It was January 25, 1959, and I was pregnant with my second child. For the previous six weeks I had had spells of hemorrhaging. Now I was being taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I had a fainting spell in the examining room and the doctor felt that it would be best to perform a Cesarean section. While lying on the operating table and having a conversation with the anesthetist, I felt as though I were going to faint again. I told her this and she gave me some oxygen, which didn't help. I went into shock. The last thing I remember was her yelling to the doctor to hurry, that my blood pressure was falling. I then found myself in a beautiful place. I know it was Heaven: so peace-filled, so beautiful, and such lovely music and flowers. They were so beautiful that they seemed many times more beautiful than the ones we see here on Earth. With that kind of music and being surrounded by love and peace, I didn't want to return to Earth.
Then someone started to talk to me. "Dottie, I am leaving you here (on Earth) for a purpose; but, no one will know what you are going through." And he proceeded to make known to me all things.
As he talked to me, I wondered, "Why did he choose me to reveal all things to?" Then I thought, "since I have had this convincing experience, I can help others to understand." But I remember him saying, "No one will know what yore going through" and thus my being unable to recall, upon returning to Earth again, his revelations to me. When he finished talking to me, I felt myself floating away from that beautiful place to this dirty and ugly one -- so great was the contrast between Heaven and Earth. I didn't not want to return, although he said that I must.
I then felt myself back in my body on the operating table. My doctor indicated resuscitation measures had been required because of apnea and hypoxia -- which translates, I understand, as cessation of breathing and lack of oxygen in the brain. I could feel the doctor taping the bandage on my stomach after the operation but I could not open my eyes. Someone was saying the Lord's Prayer, and when they said, "Amen," I opened my eyes as though I had just awakened from a nap.
Back in my room, I told my husband and mother that no one would know what I had just gone through. I said I would not complain again about anything. While that resolve faded with time, I did eventually become more patient with everyone and everything. I had grown up in church, going from one department of youth or Christian Education to another as I became older. I had never questioned my religious teachings, and believed that there was a life after death. Now, having been there and returned, I know it for sure.
That night, as I lay on my bed, I tried to remember what had been revealed to me, but was unable to, nor have I been able to do so since, but the experience remains as vivid and convincing as when it occurred.
I have told many people of this experience. I have gone through some personal trials in recent years, but I know that they are lessons that must be learned here on Earth. I seem to be led to be at certain places or drawn to certain experiences at times, and I look at life differently. Helping people and expressing love at all times for each other is what we are here for.
I now know and understand things that seem just impossible to put into words. It is a great frustration to see people running about with a self-centered attitude, pursuing activities that are such a waste of their lives, and to be unable to help them understand. Seeing so much unthinking selfishness in the world today just makes my heart ache. But I have met some, in ways that surprise me, who speak and feel much as I do. And those of us -- we are many -- who have had the benefit of the near-death experience, long to share with everyone the lesson of this higher consciousness and love.
I have no fear of death, I'm actually am looking forward to going home when God calls, and yearn to be able to convince others of the reality of the beauty and joy of Heaven. I tell others simply but eagerly, "The best is yet to come!"
Reprinted with permission of Seattle IANS ©. (International Association for Near-Death Studies.) Post Office Box 84333, Seattle, Washington 98124.