I collapsed from heat stroke while fueling up my pickup truck. One minute I was washing the windshield and the next I was on the ground looking up at my wife and the service station attendant. They got me into the truck and raced down the road to a regional medical center, one mile away. I remember being unable to move and thinking that it was sad that I would die so far from home in Wyoming. When we pulled up, a person came out of the emergency room into the parking lot, saw me slumped in the truck, and ran over to help. She opened the door and I fell out partway until she grabbed me. She held on until a nurse with a wheelchair came around the side of the pickup to collect me. I remember the feeling of dying as I was wheeled into the hospital.

It was very peaceful and deeply restful. The closest I can come to describing it was as if someone was walking through a large, old house turning the lights out in each room, one after another. This was my system shutting down. It was s-o-o-o-o restful. I vaguely remember being placed on the gurney in the ICU and going through some quick tests including an MRI. I was wheeled back into the ICU room (I was told this; I don’t remember it).

The world went away and I was somewhere. It was dark and quiet. Somehow, I knew I hadn’t really gone anywhere; that I was still in the same place but in a different part of it. This new world was the same world we know but just in a different form. I remember an unbelievable feeling of love, acceptance, and forgiveness. It was totally encompassing throughout my entire being. I’m a recovering alcoholic and I realized at that moment that I had to be drinking (in the past) to get to the feeling I was now having. I also remember a sensation of vastness, of unimaginable space all around me. But I also sensed that it was small and intimate at the same time. I also sensed that there was no time here and yet, all time here, as well.

I don’t remember any other beings except at some distance out in the surrounding shadows. It was no big deal, they were just there quietly observing. Then there was a big face floating in front of me. I had a sense of immensity that is indescribable: It was both huge and intimate at the same time. I also knew it was an aspect of ‘god’, something I could understand. We chatted I think. That part is hazy. Then I had a choice presented to me. I could stay forever in this eternal bliss or go back and finish what I had not yet done since I wasn’t supposed to be here yet. All the communication during this time was nonverbal, like some form of telepathy only deeper because it also encompassed emotion as well. I asked the Being what he wanted me to do. For some reason, it was mostly a big, adult male face with a black beard. At the time, I didn’t think much about it but it was so stereotypical that, afterwards, I doubted my experience because it was so cheesy.

Anyway, he radiated an immense sense of love and amusement. I knew beyond question that the choice to go back was mine to make and that, if I chose to stay, there were no recriminations, only unconditional love. The sense of unconditional love was strong throughout the experience. I sensed that my purpose was to go back, just be the best me I could be and help others as the opportunities arose. I DID NOT want to leave. But I let my will go and turned to go down a dark passage that lead off to somewhere.

I remember one last thing very specifically. I stopped, turned around, and said to him ‘You better be for providing some damn miracles to make this worthwhile’. The last thing I remember was laughter and loving humor.

I awoke and was immediately assaulted with the most horrible, shrill alarm I had ever heard. I sat up on the gurney and had wires and hoses sticking out of me from every limb and orifice. The doctor and the nurse came running into my cubicle and skidded to a halt. It was just like a roadrunner cartoon when the coyote tries to stop and keeps sliding forward. I have never actually seen anyone do that but that’s the impression I got. The nurse came around to my left side and started tapping on the machine next to me. Apparently, it had flat-lined when they were out of the room and she figured it must have quit working, since I was sitting up and looking around. It struck me later that this was the EKG unit that had recorded no heartbeat for a few seconds. Amazingly, I was 100% restored, good as new. I was released an hour later and went to a motel for the night.

As time has gone by over the past 8 years since the episode, I lose touch with it most of the time. I start to doubt it and pass it off as an overactive imagination during a harrowing experience. But, in reading all of these NDE stories I’m struck by some consistent similarities; notable the overwhelming feeling of love and acceptance during the event that everyone seems to share, regardless of the other stuff. I wish I was surer in my belief about the experience, but my lack of faith seems to keep coming up and getting in my way.

One last thing; I was left with a major physical change after the event. Obviously, when I was admitted to the hospital I was at death’s door and opening it. After I ‘woke up’, I was feeling fantastic. My sense of smell and taste were unbelievably enhanced. I drank chronically for decades and smoked hand-rolled cigarettes by the pound. My senses had been burned out long ago. But now I could smell scents all around me, I could differentiate between them as well. My sense of taste was so good that I had to switch my diet to fresh foods because I could taste the chemicals in prepared food. I can taste and smell the chlorine that the city puts in our water, so I don’t drink it. I went from a dead mouth and nose to super senses right after I came to in the hospital.

Then I remember my last complaint to ‘God’ about providing me with proof in the form of miracles. There, for what it’s worth, is my NDE in a slightly large nutshell. I still wonder if it was real or if my dying brain was having one last laugh at my expense. I experience this life very much as one day at a time. I never know when I will die again, it could be any minute or it could be years. I really have no sense of that other than to truly live each day as if it is my last. Most days I’m pretty agnostic still, I know my own capacity for self-deceit. I don’t share this story with anyone its too unbelievable. My wife and daughter know but only a few select individuals have been told over time. I don’t really want to share this but, for some reason, I feel that I need to share it here. I haven’t talked to anyone about it for years now. Regardless, I hope you all have a good life and, if we all shared a common experience, we’ll get to meet and visit about it.