As a result of asthma, I have felt very close to dying on several occasions in my life, and I have also had many incidents that mirror those of people having near-death experiences. In my case though, I never came close enough to death to have a near-death experience, and when I was having the experiences, I was almost always very much alive. I had the flu when one experience happened, but to the best of my knowledge, I wasn’t ill enough for that to have played a part in what happened. On that occasion I had a vibrant vision of what I felt was heaven and part of it was in a garden where I saw the most incredible flower, unlike anything I’d seen before. The flower was a couple of feet wide and its petals like velvet. There was a droplet of water on the tongue of the flower that seemed like a cross between water and mercury, swirling silver on its surface, like the colours swirl when petrol (gasoline) spills on a wet surface. Its sweet scent was heady and intense. After the vision ended, I tried to draw the flower I’d seen. Page after page of drawings and paintings of the same flower littered my room, none of which could capture what I’d seen. I expect my mother might have questioned whether I was losing my mind at this point, but she never said as such. I still had no idea what this flower was that I’d seen and so I set about scouring the pages of the encyclopaedia set my dad had bought, in the hope that we would read all its volumes. I had never done so before now because the text was tiny, the pictures were few, the writing was dull, and I would get bored of it very quickly. This time I couldn’t get enough of the flower section. Trawling through hundreds of flowers I came across the orchids section, instantly recognising that the flower I’d seen in my vision was an orchid. Comparing my drawings to the encyclopaedia illustrations, it had the features of all of them and yet was unlike any of them in size, vibrancy and the texture of the petals.
A friend came close to ‘popping her clogs’ recently, and now on the mend, she told me she’d had a near-death experience. She found it hard to describe but used adjectives like immense peace; pure, divine, glorious, infinite, unconditional love; kindness; joy. It all seemed so familiar to me. I’ve been looking at other people’s stories of near-death experiences, and time and again I see glimpses of something that feels like home to me. You can read many personal accounts for yourself at the Near-Death Experience Research Foundation site.
Not everyone has a reassuring near-death experience. A family member experienced just being in a room when hers happened, no love, no people, nothing. Only a bare room, until doctors managed to resuscitate her. I have no idea why this is. Many people think they know why, but the more I found out, the less I think I know.