maybe it was fake, like a fable. The story is told to express an idea. But realizing that she was actually suddenly asking patients about near-death experiences was very unsettling.. And the worst part was the woman who described her getting stabbed 44 TIMES, and fearing the same thing for her DAUGHTER, and then OP asks "did you see the light" nonchalantly, like ignoring that horrible incident to satisfy her own desires to confirm an afterlife. It's kind of sickening...