The author of this account has requested anonymity. She has choosen to share her experience and how this is helping her grow as an individual in the hopes that others might benefit as well.
For nine years I have struggled with a memory and desperately tried to push it out of my mind. For nine years I wondered why me, why have I been haunted? I soon realized only a few have experienced what I have. Only a few and special people are here to share these experiences and it is fact, not a haunting.
When I was six, my Grandfather died of cancer. I don’t remember much about him other than he was a handsome, kind, caring man who was ill. I didn’t remember his face or his touch, only those things I saw in pictures.
Ten years later, at sixteen my life was about to change. I was a care free sixteen year old who had just fallen in love and soon at the blink of an eye, in a split second, my life would be shattered. Shattered like your most prized glass Christmas ornament. Shattered with no way to pick up the broken pieces, nor hope or repair. For eight years, I placed myself in seclusion. I was angry at the world, I was angry with myself. I lost friends. I lost the most important loving person in my life…and didn’t get to say good-bye. I ruined my relationship with family…friends…my Grandmother. I placed myself in a glass jar looking helplessly at the world outside, fighting and struggling like a delicate butterfly to get out and experience the world.
The following is a story that I haven’t even told my therapist yet, the following are true events and nothing has been changed or altered. The following is how my life changed in a way that I thought could never happen.
On June 26, 1991 at 11:54 p.m., my life ended, at least in the way that I knew it. My new and first boyfriend of three months was taking me home to meet my midnight curfew. As we left his house I felt a chill, something was about to happen. As we turned on to the main road out to the highway, this chill got worse, suddenly it was gone.
As we approached the intersection of Empire and Highway 4 there was a small car to the left with five Hispanic boys in it, music blaring, bass pounding. The light was red. We never came to a complete stop. The light turned green and we started to roll forward faster. I questioned the integrity of Jeff (my boyfriend) and looked at the light, looked to the left, looked back at the light. From where we were, I could see our light and the on coming traffics light. Our light was green. I looked to the left again and what I saw was enough to stop any person’s heart. Every thing went into slow motion, headlights were coming straight at me, and there was nothing I could do. Two football fields, one football field, 100 feet, 50 feet, 10 feet, 5 feet, BAM!
Glass shattered and metal crunched. This car came sixteen inches into the vehicle that I was in, at 80 miles per hour. There were no brakes, no attempt to stop, it was like we were invisible. Our truck slid sideways 20 feet across the intersection coming to a rest at curbside, gears grinding in the transmission, engine whining like a hurt animal. I could hear a voice:
“Turn it off, turn if off, it’s going to blow up.”
A hand reached in the window that only seconds ago was rolled up, turned off the ignition and peered in. Three other boys were prying the passenger door opened, yanking with everything they had. Finally the door popped open, out shot the passenger seat and me. I was placed on my feet, with every inch of my body screaming in pain. I began to walk the scene, I didn’t know what hit me, I did, but I just couldn’t believe what had just happened….what had just happened to me?!
As I walked around the person who had hit me, who had shattered my hopes, my dreams, my life he began to call me names, blaming me for running a red light, for ruining his truck, his evening. For god’s sake, I didn’t even have a driver’s license yet, for god’s sake, I wasn’t even driving.
Some where off in the distance in the warm dark midnight sky this bright light appeared almost like the sun had risen high in the sky. I remember talking to a fireman who was strapping me to a backboard, asking what happened, who I was, my age, where I was going. I remember a sense of peace and warmth come over me as I watched a bead of perspiration well up on his forehead, then it fell like a raindrop, and landed right dead center between my eyes, that’s when it happened.
I could see the accident, I could see the truck and people moving around, I could see Jeff being taken out of the truck, and off to the side I could see another stretcher with someone on it. I couldn’t make out the face.
A voice from behind sounded so familiar and a warm hand on my shoulder. He spoke once again and when I looked it was my grandfather. Ten years had gone by; here he was with me, why I couldn’t figure out? He spoke to me and told me how much he loved my mother and grandmother, how much he loved us children, all the while as we walked through a gorgeous field of soft white pillowy clouds; he told me everything would be okay. At a point we stopped, we stopped at massive gold gates and as we entered a man that I didn’t recognize appeared in front of me. He wore a long white robe with a gold rope tied around his waist, his hair and beard were as white as snow and as long as the trunk on a redwood tree. One thing that I have never forgotten was the pale bluest of blue eyes that sparkled as he spoke. He said:
“My dear I must turn you away, you have to much meaning at home.” He turned and left.
In a flash I was once again floating over the accident seeing all the commotion, not knowing what had just happened. I pleaded with my grandfather to let me continue on with him, to continue with this peace and joy. He only said:
“Your mother and Grandmother need you.” As fast as he arrived he was gone.
A cool breeze blew across my skin; a thump and a jolt awoke me to the red beaming lights from the interior of the ambulance. Paramedics hovering over me yelling back and forth. When one called out:
“Medivac has arrived, lets transport.” another called out, “Code Blue she is too critical to move, move this ambulance before we lose her.”
From this point forward I was very alert and very aware of what was going on. My final destination was John Muir Medical Center. One week and many sleepless nights later I was released to go home. For years, I dreamt of the same thing over and over again. Green grassy fields with tall snow capped mountains, tunnels of soft pillowy clouds and my Grandfather. I only once told my mother that I saw my Grandfather. She didn’t believe me until I told her what he was wearing and what he said, she began to cry.
It took me all of eight years to realize what had happened, what had really happened. I learned from this accident, I learned that life is precious. I grew up fast and matured quicker than I had wanted. In these eight years I knew the significance of my NDE but who would believe me? I have told only a few people, but most of all I am not afraid to share this. I believe that every person can believe what he or she wants to believe; I know that this happened and that this was real. I know how it changed me; I know and accept that this was not a dream. In the past year I have began to break out of the glass jar that I was in. It has been a long hard struggle and a harder one still awaits me. I have also in the past year started to rebuild my relationship with my parents. I have finally realized that I was so selfish, with my anger and myself, that I missed the final days and years of my Grandmothers life, the person who loved me no matter the circumstance. The reason why I was here, why I was turned away.
I have not forgiven the man that hit me; I have not forgiven the fact that he was drunk; I do not forgive this addiction. I know for many my feelings may open a can of worms. I do not put down those who have achieved recovery. I only know that for the past year I have felt a sense of relief with talking with a therapist. I have been able to realize just how precious life is. This experience has made me the person that I am, the person that I am going to be. I can only share this with others and hope that some place in the world I have touched the heart and soul of others. I can only realize that my life was not ruined but started.....