I was out to dinner with five friends. We were laughing at some joke when a large piece of steak got caught in my throat, the most frightening event that has ever happened in my life. I couldn’t talk so I asked by body slapping at my back for someone to help me. It took them a few seconds to realize I wasn’t fooling. They banged on my back to no avail. A guy sitting at another table tried the Heimlich Maneuver and had no luck. I heard one of my pals say, "Get an ambulance." By now I was scared to death.
My vision and hearing went. I was thinking of my family. I felt so sad as well as being frightened beyond belief. Then I was in a dark place, but the fear had gone away very strangely. In my religion, we have a place called purgatory where Catholics who lived a less than perfect life end up. I was thinking it wasn’t so bad. It was so dark but peaceful and I remember thinking I must be dead. I couldn’t feel my body--don’t think I had one, but I was still me with crystal clear thinking. It felt like I was there for a long time. Then I could see in the distance, almost miles away, a small light that was so warm and inviting. Even today, I can still feel it when I think about the light. I thought do I go to it or what as it sure beat the darkness; it felt right to go there too.
As I willed myself to the light (that’s the best way I can describe my traveling) someone stopped me. I felt him/her stop me, but I didn’t see anyone. I just felt a strong presence. I will never forget the words spoken to me by neither a male or female voice that said, “Don’t be scared, you’re going to be okay." The next thing I knew, I was aware of being on my stomach looking at the piece of meat.
The Heimlich Maneuver didn’t work. I was dead. I was told that people were looking in through windows. I will never know how the meat came out. I never told my friends about what happened since Ireland is a very Catholic country and this does not fit in with religious teaching. It would be seen as demonic. Anyway, it’s time I shared this with others and I hope that it is helpful. I no longer fear death. Death, I believe, is just as natural as life. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention one point. The voice…it seemed to know me. That’s the feeling I got.