Immediately after the impact from
falling forward onto the metal grating,
I felt myself floating up, out of
my body, and hovering above my body
and all the people who were watching
it, and who seemed paralyzed by
shock and horror at what had happened.
I think they pretty much assumed
that I was dead. I remember looking
down and seeing my body three-dimensionally
for the first time. And it was such
a shock, because we never see ourselves
except in a one-dimensional mirror
reflection, or a photograph. But
I felt no pain at all; I felt completely
whole and free, and I thought, "This
is who I really am."
my physical body, all crumpled and
bloody and lifeless; and this enormous
wave of compassion washed over me
and I wanted to tell all of the
bystanders that everything was going
to be OK and not to be sad or alarmed.
suddenly I felt myself being pulled,
literally at the speed of light,
farther from the physical Earth,
and I saw all of the people on the
planet simultaneously in that one
moment. I saw people in China and
Sweden and Uruguay; I saw people
sleeping and dreaming; I saw people
preparing food in their homes and
in restaurants; people traveling
in all manner of transportation,
to and from work and school and
appointments; I saw children playing
together, and bankers and teachers
and factory workers at their jobs.
I saw mothers giving birth to children,
which was especially beautiful and
moving to me.
people in hospitals and prisons,
mental institutions and nursing
homes and orphanages who felt desperately
alone and abandoned and afraid.
And I saw people painting pictures
and planting gardens; writing stories
and composing music, and people
people praying in mosques and temples,
synagogues, and churches; and people
individually expressing their own
silent prayers. I saw indigenous
tribes in all different parts of
the world drumming and chanting.
And God was sending multitudes of
angels to the Earth, to assist in
answering all of the countless,
millions of prayers being offered
up at that single moment.
seemed to move further into the
light, I saw the Earth as though
from outer space. It was like a
beautiful, shimmering blue and green
jewel floating in the cosmos. As
I moved closer I saw that the Earth
was vibrating and pulsating, as
though it was a living, breathing
entity and not just some physical
And I thought, "This is Mother Earth;
this is our Divine Mother."
I looked even closer, I saw that
there were terrible wounds and sores
on different parts of her body,
and that she was gasping for breath,
and calling out to God and to her
children to stop the killing and
destruction and hatefulness - that
she was dying and praying for all
of us to help her to heal and regenerate.
Again I felt overwhelmed by feelings
of sadness and compassion, and I
desired to hold Mother Earth in
my arms - to whisper words of love
that a part of me felt frustrated
and powerless to actually do anything
of value - just as I have often
felt in my physical body. Yet another
part of me felt completely powerful,
as though there was nothing that
I couldn't accomplish.
At that moment I asked God, "What
do you want me to do?"
And the answer that came to me was
that I had to go back into my physical
body in order to complete certain
goals that had already been set
And I thought, "But I can't go back
because my body is too far gone,
it's beyond repair."
was also afraid that I could never
accomplish, with all of my physical
limitations, all that I could do
as a spirit form, which felt so
free and unencumbered.
feeling angry and fearful about
going back, after being in all of
this light - to have to go back
to the darkness. And then I felt
the presence of Jesus Christ all
around me. The feeling of love was
completely overwhelming. I felt
as though I was swimming in an ocean
And I asked him, "Do I really have
to go back?"
his answer was that I was a part
of God's divine plan, as is every
person, and that my ultimate purpose
is to love and serve God and all
sentient beings. And I could tell
that he understood all of my fear
and doubt. And he assured me that
I would heal and recover, but that
it would be a lifelong process;
and that I did have the power within
me, only I didn't realize it until
now, and that all I had to do was
to ask for the courage and strength
to persevere in my life and in my
work. This particular information
held enormous value for me, as I
had often questioned whether I would
ever really find a place in the
world - having always been somewhat
of an outsider - a place where my
passionate concern regarding so
many compelling modern issues could
somehow take solid form, and that
I could hopefully make even a small
Christ said that he would send me
guardian angels to aid me in my
healing, and to guide and protect
me. Then the light became even brighter,
and suddenly there were angels everywhere,
playing the most transcendentally
beautiful music, and singing "Hosanna!"
and hymns of praise to God. And
some of the angels were crying,
which I didn't understand. And Jesus
said that the angels were weeping
tears of joy for my new life on
Earth and that they were also expressing
compassion for the hardship I would
endure for the rest of my earthly
existence. And he said that he had
summoned the angels to guide me
on my journey back to the Earth,
and to my physical body. I remember
feeling so grateful that Christ
was there to help me try and understand
everything that was happening. I
also remember feeling that I wasn't
afraid anymore; that no one could
ever hurt me again. And that I would
try my best every day to serve God's
to find two men kneeling over me,
with expressions of apprehension
and concern on both their faces.
For some reason I felt that they
might be gay men. They both looked
to be in their thirties. I couldn't
help but notice how handsome they
both were, and that they were beautifully
dressed in what appeared to be very
expensive business clothes. I remember
thinking that they might be some
kind of executives working for a
corporation, which in fact is exactly
what they turned out to be. One
of the men obviously had some type
of first aid training, and had monitored
my vital signs. They informed me
that an ambulance was on its way
and to try to remain still and not
speak, which was easy to do, considering
the extent of my injuries. They
had both taken off their jackets
and laid them over me, and I was
horrified to discover that the jackets
were covered with blood and completely
ruined. I remember feeling embarrassed,
and yet enormously grateful for
the kindness of these two strangers.
Their entire presence was completely
warm and comforting, and I felt
strangely safe and protected.
waited alongside me until the ambulance
came, and then arrived at the hospital
to make sure that I was properly
attended to. They visited me in
the hospital on two separate occasions.
I made a somewhat feeble offer to
replace their ruined clothes, but
they simply laughed it off, and
insisted that the only thing that
mattered was that I was alive and
more or less in one piece. Again
their mere presence filled me with
a sense of hope and courage. I felt
very strongly that both men symbolized
what would prove to be a succession
of "angels" that Christ had promised
to send me. This, in fact, turned
out to be truer than I could possibly
Kirk is a lesbian who corresponded
with Kevin Williams and described
her near-death experience. Her
experience appears in her own
words in webmaster Kevin Williams'
Nothing Better Than Death.
happened to me during the summer
of 1981. I was nineteen at the time.
It was a time in my life when I
had pretty much decided that there
could be no
God, no great being
in control of the world around me.
If there were, he wasn't doing a
very good job. I didn't realize
it at the time, but once I had made
this "decision" I started going
downhill. I became selfish. That
is self-centered but not very self-concerned.
mention that I had been having episodes
of tachycardia for several years.
I was never diagnosed (up to that
point) with any kind of heart defect.
Had I been asked, I would have denied
any problems with my heart. I thought
it was very normal to get light
headed and almost pass out during
periods when my heart would race.
I was in the back seat of a car
traveling to San Francisco from
Los Angeles. All of a sudden my
heart began to race and the nausea
hit. Next everything started spinning
and I could see lots of colors.
Then I had a
sense of blackness
come over me. Like a dark damp cloud.
I was terrified. I have never been
so scared. In my fear I said, "Jesus."
I witnessed a fight. It seemed there
was a battle between a being in
white light and this blackness.
Immediately following, the light
overtook the darkness.
myself on my face in worship in
front of this Being of Light. I
felt a warmth, the most intense
love filled me. It was an energy
that penetrated every fiber of my
being. I had never felt such a complete
and total love. That unconditional
love I hear many talk about.
know there was conversation between
us but I can not remember what was
said. I feel like it was a time
of healing for me, kind of a regeneration
if you will.
next instant, I was floating above
the car moving down the highway
looking at myself in the back seat.
I knew it was me sitting there,
and yet I was up here. I wasn't
afraid or confused. Everything was
as it should be.
was someone there to my left. I
don't think it was the same being
that I had just been with. He (I
had a sense it was a he) seemed
to be in a white robe or something.
Funny, I never really looked at
him. His identity didn't seem to
be important. I think he was there
to guide me. I didn't make myself
go, it was more like he took me
or led me.
moving through space. I was aware
of that because the stars and planets
were passing very quickly. It was
very exciting, I felt so free.
of the next [series of episodes]
I am unsure of. I know each was
a distinct episode, but it is hard
for me to put them in an order or
thing I knew there was a white "room."
I can't say it had walls but it
seemed to be somewhat enclosed.
Maybe its boundaries extended to
the edge of the light that filled
it and that is why I call it a room.
There was a man in a white robe
behind a podium with a book on it.
I knew it was the
Book of Life from
thinking, "Uh oh, that stuff was
realized that the "God" I had been
presented wasn't anything like the
reality. I saw that it doesn't matter
if you call him God, Allah, Great
Spirit or whatever, he is the same
religions just have different ways
of explaining the same Creator.
I also realized that little voice
inside us that prompts us to do
good things comes from this Creator,
it is that light of love inside
each of us. I don't remember specifically
being told this, more like I just
to a place, maybe a room maybe a
space. I was
shown my life. If it
was my entire life. I do not remember
all of it. The only part that I
remember now was just the last week
or so. Since I had given up on God.
I saw how selfish I had been. I
felt the pain I had caused one person
in particular and it bothered me
very much. The things I had the
most guilt for was hurting other
people, lying, not being sensitive
to their feelings, just being selfish.
The fact that I was a lesbian didn't
even seem to matter then. That was
surprising to me, given what I had
been brought up to believe.
was another room or area. It seems
like there were others there, I
sensed some were female, some male,
but I can't say I recognized anyone.
shown a diagram. I could see that
it represented choices. A choice
led to other choices which lead
to other choices. Basically, actions
receiving "all knowledge," or at
least that is what it felt like.
They were there teaching me. This
didn't come to me as words like
you and I speak. More as
thoughts. When I think, it is generally
in words and pictures, this is how
I received the information. As complete
words and pictures in my mind. As
I could form a question in my mind
I had the answer. Not just the answer
to that question, but the why and
how and the answer to every other
question that the answer would bring
in the entire universe fits together
like a jigsaw puzzle. EVERYTHING
thinking, "I have to remember this."
over to the right and in the distance
I could see a beautiful valley with
lots of people. There was someone
looking out over all of it. I felt
that it was
Jesus. I then looked
down and saw a line. My foot
(Yes, I did have a spiritual "body"
as did the others I encountered)
was stepping over the line to go
to be with the others.
Then I was
told, "If you cross that line you
can't go back, it would mean you
would have to die."
it may sound, up to that point I
didn't realize I would have to die
or was about to die. It never occurred
to me. I didn't realize that I was
separate from my body even though
I had seen it in the car. I felt
complete. I remember laughing and
thinking this isn't how I pictured
I said I wanted to
stay. I was then told that the people
I was with (in the car), as well
as my mother, would not understand
and it would hurt them deeply. I
At some point
I was shown a map and was
leave and go to Virginia.
The angels were singing and
it seems like I could see the clouds
all lit up (it was nighttime).
The next thing I knew I as sitting
in the back of the car. I could
hear the most beautiful
I didn't tell anyone what had
happened to me for a long time.
I felt out of place the next several
days. I wanted to go back. I knew
instinctively that I could not do
anything to bring that about though.
I tried and tried to remember everything
I learned when I was filled with
knowledge but it isn't there.
Jean Ritchie's excellent book entitled
Death's Door documented
the suicide attempts and subsequent
near-death experiences of a woman
named Helen. Her near-death experiences
demolish the myths held by many
religious people that
homosexuality are one-way tickets
to hell. Although today Helen is
very comfortable with the fact that
she is a lesbian, coping with it
has not always been easy. By the
time she was seventeen, she was
drinking heavily and experimenting
with drugs. Over the years, her
problems greatly escalated which
led her to decide to take her own
life. After writing suicide notes
and taking an overdose of pills
and drink, Helen was rushed to a
hospital in very serious condition.
Her heart stopped four times, she
learned later from the medical staff.
The following is her testimony
in her own words.
I remember clearly
up above myself, and looking down
on my body. It was connected to
numerous machines. I could see the
drip and the oxygen mask. I could
see the doctors working to restart
my heart with electronic pads. I
could see that my parents were there.
It felt very peaceful, much better
than where I had been before. I
was bathed in warmth and light,
and the calm was almost tangible.
I felt it was up to me to decide
where I wanted to be, up there or
back in my body, but the peace was
so overwhelming that I knew I wanted
And then I was in
a small supermarket, floating between
the aisles. It was like any ordinary
supermarket, with shelves loaded
with goods. My grandmother, who
died when I was very young, was
at the checkout, and so was my auntie.
I knew without anyone telling me
that it was my auntie, my mum's
sister, although she had died of
a brain hemorrhage before I was
born. They were beckoning to me
to go to them, but through the plate-glass
window I could see my parents and
my immediate family, also beckoning
and urging me to hurry.
next thing Helen remembers is waking
from her coma with the oxygen mask
pressing on her face and causing
some pain. She felt regret at having
left the peace behind.]
Helen's second near-death experience
occurred a couple of years after
the first, after another suicide
attempt. This time she took pills
and tried to swallow bleach. Her
partner found her and called an
ambulance. The following is her
experience in her own words.
I was drifting
in and out of consciousness, more
out than in, but I remember being
wheeled from the flat on a stretcher.
Again, I floated above and could
look down and see two men carrying
the stretcher, and I felt secure
and safe in the knowledge that I
was walking away from all the chaos
of my life. Again, I felt it was
my decision to walk away. Then I
remember a very powerful force pulling
me towards a serene, very beautiful
realm, a higher realm. I traveled
very slowly along a
a bright light, and I could feel
an overwhelming sense of warmth
and peace and whiteness. I wanted
to walk into the whiteness, which
was so tranquil and happy. It was
like stepping into a vacuum, there
was nothing tangible, no scenery
to look at, but a tremendous feeling
of being somewhere, like nirvana.
I felt okay, as though this was
where I was meant to be, as if I
had arrived home, and I was at ease
with myself for the first time in
a long time.
I also felt
at one with the forces of the universe,
as though I was part of something
much much bigger, and yet I was
also the whole of it. It was a tremendously
powerful feeling, and such a contrast
to the despair and depression that
had led me there.
second time Helen did not see any
relatives, and although she experienced
the same sense of there being an
element of choice in whether or
not she returned to life or continued
in that lovely place, she did not
feel any panic when she awoke in
the hospital a few days later.]
I knew I had not wanted to relinquish
the good feelings the place had
given me, but at the same time I
did not feel regret at returning.
This time, the experience seemed
to give me strength. I felt refreshed.
was told by hospital staff that
she was lucky to have survived.]
Helen's two near-death experiences
have taken away any fear she may
have had of death, and she now anticipates
that when it comes she will once
again experience those feelings
of peace and tranquility. She does
not believe that her near-death
experiences encouraged her to make
more suicide attempts: suicide,
she says, is born of despair with
this world, not a hankering after
the peace and serenity of the next.
Eventually, Helen was able to beat
her alcohol and drug addiction.
She is back with her partner, studying
for a master's degree and doing