My Near-Death Experience And Other Things I Am Thankful For
I didn’t plan to share this on my blog because it’s very personal. To date, I’ve only shared this Mary and a few others after a conversation about near-death experiences.
Before sharing my NDE, please let me tell you why I decided it was time to share this. I am very ill right now. What began as probably a common cold has evolved into something much worse, as it does so often in those with compromised immune systems. Other than typing a few emails, I haven’t been on my computer over the last ten days that I’ve been battling this. The hospice nurses have been coming to check on me regularly. Hospice is such a blessing. It looks like it might be an upper respiratory infection or possibly pneumonia. They put me on the same antibiotics that I was on last year when I was battling pneumonia. Needless to say, we canceled Thanksgiving dinner at our house. Mary’s sister was happy to have Thanksgiving at their home. Mary and I are looking forward to a quiet and hopefully restful day alone. I think we’ll list all of the things we’re thankful for, which will be a very long list. God has been so good to us.
I’ve written about this in previous posts, but in September of 2018, I came so close to dying from pneumonia. It was then that I was handed over to hospice. To everyone’s surprise, I recovered from pneumonia, but I still have this ALS thing. I was back on my computer ten days after coming down with pneumonia. However, that battle weakened me significantly. I’m exhausted most days, more so over the last six months. Most of you know that I’m completely paralyzed and cannot speak, so I use an Eye-tracking computer to communicate and post on my blog. Using an Eye-tracking computer can be a real problem when you can’t open your eyelids. I have not been reading many blog posts or anything else over the last six months, including the Bible. Many days I close my eyes and listen to an audio Bible.
As followers of my blog know, a month after I recovered from pneumonia, Mary was laid-off from the at-home job she’s had for almost thirty years. It was difficult, but we tried hard not to go into panic mode. One of the verses we clung to during that time, and continue to cling to is Romans 8:28:
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Well, let me tell you what happened after Mary was Laid-off. My brother opened a Go Fund Me Account for us, and the contributions, along with other generous gifts, exceeded Mary’s annual income! I have needed her assistance so much more since having pneumonia, and now I have a full-time caregiver. God is so good! Thank you so much to those of you who contributed and/or prayed. You can now see why our list of blessings is going to be so long.
(Recounting your blessings are so good for you; I feel better than I’ve felt since this illness began ten days ago after typing that. Mary just came in to check on me and said, “I can’t believe how good you’re doing.”)
I’m sorry my intro to sharing my near-death experience was so long, much longer than I intended it to be. I decided to share it in hopes that it might bring comfort to someone that’s drawing near to death’s door. It has brought me so much comfort every day.
I’m also posting it to tell my family and friends not to mourn for me when you hear I’ve stepped into eternity because, as the Bible promises, and as my brief near-death experience showed me, it’s a place of peace and joy that cannot be attained here on earth. The last thing I want to do is diminish the joy and peace that is waiting for me. I know that one day, maybe one day soon, I’ll answer to Christ for every word I’ve spoken and written, including what’s written below. Especially for what I’ve written below.
My Near-Death Experience
It was January 31st, 2015.
Just a day before my sisters Paula and Lyn came to visit for the weekend, I came down with a horrible case of the flu. At the time, I didn’t know that I had the flu. If I had known, we would have asked them to reschedule their trip.
The day they arrived, I was feeling a little better. In hindsight, I just convinced myself that I was feeling and getting better. However, that night, I became much sicker. A full-blown case of influenza is horrible for even a healthy person, but, as I quickly discovered, it’s much worse for someone weakened by then eighteen years of ALS. Add to this a compromised immune system and only one-third of my lungs functioning, it’s as bad as it gets. Needless to say, I was not a good host that weekend. I spent the rest of the weekend in bed with Mary coming in to check on me every thirty minutes.
I had never been that sick in my life, it was miserable. I was running a high fever, and every bone, muscle, and every other part of my body was in excruciating pain. On top of this, my breathing passages were congested so even with my breathing machine forcing air through my nose, I was gasping for air through my mouth. I just wanted to sleep, but because of the pain and my having to gasp for air continually, I couldn’t even doze off for a short nap.
This constant misery continued for probably 36 hours. Then, just when I thought it could not get any worse. When I was at my absolute weakest. When my head hurt so bad that I thought it would split. When my breathing passages felt completely blocked, something incredible happened – I died.
All of the pain left me instantly and completely. And, there was no more congestion or breathing problems. Let me be more specific; this was not like it was easier for me to breathe, and the horrible pain went away. It was the total absence of pain, and I didn’t even feel the need to breathe. I was in a state of indescribable joy and peace. Long before I was diagnosed with ALS, when I was at the healthiest point of my life, I couldn’t even imagine feeling as good as I felt for those brief seconds. I knew that I had left my body.
Then, after probably less than twenty seconds, I returned to my body. The pain and the breathing problems returned, but I began to recover quickly from that point on. There are no words to describe this, if there are, I haven’t found them yet.
I don’t think a day has gone by that I haven’t reflected on this encounter with the first after death. This revelation has left me strangely excited about the day I enter eternity. Even though this near-death experience was brief, I now know what perfect peace and perfect joy feel like. Perfect joy and perfect peace are inseparable. They are one and the same.
After reading this, you might be asking why, “If eternity is so great, why do you continue to battle ALS?” I am the first to admit that living completely paralyzed, voiceless, wheelchair-bound, and relying on a ventilator to breathe for me and a little pump to feed me is not exactly a good quality of life. I press on because I made a commitment to Christ to share the Good News:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Happy Thanksgiving, family, and friends!