It was 1986, and I was 19 years old when I had my NDE.
I was in Oregon, and at my new duty station, it was common to get involved in outdoors activities with my co-workers. The Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office at NAVFAC Coos Head encouraged fun and entertaining hobbies and excursions for all service members and their dependents. We could rent ATV's, RV's, camping equipment, paddle boards, boats, fishing and surfing gear. MWR also offered plenty of sports activities and weekend tickets to various activities. Among their offerings, was a day trip to go white-water rafting on the Rogue River. It was interesting, but I wasn't a great swimmer. I was soon pressured to sign up for the white-water rafting trip because everyone in my watch section was going. I purchased a ticket reluctantly, joining my co-workers on the Rogue River for their May group tour.
The current that year was historically higher and swifter than normal because spring had arrived, melting the snow in the mountains. I uneventfully traveled through the Class II, III rapids in an inflatable Sevylor one-person kayak during the morning. The paddling seemed easy and the flow of the water and conversation around me was rather relaxed. The vast majority of the rapids were pretty forgiving. We stopped at midday for lunch on the shore and to take a rest break before continuing our trip to much more challenging sections of the river. After a few minor rapids in Mule Canyon, our guide led our group into the most dangerous part of the Rogue, known as Blossom Bar. This Class IV section of the river was clogged with huge boulders, and swirling hole-like vortices. The standard route through the churning water to pass the boulders required me to make a crucial left-to-right paddling move to avoid being swept into a lineup of rocks known as the Picket Fence. My failure to do that quickly caused me to slam into the boulders and roll out of the kayak into the freezing water.
I wore a life vest, but the current dragged me right into a boiling hole of turbulent water. The shock of the cold water caused me to gasp, and in doing so, I inhaled river water deep into my lungs. I became disoriented, losing my spatial orientation in the water. I could see the sky above, but couldn't reach the surface to get air. The current dragged me down, the more I fought against it, and my lungs burned as panic set in. I suddenly believed that I was going to die there, and the last thing I remember was saying, "God, please help me!" Without oxygen, I grew weaker and eventually stopped struggling entirely. I went limp in the cold darkness of the water, and suddenly I could no longer feel the burning and ache of the water in my lungs. The darkness around me grew completely white, and I felt like I was rushing at light speed through a tunnel. I felt warm as the pain left me, at peace with myself and the environment around me.
Unconditional, pure love radiated all around me, and into me. LOVE covered me like a warm blanket from an unknown source.
As I left the tunnel, I was aware of parts of my body that were visible, like my hands, arms and chest. Looking down I couldn't see any feet. I did see a silver cord attached to my body which had a luminescence to it. Looking around me, I could see a room that appeared to be formed from pure white clouds, yet wasn't solid. In the room were three beings, made of shimmering crystal. Light shone through them like a glass prism, forming a rainbow. One was larger than the other two, but all of them spoke to me. I was afraid of them, and they seemed to realize this. Instantly, they transformed into what I recognized as angels. They didn't have bird wings, they had fibers like fiber optic cables that were shaped like wings and pure light shone through the fibers, forming colors in all shades. When they spoke, their messages were sent telepathically. They could read my thoughts.
Looking into their eyes, they were shades of intense colors that changed and shifted with electric sparks. Almost as if I were watching a DVD still spinning in a DVD player. And the love radiated from their eyes, as if I were the most precious creation God had ever placed into existence. It was as if they knew me intimately, yet I didn't feel uncomfortable feeling that they did.
The larger angel said, "You have arrived too soon, the time has not come yet for you to be here. You must go back and finish your work on Earth. But since you are here, we will show you things." The larger angel held a large book, but its pages were like images instead of words. I saw scenes of my life from the moment of my conception to the moment I fell out of the kayak into the river. The pages flipped rapidly, like watching a movie. I was instantly reminded of all the things I did for others or failed to do for someone. They showed me a man I didn't know, whose face I could not see clearly, and many children that were still yet to be.
One of the smaller angels said, "I am Yahshael. I have been with you since the dawn of time, and I will be with you for eternity. You must go back; you have to be there for them. I will show you what you can look forward to until then. Then you have to go back to your body."
Instantly, Yahshael and I were teleported to the center of a vast golden field. I could hear the most beautiful music and I could feel it moving through me. The breeze blew against the tall golden wheat stalks, and as it did, I could feel the spirit of all things living around me: animals, plants, the elements. I was one with them. I looked up and saw a huge ball of light that cast the purest, warm light all around me and felt God touch my skin. He knew me, he loved me no matter how imperfect my Earthly life had been. I was perfect and whole. I felt no pain. The angel took me up higher, and I felt like I was soaring endlessly. I could see a huge waterfall with no beginning and no end. Love and peace reigned here. I sensed the presence of loved ones that had passed on, but I didn't see them. We moved over the golden field, and at the end of it was a country fence, and beyond that was an enormous tree with a canopy of gold leaves. When the breeze touched the leaves, they would fly off the tree's branches in the shape of colorful birds of all varieties. There was a lake beside it, and it flowed on both sides of the boundary. I looked down into the water, and it had a gloss to it like liquid mercury does. But when you look through it, you can see people that are living on earth.
Yahshael said again, "I have been with you since the dawn of time, and I will be with you for eternity. You cannot cross the barrier. It is time for you to go back to your existence on Earth. You have work to finish first." Words could not express the sorrow I felt to have to leave that place. I cried and begged for him to let me stay. He said, "When it is time, I will come for you. But now…" And with that, he wrestled my spirit back into my earthly body, with so much force that I was popped clear of the rocky hole that I was trapped in under the water. All the water I inhaled came flying out of my lungs, as I gasped and took a panicked breath of air. I became aware of the pain almost immediately in my chest, and the hand of a rescuer grabbing me by the back of my life vest. I nearly knocked him out of his kayak, and then someone else on a bigger water boat pulled me up into the boat and back into this Earthly dimension. It took me a long time to understand why I am here, and still I question, “Why me?”
I even did research about the Rogue River after my near-drowning. Over 21 people have died at Blossom Bar since my NDE. They died, and I survived.
Because of my NDE, I am closer to God, and I realize now that life is not a series of coincidences, but of parallels and choices. My choices directly affect those around me, and we are all interconnected. My purpose had not yet been fulfilled. It would take me years to realize that I was meant to heal others. My sensitive abilities grew stronger after my NDE. I am empathic, claircognizant and clairaudient now. I can hear the voices of those beyond the veil, but still have not trained myself to see spirit clearly with my human eyes.
My NDE has and will continue to be the most metaphysically profound experience I've ever had. I was brought to tears writing this memory of my experience, because my words pale in comparison to all the things I saw, felt and heard during my journey into a heavenly realm. I'm not religious, but I remain closer to spirit than ever because of my NDE. I know that there are dimensions beyond this one, and that I am here for a reason.
I have a purpose, and until it is fulfilled, I will be here.