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Dancing with Gratitude

About one year ago, I had an epileptic seizure. I didn’t know that a person could stop breathing during a seizure. I had back-to-back seizures, and that they were dangerous, although I didn't know why. I knew people died from seizures, daily, but was in severe denial about my epilepsy for what I now understand to be extremely superficial reasons.

Unlike every other seizure I had ever had, I have a memory of when my circuits crossed. I remember looking down and slipping into mercury-colored silver, needle thin tube that I followed for the smallest fraction of a second, I felt like my consciousness slipped away at the speed of light. I also heard a horrible sound that sounded like a microphone plugging into an amplifier that experiences feedback. I can only assume this was the beginning of the seizure. 

However, the next thing I experienced did not seem to come in a sequential order. I didn’t recall having the previous experience and then being in this “other” place. I only remembered the sound and the mercury tube afterwards. I was just “in” this state of being; I knew I was me, but not me as a human with a body. I experienced stages. During the first stage, I was in total black, but the black was constructed of millions and millions of pixels of color. The inky black was made of color. I have a very hard time explaining it, vocabulary doesn’t exist for some of the things I experienced. I felt as if there was a cool, misty wind on my body, but I didn’t have a body. It was extremely pleasurable and there was a loud, pounding sound that reminded me of rock and roll music and it felt so good. Not understanding at all what was happening, I thought “this is Marc’s idea of heaven”, (Marc is a good friend). That was when I had the first clue that I was not on Earth anymore. When the utter strangeness sank in, I thought, “I think I’m dying”. I was kind of shocked, but understood that there was no fighting it. I knew I was dying and I knew death was permanent. At this point, it was very peaceful and pleasant. I remember thinking, “This isn’t so bad”. Without transition, I was next in the most beautiful, loving, place for which I don’t have the words to express the brevity. The clarity was so unreal that it was really sinking in that I was dying. There was just no way I was on Earth; Earth is just not like this. The most beautiful cello was playing. I felt I was seeing where music originates. I was enraptured. At this point, I knew I was dying, but was so astounded and amazed at what I saw, I felt no worry. I knew exactly what was happening. A male voice over my left shoulder said to me, “You made this, this is your reward, enjoy it”. While I marveled and drank in the haunting, beautiful music, the same voice behind me whispered, “You are dead”. I felt the tiniest rift, like a small wave, ripple through my pleasure, through my body that did not exist. I think that was when I accepted I had died. I briefly saw my dog and I wanted to reach for him. The man behind me, without words, indicated that I could not. I remember thinking, “that’s right, that was years ago”. My understanding was that I had been there a long time (but time did not exist). The thing is, my dog is alive and well and sitting next to me as I write this. 

Doctors speculate that at this point perhaps my seizure stopped because there was a radical change in my experience. Where I had been, matter (molecular matter) had not existed. Nothing or anyone had ever existed. I had never known anyone, no one had ever existed, I was alone but not bothered at all. I never knew that matter had existed. But, suddenly, I felt a correlation between pushing beneath my rib cage, on a body that did not exist, and, the appearance of matter. Somehow, I realized the harder I pushed, the longer the matter existed. I had no idea why I was doing this, what it meant, what would happen, etc., I just had this insatiable need to push. The matter I saw slowly took the shape of a room, but it was not the room I was in. 

The doctors tell me that I was trying to kick start my diaphragm to start breathing again. This makes perfect sense to me. My diaphragm was sore for weeks after. When I “woke”, I knew exactly what had happened. I was so happy to be back on Earth. I was so grateful for a second chance. I fell to my knees and cried and thanked God. The same intensity of feeling I had while I was dying lingered momentarily when I first woke. The intensity of my gratitude has no magnitude that I can relate to someone not familiar with the intensity of the feelings during a NDE. 

I often wonder why I had no life review, no tunnel, no light, and no dead relatives, not many of the common elements of an NDE. However, I am so grateful to have been given this gift from God. My life changed on a dime that day. I am in no way the same person I was. It hasn’t yet been a year and every day is a new learning experience as I try to figure out who I am now, but it is much easier than before my experience. I love life so much. I am so grateful for it. I am so astounded at the beauty and perfection of this world and the universe. I am sorry for the times that I felt sorry for myself before my NDE. It has been difficult dealing with the aftermath in some ways, but I would NEVER trade the experience. I liked who I was before, I love who I am now. I understand God is in everything and everyone, and as such, I feel the need to honor all things and people, all the time. It takes no effort; it is who I now am.

I have a real ability to live in the moment, an idea I'd been told, but could never apply until the NDE. Relationships take priority, so no matter what responsibility or task I have, a relationship requirement will trump any deadline or task. I soak up every minute of every day. My life has changed in just about every way possible. At this time, I cannot think of a way in which it hasn't changed.


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