Rod Cooley's Suicide Near-Death Experience 

three beingsIn May of 1974, my brother, Eugene, along with a couple of his friends had left school and gone to a nearby irrigation pond where they went swimming. The only thing is that Eugene did not know how to swim.

I remember coming home and getting out of my school clothes. Mom and dad were not home, so Eugene and I would always go into the living room and play the stereo. This was the only time we could play it because we were not allowed while our parents were at home. Actually, they did not want us to touch it while they were away either, so mom placed quilts on top of the cover.

I went into the living room and removed the quilts carefully and began finding our favorite radio station, WCIG in S.C.

As I sat on the edge of the couch listening to the music, Eugene came in and sat down as he usually did. I can't remember if we had a conversation or not, but I do remember him being in the room with me.

As I was getting into the music, a car pulled up in our driveway. It was Brother Graham, along with his wife, from the church that we would frequent.

I got up and went outside to see what they wanted. When I got to the car, Brother Graham told me that he had heard that my younger brother had slipped into a pond about a half mile from the school yard.

I became numb for a minute, until I saw Harvey and Harris walk out to see what was going on. When they walked outside, I felt much better because I knew Eugene was inside listening to the music on the radio.

Eugene was my youngest brother and I was next to him, then there was Harvey and Harris. Now I knew that everyone was accounted for.

When Brother Graham told Harris what was going on, Harris asked where Eugene was and I told him that he was in the living room. Harris told me to go get him so that Brother Graham would know that it was none of us who had slipped into a pond.

I ran back inside, hoping to find Eugene where I had left him but there was no Eugene anywhere in the house.

I called out his name as loud as I could, but there was no answer. When I got near the kitchen, it's like this voice told me that there was no use looking any further. My heart dropped.

I went back outside without Eugene and the look on everyone's face changed. I remember Harris asking me where Eugene was, but I told him that I could not find him.

"But you said he was in the living room!" Harris exclaimed. I did not know what to say at that time. I became numb with fear that my baby brother had drowned.

We jumped in the car with Brother Graham and his wife and rode down to the irrigation pond where the incident occurred.

The rescue squad was already there dragging the pond with hooks. When they found Eugene's clothes on the other side of the pond, I knew that it wasn't looking good. I was still hoping that he may have somehow ran into the woods when he saw others coming, because he did not have any clothes on. So I walked into the woods and called his name in a whisper. If he was hiding, and I find him, I was going to get his clothes and take it to him secretly so that he wouldn't be embarrassed.

I never heard an answer from so, I started walking out of the woods. When I came out of the woods, I saw a member of the rescue squad grab hold of something with his hook. Then I saw an arm. I was still hoping at the last minute that it was someone else, but when the naked body was lifted out of the water, I saw that it was indeed my baby brother, lying there lifeless.

Words can't even begin to describe how I was feeling at this time. I felt as if I was having a bad nightmare and was hoping to wake up soon, but this was reality.

Eugene had drowned. They put his body into the ambulance and pronounced him dead at the scene. There were so many questions running around in my head that I couldn't even keep up.

As the ambulance drove off, we headed back to our car. Just before getting to the car, mom fainted. Curtis caught her before she hit the ground. This was our first loss and it was very devastating to me.

We rode back home in my dad's car. I remember him talking about what happened, as if nothing important had happened. Then, out of nowhere, he asked if we were hungry. No one said anything. He went to Hardee's and ordered burgers for everyone. This was just like him to do the right thing at the wrong time. I felt that he had no love for Eugene and it angered me terribly. When I got home, I tossed my burger to the dogs and went outside to grieve alone. I knew from that day on, things would never be the same again.

Later, the following day, I found out the reason Eugene had left school. It was because the teacher dismissed them from the class. I was told that Eugene and two of his friends did not have money to pay for a party that their class was having that day, so the teacher told them to go outside in the hall. She was a terrible teacher.

Eugene had also gotten his haircut by dad and everyone was making fun of him, so he really didn't want to be there in the first place.

My father really messed our hair up when he cut it. It seemed he did it just to bother us. He would cut all of our hair off and expect us to go to school without being picked at. We never knew what a barber shop was. My father had strict rules about hair and if you were a boy, you could not wear your hair long. He wouldn't even let us cut our own. He wanted to do it so that it would be messed up. Sometimes we would look like something had gotten into our hair and taken bites out in certain areas.

So, instead of Eugene hanging around the school grounds that day, he, along with his other two buddies, went back in the woods to the pond. Eugene did not know how to swim, but he was always the curious type. Apparently, the two other guys knew how to swim a little, so I guess he thought he was protected in case something went wrong.

Well, something did go wrong. Eugene fell into the pond while floating on a crate, but instead of his friends helping him, they ran to get help. By the time help arrived, it was too late. My baby brother had drowned.

After six months of continuous grieving, I felt that I could not live without Eugene anymore. We had shared everything and now I was forced to face life without him.

I come from a family of 16 including my parents. We kind of branched off in pairs. Everyone had a closer brother or sister and Eugene was mine. At first, I thought that someone would accept me into his or her clan, but that did not happen. Feeling as much pain as a young teenager could feel at this time, I decided that I no longer wanted to live.

One night when my parents were gone, I sneaked into my father's medicine cabinet and took some pills, and then I went to lie down and await death.

Thirty minutes went by, and I started to feel kind of strange. I began to panic and thought, "I'm really killing myself!" I started to become panicky. It seemed to be taking so long and my mind started playing tricks on me, so I got up and called an ambulance.

I was rushed to the hospital where my vital signs were taken and a doctor observed me. As the doctor left me in the room, a vision appeared right up on the ceiling. There were 3 men discussing what I had done. They were discussing why I was trying to kill myself. I could not believe this was happening. At first I said to myself, "It must be the effects of the medicine that I had ingested", but the whole conversation they were having seemed too intelligent. I have hallucinated before, but never have I experience anything like this.

The funny thing about this was that whenever the doc would come in and check on me, the apparitions would disappear and about 10 seconds after the doc walks out, they would reappear. The apparitions never talked directly to me, they just talked about me as if they were studying me.

Later, I was found to be O.K. I did not have to get my stomach pumped and was released when my parents arrived.

When I finally went home and tried to adjust to life without Eugene, I slipped into a web of depression once again. I began thinking suicidal thoughts all over again, but this time, I wanted to plan something that would be quick and I had gotten up enough confidence to do it this time.

As I started thinking of a way to release myself from this world, I just remembered going blank for a while. I remember becoming very light, then I started rising up further and further into open space. Then out of nowhere, I seemed to be traveling faster than the speed of light. I had a chance to see myself leaving the Earth. I've always been afraid of heights, but this was so peaceful and I felt so secure.

I came out somewhere beautiful and saw people greeting one another with pure joy. They were having such a wonderful time. It was like a continuous party. I started walking and Eugene appeared out of nowhere. I ran over to hug him, but he disappeared whenever I got close to him. I heard him tell me telepathically, to wait a while before I come to him.

After about what seemed like a minute, he reappeared and I was able to go over and hug him. It was such a happy occasion! Wherever I was, it took away all of my insecurities and I instantly knew the answers to the questions that I had always wanted to know the answers to. I actually found the answers to be quite simple, but whenever I came back, I did not remember any of them.

Eugene and I walked around this big place as we talked about everything. He then took me to this room where I was able to look back down on Earth and see our family gathering for my funeral. Everyone was very sad. They had lost Eugene earlier and now me. I could see how it was having a bad effect on them, but I wished that they could see just how happy I was and that I was not really dead. I felt so much love and joy at this place and I really wanted to stay there forever.

After viewing my funeral and my family, Eugene turned to me and asked, "Are you really ready to come here right now?"

I looked at him and remembered that I was going to say "Yes!", but before I could utter a single word, I awoke on the floor in my bedroom. I tried to close my eyes and go back, but I couldn't. I was so upset.

Why did I have to come back? When I finally realized that I had to be here a little longer, I got up and walked outside. Within an hour, my depression had totally disappeared and I was having fun like everyone else. For some reason, I wanted to live now. I tried to keep myself busy.

Within three months, I had begun to realize how sad and worthless it would have been for me to kill myself and I don't even understand how I came to that conclusion.

"I knew that I was in a state of hell, but this was not the typical "fire and brimstone" hell that I had learned about as a young child. .... Men and women of all ages, but no children, were standing or squatting or wandering about .... Some were mumbling to themselves. .... They were completely self-absorbed, every one of them too caught up in his or her own misery to engage in any mental or emotional exchange." - Angie Fenimore, a near-death experiencer

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