Excerpts from Grace Bubulka-Hatmaker's NDE
From my left side the nurse said, "I can't
get her blood pressure."
I could feel her trying to detect a pressure.
The resident was trying on my right arm.
Finally the nurse said, "I can't get it."
"&%$@!," the resident exclaimed.
With that last word, everything changed.
Finally, I found that the pain had a limit
and that I had been released. I felt a sensation
in my stomach like a person feels when dropping
down from a roller coaster peak. This type
of "butterflies-in-my-stomach" feeling was
a fleeting ripple inside of me. I was then
looking down from above the left foot area
of my bed. The distance from my bed was
as though I was against the ceiling corner.
I could see the backs of the staff to the
left of my bed and the faces of my doctors
and the Filipino nurse.
I was exasperated with them and with my
futile attempt to connect with them. I had
no strong feelings about my body lying on
the bed. It was almost unfamiliar to me.
I just remained there with a sense of hovering
for what felt like forever. It was really
only for seconds or minutes I suppose but
time did not make any sense. Time did not
seem to apply. It seemed irrelevant. It
was unattached to anything, the way I was.
Time is only relevant when it is relative
to the normal orderly sequential aspects
of life. So I was there for a moment or
for eternity. I cannot say but it felt like
a very long time to me. I was aware that
I was separate from my body yet somehow
I continued to exist. The part of me that
existed did not have anything to do with
my body. I was completely comfortable and
no longer in any pain. All of the distress
I was in while lying in my hospital bed
was gone. I felt like I was bobbing about
in a warm bath.
While I was at the hospital room ceiling
I was somewhat stationary. Now I was in
motion. I was proceeding slowly in an upward
and outward direction, slightly angled to
the left. I was aware of being surrounded
but I didn't know by what or by whom. At
first it just seemed like a foggy grayness
about me. As the speed of my upward and
outward movement increased, the enclosing
fog seemed to have a bright ending at the
distance. I remember at the early moments
of moving ahead through this enclosure a
brightness to my left where I could see
through the cloud-like tunnel. Beyond the
walls of my tunnel was a shimmering, glowing
light. The light contained an infinite number
of specks within it. The specks were moving
about. Some specks were going fast, some
slow. They were all going in different directions
yet none ever touched or impacted with each
other. The only comparison I can draw with
what I saw was what a person can see if
you look into a sunbeam. It looked like
the dust particles that ride within a sunbeam.
I remember smiling to myself (or at least
having a happy, knowing feeling) that I
was akin to these specks and they were journeying
as I was between realities.
I was also very aware of being helped through
this transition. I was in the company of
an innumerable amount of others who were
just like me. It was as though they were
family ... that I didn't know or I had forgotten.
They knew all about me and were there to
celebrate, comfort, ease and move me ahead.
There was no sense of recognition but I
knew they were there to help.
My tunnel structure thinned along the sides
but the light ahead was beckoning me. I
was intensely attracted to reaching the
light. As the sides of the tunnel became
clearer, the light ahead became brighter
and closer as my speed increased.
The level of joyous anticipation I was feeling
was indescribable. At this point I had no
insight into what any of this was about.
I did not think I was dead. I knew I felt
like a spirit or a disembodied person. I
knew that the real "I" continued to exist
in the absence of my earthly body. I had
a sense of heightened knowing, of peace
and of assured expectancy.
As I neared the warm, glowing radiance ahead
of me, I felt pure ecstasy. I was in the
beginning of the light. I was part of the
light. The light was part of me ... but
the light was more. Somehow I knew there
was more ahead but for now I could go no
further because something was about to take
place. I felt as if I had returned to something
I knew before. It was as if I had come home.
I had come home to the beginning of not
just me but the beginning of all eternity.
This is so hard to explain but it seems
so important. The only thing this compares
to in a way is the way it feels when it
is a beautiful warm night and you look up
into the clear starry sky.
When you look at the stars, there is an
awe of the glimpse at the beginning of infinite
space. It was like that feeling as I savored
During this experience, time had no meaning.
Time was an irrelevant notion. It felt like
eternity. I felt like I was there an eternity.
No remnants of the tunnel remained. There
was no cloud or fog. The light was pure
and all-good. I needed nothing, I wanted
nothing. I was in communion with all the
light around me. The specks, the others
and I were all part of the light that existed
forever. I felt I had an infinite sense
of knowing, of understanding it all. I was
completely at ease.
Then from within the light was a message.
I received communication. I have no idea
from where or how it came to me. There was
no person there. No words were spoken. The
thought was there for me to receive and
accept. I was being reminded of my responsibility
to my two children. I had the beginning
of a notion to disagree ... somehow. I did
not want anything to change yet I could
feel that a change had already begun. I
no longer felt that something wonderful
was just ahead for me. I was being "told"
benevolently yet firmly of my duty. This
message was the final word ... it was all
there was to communicate. I remember feeling
a strain to hold onto my experience, I wanted
to disagree while at the same time knowing
it was pointless. I knew that from within
the greatest part of all light was the complete
wisdom that directed me. I felt like being
a very small child whose loving parent insists
and directs the tired child to bed. The
directive was the only point. I had to go.
At this moment, I had one last type of communication
with this powerful part of the light. Suddenly,
I saw it all. I saw me as I was as a baby,
a child, a teen, and adult, all at once.
At the same time, I saw everything I ever
did, everything I ever thought, everything.
I saw events and people in my life that
I previously considered important. Also,
I saw many things that seemed-not-so important.
I was aware of everything in my life all
at once and I was aware of every response
that others had to what occurred in my life.
It was all there for me to understand ...
everything "good", "bad", or "indifferent."
For example, I remembered knowing deeply
about a situation that I dealt with in first
grade as a six-year-old child. I was in
class and it was a few minutes before recess.
Sister Celine had positioned three holy
cards on the edge of her desk in the front
of the room. The holy cards were to be awarded
after recess in the spelling bee that our
class would have. I was at the front desk
and could see the holy cards well. The one
in the middle depicted a gossamer guardian
angel watching over two small children crossing
a bridge. I wanted that card so badly. As
we filed out for recess, temptation overtook
me and I stole the holy car. I slipped it
quickly into my uniform pocket. No one saw
me. During recess, I felt sick with guilt.
I snuck back into the classroom while the
other first graders were playing at recess
and placed the holy card back on Sister's
In my near-death experience I remembered
everything about that situation. What was
really impressive, though, is that I was
aware how very wrong that action was. Although
I had made amends I "knew" of Sister Celine's
dismay at having the card taken. I "knew"
that other children saw only two cards on
the desk for the spelling be, not three.
What I really "knew" was that my action
carried repercussions that affected many
This is the way my life was reviewed. I
was deeply aware and had profound insight
into everything in my life and all of my
dealings with others from my birth on to
the moment of my near-death experience.
All those in the light were witness to this
review of my entire life. I was enveloped
in a loving feeling and given insight into
areas of my weaknesses. I suddenly realized
aspects of my life that were not compatible
with eternity in the light. I also knew
now how to correct this. I was charged with
the accountability of the remainder of my
I knew that more was ahead in the light
that continued forever but I could not go
there now. Seeing my life left me with the
impression that my life mattered and was
somehow significant as to how far I could
go into the light. My work was not yet finished
and my work was to begin inside me and within
I was able to concede to my impending return
now that I fully understood the message.
Then I was given a "gift" to ease my return
... or at least that is how I interpreted
this at the time. As the brightness began
to dull, the image of my two children were
merged into my spirit. As I held their love
in me, I returned to my body in the hospital