I had been taking care of my seriously ill mother for about a year. She was declining in health and my health declined with her. I developed what I thought was bronchitis in mid-December 2012. I was having periods where I felt dizzy, like I might faint, so I decided to go to the emergency room.  

I remember sitting down with the triage nurse and her starting to take my blood pressure and then I lose time. There were several people (nurses?) around me and I was put in a wheelchair, then I remember the curtain of an emergency room being pulled back but I don't remember getting in a bed.

My next memory is of floating above my body while it was being rolled down a hallway. There was a male in scrubs leaning over my head area blocking my view of my body but I knew it was me on the bed. There were 2 other female nurses as well walking beside the bed. One was pushing an IV pole and the other was helping the male. I was very angry and was trying to punch the male to make him stop trying to shove something down my throat. I was swinging on him but could not connect with his head. It didn't seem strange that I was out of my body or that I was floating above him. 

I heard my eldest daughter’s voice crying, and I turned at the sound. She was walking beside the bed holding the handrail and talking on her cell phone saying that I was not breathing and I might be dead. She was hysterical and crying and sobbing and dropped the phone and begged me to quit fighting them. She said they were trying to help me. I absorbed this and the instant the thought occurred to me that she did not want me to fight them, I calmed and it was like a feeling of overwhelming peace came over me.  

It was like floating back on the lake in summer with the sounds muffled, the bright sun shining warmly on my skin, and the smell of thousands of wildflowers of every kind. I was lulled into a deep meditative-type state of peace. My Aunt Billie roused me by shaking my shoulder. She was my favorite Aunt and died a number of years before this experience. She called my name several times to get my attention and bring me to wakefulness. “Paula Sue!” I opened my eyes and she was there with her quirky smile and sarcastic humor. She told me my mother would be there with her before her next birthday and she would take care of her.

Aunt Billie showed me patterns in my behavior that were causing me illness. I was beating myself up with a guilt-stick for what I considered my many failures. She showed me in pictures and words that I was not responsible, that some things were meant to be and part of the journey. My mind was opened and I saw interconnections and, without the guilt and fear of failure that plagued me on the earthly plane, it all made sense and fell into place. I saw clearly what I was doing to myself and how I needlessly caused myself pain and suffering.

I saw my grandmother in the distance and I wanted to go to her, but Aunt Billie said that I couldn't, that I had to go back. There was a resistance in me that didn't want to hear those words. She wouldn't allow me to mis-hear her and took ahold of both my shoulders and focused her attention/intention at me. Her words seemed to slow down and echo in me as she said, “You Must Go Back!  If You Do Not Go Back, Your Daughters Will Never Find Their Joy Again!"

There was still a moment of resistance, I did not want to think about my daughters. It was like thinking of them would be sad and I couldn't bear the thought of sadness. The joy was too perfect, but I thought of Ivory crying and sobbing in the hallway, and I pictured the faces of my other daughters in a waiting room, crying and holding each other, and I immediately felt myself slide back toward my body.  

I felt chest pain and it was difficult to breathe, and the grogginess of anesthesia, as I was coming closer to consciousness. 

I went into respiratory failure in the ER and was intubated and moved to Intensive Care where my heart stopped. I went into a coma on December 21st 2012 and became conscious again on January 2nd or 3rd. Upon awakening, I was filled with Joy and an insuppressible positive outlook. Many stresses were still on me. Financial problems, my car was broken down at the hospital, I had no money to fix it, and I was basically homeless at that point. I was sooo happy, though, and filled with a certainty that all would be well.

That Joy has stuck with me. I've always been a spiritual person, a student of many religious traditions, on a spiritual search for the answers that rang true for me. This experience brought home the truth that if someone can find and focus on things that bring them Joy, everything about their life is transformed. My life has become about helping people to find their Joy.